Every year, the Knight Science Journalism Program (KSJ) offers ten science journalists a 9-month fellowship — geared to the August-to-May academic year — designed to enable them to explore science, technology, and the craft of journalism in depth, to concentrate on a specialty in science, and to learn at some of the top research universities in the world.
Each Fellow largely designs his or her own course of study, with consultation offered by the director and the KSJ staff. Fellows are required to produce a research project during the academic year, which can form the basis of a story – which may be considered for publication by KSJ – or simply be a detailed report on an area of science. All fellows will do a formal presentation on their projects at the conclusion of the fellowship year.
Fellows are required to audit at least one science course per semester but are other wise encouraged to explore the wide range of offerings at MIT, Harvard, or other institutions in Cambridge and Greater Boston. The program is designed to offer a rich and varied mix of coursework, attendance at departmental colloquia, research trips, lab visits, interviews, reading, and writing.
Fellows receive a stipend of $70,000 as well as some additional benefits, including basic health insurance. Under the terms of MIT residency, fellows must refrain from paid professional work during the course of the 9-month program, unless the program director grants prior permission.
The fellowship program is divided between activities arranged by the Knight Science Journalism staff and self-directed activities. KSJ also provides social activities – from welcome parties to holiday celebrations – to help build a sense of community. Fellows often report that life in Cambridge and the sense of collegiality within the Fellowship are among the most rewarding aspects of the year.
Among the many Knight Fellowship programs and activities:
• Seminars: Fellows meet regularly for seminars with top researchers and media professionals.
• Field Trips: The program organizes several trips each year to locations of special interest to science and technology writers. Past destinations have included the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, ME, and the Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA.
• Digital Media Training: The number of storytelling channels open to journalists is multiplying, and we want our Fellows to return to the workforce with more technical skills than they had coming in. We offer workshops in various technologies, including video and audio capture, still photography, digital editing, data journalism and podcasting.
• Workshops: With support from the Kavli Foundation, the program organizes an annual workshop on an essential issue in science journalism, which may range from policy-based questions to basic science backgrounders, such as a series of lectures from leading nanotechnology researchers. These workshops are open to the larger science writing community on a competitive basis but all Knight Fellows are offered automatic admission to these workshops if they choose to attend.
For information on applying to the 9-month program, please visit our eligibility page.