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:
- State of Surveillance: Police Use of AI and Facial Recognition in Communities of Color | Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson.
- AI Colonialism | Karen Hao.
- Unlocking Europe’s Welfare Fraud Algorithms | Gabriel Geiger.
- India’s Gig Workers and Algorithms | Varsha Bansal.
- Are AI Hiring Tools Racist and Ableist? | Hilke Schellmann.
- There Goes the Neighborhood | Lam Thuy Vo.
- Peering Into the Black Box | Arijit Douglas Sen.
- Eye on the Wall: Refugees and ‘Smart’ Borders | Lydia Emmanouilidou.
- Tracked and Traced | WDET.
- Tracked | The Associated Press.
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.