Announcement of the MIT Know-how Overview Covid Inequality Fellowship


At the beginning of the pandemic, some headlines argued that covid-19 was the big offset – because anyone, regardless of their circumstances, could catch it. In reality, it was clear that the virus was affecting some groups of Americans in disproportionate, devastating ways.

Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, indigenous communities, and other people of color are hardest hit and far more likely to die. People in custody have been left unprotected and people in poverty have been among the hardest hit. Schoolchildren from poorer backgrounds suffer from the greatest educational setbacks with lifelong effects.

We know many of the reasons, including frontline jobs exposing workers to the virus, economic pressures, unstable housing, and unequal health care that lead to poorer outcomes. But there is a lot more to learn and a lot more to do.

To study these issues and tell people’s stories, we partnered with the Heising Simons Foundation to create five WITH Technology Review Covid Inequality Fellowships.

Every scholarship offers up to $ 7,500 financial support to help journalists report and produce reports on covid inequality – and how it is addressed – in underserved communities in the United States. Applicants will be assessed by a Expert panel This includes some of the most influential journalists and informed experts at work today. Fellows received editorial oversight and assistance from our award-winning team; and the end results will be published in MIT Technology Review.

Applying for a scholarship is straightforward: just look at our description of what we are looking for and then submit your application.

Who should apply?

We offer two types of community.

Freelance scholarships: Apply for this if you are an independent journalist not yet assigned to a specific publication. You may be from one of the affected communities you want to share, or you may know an important story about a group that you have come to know well.

Newsroom colleagues: Apply for this if you are a staff journalist working with a specific point of sale and looking for additional support to follow up on a story that is important to you and the readers you serve.

If you have journalistic experience and want to tell stories about how Covid is affecting people – and what is being done about it – we encourage you to apply.

What we are looking for

Their story – or a series of stories – focuses on a specific group of people and shows how they have been affected by covid-19. It will show the effects on humans and examine the differences in exposure, safety, treatment or outcomes. It can examine how communities use technology, develop systems, or form alliances to overcome the problems they face.

MIT Technology Review is a publication about new technologies and their uses. We are therefore particularly interested in:

  • The effects of vaccines and how they are distributed
  • Contact tracking, exposure notification and / or use of health data
  • How the pandemic is affecting the digital divide
  • Virus logs and monitoring in the workplace
  • The Impact of Long Covid on Communities

These are mostly human stories where people are the focus and the search for solutions is the focus.

In order to get there, we are looking for people who are committed to telling stories with care and commitment, applying strict standards and maintaining journalistic integrity. You don’t need to have a long history in health care or science reporting, but you do need to be determined, ready to challenge prejudice and be comfortable in seeking help and advice.

What we are not looking for

These grants are not going to produce simple disaster narratives that highlight pre-existing tropes, and we don’t want parachute journalism from reporters who have no history, or insight, into the communities they write about. That doesn’t mean you have to identify yourself as part of the community you want to cover, but it does mean that you have to show that you can report sensitively and thoroughly – and without putting them at risk any further during the pandemic.

How we support your work

Successful applicants will receive up to $ 7,500 to report and post their stories. The work is created in conjunction with MIT Technology Review and published on our website – or in the case of newsroom grants, published jointly. This money can be used to cover some or all of the story-related costs, including your own time, reporting costs, and travel (where it is safe).

We provide editorial support to all scholarship holders by checking in regularly with our editors and getting advice from our team. For newsroom scholarship holders, we coordinate with your publication team so that you can get the most out of the project.

Our jury

Entries will be reviewed by a jury made up of some of the leading journalists and voices on the topics we cover.

Alexis Madrigal is a member of The Atlantic and co-founder of the Covid Tracking Project, which compiles, comments and publishes high quality data on the outbreak.

Mark J. Rochester is the Editor-in-Chief of Type Media Center and previously served as chief news director for investigations at the Detroit Free Press. He served on the National Board of Directors of Investigative Reporters & Editors.

Krystal Tsosie is a Navajo bioethicist and geneticist from Vanderbilt University. She advocates ethical genome research that respects the rights of indigenous people.

Seema Yasmin is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, poet, doctor, and author. She is currently the director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative at Stanford University and is a regular contributor to the Covid pandemic for CNN.

Gideon Lichfield is Editor-in-Chief of MIT Technology Review. He joined the publication in 2017 after serving as a founding editor at Quartz, reporting for The Economist from Moscow, Jerusalem and Mexico City.

Applications for the scholarships are now possible. The application deadline is Sunday, March 21, 2021. Selected scholarship holders will be announced at the beginning of April 2021.

The fine print

These scholarships are for the United States only. Scholars must be able to work legally in the United States. Stories must be designed for text: Although video and audio can be part of the output, your story must focus on written journalism, which can include news coverage, narrative, or data. Projects have no minimum timeframe, but drafts must be completed by the end of 2021. All stories are edited, reviewed and legally reviewed.

Here are some of the most important things we will need during the first phase of the application process.

  • A well-written overview of your story or project in no more than 750 words. We’re looking for a compelling pitch that provides an overview of the people, places, information and topics that will put you in the spotlight.
  • A reporting schedule that includes (a) a suggested schedule and (b) an explanation of how you plan to report the communities you are focusing on covid-safe. Speed ​​is not a factor in our decision, but knowing how you would like to carry out the task of researching, reporting and producing your story is good.
  • A written personal statement (500 words maximum) telling us about your previous work, relevant experience, and your connection to the community you want to cover.
  • Three samples of the original work. If this is not freely available online (e.g. behind a paywall or only in print), please include PDF files.
  • Newsroom grant applicants are required to submit a letterhead declaration confirming that they have the support of your publication.

Shortlisted applicants are asked to provide additional information, including a breakdown of how they would spend the scholarship award, complete a questionnaire about the risks of their project, and submit two letters of recommendation.

If you have any questions about this application process, you can email Senior Editor Bobbie Johnson.

Click here to apply now


Steven Gregory