The Knight-Mozilla Fellowship takes you inside the newsroom

The application deadline for the Knight-Mozilla Fellowship is this Saturday, August 16, at midnight. Here’s more information on the fellowship, a look at what fellows have experienced, what next year’s news organizations have planned, how the program can tailor to your circumstances, how this fellowship can reshape your career, and why you, yes you, should apply.

You know the newsrooms you see in the movies? The ones where photographers burst into editors’ meetings and presses stop and copy editors have their own offices. With windows. Yeah, real newsrooms aren’t like that.

Real newsrooms are better, full of bad puns tacked above littered desks, office chairs with stains of unknown provenance, and fascinating, challenging people. Curious people, who figured out they can get paid to learn new things and tell other people what they find. Combative people, sometimes, but in a good way, striving to make an idea better, fast.

Sure, that’s when everything’s working like it’s supposed to. Good ideas don’t always make it into production and sometimes bad ideas do. Even so, that room is working together toward a mission, to help everyone outside better understand the lives they’re leading. You need a lot of people pulling in the same direction to take on a series of stories rich with media and graphics, of course, but even small acts of journalism are team efforts. It’s a rare piece of work that doesn’t get better when more people touch it.

That’s why newsrooms need you. Yes, you, in particular. Diversity makes journalism stronger, and newsrooms know it. A team that cuts across gender and ethnicity will see communities in a way that monoculture just can’t, and represent readers with a voice that every single one of those groups need to hear.

Diversity goes further than that, though, and the same goes for gathering a mix of skills, backgrounds, and ways of thinking about problems. New ideas make a newsroom better, and the business of journalism has reached a place where they’re absolutely vital. Everything’s on the table. Experiments welcome.

And that’s why you want to be there right now. To do journalism R&D. To deploy your curiosity. To be part of a mission. To find a place where you want to commit code at midnight not because it makes it easier for someone to order a pizza, but because you’re going to help change the way an entire community sees itself.

You’ll be writing that commit message in the middle of the night because, yep, journalism does have deadlines. And so does the fellowship application that’s going to get you there. Knight-Mozilla OpenNews is going to place seven amazing people in seven amazing newsrooms next year; if you’re one of those people, you’ve got to let us know by midnight Saturday.