Journalist in Residence Program – Frequently asked questions

1. Do you guarantee journalistic independence?
The journalistic freedom is of utmost importance to us. Our program is designed for experienced high-profile journalists who retain their independence while staying with us as  “Journalist in Residence”.

2. Are there regulations concerning attendance? Does the stay have to be continual or can I split it? How flexible is the program in terms of time management?
As the title “Journalist in Residence” suggests, attendance is generally expected during the stay. However, we see this duty in the context of journalistic work, which requires a high degree of flexibility, especially for freelance journalists. This means that the stay can be interrupted or shortened, e.g. to work on current projects from your commissioners. In this case, the remuneration will be reduced accordingly.

3. Can I stay at HITS as “Journalist in Residence” for less than three months?
No. Based on experience gained in other similar programs  in the past, we think that a stay shorter than three months is not very beneficial for either the journalist or our institute. The duration of the stay between three and six months is not dogmatic but merely drawn from this experience.. If you would like to spend less time as JiR stay at HITS and explain this accordingly in your exposé, your application is just as welcome.
If you are interested in one specific topic only and would like to spend a few days at HITS doing research on it, please feel free to contact us anytime. However, this cannot be done in the framework of the JiR program.

4. Which expectations does HITS have of the “Journalist in Residence“?
We expect the JiR to participate in a mutual exchange with the researchers. This can be done in his or her everyday dealings with the staff, during in-house seminars or through informal meetings. During his or her stay, the JiR is expected to give a presentation on science communication or to lead a discussion with the researchers in the framework of a seminar (presentation, small workshop).
The stay is supposed to foster the dialogue between researchers and journalists. The JiR should “look over the shoulder of researchers”, he or she does not need programming skills and is not expected to acquire them.
Ideally, this dialogue will inspire new stories and topics, which would not have developed without such close contact.

5. Does HITS offer accommodation?
Unfortunately, there is no accommodation available at HITS. However, we will gladly assist you in your search for appropriate lodging.

6. Are the participants introduced to the staff and the topics at HITS?
Yes. There will be a brief orientation phase. In addition, there are regular in-house events such as Lab Meetings and in-house seminars where the JiR can get to know everybody.

7. Are the researchers at HITS open towards journalists?
Yes. Most of the HITSters are young researchers interested in media, who also know how important the media are for their work. They are friendly and cooperative and try to explain their work in understandable terms.

8. Do I have to concentrate on one topic?
No. The JiR can deal with all areas of research, possibly from a more general point of view, e.g. data-driven research, computer-aided simulation as research method, etc.

9. How often is the call for applications for the Journalist in Residence program? Do you draw up a list of future candidates from the first round of applications?
The call for applications for the Journalist in Residence program is once a year. We do not intend to produce a list of future candidates from the first round of applications.

10. Can I do further research in wet labs, or are my research opportunities limited to HITS?
It is possible to visit other research facilities in the framework of the existing cooperation partners of HITS. However, if you would like to do research in a research facility which does not cooperate with HITS, the regulations given under 2 apply.

11. Will my travel expenses be reimbursed during my stay?
HITS reimburses the arrival and departure to and from Heidelberg for the stay. Any other travel expenses during the stay at HITS are covered by the scholarship.

12. Will HITS provide health insurance for the Journalist in Residence during his or her stay?
HITS will provide a health care insurance for the Journalist in Residence during his or her stay, with the exception of German citizens.