Software developers interested in journalism: Northwestern & The Washington Post want you!

In 2007, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Medill School at Northwestern University rolled out what, at the time, seemed like a fairly crazy plan: Send developers to journalism school.

The Knight Scholarships have now turned out a dozen “hacker journalists” — combining their programming skills with a Medill School journalism master’s degree — and they are doing great work in news organizations and tech companies all over the country. In a world of news application teams and digital publishing innovation, the idea of having developers in newsrooms isn’t crazy any more.

Thanks to Knight Foundation and The Washington Post, there are two remaining slots in this scholarship program — with a bonus. The right candidates can cap off a year of journalism studies with a six-month paid internship with The Washington Post’s world-class engineering team, with the possibility of subsequent full-time employment.

Alumni of this scholarship program include Ryan Mark (editorial engineering director, Vox Media); Brian Boyer (until recently, visuals editor for NPR); Manya Gupta (design lead, Fidelity Investments); Andrew Paley (director of product design, Narrative Science); shane shifflett (data reporter, The Wall Street Journal) and Kavya Sukumar (senior full-stack engineer, Vox Media).

The Washington Post joined the initiative in 2013 to help develop a pipeline of journalism-savvy developers who could be candidates for software engineering jobs at The Post. Since then, under the ownership of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, The Post has become known as one of the most innovative and technologically savvy media companies in the world.

The Post’s engineering team works in partnership with the company’s award-winning newsroom to develop innovative products that optimize the reader experience. Engineers are embedded in the newsroom and sit alongside reporters and editors to foster greater collaboration.

Post engineers are encouraged to experiment and are empowered to build tools and features that enhance The Post’s digital storytelling and support its content across all platforms, including The Post’s custom publishing system, Arc. Examples of editorial features include: a VR journey to Mars, police shooting database, and 360 video on the campaign trail. These efforts and more all work toward The Post’s goal of achieving excellence in both journalism and technology.

Our goal is for the two Knight/Post Scholarship recipients to enroll in June or September 2017. You apply through Medill’s normal MSJ application process. The priority application deadline is January 2, 2017. You can enroll in Medill’s general reporting program or apply for admission to the school’s master’s degree specializations:

Scholarship recipients also have a chance to work on projects in the Knight Lab, which develops software for journalists, publishers and media consumers. The Lab’s current suite of products — TimelineJS, StoryMapJS, JuxtaposeJS and SoundCiteJS — are used by thousands of digital content creators every month.

Interested in the Knight/Post scholarship program? More information here. Questions? Contact me.