Pulitzer Center Update June 9, 2023

FAQ: What You Need To Know To Join the AI Accountability Network

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The Pulitzer Center has opened its call for applications to the AI Accountability Network. In its second year, the network will select a cohort of journalists to receive financial and editorial support to report on AI and with AI.

Fellows will work on individual and collaborative reporting projects to systematically pursue in-depth stories that interrogate how these AI systems are funded, built, and deployed by governments and other powerful actors.

Ask Me Anything Webinar

Here are some of the things you can learn from watching this recording: 

  • Hear from Pulitzer Center editors on how the AI Accountability Fellowships are different from last year and what we are looking for this year.
  • Get tips from two 2022 AI Fellows on how to make your application stand out.
  • See the lessons learned from the 2022 AI Accountability Fellowships.
  • Learn about different ways to cut into AI Accountability reporting.
  • Learn more about the Digital Witness Lab and the Digital Witness Fellowship. 
  • See the Q&A with the audience.

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.
  • Pro bono legal and public records access support.
  • A community of like-minded colleagues that will continue beyond your Fellowship.
  • Financial support to cover records requests, travel expenses, data analysis, and stipends.
  • The opportunity to find strong collaborators for your project or future projects.

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 early September and last through July of 2024. 

How detailed should my project proposal be?

Your proposal should demonstrate that you have done pre-reporting 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 valued.

Are the requirements and/or benefits different if I am interested in the shared fellowship you offer in partnership with Digital Witness Lab at Princeton University?

The application form and requirements are the same. Please note that to qualify for the Digital Witness fellowship, your project should center on the impact of the messaging platform WhatsApp on a particular community/ies. The selected fellow will receive mentorship for their project from the Digital Witness team and will have the opportunity to explore projects of common interest with Digital Witness.

What is the Pulitzer Center's role in the editorial process?

The Pulitzer Center will coordinate and support the Network, but 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 by university and NGO researchers, legal and public records experts, and journalists. 

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 on your team and what their roles are. Team members will be welcome to join training and meetings if they wish to.

Are the collaboration and training aspects of the Fellowship mandatory?

Yes, this is why we approach this initiative as a Fellowship. In the surveys we conducted before launching the program, journalists identified community and training opportunities as important needs. Working and learning with a diverse group of journalists from around the world can illuminate unforeseen connections among stories and strengthen everyone’s projects with new perspectives. If you are pursuing a good story but cannot commit to the requirements of a Fellowship, you can try applying for a regular reporting grant.

Who funds the Network?

The AI Accountability Network is funded with the support of the Open Society Foundations (OSF), Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, and individual donors and foundations who support our work more broadly. Other funders may join during 2023/2024.

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 for the 2023 AI Accountability Fellowships are now open. The deadline is July 1, 2023.

Additional questions?

Please contact Boyoung Lim at [email protected].