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Emerging journalist fellowship
Technology is shaping the world, and both the people shaping the technology and the journalists reporting on it are disproportionately white and male. That’s why we’re launching this fellowship to encourage emerging journalists, but especially women and people of color, to come and develop their skills at one of the world’s most respected and influential technology publications.
We’re supported by MIT but are editorially independent which means MIT does not direct or influence our coverage. Our mission is to make technology a greater force for good by writing deep, insightful journalism both about how tech works and how decisions about it are made: who gets to make them, how political and social and economic power structures influence them, who benefits, and who loses out.
In recent years, we’ve done extensive coverage on these social aspects of tech, such as our reporting on the racial bias inherent in predictive policing technology and criminal risk-assessment algorithms, the effects of the digital divide on kids learning from home, and why deepfake porn is threatening women’s lives. We also look at how tech is being used for good, for instance to help hard conversations about race happen more easily or help catch early signs of depression. We think it’s essential that more journalists learn to understand the complexities of technology and its nuanced and often unpredictable effects on society. And we think it’s especially important for journalists from communities that often feel the more harmful impacts of tech to pick up these skills and use them to help inform their own communities as well as the wider public.
You don’t have to be an expert in technology or to have reported on technology before to apply. You also don’t have to be committed to tech journalism (or even journalism at all) as your future career. Whatever you do next, our goal is to equip you to do critical, well-informed research, reporting, thinking, and writing about the technologically-driven world we’re all living in.
What you’re signing up for
This fellowship is an intense and rigorous training for journalists who are just beginning their careers. You’ll be a journalist in our newsroom with extra levels of support to help you learn, and you’ll build relationships with editors who will advocate for your growth.
We’ll work with you to find a beat that you’re excited about or encourage you to try out a few different beats if you’re not sure. Our core beats include artificial intelligence, climate change, computing, cybersecurity, biotechnology, space, and tech policy. You may choose to cover one of these or another area that aligns more with your interests.
You’ll spend most of your time searching for story ideas, pitching to your editor, reporting out your ideas, and writing and revising drafts. You’ll probably juggle one to three stories at a time, some of which you will have pitched and others that your editor assigns to you.
To find story ideas, you might comb through academic journals, read government or industry reports, attend virtual talks or conferences, or speak on background with sources in the field that you cover. Your reporting might involve interviewing subject matter experts or academic researchers, activists, entrepreneurs, or people being affected by a particular technology or policy. You might cover a new cryptography technique being studied by a government agency, a genetic engineering technology developed in an academic lab, or a social media company’s plan for combating deepfakes on its platform.
Once you’ve written a draft, you’ll work with your editor to revise it and do any additional reporting required. You’ll review changes from our copy editor and respond to any fact checking questions.
If the story would benefit from a graphic or chart, you might build a quick one yourself or work with our art team to figure out what images would bring your piece to life. You’ll load and format the story in our CMS and learn how to optimize it for search. You might also workshop headlines with other staff members or review promotional blurbs with our social team.
You’ll also attend our daily news meetings to hear what stories other reporters are pursuing and share what you’re working on. And you’ll attend weekly meetings where we discuss our editorial strategy, host a guest speaker, or drill down into a recent story or project and discuss what lessons we learned from it.
What we’re looking for
There’s no single set of qualifications. We want to work with people who are curious about their world and eager to explore the positive and negative implications of emerging technologies. We’re looking for careful thinkers who are committed to getting the facts right and strong writers who are able to break down complicated concepts for a smart audience.
Some journalism or writing experience is required (we’ll ask you for writing samples) though you don’t need to have a journalism degree or to be a current journalism student to apply. You might be an undergraduate looking for your first step in media, a graduate student who wants to dive deeper into an area of tech that you’re passionate about, or someone who wants to explore whether technology journalism is a good fit as a career.
How we’ll support your career
We’ll challenge you to stretch yourself and step outside your comfort zone, and provide the guidance and support you need to succeed once you do. We’ll encourage and counsel you when you get stuck and cheer you on as you master new skills.
We’ll work closely with you to hone your pitching, reporting, and writing through frequent coaching and constructive feedback. And we’d love to help you practice different storytelling formats including explainers, Q&As, and profiles.
If you want to learn more about editing, making a podcast, moderating at one of our live events, or managing social media, you may be able to spend some of your time developing those skills, depending on what projects we’ve got going on.
In this role, you’ll work directly with some of the top reporters and editors covering technology today. Throughout your time with us, you’ll work closely with one editor in particular, whose job will be to help you thrive in our newsroom. Together, you’ll set goals to help you grow and expand your skills as much as possible in your time with us. Your editor will check in every day to make sure you’re on track and help you work through any reporting challenges or crises.
You’ll also be matched with an experienced reporter who will check in with you throughout your fellowship to offer additional support and encouragement.
Nuts and bolts
This will be a virtual fellowship as our entire newsroom continues to work remotely. You will need to be available at certain times of the day for meetings (generally held between 9AM and 4PM ET) but we can otherwise accommodate flexible working schedules.
Fellows must be based in the US. Fellowships are full-time positions and can last for up to six months with a minimum commitment of three months. Fellowships will start in June or July and we'll review applications on a rolling basis. The compensation is $20 per hour.
We will provide you with a laptop and access to all software that we use in our newsroom. We can also help cover the cost of your internet connection or other equipment or software you may need to do your job well on a case by case basis.
How to apply
To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and 3-5 writing samples to James Wall, Human Resources Manager, at James.Wall@TechnologyReview.com.