@livlab's Knight-Mozilla Fellowship


First Encounter

I heard about the Knight-Mozilla Fellowship from @beep, who had really nice things to say:

Right away it seemed like a perfect opportunity to put myself in a position where I am completely immersed in technology problems —precisely what I had been looking for— while exploring a new domain: journalism.

August 13, 2014 @ 10:41am

Fellowship Application

Through careful analysis and a thorough feasability assessment (discussing the idea with my awesome encouraging wife), I decided to apply.

I wrote a quick draft answering every application question and sat on it for a bit. After reviewing my resume and adding more detail about what I had accomplished in the past, I sent it in.

Immediately after submitting I tried to put it out of my mind because it seemed too far-fetched.

August 14, 2014 @ 12:13pm

Say What?

I am relaxing on vacation with my family in Brazil when I get an email from Erika Ownens from OpenNews with the subject line "Knight-Mozilla Fellowship update - we want to chat with you".

WHAT? It continues "Congratulations, you are a semifinalist for the 2015 Fellowship!". WHAAA?!!!

That was a huge surprise. I did a little happy dance, then exchanged some emails with Erika to set up a Skype call.

September 5, 2014 @ 6:12pm
Skype Call

"Me. Internets. You. Good."

I was fully on vacation mode. My brain had been speaking Portuguese for 10 days. To put it simply, interviewing with Erika and Dan Sinker (OpenNews' Director) was not my most eloquent moment.

I felt it was not a good first impression and it did not do justice to neither my experience nor my enthusiasm for the fellowship.

Confident that I was out of the run at that point, I bothered my wife with moping and sadness for a few days. I felt defeated.

September 11, 2014 @ 10:00am

WHO wants to talk to me???

The next time I hear from OpenNews, it was to tell me I'm a finalist and that NPR wants to talk to me. This seemed simultaneously fantastic and absurd; I needed a moment to fully absorb the news. It also felt so fast! So far this Fellowship business was all emotional highs and lows!

The next several days are spent stalking Brian Boyer on the Internet reading everything I could possibly find about the NPR Visuals team, with whom the fellowship partners with, wherein I find basically everything I could hope to hear.

The way they work and how they position themselves is so on point that I wish I could start the next day, but more importantly, I'm giddy about their expression of what they are about and how aligned with my values and strenghts those sentiments are.

I become more excited than it is healthy for someone who cannot tell anyone about this. Ugh.

September 19, 2014 @ 4:48pm

NPR Interview

As a manager, I spend a significant amount of time interviewing people, so I come to this round prepared with a long list of prioritized questions, hoping to get at least some of them answered. I definitely didn't want a repeat of my first interview, effective as it was.

It turns out Brian Boyer —who leads the NPR Visuals team— has the warmest most welcoming interview style which makes it all flow like a big old chat. It could have easily happened on a pub over hard cider. During the call I get answers to everything I was curious about, and hopefully convince everyone I'm their woman.

I knew some relevant things about NPR that I learned from smart people I know and admire, but it was great to get more insight about what the Visuals team is all about. The excitment mounts!

September 24, 2014 @ 1:30pm

I'm in.

A delightful email from Dan Sinker informs me I've been selected as the 2015 Knight-Mozilla fellow with NPR. Booyah!!!

After almost two months of secrecy I'm just about to burst. If you know me at all you know I am quite loquacious on Twitter. So this happens:

October 2, 2014 @ 4:49pm

Meeting NPR Visuals

I took a day off from work and went to DC to meet the NPR Visuals team. I learned a little bit about them over lunch, asked one million questions, and got a tour of the AWESOME NPR newsroom. I can't wait.

October 14, 2014 @ 11:30am
Public Announcement

Public Announcement

While in London to attend the Mozilla Festival I had the pleasure of finally meeting the OpenNews team in person: Dan Sinker, Erika Ownens, Ryan Pitts, and Erin Kissane. They worked furiously behind-the-scenes producing and coordinating the various types of communications used to officially announce the fellowship to the world!

I also met my fellow Fellows for the first time! Juan will work with La Nacion in Buenos Aires, Julia with CIR in Emeryville, CA, Linda with The Guardian in London, and Tara & Francis on The Coral Project (NYT/WaPo partnership) based in New York City.

The cat was finally out of the bag. I shouted from the #mountaintops:

Then we're off to celebrate.

October 22, 2014 @ 7:00pm
Mozilla Festival

Mozilla Festival

This is the story thus far. Stay tuned for more and keep in touch.

Here's our MozFest debut, in images:

How do you like my queen-style wave?

And here's a great visual story of MozFest.

October 24-26, 2014