I was ecstatic when I found out I was selected to join the 2018-19 fellowship class of the John S. Knight program at Stanford. It’s going to be a big change for me – of jobs and coasts – but I’m as ready as I can be.
I am pretty sure I first heard about the JSK fellowship back in 2007 and the idea of leaving a good job to go to school seemed so odd to me at that part of my career. My youthful ambition told me if I wanted to “make it”, I would never be able to take time off – nor would I want to.
We’re thrilled to announce a diverse group of journalism entrepreneurs, innovators & leaders from around the world will make up the 2018-2019 JSK Fellowships Class. Congrats to all! https://t.co/mYZHbZO1Cu pic.twitter.com/qE72RNvSTg
— JSK Fellowships (@JSKstanford) April 30, 2018
But over the course of many years since then, I have met many Knight fellows and all of them, to a person, have told me how the experience changed their lives. I’ve known for years now that it was something I would want to do when the time was right. When I saw one of the themes for this year’s program was disinformation, it felt like it was meant to be.
It may seem odd to depart Storyful just a few months after being elevated to Editor in Chief, but then again, there’s never a good time to separate yourself from a job that is your whole life.
My past [nearly] four years at Storyful have been so rewarding – and a nonstop sprint. I have rarely gotten a chance to spend time digging in on the initiatives and stories that most interest me. As the newsroom has expanded its scope to include investigation into social media movements and disinformation – I haven’t had much of a chance to really get into the hands-on work the way I wish I could. Now is my chance.
In addition to my research, I plan to spend the next year or so focusing on answering some important questions for myself: What am I doing? Why does it matter? Where do I fit into the journalism industry today? What do I really want to do with the rest of my career?
You know, the easy ones.
I look forward to a year on pause. I want to read more, get outside and hike on the weekends, and just generally spend more time being present and less time juggling the emails, all-hours meetings and constant notifications that dominate my life these days.
I’d love to be able to revert to my college-aged self, but without the incredible angst and “working four jobs just to pay rent” part. I want to rediscover the open-mindedness I had about myself and the industry back then. Revisiting my college wardrobe would also be great (I hope cargo pants are still around!).
Best of all, as part of my agreement to join the JSK program, I agreed to publicly share my progress against my research question (more to come on that). That means this site will go back to being an active blog again, not just an occasional dumping ground for errant thoughts (though it will also be that). This should be good news for those spammers who constantly keep asking if I want a website redesign (the answer is still no).
I have a couple of weeks left at Storyful before I head out for this next chapter, but in the meantime, watch this space.