OpenNews: Looking vs Leaping

I went to a water park with my son this weekend. He’s an analytical kid and, even though he’s been talking about hitting the big slides all summer, once we got there he put the breaks on pretty fast. They were too fast, too tall, too crazy. We spent about 25 minutes just watching a fast tube slide, talking it all through, before he finally agreed to get in line.

"You know how I am," he explained, "I like to look before I leap.”

The line wound around, and then there was a long climb up a tall hill to the top of the slide. We got the raft into the water, and he freaked out. Flat-out refused to get in. A line forming behind us, I picked him up, put him in the tube, and down we went. By the time we hit bottom he yelled “LET’S DO IT AGAIN!”

We picked up the tube and I turned to him and said, “That’s why sometimes you just gotta leap.”

With 48 hours left before the opportunity to apply to become a 2014 Knight-Mozilla, the time for looking is rapidly coming to a close. It’s time to leap.

For the last two months, we’ve been looking for people who love to code—developers, civic hackers, journo-coders, data crunchers, stats geeks, and more—to join us at OpenNews as Knight-Mozilla Fellows, where you’ll spend 10 months creating open-source code, hacking around the globe, working in some of the world’s best newsrooms, and helping to build out journalism’s codebase on the open web. We’ve been looking for two months. There are only two days left. Leap.

Our five fellows will spend the ten months of their fellowship embedded in some of the best news organizations in the world: The New York Times, ProPublica, the Texas Tribune, La Nacion, and (in a joint fellowship) Ushahidi and Internews Kenya. There, you’ll have the opportunity to develop next-generation tools that are tempered in the real-world fires of breaking news. You’ll be in the room when news breaks and you’ll write code to react to it. You’ll create libraries and tools that will shape reporting on the world around you. You’ll write code that makes a difference. Leap.

In addition to working with the incredible colleagues at your newsroom hosts, you’ll also be part of a cohort of fellows—five total in 2014—who will be your collaborators, your troublemakers, and your friends during this adventure. Over your ten months, you’ll have ample opportunity to code together, travel together, and collaborate on ideas and experiments. You’ll make connections that will ripple out past your fellowship year and into the life that grows beyond it. Leap.

We want you to be able to focus on doing amazing work, not making rent, and so during your time as a Knight-Mozilla Fellow, you’ll be compensated well, with a full stipend and additional suppliments for yourself, your partner, and your children. You’ll have the financial support to research, travel, experiment, and build projects you care deeply about. You’ll have the time to dive deep into problemsets, to craft code that truly matters. Leap.

And, most importantly, you’ll join a growing community of journalist-programmers who are helping to redefine what journalism means on the internet and helping to craft code that is transforming the way we understand the world around us.

If you want to do bleeding-edge visualizations, leap.

If you want to scrape and analyze data, leap.

If you want to build applications that help people learn about the world they live in, leap.

If you want to speak truth to power, strengthen civic engagement, and engage communities? Leap.

The time for looking is done. If you want to become a 2014 Knight-Mozilla Fellow, it’s time to leap.