Fact-checkers must learn from one another if they hope to increase the impact of their work. For this reason, the International Fact-Checking Network is launching the fourth edition of its fellowship program, which allows fact-checkers to spend time conducting research at another organization outside their own country.
The program offers two fellowships worth $2,500 each and is aimed at fact-checkers seeking to learn specific skills or strategies from foreign fact-checking platforms. For the first time this year, the host organization will also receive $300 compensation to accommodate the IFCN fellow.
Since 2016, eight fact-checkers have been selected as IFCN fellows, researching automation, televised fact-checking, elections, audience impact and more. These fellows have come from Chequeado in Argentina, Agência Lupa in Brazil, Teyit in Turkey, Istinomer in Serbia, Politifact in the U.S. and The Whistle in Israel.
This year, fact-checkers seeking to participate should fill out this Google form by Aug. 9. Both the fellows and the host organizations must hail from IFCN’s signatories. The hosts must also sign a letter of agreement ensuring they’re willing to host the fellow for a specified amount of time.
All verified fact-checkers are welcome, but those from platforms that have previously participated in the fellowship will be at a slight disadvantage. The IFCN wants to encourage new organizations to participate and is looking forward to strong and innovative project proposals. Please read the details below:
- Applications will be open July 3-Aug. 9.
- Five finalists will be notified and interviewed by the IFCN between Aug. 12-16.
- Fellows will be publicly announced Aug. 23 on IFCN’s website and social media.
- The fellowship’s timeline may be decided by the fellow in agreement with her/his host organization, but it must take place between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31.
- Applicants must hail from organizations that belong to IFCN’s signatories.
- Applicants from organizations that have previously sent fellows (Chequeado, Agência Lupa, Teyit, Istinomer, Politifact and The Whistle) will lose 1 point in the evaluation process. Read more about it below.
- The host fact-checking platforms must also be one of IFCN’s signatories.
- Hosting platforms need to provide the applicant with an acceptance letter welcoming the fellow during a specific period of time.
How to participate?
- Design your research project around a topic you’d like to focus on during your time at your desired host organization. (Here’s a Google Doc that might help with drafting. We strongly recommend you complete it before starting your application.)
- Visit the IFCN’s signatories list and look for a fact-checking platform that could help you develop your project
- Reach out to your desired host platform with your research idea, and see if it’s available to welcome you. Once you have its approval in writing and have agreed on a specified timeline, fill out this form.
What’s the evaluation process like?
Applications will be assessed by the IFCN’s staff according to four criteria, listed below. Five finalists (those with highest evaluation grades) will be interviewed by IFCN’s staff between Aug. 12-16.
- To what extent is the visiting fact-checker seeking to learn something specific and practical from the fellowship that he or she will subsequently implement in their own work?
- To what extent will the host organization also benefit from the visiting fellow?
- Could the fellowship catalyze interesting projects that go beyond the host and visiting organizations?
- How likely is it that the visiting fact-checker would be able to arrange a similar exchange via other funding channels?
What does the IFCN expect in return?
- Fellows are expected to act as IFCN’s “ambassadors” during the program.
- Fellows will be required to provide daily notes/reflections about the program and their experience. This may be used for content on IFCN’s website or social media at the discretion of the IFCN.
- At the end of the program, fellows must publish at least one article for IFCN’s website. The publication must occur no later than two weeks after the fellowship is over and should cover the most important topics and the conclusions of the research project.