This News Is Good News - Fellowships For Innovators In Journalism

The field of journalism is at a fascinating crossroads. 'Traditional' journalism is fading from view as newer, more innovative versions take its place. No longer is your career as a hack guaranteed, unless you're very, very good at what you do; very, very lucky; or very, very creative.

The future of journalism appears to lie in this latter element of creativity and innovation. And why not? There are more tools at your disposal than ever before, markets are easier to identify and access, and there is so much information so readily available, that you could probably write an exposé on the counter-revolutionary Quaker mercenary movement of Timbuktu without leaving your bedroom. Some readers will even believe it.

If you're interested in a career in the journalism industry, and you are very, very good and very, very creative, then you may well also be very, very lucky. That's because the Knight Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation have joined forces to embed 15 paid fellows in some of the world's top news organizations - such as Al Jazeera, BBC,, The Guardian and Zeit Online - over the course of the next three years.

The Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership (MoJo) aims to "yield new tools, ideas, and news experiences that benefit both readers and newsmakers—all using open technologies," through a series of news innovation challenges for writers, designers, developers, artists, statisticians and journalists, commencing on April 25.

The first challenge is to "explore how HTML5 and open video can make news video more engaging." Submissions will be accepted for this between April 25 and May 6.

Then you'll be given the opportunity to "improve the quality of online discourse" utilizing open web tech, between May 9 and May 20.

The third - and final challenge for 2011 - is to identify the best ways to "deliver high-quality journalism across devices and platforms." Send your submission in for this between May 23 and June 3.

There will be some more challenges early next year.

As a result of these challenges, around 60 entrants will be invited to an online Learning Lab alongside some of the best innovaters in the business. Selected entrants will then be partnered up with other entrants and industry professionals for a 'Hackfest', in which they'll begin building working prototypes. And from there, the first group of five fellows will be chosen, each of whom will be paid to hone their talents at one of the aforementioned news organizations for the following year.

Next year, they'll repeat the process, and choose the next 10.

It all should look a little like this: