Applications for the 2023 Advancing Democracy Fellowship are now closed. You may sign up to receive an alert when the 2024 Fellowship application is open by clicking the button below.
Is this for newsrooms or can freelancers apply?
This fellowship program is for newsrooms, and is not designed for freelance journalists.
Can newsrooms in any state apply?
Who can participate in fellowship training?
We require at least two people (a reporter and editor) to participate in every workshop. However, anyone in the newsroom who is helping execute on the new practices that the reporter / editor team is endeavoring to implement is encouraged to participate. In our 2022 program, newsrooms had anywhere from 2-8 people enrolled in the fellowship.
If the main political reporter or editor leaves that newsroom, then what?
The newsroom can choose a different staff person to replace the fellow in the program. The fellow who has left the newsroom is welcome to participate in any future training, but Democracy SOS cannot accommodate adding the fellow’s new newsroom to the cohort.
If my newsroom receives the fellowship, do I need to attend all of the required training?
Yes – that’s expected of you if you are part of the core team. We will record all sessions, so if you’re not able to make a few live, you can catch the replay. Sessions are designed to be interactive and participatory, so being there is highly recommended. We require that the core newsroom team attends at least 80 percent of the core sessions.
What will the program include / entail?
The fellows will receive training and support on time-tested and evidence-based reporting approaches, participate in project “sprints” to apply these practices on elections coverage, and catalyze change in their newsrooms.
The following workshops are planned, and we may add others according to the needs of the fellowship participants:
- Aligning Coverage With Your Mission
- How to Report for Good Conflict
- Solutions Journalism
- Engaged Elections & The Citizens Agenda
- Trusting News Practices
- Measuring the Impact of Your Advancing Democracy Work
How much time out of my regular work responsibilities will the training take?
We will program between 4-6 hours of required virtual training time per month over the course of nine months. With each new skill learned, there will be some required practice of the skill to demonstrate proficiency. Our intent is not to add to your workload, but to help participants spend their time differently for better results.
What do the 2022 fellows want incoming fellows to know?
Great question! We asked them and here’s what they said:
- Don’t be afraid to try something new and don’t let lack of resources in your newsroom discourage you.
- Make time to attend all the trainings! Protect your schedule – this was the best training I ever had.
- Make time to have internal discussions after trainings to ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Involve as many colleagues as possible to help create allies, momentum and make the change you seek inevitable. Know that not everyone in your newsroom will be on board for change – so be sure to bring colleagues along in sharing what you learn so you face less resistance internally to apply what you’re learning.
- Be open minded! The status quo isn’t working, so this is the space for you to be supported in trying out methods that work better.
- Don’t expect overnight change – but do make sure you have targeted goals and buy-in to meet them. Change will happen!
- Start your thinking and planning for 2024 now. The sooner you do, the more likely you are to be reporting more effectively in time for it.