John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists
The John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford is a paid fellowship for journalists at Stanford University. The program started in 1966, and is named after the American newspaper publisher and editor John S. Knight. It is connected to the School of Humanities and Sciences.
The program fosters journalistic innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership. Each year, it selects 8 international and 12 U.S. journalists to spend an academic year to pursue their ideas for improving journalism. Program officers work closely with them, to help them make the most of the amazing creativity and entrepreneurial spirit that are synonymous with Stanford University and Silicon Valley.
“The Knight fellowship is a unique gift allowing midcareer journalists to indulge their intellectual passions.” The program gives outstanding journalists the chance to broaden and deepen their understanding of the world with the stated goal to improve the quality of news and information reaching the public through the news media: print, broadcast and cyberspace.
While the journalism industry is trying to adapt to the digital era, this unique program gives accomplished journalists an award of financial and logistical resources to pursue and test their ideas for improving the quality of news and information reaching the public.
Beginning with the 2009-10 fellowship year, the program has a new emphasis on journalistic innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership. Journalism is changing rapidly and Knight fellowship supports them as they push journalism's evolution. Knight Fellows are spearheading new models, tools, and approaches that make better experiences for readers, reporters, and newsrooms, such as:
- Burt Herman, a fellow in 2009, is co-founder of Storify, a platform for creating stories with social media, and founder of Hacks/Hackers, a worldwide organization bringing together journalists and technologists.
- Paul Radu and Justin Arenstein, fellows in 2010, are founders of the Investigative Dashboard. Arenstein also founded African News Challenge and Code for Africa.
- Adriano Farano, a fellow in 2011, is co-founder of Watchup, a startup that is bringing the power of video journalism to the tablet age with an iPad app that lets you build your very own newsreel from trusted news channels.
Most recently, a Philadelphia Inquirer series that won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service was co-edited by former Knight Fellow Rose Ciotta. Here are examples of journalists who are awarded Knight Fellowships:
• Bill Kovach, a fellow 1968, is an award-winning journalist and co-author of a seminal journalism book, The Elements of Journalism. After he was a journalism fellow at Stanford, Mr. Kovach was Washington bureau chief of The New York Times and had worked on the Pentagon Papers investigation.
• In 1995 Hu Shuli, editor of China Business Times, was chosen as a Knight Fellow because of her globally known investigations of the Chinese government. She is now a member of the Knight Fellowships Board of Visitors.
• Artur Domoslawski was Journalist of the Year in Poland when he was named to be a Knight Fellow at Stanford in 2005-06. He is the author of four books, including an important biography of Ryszard Kapuściński.
Winning a fellowship
Winning a Knight Fellowship at Stanford is extremely competitive. The selection committee imposes very sophisticated and rigorous procedure, and is composed of national and international experts, such as Sarah Stein Greenberg, a managing director of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the d.school) at Stanford University, Marcia Parker, West Coast Editorial Director of Patch.com, and Bruno Lopez, the digital Advisor to the news division of Univision Interactive media, the largest Spanish – language interactive company in the United States.
In addition, the Knight Fellowships Board of Visitors comprises extraordinary leaders and experts from the world of media and journalism. Its chair is Sandra Mims Rowe, who also is chair of the Committee to Protect Journalists, a leading international organization that protects journalists in danger. She was long time editor of the Portland Oregonian, chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board, chair of the Knight Foundation Journalism Advisory Committee and a past president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
Another board member Krishna Bharat, a distinguished research scientist at Google, is the founder and inventor of Google News, an automated news service aggregating more than 50,000 sources, with 72 editions in over 30 languages.
Board member Merval Pereira, who was a Knight Fellow in 1992, has held numerous senior leadership positions in the O Globo Organization, Brazil’s largest media company. Pereira has won numerous awards, including the Esso Prize for Journalism, Brazil's equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, and the Maria Moors Cabot Prize for Excellence in Journalism in the Americas from Columbia University, which is the oldest international prize in journalism and which recognizes distinguished and sustained work by journalists in the Western hemisphere that has contributed to inter-American understanding.
Another board member, Bruno Giussani, is the European director of TED, the nonprofit organization that runs the internationally popular TED conferences and TED Talks. Mr. Giussani was a Knight Fellow in 2004. Prior to being awarded a fellowship, he was an award-winning writer and editor of Swiss news magazine L'Hebdo, European editor of the Industry Standard and the first director of Internet strategy for the World Economic Forum.
- Gretchen C. Daily, Katherine Ellison: The new economy of nature. The quest to make conservation profitable. Island Press, 2003, p. 236.