Pulitzer Center Invites Applications for AI Accountability Fellowship

Jon Sawyer
Chief Executive Officer/President of Pulitzer Center 

The Washington D.C.-based Pulitzer Center in the United States is inviting applications from journalists for its “Al Accountability Fellowship” which seeks to support journalists and newsrooms that represent the diversity of the communities impacted by Artificial Intelligence technologies.

The Fellowship also supports journalists working on in-depth AI accountability stories that examine governments’ and corporations’ use of predictive and surveillance technologies to guide decisions in policing, medicine, social welfare, the criminal justice system, hiring, and more as well as designed for reporters from all beats, desks, and formats who want to broaden, deepen, and diversify reporting on artificial intelligence with an accountability lens.

Interested applicants are to apply with a reporting project they wish to pursue during their Fellowship. Enterprise and accountability projects that use a variety of approaches – including data analysis, records requests, and shoe-leather reporting – to delve into the real-world impact of algorithms on policy, individuals, and communities are encouraged.

Projects on a broad range of issues related to the impact of AI in society are accepted, but special emphasis is also placed on certain topics which include at least one project that examines the intersection of AI and conflict, war, and peace.

In partnership with Digital Witness Lab at Princeton University, projects that focus on the role the messaging platform WhatsApp plays in influencing public discourse in a particular community will also be accepted. Applicants with reporting projects on these topics are strongly encouraged to apply.

Fellows would be offered up to $20,000 for the period of the 10-month Fellowship to pursue their reporting project. The funds can be used to pay for records requests, travel expenses, data analysis, and stipends. In addition, they will have access to mentors and relevant training with a group of peers that will help strengthen their reporting projects.

Successful applicants will be expected to join a mandatory 90-minute meeting held every month and to engage with other Fellows in virtual meetings and on the community’s dedicated online platform.

Fellows are required to share methodologies and lessons learned so each story may serve as a blueprint for other newsrooms pursuing similar projects.

To apply for the Fellowship, applicants are expected to provide the following:

  • A short statement of purpose: how this Fellowship fits in their career path and why they are best positioned to be an Al Accountability Fellow. (500 words)
  • A detailed description of the reporting project they seek to pursue during their Fellowship. Please do not propose general themes, but propose a concrete project that shows some pre-reporting on the subject. A compelling, well-researched project proposal with a reporting plan will help an applicant stand out among dozens of other applicants. (500 words)
  • A budget that lays out anticipated costs of the project. Categories may include records requests, software, data analysis, travel and lodging, and stipends.
  • Three examples (links) of their best stories published in the past three years (not necessarily on artificial intelligence).
  • A letter of commitment or interest from a media organization(s) that would publish applicant’s story(ies). For a staff reporter, a signed letter from his/her editor or newsroom manager confirming he/she has their support in applying for the AI Accountability Fellowship. This letter should explicitly state that applicant’s newsroom will allocate time for him/her to participate in the Fellowship activities and the newsroom will support publishing the stories he/she produces through this Fellowship. It can also include information on why applicant’s manager thinks he/she would be suited for this Fellowship.
  • Three professional references: These can be either contact information or letters of recommendation.
  • A copy of applicant’s resume or curriculum vitae.

To be eligible, applicants must be astaff or freelance journalists working on a wide range of platforms, including print, radio, video, and multimedia;team players with the experience and/or ability to work collaboratively across newsrooms and borders;reporters with a deep interest in how AI impacts the world, and why this issue matters to our global well-being and reporters willing to participate in outreach activities related to their investigations, such as events at schools and universities.

The Fellowship will be done remotely so reporters can be based anywhere and expected to start in early September 2023 and last through July 2024.

Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications early. Interviews will be scheduled with finalists on a rolling basis. Proposals from journalists and newsrooms that represent a broad array of social, racial, ethnic, and underrepresented groups, and economic backgrounds are encouraged.

Proposals can be sent through this online form at https://pulitzercenter.submittable.com/submit/218563/ai-accountability-fellowships.

Preferably they should be written in English, but submissions in Spanish will also be accepted.

The deadline for submission of applications is July 1, 2023, for additional questions, please contact Boyoung Lim at blim@pulitzercenter.org.

For detailed information about the Fellowship, please visit https://pulitzercenter.org/grants-fellowships/opportunities-journalists/ai-accountability-fellowships.