July 9, 2018

Applications for the International Fact-Checking Network fellowships are open again.

The two fellowships, worth $2,500 each, are destined for fact-checkers who want to spend time embedded in a fact-checking organization from another country to be exposed to best practices they are seeking to adopt.

The 2017 fellows Milka Domanovic and Gülin Çavuş worked on community outreach and categorizing international hoaxes about refugees. 2016 fellows Pablo Martín Fernández and Cristina Tardáguila worked on automation and fact-checking on television.

These are entirely self-organized fellowships: Applicants must specify the organization they want to visit, pitch a detailed plan that includes the duration of their stay and what they seek to learn from the experience. They ought to spend at least one week with the partner organization.

In order to qualify, applicants must hail from a fact-checking organization with a public working method, transparent funding sources and a commitment to nonpartisanship. Being a verified signatory of the IFCN code of principles is a definite plus. Freelancers with significant experience in fact-checking (evidence of published work will be required) can also apply.

There is significant flexibility in the acceptable proposals. For example, the funding available through the fellowship can cover several people’s flights or one month’s accommodation for one person. The key aspect is the transfer of organizational knowledge from one fact-checking group to another.

Though the preference is to award two fellowships worth $2,500 each, exceptional projects for which a higher budget is indispensable can apply for $5,000 and be considered.

The application package must include:

  • A letter of no more than two pages detailing the specific objective(s) of the fellowship and the rationale behind the choice of objectives and organization. It should also include a rough draft of the program for the duration of the fellowship, listing possible activities and meetings (applicants reaching the interview phase will be asked to provide a more detailed plan).
  • A breakdown of the costs of the fellowship indicating estimates for each expenditure as well as any additional costs not covered by this grant that the visiting or host fact-checker may incur through this fellowship.
  • A letter of no more than one page from the host organization indicating their willingness (ideally, eagerness) to welcome the fellow.
  • A brief overview of the visiting organization's budget.

Applications will be assessed along the following metrics:

  • Concrete takeaways for fellow (six points). To what extent is the visiting fact-checker seeking to learn something specific and practical from the fellowship that they will subsequently implement in their own work?
  • Benefit for host organization (two points). To what extent will the hosts also benefit from the visiting fellow?
  • Potential benefits for other fact-checkers (one point). Could the fellowship catalyze interesting projects that go beyond the host and visiting organizations?
  • Necessity of funding (one point). How likely is it that the visiting fact-checker would be able to arrange a similar exchange via other funding channels?

Applications should be emailed in a single file to factchecknet@poynter.org by Aug. 31. Interviews will be conducted with any applicant scoring eight points or above. A final decision will be made by Sept. 17. The exchange must take place by Jan. 31.

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Alexios Mantzarlis joined Poynter to lead the International Fact-Checking Network in September of 2015. In this capacity he writes about and advocates for fact-checking. He…
Alexios Mantzarlis

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