Who should apply to the Knight-Mozilla Fellowship? You.

The application deadline for the Knight-Mozilla Fellowship is this Saturday, August 16 at midnight. You may have already read the info on the website and caught up with what fellows have experienced, what next year's news organizations have planned, how we've set up the program to be welcoming to a variety of life circumstances, and how this fellowship can reshape your career.
But you might still be thinking, could that really be me?
Yes, yes it could. If you apply. We often get asked "what makes an ideal applicant?" Over the past three years, we've found that what sets a candidate apart is evidence that, as OpenNews Director Dan Sinker puts it, they are a "creative problem solver." This means, you're someone who enjoys solving problems through code--whether that be with a captivating design testing the limits of your JavaScript skills or with writing a python script to parse a giant data set or with programming an arduino to monitor what the hell is happening in the back of your fridge. :o)

When enthusiasm is not enough

Sometimes I get really, extremely excited about things and I have trouble understanding why my effusive explanations and verbal fireworks are not compelling to people. I talked a bit about this difficulty in explaining things in a brownbag at Azavea today. (Thanks for the invite!)

Recently, my difficulty in translating enthusiasm into persuasion has been highlighted in my (mostly unsuccessful) campaign for everyone I know or encounter in the world to begin watching "The Americans." No matter how loudly or slowly I speak, most people just shrug and do not immediately begin watching the pilot on Amazon Prime.

I've tried to channel my frustration at my floundering persuasion skills into an opportunity to share some tactics for spreading excitement and actually connecting with other people that, you know, work.

Show rather than tell. A great example of this in action is a hackathon. A hackathon is a great way for someone to not just see, but also become involved in, the process of understanding what is so exciting about collaborative problemsolving. I find it hard to explain how that works without someone just *going* (which is pretty unsatisfying in trying to make the case to a boss, and we'll get to that in a minute), but when you're immersed in a good hackathon, it's this unparalleled experience of people learning and teaching one another without even realizing it's happening. The sharing is just what happens, seemingly by osmosis, and even six months later, a tactic or tool a teammate used ends up being just the thing to solve a problem, or that person is a new contact to email for help.