Christiana Lilly
We Are Hearken
Published in
2 min readSep 24, 2020


Announcing Election SOS Fellowship Program, Pairing Students With Newsrooms

A global pandemic, civil unrest across the nation, wildfires in the West, hurricanes to the East, and the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg leading to an upcoming Supreme Court nomination fight — this year has been anything but typical.

To make things harder newsrooms across all media have lost or cut the wages of more than 36,000 employees as the coronavirus pandemic sent the U.S. and local economies into a tailspin. And the decline of people reporting stories and laying out pages from their cubicles is a part of a larger trend — newsroom employee rolls have been cut in half since 2008.

Fewer journalists have been forced to cover more news with fewer resources.

So, it was no surprise to us when newsrooms told us what they needed most as they prepared to cover this chaotic election: more people.

Announcing Election SOS Fellowship Program

This week, we expanded our Election SOS initiative to include a fellowship program, pairing students and recent grads pursuing a career in journalism with newsrooms who could use some extra help as Election Day draws near.

Selected fellows will support newsrooms with:

  • Monitoring social media for militia activity, voter suppression, and other threats
  • Tracking polling agencies for trends
  • Keeping an eye on what readers and viewers are talking about, and if any misinformation is spreading through the community
  • Election research and data entry
  • Collaborating with reporters to create critical resources for the public like voter guides and FAQs

We are now accepting applications for fellows and newsrooms through Tuesday, Sept. 29. Learn more and apply at

This fellowship program continues the goals we set forth when we kicked off Election SOS in May, which was to offer free training, connect journalists with best practices, resources, and support. With support from Trusting News and the American Press Institute, we’re able to provide a $25 per hour stipend to fellows who will work anywhere from eight to 30 hours per week. Fellowships can be virtual or, if feasible and safe per public health guidelines, in person.

Priority will be given to newsrooms in battleground states (Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin). People from underrepresented communities are encouraged to apply for the fellowship, including LGBTQ+, women, and people with disabilities.

As we all know, the news doesn’t wait, so we’re moving quickly with the fellowship program — applications from prospective fellows and newsrooms are due Sept. 29 at 11:59 p.m. EST and training will begin Oct. 5. Apply now.



Christiana Lilly
We Are Hearken

Christiana is the Election SOS fellowship coordinator at Hearken and a freelance journalist in South Florida