Request for Proposals to Evaluate the ICFJ Knight Fellowships Program

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) requests proposals from independent organizations and evaluators to assess the success of its flagship program, the ICFJ Knight Fellowships. This evaluation will look at targeted outcomes and impacts achieved during the current grant period of January 2016 through February 2018. The goal is to produce an evaluation that can be shared with its principal funder, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation by April 2018, and potentially others.

The ICFJ Knight Fellowships are designed to instill a culture of news innovation and experimentation worldwide. The goal is to seed new ideas and services that deepen coverage, expand news delivery and engage citizens in the editorial process. They work in countries where there is a good opportunity to create the news media of the future. They spearhead projects that lead to the transformation of newsrooms, development and adoption of new digital and data-driven tools, creation of new digital media startups and forging of new networks of journalists and technologists. In this grant period, their work has reached countries across Latin America, Pakistan and Indonesia. With additional support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Knight Fellows are empowering journalists in sub-Saharan Africa to use the latest digital tools to tell compelling stories on health and development issues, and India for stories on health, development and gender. During this grant, ICFJ has also sought to bring innovations developed by Knight Fellows around the world back to help media organizations in the United States.

In this evaluation, we would like to determine whether we achieved a set of identified goals and look for trends within our impacts. The evaluation should employ a combination of qualitative and quantitative analyses using our data and data generated by evaluator. We would like a strong emphasis on lessons learned by our Fellows and media partners/stakeholders, focusing strictly on those lessons that are replicable, and offering insight into how change was achieved so that it can help guide future models and programming.

Topics of focus for this evaluation:

  • Impact on journalists and newsrooms in terms of:
    • Sustainability and revenue generation
    • Audience engagement
    • Innovation and lasting newsroom transformation, including tool adoption, data journalism, immersive storytelling, organizational workflows and cross-border collaboration to produce new stories, tools and news products
    • Achieving societal impact through these new forms of journalism, such as influence on actions taken by public institutions, private institutions and citizens to improve society
  • How ICFJ has helped Fellows to expand their work, including to other Fellows, for greater impact
  • How this Knight Foundation grant has helped increase the investment into supporting the work of the Fellows through additional funding by others
  • Dissemination of the fellows’ work in the U.S. through Fellows’ engagement in conferences and other professional events (including the annual ICFJ Awards Dinner and interaction with ICFJ’s board of directors), collaborations, and other forms of outreach, measured by how much of the work has been adopted by journalists and media in the U.S.

A budget detailing costs and fees not to exceed $80,000 to conduct the activities outlined in this request for proposal must be submitted with the proposal.

Evaluator Qualifications
The program evaluator must have significant experience with program evaluation and assessment of international organizations, including knowledge of journalism, news organizations and digital innovation.

Proposal Submission Information
1. Proposal Narrative (not to exceed 10 pages, double-spaced) should address how the goals of this evaluation will be achieved
2. Detailed budget
3. Budget narrative
4. Resumes of all evaluators and references from previous projects
5. All materials must be sent via email by November 27, 2017

Please email proposals and inquiries to:

Ben Colmery
Director, ICFJ Knight Fellowships
International Center for Journalists