Scholarships+: Stipends toward programs that develop your work
OpenNews can help you pay for events and programs that develop your work in journalism and tech. Attend a conference, take a class, join a training, sign up for a leadership program—you know best what you need. If cost is a hardship, we want to help.
Key things to know:
- These scholarships are for journalists who work in data, code, or social justice (or all three!).
- This program is designed to do two things: help you learn something outside of your current comfort zone, and strengthen your support network—deepening relationships with colleagues and building new ones with peers.
We’re excited to hear about the event or program you want to be part of. And what we’re really looking for is why you want to be there and how you plan to use and share what you learn.
How to apply
We had two rounds of applications during 2021, and applications are now closed. People who applied in June will hear back from us by July 9.
What this program offers
- $250 and $500 stipends, depending on the cost of the program you’d like to attend.
- Connections with other people, resources, and opportunities related to your work.
Why we give out these stipends
Our community is building a more equitable future for journalism, and we offer programs like this because we believe in the power of a network effect. By helping one journalist develop and share their skills, we can help whole communities of practice.
We love it when people take what they’ve learned at one event and bring it to another, or when people have identified just what they need next—a leadership training, a census workshop, a conference immersed with journalists who share their background—and we can help make that happen. We know cost can be a barrier to accessing these opportunities, and part of creating a more equitable industry is mitigating barriers like these as much as we can.
Who should apply
- Journalists who work in data, code, or social justice: developers, designers, reporters, editors, product thinkers, and newsroom allies—people pushing for change in their newsrooms and helping them better reflect our communities.
- People of color, women, journalists from local and regional news organizations, and other underrepresented groups in journalism and technology are strongly encouraged to apply.
What happens after you apply
OpenNews staff reviews applications and notifies all applicants.
What happens after I receive a stipend
You tell us how everything went! We’ll send you a short follow-up survey, and we’ll be excited to check out anything you write or build as part of the experience.
What kinds of things can I use a stipend for?
Our original scholarships program helped people attend journalism events, and that’s part of this program, too. Previous recipients have attended events like NICAR, Internet Freedom Festival, Data Harvest, SND, ONA, IRE, NABJ, AAJA, EIJ, Collaborative Journalism Summit, LION, SembraMedia, and Allied Media Conference. Program support isn’t at all limited to this list, but we hope it helps you imagine the range of national, regional, and local opportunities to connect with people working on the same kinds of projects and problems that you are.
We added the “plus” to Scholarships+ because conference registration isn’t the only way financial support can help fill the gaps for journalists. Maybe you’re looking into a leadership-development program, a coding workshop, or a career coach. You might want to study social justice, statistics, dataviz, or poverty and inequality. We’re excited to hear your ideas, and to imagine how your journalism will change.
How do you decide who will receive a stipend?
OpenNews staff reviews all applications. We prioritize applications from members of communities underrepresented in journalism and technology and journalists from small and non-coastal newsrooms. We also prioritize applications that will allow the person to take part in a program where they are speaking or otherwise making a major contribution.
We look for applications from journalists who use data or design to help people understand their community and make it better, who write code or work in product to help a news organization make good on its mission, who are pushing for change in their newsrooms and helping them better reflect their communities. And we look for applications that have a plan for bringing new ideas into your work and sharing them with peers.
Can people outside of the U.S. apply for the scholarship?
Applications are open to everyone. We prioritize applications from journalists of color and journalists from regional and local news organizations, but we’re open to applications from anyone working at the intersection of journalism and technology.
When will I receive my stipend?
When we notify recipients, we’ll include information about how to receive funds. We’ll ask you to fill out a stipend form and a form to gather your W-9 details, and then our administrators will process the payment. It may take a month or so for check processing.
What if I need an amount other than $250 or $500?
If the program you want to participate in costs less than $250, we’re happy for you to use the rest to cover your time spent participating. You also may be able to find additional support elsewhere: Many conferences, programs, and professional organizations offer their own scholarships or other discounts, and those are always worth looking into. Events may also have opportunities like volunteering to help cut down on costs.
What if I need something other than funding?
We have lots of ways to connect you with peer support from the journalism community! If you could use some help with a data story, we offer Peer Data Review. If you need resources for making your newsroom more anti-racist, equitable, and just, check out the DEI Coalition. If you’re working on another type of project and you wonder if we can help, we’d love to hear from you.
What about your conference, SRCCON?
We run a separate scholarship process for SRCCON events. You can find more details about how we approached scholarships for our most recent conference on the SRCCON website
Who funds this program?
These stipends are made possible by a grant from the Democracy Fund and contributions from OpenNews sustainers.
If you have any additional questions that we didn’t cover here, please reach out!
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