$20,000 Grant for AI Accountability Journalists Fellowship

We seek to support freelance journalists and newsrooms that represent the diversity of the communities impacted by AI technologies.

The Journalists Fellowship is designed for reporters from all beats, desks, and formats who want to broaden, deepen, and diversify reporting on artificial intelligence with an accountability lens.

Journalists need to apply with a reporting project they wish to pursue during their Fellowship. We encourage enterprise and accountability projects that use a variety of approaches—including data analysis, records requests, and shoe-leather reporting—to delve into the real-world impact of algorithms on policy, individuals, and communities.

In its first year, the Fellowship supported 10 Fellows reporting in 10 countries. The 2022 cohort of AI Accountability Fellows reported on themes crucial to equity and human rights, such as the impact of AI on the gig economy, social welfare, policing, migration, and border control.

While we welcome projects on a broad range of issues related to the impact of AI in society, this year we are also placing special emphasis on certain topics. We are seeking to support at least one project that examines the intersection of AI and conflict, war, and peace. In partnership with Digital Witness Lab at Princeton University, we are also recruiting one project that focuses on the role the messaging platform WhatsApp plays in influencing public discourse in a particular community. Applicants with reporting projects on these topics are strongly encouraged to apply.

The 10-month Fellowship will provide journalists up to $20,000 to pursue their reporting project. The funds can be used to pay for records requests, travel expenses, data analysis, and stipends. In addition, the Fellows will have access to mentors and relevant training with a group of peers that will help strengthen their reporting projects.

Successful applicants will be expected to join a mandatory 90-minute meeting held every month and to engage with other Fellows in virtual meetings and on the community’s dedicated online platform.

We require the sharing of methodologies and lessons learned so each story may serve as a blueprint for other newsrooms pursuing similar projects.

Here are a few AI Accountability Network projects for inspiration:

Partnership with Digital Witness Lab at Princeton University

We are excited to support a shared fellowship with Digital Witness Lab at Princeton University, whose mission is to collect real-world data to uncover how technology is being used to harm society. The team is composed of data journalists and engineers experienced in building tools that document harms such as algorithmic discrimination, spread of misinformation, and pervasive tracking of users online.

Digital Witness is currently developing WhatsApp Watch, a platform for monitoring and analyzing WhatsApp groups for misinformation, media manipulation, and other types of harm. The platform follows data minimization best practices to protect the privacy of the users in the groups we are analyzing. If you are interested in investigating the role WhatsApp plays in influencing the public discourse in a particular community, or if you want to test a novel hypothesis on how the platform might be causing a previously undocumented harm, Digital Witness is well suited to support you.

If you are interested in being considered for this shared fellowship, please indicate so in your application. The shared fellowship has the added benefit of giving the selected candidate the opportunity to be mentored by the Digital Witness team and to explore projects of mutual interest.

What You’ll Need to Apply

  • A short statement of purpose: how this Fellowship fits in your career path and why you are best positioned to be an Al Accountability Fellow. (500 words)
  • A detailed description of the reporting project you seek to pursue during your Fellowship. Please do not propose general themes, but propose a concrete project that shows some pre-reporting on the subject. A compelling, well-researched project proposal with a reporting plan will help you stand out among dozens of applicants. (500 words)
  • A budget that lays out anticipated costs of the project. Categories may include records requests, software, data analysis, travel and lodging, and stipends.
  • Three examples (links) of your best stories published in the past three years (not necessarily on artificial intelligence).
  • A letter of commitment or interest from a media organization(s) that would publish your story(ies). If you are a staff reporter, a signed letter from your editor or newsroom manager confirming you have their support in applying for the AI Accountability Fellowship. This letter should explicitly state that your newsroom will allocate time for you to participate in the Fellowship activities and the newsroom will support publishing the stories you produce through this Fellowship. It can also include information on why your manager thinks you would be suited for this Fellowship.
  • Three professional references: These can be either contact information or letters of recommendation.
  • A copy of your resume or curriculum vitae.

We encourage you to submit your application early. We will schedule interviews with finalists on a rolling basis. We encourage proposals from journalists and newsrooms that represent a broad array of social, racial, ethnic, and underrepresented groups, and economic backgrounds.

Applications can be submitted in English or Spanish

Application Deadline : 1 July, 2023

Sounds Interesting? Submit your Applications Here

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