Five years ago, we created the News Lab Fellowship to connect up-and-coming reporters with nonprofit journalism organizations that use data and technology to report the news in different and interesting ways. Since then, we’ve expanded the program to 12 countries, and most recently, the fellowship in Germany, Switzerland and Austria offered placements for journalists and developers in 18 renowned media organizations. We put a special focus on diversity by granting fellowships to journalists with migrant backgrounds.
Today as we open up applications for the 2018 U.S. Fellowship, we’re looking back at the work of past fellows, and sharing what they are up to today.
Jieqian Zhang (@Jieqian_Zhang), 2016 Fellow at the Center for Investigative Reporting
What you’re doing now: I am now a multimedia editor at the Wall Street Journal.
What made the program valuable: I got to work with some of the best data journalists in the industry, and learned how to use data, design and code to tell stories. The experience assured me that I wanted to pursue a career in interactive journalism.
Ben Mullin (@benmullin), 2014 Fellow at The Poynter Institute
What you’re doing now: I’m a reporter at The Wall Street Journal in New York, where I cover media and advertising.
What made the program valuable: Breaking into journalism on a national level is really hard, and I couldn’t have done it without the Google News Lab Fellowship. This opportunity jump-started my career and gave me a toehold at a remarkable institution that ultimately hired me on full-time. I couldn’t be more grateful.
Matt Baker (@phatmattbaker), 2016 Fellow at Fairfax Media in Sydney, Australia
What you’re doing now: I finally secured a tenure track university position! Officially I am now: Dr Matthew AB Baker, Scientia Research Fellow at UNSW Sydney
What made the program valuable: I learned how to better run a narrative thread through a data-driven story and use my scientific skills to improve reader experiences.
Daniel Funke (@dpfunke), 2017 Fellow at The Poynter Institute
What you’re doing now: I’m a reporter for the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, covering fake news, fact-checking and online misinformation around the world.
What made the program valuable: It was like compressing four years of journalism school into two and a half months — and made me an immeasurably better reporter. The Fellowship gave me the resources and training I needed to continue being a student of news, while also inspiring me to tackle some of its most pressing challenges.
Madeline Welsh (@madelinebwelsh), 2015 Fellow at Nieman Lab
What you’re doing now: I am working between editorial and production for a recently launched Google Earth feature called Voyager.
What made the program valuable: I worked specifically on a project for Nieman Lab looking at how newsrooms were approaching the increasing importance of mobile readership. That was important for the work I later was involved in at the Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab. The fellowship made possible my time at Nieman Lab, which in turn opened me up to a lot of the interesting projects happening in news now.
Stan Oklobdzija (@StanfromSD), 2014 fellow at The Sunlight Foundation
What you’re doing now: Finishing my doctoral dissertation in Political Science at UC San Diego
What made the program valuable:Working at Sunlight helped me connect the academic understanding of money in politics to the unfolding 2014 midterms to tell a fuller story about campaign finance. It also taught me to go beyond traditional data sources to track political money beyond FEC disclosures.
Lindsay Abrams (@readingirl), 2017 Fellow at Matter.vc
What you’re doing now: Finishing my final semester of graduate school at New York University’s Studio 20 program, and in January, I’ll be joining Matter full-time as Associate Producer, Media and Program Operations.
What made the program valuable: My background is in journalism, so my time spent at Matter exposed me to a whole new world of tech, entrepreneurship, venture capitalism and design thinking. It led me to an amazing job that I never would have thought to seek out had I not experienced it firsthand.
Christine Schmidt (@NewsBySchmidt), 2017 Fellow at Nieman Lab
What you’re doing now: I work as a full-time Staff Writer at Nieman Lab.
What made the program valuable: It connected me to the journalism editors, strategists, innovators, and devotees that I interviewed in my work. I had the opportunity to pick the brains of cool people doing cool journalism, and now I’m incredibly lucky to be able to do that full time as a staff writer at Nieman Lab.
Taylyn Washington-Harmon (@taylynharmon), 2016 Fellow at Nieman Lab
What you’re doing now: I’m an Associate Social Media Manager at SELF.com
What made the program valuable: This was the first chance i had to do a newsroom internship because previously all my spare time was spent running my own journalism start up. Working with Nieman Journalism Lab gave me the necessary newsroom experience to not only improve my skills as a social media editor but also learn valuable industry information to understand the future of journalism.