The Pulitzer Center is seeking to support freelancers and newsrooms focusing on in-depth AI accountability stories that examine governments' and corporations’ uses of algorithms to guide decisions in policing, medicine, social welfare, the criminal justice system, hiring, and more. 

Grant Overview

Governments and corporations worldwide increasingly are harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and predictive technologies to make policy decisions they hope can help solve some of society’s biggest problems. But algorithms also have the potential to discriminate and harm some of the most vulnerable members of society, deepening social and economic gaps, and amplifying racial bias. 

The Pulitzer Center is seeking to support freelancers and newsrooms focusing on in-depth AI accountability stories that examine governments' and corporations’ uses of algorithms to guide decisions in policing, medicine, social welfare, the criminal justice system, hiring, and more. 

This is an urgent and underreported issue in the U.S. and globally, especially at the local level. 

For inspiration, here are a few AI accountability reporting projects that have used a variety of approaches, including public records requests, data analysis, reverse engineering of algorithms, and traditional shoe-leather reporting: 

We seek to support journalists and newsrooms that represent the diversity of the communities most affected by AI, predictive, and surveillance technologies. We will encourage sharing of methodologies and code so each story can serve as a footprint for other newsrooms pursuing similar projects. 

To apply, you will be asked to provide the following:

  • A description of the proposed project, including distribution/publication plan, no more than 250 words.  We look more favorably on proposals that include a letter(s) of interest or support from publishers or editors.
  • Methodology: Please describe your approach to collecting and analyzing data, and include your approach for fact-checking or independently verifying any data that will be used in your reporting. 
  • A preliminary budget estimate, including a basic breakdown of costs.  Include travel costs, software, data, or hardware costs. Please do not include stipends for journalists/team members who are in the employ of newsrooms or are being paid by a publisher.  If you are a journalist collaborating with a data analyst and/or data visual specialist you may include consultant fees in your budget.
  • Three examples (links) of published work by you (or someone on your project team.) For example: data visualizations, infographics, and/or data-driven stories.
  • Three professional references. These can be either contact information or letters of recommendation.
  • A copy of your resume or curriculum vitae.

Applications may also include a more detailed description of the project, but this will be considered as an optional supplement only. The most important part of the submission is the 250-word summary and the methodology.

We will consider projects of any scope and size. Please choose a team leader to submit the proposal, and submit only one project per journalist, data design team, or newsroom.

This grant opportunity is now open, and applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served, rolling basis. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply?

This opportunity is open to U.S. residents and journalists around the world.  We are open to proposals from freelance journalists, staff journalists, or groups of newsrooms working in collaboration with a project idea.  We want to make sure that people from many backgrounds and perspectives are empowered to produce data journalism. We strongly encourage proposals from journalists and newsrooms who represent a broad array of social, racial, ethnic, underrepresented groups, and economic backgrounds.

When will you be notifying applicants on whether they've been selected?

We begin reviewing applications as soon as they are received and typically notify applicants within a month if they're being considered for support.  If there is some urgency to the field reporting, the applicant should state the reason in the application.

Do you pay stipends or salaries for freelance journalists?

We expect news organizations to pay freelance journalists for their work, though in exceptional cases, we may consider stipends to cover a reporter's time, if provided in the budget with an explanation. It is OK to include costs of contractors, such as data researchers or data visualization/story designers, in your proposal and budget. Please do not include stipends for journalists/team members who are in the employ of newsrooms or are being paid by a publisher.

More questions?

Email contact@pulitzercenter.org - we're checking emails daily and look forward to hearing from you.