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.

Latest Posts

  • A Google Spreadsheets change affecting TimelineJS users

    Google recently changed something about their Sheets service which is causing many people to run into an error when they are making a new timeline. Note: there should be no impact on existing timelines! After this change, many of you click on the "preview" and get this message: An unexpected error occurred trying to read your spreadsheet data [SyntaxError] Timeline configuration has no events. There is a straightforward work-around, but it requires those of you who have...

    Continue Reading

  • How Americans think and feel about gun violence

    A man killed his wife, then himself. I want you to see his face and learn that he enjoyed fishing with his grandchildren. A small-time drug dealer is shot by two men in a parking lot. I find his Facebook profile and a photo shows him striking a playfully irreverent pose, giving the camera the middle finger. The photo’s comments take a mournful turn after a certain date. “Rest easy bro ???” Gun Memorial runs...

    Continue Reading

  • What happened when Gun Memorial let anyone contribute directly to victim profiles

    If you’re reporting local or niche news, there’s a good chance that your audience collectively knows more about the story than you do. That’s especially true for us at Gun Memorial, a small publication with a nationwide mission of covering every American who is shot dead. In our latest, mostly successful, experiment, we let readers add to our stories without editor intervention. This article shares some lessons from that experience. Asking for reader contributions A...

    Continue Reading

  • How conversational interfaces make the internet more accessible for everyone

    This story is part of a series on bringing the journalism we produce to as many people as possible, regardless of language, access to technology, or physical capability. Find the series introduction, as well as a list of published stories here. In 2004, human-computer interaction professor Alan Dix published the third edition of Human-Computer Interaction along with his colleagues, Janet Finley, Gregory Abowd, and Russell Beale. In a chapter called “The Interaction,” the authors wrote...

    Continue Reading

  • Three tools to help you make colorblind-friendly graphics

    This story is part of a series on bringing the journalism we produce to as many people as possible, regardless of language, access to technology, or physical capability. Find the series introduction, as well as a list of published stories here. I am one of the 8% of men of Northern European descent who suffers from red-green colorblindness. Specifically, I have a mild case of protanopia (also called protanomaly), which means that my eyes lack...

    Continue Reading

  • Phone stories: How a 100-year-old-technology helped Pop-up Magazine make news convenient for audiences

    This story is part of a series on bringing the journalism we produce to as many people as possible, regardless of language, access to technology, or physical capability. Find the series introduction, as well as a list of published stories here. As news organizations look increasingly to social networks, apps, and other recently-emerged technology to find new audiences, at least one has gone in the completely opposite direction. Pop-Up Magazine this year launched a product...

    Continue Reading

Storytelling Tools

We build easy-to-use tools that can help you tell better stories.

View More