Sentient Media Writers’ Fellowship Program

Sentient Media Writers’ Fellowship Program

The Sentient Media Fellowship program recruits and assists animal lovers from all walks of life to write and publish high quality original content advancing the cause of animal rights, in high quality media outlets.

The goal of the Fellowship program is to fill the demand by media outlets for local voices providing sober criticism of factory farming, vivisection, and other mistreatment of animals. By securing these topics the attention they deserve, we believe that together we can create broad-based political and societal change for animals.

To apply, read this page and fill out the application form. Deadline for applications is March 30th.

What Our Program Provides

To guarantee that high-quality content is distributed to publishing outlets as effectively as possible, the fellowship provides the following services to its fellows:

  • Editing: The editing team of Sentient Media will provide one to two rounds of editing to the pieces sent our way.
  • Placement: The editing team will serve as an intermediary between authors and publications, so that our model can build relationships with media outlets, submit material in a format that publications prefer, and reduce the stress associated with submitting content as an individual author. Fellows are expected to provide Sentient Media with as much information as possible about their background and local media outlets to improve our ability to place content.
  • Story Leads and Community: The editing team will manage a Facebook group among the fellows, where breaking news and leads will be shared to stimulate the writing process. There will be regular calls to discuss research on animal advocacy and discuss new ways of building fellows’ brands as journalists and writers.
  • Mentorship: The editing team can serve as a sounding board for ideas and career advice, and is available to support the fellows with other advice and connections as is feasible.

What Our Fellows Provide

As volunteers dedicated to advancing the interests of non-human animals, our fellows are expected to write ample and quality content for Sentient Media to distribute:

  • Three Articles per Month: in exchange for the services provided by Sentient Media, our fellows commit to writing three articles per month for submission to media outlets across the United States. Fellows are expected to submit content that is well-researched, well-sourced, and written according to our standards to expedite the editing process. We expect fellows to accept editors’ suggestions without major dispute to streamline the process of getting quality content published.
  • Creativity: Our fellows are expected to create content that reaches mainstream audiences, maximizing the impact and appeal of the pieces they write. To this end, views that an average reader might find extreme will be tailored to meet audience expectations and dispel biases that they may have about people who advocate for animals. We encourage our writers to approach the topic of animal exploitation from any angle they are comfortable with: environmental, health-focused, ethical, or humanitarian, for example.
  • Professional Social Media Presence: We recommend our fellows to maintain social media presences that appeal to mainstream audiences on Twitter and Facebook in order to maximize their reach, especially among people who would otherwise not be exposed to discussions about animal rights.
  • Willingness to Volunteer for Other Opportunities that Arise: Throughout the course of the program, we expect to find on-air and radio opportunities, where fellows could appear on television to advocate or explain their journalistic endeavors.

Recruiting Fellows

We are looking for fellows with the following qualities:

  • Commitment to the expectations listed under  “What Our Fellows Provide:” The most important trait we will look for when recruiting our first class of fellows is their ability and willingness to submit three quality articles per month and quickly edit and respond to emails by the editing team. We want to recruit fellows enthusiastic about building their brand as journalists and authors specializing in animal issues.
  • Diversity: We want to recruit fellows from a range of ages, ideologies, professional backgrounds, geographies, personalities, ethnicities, races, and gender identities. We believe that everyone’s identity can help them connect with like-minded people across the world.
  • Linguistic Background: While bilingualism is not expected, our editing team considers this a plus because animal exploitation is happening globally. Fellows with a background in South Asian and East Asian languages, in particular, and Spanish and Portuguese can help abate the concerning, growing tide of meat consumption and production across the regions.
  • Writing Abilities: You do not have to be a distinguished writer or journalist to make a big difference for animals! That being said, we expect our writers to have a good understanding of conventional grammar, word choice, thesis development, and paragraph structure. If a writer excels in a non-English language, and intends to write in this non-English language, we still expect them to be able to effectively communicate in English by phone and email. While we will be quite accommodating as editors, we expect our fellows to send us content that only needs minor editing and recommendations for improvement.

Our Editing Team

James Davis is an incoming Masters Degree Student at Harvard’s School of Government. He works for Stanford University’s Center on Poverty and Inequality, helping research poverty alleviation, and UBI Taiwan, an organization studying basic income policies for Taiwanese policymakers. James has also worked and volunteered for Mercy for Animals, the Humane League, and Direct Action Everywhere, working to mainstream animal rights. He holds a B.A in Economics and East Asian History from Columbia University. His content has been published in Forbes, the Financial Times, Real Clear Policy, Yahoo! Finance, and dozens of other local outlets.

Mikko Jarvenpaa is the founder of Sentient Media and a former technology marketing professional with Google and multiple startups. He has an MSc from the London School of Economics on Philosophy of the Social Sciences. His writing has been published in Huffington Post and multiple technology blogs.

Meet some of our current fellows

Ed Boks

Ed is the former executive director of the New York City, Los Angeles, and Maricopa County (AZ) Animal Care & Control Departments. In both major metropolitan and rural communities, Boks’ programs substantially reduced or eliminated killing, while transforming agencies into high volume pet adoption programs. Under his leadership, historic “catch and kill” methodologies were replaced with a new generation of life-saving, human and animal friendly programs. Ed Boks began his animal welfare career while serving as the Pastor of Grace Chapel of Phoenix and the principal and teacher at The Centers for Learning, a private school associated with Grace Chapel. Boks currently works as an independent consultant, providing proven no-kill solutions to shelters and communities.

 

Faith Marnecheck

Faith is an undergraduate at New York University (NYU), majoring in Journalism and Spanish & Linguistics with a minor in Animal Studies. Faith works as the culture editor for Washington Square News, where she previously worked as a copy editor, staff writer, and deputy copy chief. She aspires to become a full-time animal rights journalist because she is passionate about animals and the necessity of ethical journalism. She is originally from Brecksville, OH, a suburb of Cleveland, and grew up as the youngest of five children. Throughout high school, she worked at a doggy daycare center until leaving her hometown for New York City with her dog, Roxie. After seven years as a vegetarian, she became a vegan, animal rights advocate over her first two years of college.

Tatiana von Rheinbaben

Tatiana is a global citizen and world traveler. She holds a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering and Science from Stanford University and a B.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of California, San Diego. Passionate about the environment, technology and human and animal rights, Tati is in charge of creating a more sustainable supply chain for The Not Company in Santiago, Chile, where she also serve as an R&D team member. Prior to her work at NotCo, Tati worked in food science at the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging in Munich, Germany, conducting plant protein extrusion. Tati serves as a mentor for several ProVeg Incubator startups and the Director of Communications for The Cellular Agriculture Society (CAS), which promotes investment in lab-based meat.

 

Zoe Rosenberger

Zoe is a resident of Tarrytown, New York. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Legal Theory from Hampshire College, where she became interested in the intersections of critical theory, feminist philosophy, and animal ethics. For undergraduate study, Zoe’s academic concentration combined legal theory, philosophy, and political theory to examine the intersections of applied ethics, policy analysis, the political economy, and the philosophy of law. She is an incoming M.A. candidate in philosophy at the New School for Social Research. She works as a legal research assistant at a small law firm, Blanchard & Wilson LLP, in White Plains, New York. Zoe has also worked and volunteered for Vine Sanctuary, the Humane Party, and the Humane Society of the United States to advance animal rights and animal welfare causes. In her spare time, Zoe volunteers as an ESL Tutor for her public library.

Cristian Salazar

Cristian has more than a decade of experience as a journalist. He has covered major international news, including the attempted Times Square bombing and the opening of the 9/11 memorial. His features and investigative reporting have examined one of the U.S. government’s earliest spy agencies, the deaths of immigrant laborers on job sites in New York City, and “zombie” homes plaguing communities of color. He has worked for The Associated Press in New York City, as a crime reporter in Paterson, N.J., and as an online news editor for amNewYork. His stories have appeared in The Washington Post, The Daily Beast and several other outlets. In the past year, he has been inspired by Peter Singer’s “Animal Liberation” and the effective altruism movement to direct his energies toward covering animal ethics and the movement to create a cruelty-free food system. He holds master’s degree from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

 

Lakshmi Venkataraman

Lakshmi is a professional animal advocate from Bangalore, India. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts and Law degree from NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. At the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), India’s only national federation for animal protection groups, she worked with central and state government agencies and local animal protection groups to execute strategies to minimize conflict between people and street dogs. She also worked with corporate institutions for the reduction of meat and dairy consumption. She served as a lead organizer of the India for Animals 2018 conference, India’s only national conference for animal activists, which drew hundreds of activists from around the world. In her academic roles, she helped lead an animal ethics and social justice course at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mubai, conducted legal training workshops for grassroots activists, and gave presentations on animal rights at schools and universities.

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