WITNESS Media Lab Fellow

WITNESS is looking for a Media Lab Fellow to make a key and direct impact in human rights.

The ability of ordinary people to capture events in their communities and share their footage with the world is changing the nature of human rights documentation. Their videos provide access to detention centers, conflict zones, rural communities, and city streets, capturing abuse in real time by those who live, witness, and experience it.  But with so many videos online, there are new challenges to ensuring that they are used safely and effectively to make an impact. How do investigators, advocates, and reporters find and verify videos that expose injustice? How do we make sense of footage from multiple sources, and connect it to meaningful opportunities for justice and accountability? And how do we do so while ensuring the safety of individuals onscreen and those behind the camera?

The WITNESS Media Lab is dedicated to identifying and addressing these challenges, and communicating what we learn to peers in the journalism and human rights community. In collaboration with peers around the world, we develop, model, and support innovative approaches to sourcing, verifying, and contextualizing eyewitness videos and ensuring that footage taken by average citizens can serve as an effective tool for human rights.  WITNESS believes that the next stage of human rights documentation and advocacy will be powered by videos created and shared by eyewitnesses. The skills needed to use those videos safely and effectively are critical to harnessing the incredible potential that stands before us.

WITNESS makes it possible for anyone, anywhere to use video and technology to protect and defend their rights. We provide training, tools, and support to people around the world so that they can use video safely, ethically, and effectively to create positive change.

The WITNESS Media Lab Fellow is responsible for working on WITNESS’ efforts around identification, verification, contextualization, and presentation (“curation”) of eyewitness video for human rights documentation and advocacy. They lead on a range of activities that collectively develop WITNESS’ support to impactful curation projects and position as an innovator, resource-creator, and thought leader. This includes both leading and supporting on curation and innovation projects around eyewitness video, ensuring these projects receive attention and are shared broadly in the journalism and human rights community, providing thought leadership, developing WITNESS’ institutional knowledge and understanding of innovative approaches to eyewitness video curation, and supervising the priorities, projects, and budget of the WITNESS Media Lab to support the above objectives.

In the next year, the WITNESS Media Lab Fellow will work on projects around police violence in the US, immigrants documenting their rights in the US, perpetrator video in the Middle East, innovation in live-streaming and audience engagement, and new approaches to providing effective civic witnessing guidance.

This position reports to the Program Director and will be based in Brooklyn, NY.

The WITNESS Media Lab Fellowship is for a one year term with the possibility of extension and is funded by the Google News Lab.  


The WITNESS Media Lab Fellow will engage and collaborate with internal and external peers globally to identify challenges and develop and promote impactful solutions to address the curation and presentation of citizen video as a tool for human rights documentation, journalism and advocacy.

Project Pipeline of Impact, Learning, & Thought Leadership

  • Monitor and research eyewitness video to identify emerging trends, challenges, and innovations in the use of citizen video for human rights
  • Support an editorial calendar around 3-5 projects annually representing a diversity of issues, regions, and strategies for the use of citizen video for human rights.  All of these projects will be conducted collaboratively with relevant regional and thematic team members within WITNESS and key external allies and journalist/activist communities.
  • Work closely with colleagues to project manage and ensure effectiveness in securing impact in public awareness and human rights action, and in developing relevant learnings

Community Engagement and Media Outreach

  • Develop web-based materials to publicize projects, including relevant multimedia content
  • Together with Engagement and Communications team, engage in outreach to ensure broader public attention and coverage on Media Lab projects: to include producing, with project collaborators blog posts announcing and sharing learnings from each project
  • Together with Engagement and Communications Team, cultivate relationships with human rights and news organizations to engage in discussions on the role of citizen video in human rights research, reporting, and advocacy, and identify opportunities to share insight, skills, and best practices of citizen video curation with others in the field of human rights and journalism
  • Develop relevant training materials including blogs, articles, presentations and other materials to help journalists and news organizations learn how to understand issues and approaches to safe, ethical, and effective curation of human rights video used in each project
  • Collaborate with internal and external peers to develop and support innovative ways to curate citizen videos for human rights advocacy and reporting
  • Provide thought leadership on challenges and innovations in the curation of citizen video for human rights, through written publications, presentations, and engagement with peers in the fields of human rights and journalism
  • Share regular updates and insights via WITNESS Media Lab and WITNESS social media
  • Coordinate regular roundtables and insight-conversations with journalists on results of each Project
  • Coordinate annual event showcasing results of projects over course of Fellowship
  • Represent WITNESS as a speaker, panelist, or participant to discuss video and human rights at relevant domestic or international convenings
  • Work with internal and external peers to develop resources to advance the safe, ethical, and effective curation of citizen video for human rights documentation and advocacy
  • Maintain relationships with key partners at Google News Lab to ensure coordination and engagement


  • Maintain focus and editorial voice of the WITNESS Media Lab
  • Identify ways citizen video can inform advocacy, investigations, and tech development surrounding human rights uses, values, risks, and implications
  • Constantly assess the changing landscape of citizen video and its use in human rights research, reporting and use by human rights defenders on the ground, in consultation with colleagues, revise priorities accordingly


  • As relevant, support Media Lab and Google News Lab fellowship programs and recruit, hire, and train any relevant additional short-term Fellow(s)
  • Select, train, and mentor interns to assist in online video monitoring and research


  • Contribute to fundraising efforts around the project as lead by External Relations


  • Relevant BA and 4 – 7  years minimum experience in relevant fields
  • Journalistic background with experience making swift and confident editorial decisions
  • Strong written communication and public speaking skills
  • Solutions-focussed innovator
  • Broad-based human rights understanding at a professional level and a breadth of understanding of domestic and international human rights issues
  • Strong awareness of the evolving social media landscape and experience leveraging and building communities across multiple platforms.    
  • Ability to research and analyze complex human rights issues in a nuanced and efficient manner
  • WordPress and front-end web maintenance knowledge
  • Ability to watch and analyze a wide range of footage documenting human rights abuse
  • Independence, work ethic, and ability to manage short-term and long-term projects
  • Ability to manage interns and fellows  
  • Adaptability to fast-moving and rapidly changing circumstances

Preferred Skills/Abilities:

  • MA/MPA/JD or other graduate qualification in relevant areas
  • Experience with multimedia storytelling and citizen journalism
  • Experience training and/or creating training material
  • Additional language skills

Principal Relationships:

  • Program Director
  • Engagement team, Regional Managers, Video as Evidence, Tech + Advocacy
  • Fellows, interns, and contractors
  • Google News Lab partners


START DATE: Flexible

LOCATION: Brooklyn, NY

TITLE: WITNESS Media Lab Fellow

SALARY: WITNESS offers a competitive salary and excellent benefits that include employer-paid medical, dental, vision, life, accident, and disability insurance, FSA, 401k, transit, and a generous vacation package.

TO APPLY: To apply, send your cover letter with salary requirements, resume, and contact information for 3 references to jobs@witness.org with the subject line “Media Lab Fellowship – [Your name]”.   

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled; early applications are encouraged.  Please note that due to the volume anticipated, we will not be able to respond individually to each applicant. We kindly ask that you do not send duplicate applications via mail or email, and no phone calls.  Thank you.

WITNESS is an equal opportunity employer.  People of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, religions, genders, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, and individuals protected by any other statuses under federal, state or local laws, including but not limited to, disability, marital, domestic partnership, familial, caregiver, transgender, military or veteran statuses, are encouraged to apply.  Authorization to work in the U.S. is required.





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