Software developers interested in journalism

Northwestern and The Washington Post want you!

Northwestern University and The Washington Post are offering a unique opportunity for two talented software developers interested in applying their programming skills in media and journalism.

Here’s the proposition: (1) a full-tuition scholarship to earn a master’s degree in journalism at Northwestern University, followed by (2) a six-month paid internship with The Post’s world-class engineering team, with the possibility of subsequent full-time employment.

These opportunities are made possible by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Medill School at Northwestern University, and The Post's engineering team.  Their shared goal: to inspire talented developers to move into media and journalism.

Medill has offered these scholarships since 2007, when Prof. Rich Gordon won one of the first Knight News Challenge grants to create the scholarship program. Since then, 12 scholarship winners have graduated from Medill – and almost all have moved into careers in which they have blended their interests in journalism and technology. A few of the graduates of this program:

  • Ryan Mark – editorial engineering director, Vox Media
  • Brian Boyer – visuals editor, NPR (until recently)
  • Manya Gupta – design lead, Fidelity Investments
  • Andrew Paley – director of product design, Narrative Science
  • Shane Shifflett – data reporter, The Wall Street Journal
  • Kavya Sukumar – senior full-stack engineer, Vox Media


The Washington Post joined the initiative in 2013 to help develop a pipeline of journalism-savvy developers who could be candidates for software engineering jobs at The Post.  Since then, under the ownership of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, The Post has become known as one of the most innovative and technologically savvy media companies in the world.

The Post’s engineering team works in partnership with the company’s award-winning newsroom to develop innovative products that optimize the reader experience. Engineers are embedded in the newsroom and sit alongside reporters and editors to foster greater collaboration.

Post engineers are encouraged to experiment and are empowered to build tools and features that enhance The Post’s digital storytelling and support its content across all platforms, including The Post’s custom publishing system, Arc. Examples of editorial features include: a VR journey to Mars, police shooting database, and 360 video on the campaign trail. These efforts and more all work toward The Post’s goal of achieving excellence in both journalism and technology.

Our goal is for the two Knight/Post Scholarship recipients to enroll in June or September 2017.  You apply through Medill's normal MSJ application process.  The priority application deadline is January 2, 2017.  You can enroll in Medill’s general reporting program or apply for admission to the school’s master’s degree specializations:

  • Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Politics and National Security
  • Social Justice and Investigative Reporting
  • Business, Money and Markets
  • Health, Environment and Science
  • Sports Media


Scholarship recipients also have a chance to work on projects in the Knight Lab, which develops software for journalists, publishers and media consumers.  The Lab’s current suite of products – TimelineJS, StoryMapJS, JuxtaposeJS and SoundCiteJS – are used by thousands of digital content creators every month.

Interested in the Knight/Post scholarship program? More information here. Questions? Contact Prof. Rich Gordon.

About the author

Rich Gordon

Professor and Director of Digital Innovation

Journalism/tech intersection, my passion for 25 years, data journalism, Miami Herald web director, now hacker journalism.

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