The Al Accountability Fellowships seek to support staff and freelance journalists working on in-depth AI accountability stories that examine governments' and corporations’ uses of predictive and surveillance technologies to guide decisions in policing, medicine, social welfare, the criminal justice system, hiring, and more.
The eight-months-long Fellowship will provide journalists up to $20,000 to pursue their reporting project. The funds can be used to pay for records requests, travel expenses, data analysis, and stipends. In addition, the Fellows will have access to mentors and relevant training with a group of peers that will help strengthen their reporting projects.
Journalists need to apply with a reporting project they wish to pursue during their Fellowship. We encourage enterprise and accountability projects that use a variety of approaches—from data analysis, to records requests, and shoe-leather reporting—and delve into the real-world impact of algorithms on policy, individuals, and communities.
While each Fellow will work on an individual reporting project, the Fellowship involves periodic discussions and trainings with the other Fellows. One of the key benefits of the Fellowship is the possibility to access a learning community of journalists facing similar reporting challenges as they pioneer the algorithmic accountability reporting field.
We seek to support journalists and newsrooms that represent the diversity of the communities affected by AI, predictive, and surveillance technologies. We will encourage sharing of methodologies and lessons learned so each story can serve as a blueprint for other newsrooms pursuing similar projects.
Here are a few AI accountability projects for inspiration:
- “Prying Eyes,” by Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson (Baltimore Magazine)
- “How Facebook and Google fund global misinformation,” by Karen Hao (MIT Technology Review)
- “How Healthcare Workers in India Fought a Surveillance Regime and Won,” by Varsha Bansal (Coda Story)
- “An algorithm that grants freedom or takes it away,” by Cade Metz and Adam Satariano (The New York Times)
- “OpenSchufa Project,” Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, Algorithm Watch, Der Spiegel, Bayerischer Rundfunk. (CJR wrote about this project.)
- Tracked and Traced, produced by David Leins (WDET)
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to apply?
- Staff 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.
- Reporters willing to participate in outreach activities related to their investigations, such as events at schools and universities.
- Reporters can be based anywhere. The Fellowships are remote.
What are the benefits of becoming an AI Accountability Fellow?
- The opportunity to work on an urgent, underreported issue for a substantial period of time
- Access to mentors and specialized training opportunities
- A community of like-minded colleagues that will continue beyond your Fellowship
- Financial support to cover records requests, travel expenses, data analysis, and stipends
How much financial support will Fellows receive?
The Fellows are eligible to receive up to $20,000 divided in three payments. Please include a detailed budget explaining your reporting expenses. You may include a stipend to pay for your time if you are a freelancer. We expect newsrooms to pay for their staff members’ salaries.
When does the Fellowship start and how long does it last?
The Fellowship is expected to start in May and last through the end of 2022.
How detailed should my project proposal be?
Your proposal should demonstrate that you have done pre-research on the stories you want to pursue, including hypotheses that guide the work, data sources, and methodology. We want to see that there is an ambitious, coherent, and realistic reporting plan in place.
Is experience reporting on AI issues required?
More important than experience reporting on AI is a track record of in-depth, nuanced and impactful reporting on issues that affect the communities you cover. Experience in investigative, data, and/or explanatory reporting is highly valued.
What is the Pulitzer Center's role in the editorial process?
The Pulitzer Center will coordinate and support the Network, but the Fellows and their outlets will have total editorial independence to do their work. Fellows may seek guidance and advice from Pulitzer Center editors as needed.
Will Fellows have access to mentors and training opportunities?
Yes, Fellows will have access to mentors from the Pulitzer Center network as needed, as well as training on various aspects of AI reporting.
Can I apply with my team?
Yes, small teams of journalists are welcome to apply but we will still need a lead person to be the Fellow. Please explain who is in your team and what their roles are. Team members will be welcome to join trainings and meetings if they wish to.
Who is the primary funder of the Network?
The AI Accountability Network is funded with the support of the Open Society Foundations (OSF). Other funders may join during 2022.
Is editorial independence guaranteed?
Totally. Without any restrictions.
How should I send my proposal?
Proposals can be sent through this online form. Preferably they should be written in English, but we also accept submissions in Spanish.
When is the deadline to apply for the AI Accountability Fellowship?
Applications will be reviewed, and interviews will be scheduled on a rolling basis. Early applications are encouraged. The last day to apply is April 15, 2022, at 11:59pm EST.
If you have questions, please contact Boyoung Lim at firstname.lastname@example.org.