After a two-month search, it’s come down to this: As of today, there are just *five* short days left to apply to become a 2014 Knight-Mozilla Fellow. The Knight-Mozilla Fellowships offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people who love to code to spend 10 months making a difference by creating new ideas and open-source tools to transform journalism on the web. Al Shaw, a news apps developer at ProPublica, puts the opportunity succinctly: “If what you’re interested in is changing the world and making useful software that tells a story and kicks some ass, please join us.” He’s right. Apply today.
Over the last month, we’ve asked other newsroom developers, our fellows (past and present), and our news partners to blog about writing code in the newsroom and the opportunities of the Knight-Mozilla Fellowships. As we start this final five day push before the end of our 2014 Fellowship search, here’s a roundup of what people have been saying this month:
We asked more than a dozen newsroom developers “Why Develop in the Newsroom?” (part one / part two). Each answer is revealing and makes a convincing case for coding in news. In answering the question, Derek Willis, who builds political and election-related applications and APIs at the New York Times, makes the case for journalism hacking and civic engagement:
If you’re interested in contributing to our shared civic life, where we learn about the issues that define us and our future, there are few better places to be. We are not campaigners in the usual sense, but our mission is a better-informed and active citizenry, and newsrooms have a built-in platform for driving that effort. We do things that are not popular in the conventional sense but are necessary for a free society or shed light on an important issue. Newsrooms are about war and peace, laughter and pain and every aspect of our world.
Noah Veltman: “My seven co-fellows routinely blow my mind with their work. I’ve met so many brilliant people around the world who are not just redefining how we do the news, but doing it as a team, one big journalism Justice League. I love this job.”
Sonya Song: “We don’t only collaborate remotely and virtually, but we also reunite in person on different continents, to put our heads together and hack on something.”
Mike Tigas: “We fellows inspire one another, we inspire other people, and we in turn, are inspired by a lot of the people we get a chance to interact with through the course of our fellowship work.”
Former fellow Nicola Hughes: “I was recently asked to describe the best team I ever worked with. I said the OpenNews fellows.”
Finally, the news organizations hosting our 2014 Fellows wrote about the opportunities for Fellows inside their organizations. Each organization documented the opportunity for their Fellow to engage in unique journalistic problemsets:
New York Times: “He or she will spend 10 months working on real stories with real reporters and editors, the end goal of which will be to develop and, ultimately, release [a] document toolkit that real people can understand and use.”
ProPublica: “We work side by side with traditional reporters, and often write stories as well as code. We use our telephones as much as we do the command line. We answer to editors, and all our software needs to tell a story. We develop on deadline, meaning no long development cycles or Gantt charts. If you work in news, your code will be messy, but if it works, you’ll deploy it.”
La Nacion (en Español): “El becario trabajará codo a codo con el equipo de LA NACION DATA y los periodistas de la redacción.”
Texas Tribune: “Our News Apps team — and our fellow — will be in the middle of the biggest Texas story of the year, making election results available throughout the state via our interactive election coverage. Think brackets, scoreboards, campaign finance, and whatever else we can come up with.”
Ushahidi: “You could potentially be working on map focused API hacking or Data Dives. You are in charge to choose your path. But hold onto your hat, we move fast and expect tech chops with a smile.”
Internews Kenya: “Open data has a whole different definition in Kenya and developers have a chance to change the way the Kenyan media reports the news by encouraging data- driven instead of politically-driven journalism.”
There’s a lot to read in all these pieces and a lot to think about. But if you love to code and want to become a 2014 Knight-Mozilla Fellow, don’t think for too long: Only five days remain to apply. Once midnight Eastern Time hits on Saturday August 17, the opportunity will be over. Apply today.