Each of the bursary winners will receive up to $2,500 to attend a hazardous environment training course in the U.S. or Britain.

By Tamara Baluja, Associate Editor

The Forum Freelance Fund has handed out bursaries to eight freelancers who cover conflict zones.

Each of the winners will receive up to $2,500 to attend a hazardous environment training course in the U.S. or Britain, said the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma, which administers the bursaries.

"Cash-strapped media organizations are relying more and more on freelancers for coverage from the world's most dangerous places," said forum president Cliff Lonsdale in a press release. "We had a record number of applications this year and we've responded in kind."

The Forum Freelance Fund is sponsored by CBC News and supported by Radio-Canada, CNW and individual donations. 

"We appreciate the support we get, but it's not enough. This year our board voted to boost the fund by adding to it from other revenues," Lonsdale said. "We've set a new standard, and the challenge will be to maintain it.  For that we'll need to get more news organizations or other interested parties into the tent. Demand is rising, and working together through an independent and impartial fund is the only practical way to meet it."

The 2014 winners of Forum Freelance Fund safety training bursaries are:

  • Zack Baddorf, who has reported from Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Crimea and Ukraine.
  • Tanya Bindra, who covers West Africa from her base in Mali.
  • Rebecca Collard, who been covering the Middle East, including Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, and Israel, since 2009.
  • Félix Brian Corriveau, who recently travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo to report on allegations of human rights breaches against a Canadian mining company.
  • Meghan Davidson Ladly, who travels frequently to Pakistan where she works in Karachi and along Pakistan's borders with Afghanistan, China and India.
  • Marc Ellison, who has reported from Mali, South Sudan, Central African Republic and Uganda.
  • Kiana Hayeri, who is based in Tehran.
  • Julie Masis, who reports from southeast Asia, including Myanmar, Vietnam, China and Thailand.

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Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.