It was great fun watching the applications to the Knight-Mozilla Fellowship roll in. People applied from all over the world. We got 102 more applications than last year. More women applied. More awe-inspiringly qualified people applied. It's been a humbling and exciting experience. So, how'd we get to this point of a wealth of amazing applicants, and where do we go next in the process?
Journalists have a lot of high-minded ideals about journalism. We don't always live up to these ideals, but in Philadelphia, the William Penn Foundation decided to put some money behind the concept that journalism should be a public service. It created the Center for Public Interest Journalism and the Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network (now AxisPhilly). It put millions of dollars directly into public interest journalism, with a three-year runway to figure out what shape such an endeavor could take.
And yet it failed. Why? (And why am I attempting to answer this?*)
This year the eight Knight-Mozilla Fellows are roughly half folks who were not previously involved with journalism development and half people who have deepened their engagement with this community via the Fellowship. Last week, we heard from the first group, Fellows who took varied paths to their news organizations. This week we learned what it's like for people who have worked in newsrooms to experience those spaces as a Knight-Mozilla Fellow.
What do you mean, I get to do whatever I want? Stijn Debrouwere began the week by expressing his awe at the very premise of the Fellowship and the space it allows for exploration.
Open source development can often involve much solo toiling, but next week in New York there will be two in-person opportunities to learn about awesome open source projects.