John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships 2020/2021 at Stanford University, USA


Each year, JSK bring together up to 20 fellows from around the world to work on ideas to address the most urgent problems facing journalism.

Applications for the 2020-21 JSK Fellowships opened on October 15.

Elements of a JSK application

Application form
Rather than lengthy, open-ended essays, applicants are to answer a series of questions that will help JSK learn about them and the reasons for seeking the fellowship.

Applicants are expected to tell JSK about themselves. What experiences or people have had a significant impact on applicants personally and professionally? What motivates applicants to want to work in journalism today? (750 words)

Three recommendation letters
Applicants that are working in an organization should provide one letter from his/her supervisor; those working independently or are the founder/highest-ranking leader in an organization should provide one letter from someone who has worked closely with him/her on a regular basis.

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Applicants are advised to choose people who know them and their work well; this matters more than having recommenders who are well known or prominent journalism executives who haven’t worked closely with them.

Recommenders should address in their letter the idea respective applicant wants to work on as a JSK Fellow and explain why he/she is well-suited to pursue the idea.

For international applicants, at least one recommender should attest to the applicant’s proficiency in English in the letter.

Three work samples

  • Work samples should be from the previous 12 months. They can be a combination of formats (digital, print, broadcast.)
  • A manager or a journalism entrepreneur should submit samples that demonstrate his/her work. For instance, an editor might submit stories they supervised, a news start-up founder might submit a product or story produced by their team.
  • For video, audio and digital samples, submit a URL to the work. (Please do not submit more than one hour, total, of audio or video.)
  • Samples that are primarily text can be submitted as PDFs.
  • For any sample that is not in English, the applicant must include a translation, or provide a brief summary in English that explains the work.

Tips for a strong application

  • Applicants should familiarize themselves with the JSK Fellowships’ mission, values and priorities. Applicants can learn about JSK by following the social media posts and reading the Medium posts of current and recent fellows.
  • Applicants should start working on the application early. They should give themself time to draft answers to the questions, ask a friend or mentor to review them and give feedback.
  • Ask a colleague or friend to proofread the text before submitting the application.
  • For the recommendation letters:
  1. Applicants must choose people who know them and their work well.
  2. Applicants should share fellowship idea with them and ask that they speak to why the applicant would be a good person to work on the idea.
  3. Applicants should ask them early to give them plenty of time to write the best letter they can for the applicant. (Note: They must upload their letters to JSK online application system and to start that process, recommenders must enter their basic information into applicants’ online application.)
  4. Applicants should make sure their recommenders understand the focus of JSK program. JSK suggests applicants share with responders links to JSK website and social media channels.
  • Applicants should pay attention to JSK social channels for updates about Twitter chats where answers to questions about the application and programs will be provided.