Call for Applications: The Next Billion Forum by Quartz, New York, NY

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Join us as we report on digital culture, tech startups, and how the “Next Billion” will be connected at The Next Billion Forum presented by Quartz in New York City.

flickr / Gert-Jan Mes under Creative Commons

*Deadline extended to 29 October
Project Highlights
  • Three spots to attend Quartz’s invitation-only forum and report on how our digital culture and the rise of social tech startups is not only changing things in the US, but how the Next Billion will be powered.
  • Forum takes place at Bohemian National Hall in Manhattan, on 6 November. Training and prep day to be held at WeWork Labs (date TBD), a tech startup incubator, before the forum.
  • Regional and local travel reimbursed up to 100 USD.
  • Submit until 26 29 October (new deadline): CV, pitches, and application form.

New York, NY – According to Quartz, the number of Internet users will double by 2016, from the an estimated 2.4 billion (end of 2012) to almost 5 billion. This of course will have massive social and economic effects globally, bringing new markets, connecting new people, changing the way businesses operate. But it also gives us a moment to  reflect on social tech back home in the US, especially in New York City. New York is home of some today’s social tech “trademark” businesses, signaling our love for digital culture – Tumblr, Foursquare, Uber, and over 900 tech startups under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Made In NY campaign.

At the Next Billion Forum presented by Quartz, one of New York’s fastest growing online business news sites, we want to look at how our digital culture and the rise of social tech startups is not only changing things back home, but how the Next Billion will be powered.

We’d like to focus on the following tracks:

1. Cloud Labor and the Middle Class  News media  is only one of several industries that is severely impacted by our  digital culture, with many journalists now freelancing instead of being staffed permanently by newspapers and magazines. This makes us very aware of the socioeconomic effects that Internet and digital culture has on labor markets and the middle class. For one, “cloud labor” is a phenomenon caused by an online marketplace of the workforce, resulting in falling wages and job security for many.

2. What You Measure Is What You Get – Everyone’s got a smart phone in their hands, and there is a big trend by tech startups today to commoditize social capital, which especially drives the New York tech startup community. Should we commoditize everything we do, just because we are constantly and compulsively connected and thus able to measure everything?

3. The New Dark Ages – Though largely an American innovation, the Internet has infiltrated places like Qatar and Czechoslovakia at a higher rate than in the States. Those nations have essentially leapfrogged us in providing adequate Internet access to its people and, therefore, in maintaining a competitive citizenry. The “leapfrogging effect” will be only more pronounced once the next billion humans go online. What entrepreneurial, socioeconomic and technological pursuits can the United States pursue in order to ensure its masses aren’t left stranded in the dark in our new connected world?

4. A Connected World’s Priorities – 11% of the global population does not have adequate access to improved sources of drinking water. By comparison, 65% of the world’s population is not online. As seismic changes occur to bring those offline into the Internet promised land, how can we make sure more pressing needs, like a lack of sanitation facilities that leads to 1.5 million preventable deaths a year, are not put on the back burner? Is there a way to prioritize basic human needs while connectivity, which in itself has become a human right, is also guaranteed to all?

  • Professional journalism training program and onsite editorial guidance by specialized editor and content expert.
  • Highly visible journalistic work published on our outlet and selected work on our syndication partners.
  • Regional travel budget, reimbursed up to 100 USD.
  • Please note that we will not provide accommodation. If not based in the NY metropolitan area, we recommend to couch surf with those in the city.
  • Enrolled in a higher education program (i.e. Bachelors-level or above, preferably at the Masters or Doctoral level).
  • Strong academic background in a discipline or phenomenon (with ideally a concentration in Management, Economics, Engineering Systems, or Media Studies).
  • Excellent written and verbal English skills.
  • Experience in online journalism a plus.
Requirements and conditions

By applying for this project you agree on the following:

  • By end of conference day (Nov 6), producing at least one short blog post per reporter.
  • Producing two “journalistic” articles (profile, investigative, or opinion piece), full draft submission by 17 November.
  • Exclusive editorial and publishing rights of all material gathered from sources provided through the project belong to Student Reporter. In other words, all content and articles that you write during this project need to be assigned or permitted by Student Reporter (including those you plan to publish elsewhere).
  • Please fill out the application form below and send to (subject line: “QZ2013-first name+last name”) the following:
    • resume or CV [max 2 pgs; .pdf file format]
    • Two article pitches of the stories you are interested to follow up at the conference site [max 150 words per pitch; one single MS Word file for all pitches]. MUST FOLLOW our guidelines here.
      • In addition, the pitches must be derived from or surround the 4 editorial tracks we provided above.
      • Be sure to carefully look through the agenda to study speakers.

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