ICFJ Knight Fellowships - Overview

The ICFJ Knight Fellowships are designed to instill a culture of news innovation and experimentation worldwide. Fellows primarily work with newsrooms to seed new ideas and services that deepen coverage, expand news delivery and engage citizens, with the ultimate goal to improve people’s lives. They work in countries where there is a good opportunity to create the news media of the future.

With support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, fellows lead projects in Asia, Eastern Europe/Eurasia, Latin America, Middle East/North Africa and/or Sub-Saharan Africa.

The program also has support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to empower journalists in India to use the latest digital tools to tell compelling stories and engage audiences on health, development and gender issues.

Our Fellows comprise a global network of digital entrepreneurs and visionaries who are transforming journalism  and producing lasting, tangible change. They work in key areas of innovation such as newsroom transformation, entrepreneurship and business models, technology creation and adoption, data-driven investigations, new models of storytelling, audience engagement and digital security.

Fellowships are typically a minimum of one year, and may be extended by ICFJ depending on funding and the opportunity for greater impact.

Fellows work on multiple, complementary projects, designed to ensure that the impacts and achievements last beyond the Fellowship. Examples of Fellowship projects have included:

  • Forming a news organization’s first innovation team to produce major digital projects using new storytelling formats and tools such as 360-degree video
  • Guiding the redesign of a newsroom to foster new forms of cross-team collaboration and workflows for greater efficiency and experimentation that delivers higher-quality content 
  • Launching an online school that offers business courses aimed at improving the sustainability of news startups
  • Leading an innovation challenge that seeds disruptive digital ideas to improve the way that news is collected and disseminated using tools like bots, drones, sensors and mobile apps
  • Creating a major newspaper’s first branded series that examines important societal issues like education, health and business through a gender perspective

ICFJ Knight Fellows also act as “thought leaders,” sharing their experiences and lessons learned on the Knight International Media Innovators page on IJNet.org, and speaking at top conferences focusing on media and information innovation.

For more information, see Our Impact page, and our current Fellows page, which offers detail on how we select Fellows and Fellowships. To request a Fellow to work with an organization, see our Partner With Us page.


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