Last year, we created the Survivor Storytelling Network — a program that recruited, paid, and trained survivors of gun violence to tell their own stories. Over the course of several months, survivors learned about storytelling and journalism basics, and were coached through a compassionate editing process. Their stories were published in collaboration with several newsrooms across the city, and also inspired accountability reporting from The Trace. 

This year, we’re bringing together a new cohort of community members who feel ready to tell their stories. We’re specifically looking for people who have lost a loved one to gun violence. We’re defining “loved one” broadly because we recognize that the title of a relationship with someone — familial or otherwise — doesn’t fully capture closeness. Beginning in mid-August, the cohort will meet in person over the course of six weeks to learn journalistic and oral history storytelling. They’ll have the opportunity to get to know each other and receive one-on-one attention and editing from staff at The Trace. 

Each participant will be paid a stipend of $800. They will have their stories published on The Trace’s website and also potentially with media partners. When done right, storytelling can be cathartic for people affected by gun violence, and our first participants told us it was a pivotal step on their path to healing. Stories can also inspire the wider public to create lasting change. We hope you will join us on this exciting journey as we create community-centered journalism. 

TO APPLY: Fill out the application form here. Instead of a cover letter, we ask that you answer a few questions about your experience, goals, and time commitments in as much detail as possible. The application is due on June 26, but we’ll look at submissions as they come in.