Katie DeRosa, a reporter for Victoria Times Colonist, has been awarded the inaugural James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship, created by friends and colleagues of the late Jim Travers after his sudden death last March. 

Katie DeRosa, a reporter for Victoria Times Colonist, has been awarded the inaugural James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship.

When James Travers – who was universally known as Jim – passed away suddenly last March, there was an outpouring of support from the journalism community in Canada.

Travers had seen his career span 30 years, and his accolades were many. He had been a reporter, editor, columnist and foreign correspondent. It was this last role that he "held dear to his heart," having spent six years reporting from the Middle East and Africa.

It is in this last vein that his friends and colleagues decided to honour his legacy and passion for foreign reporting by creating the James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship – a $25,000 award given to a Canadian journalist.

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DeRosa, a graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program, has been awarded the fellowship in order to pursue an investigation into the impact of Canada’s proposed tougher human smuggling laws on refugee claimants. She’ll compare Canada's proposed system of mandatory detention to the current widespread detention of asylum-seekers in Australia. The fellowship will fund her as she embarks to Australia and Thailand for research and reporting over the summer.

“I’m so honoured to be the first person to receive this prestigious fellowship in memory of James Travers. I’m so inspired by his legacy as an accomplished and highly-respected journalist on Parliament Hill,” DeRosa said in a statement. “Success for me will be producing a hard-hitting investigative series of stories. My goal is to shine a light on these proposed refugee reforms in a way that is engaging to the public and holds the government accountable to Canada’s commitment as a compassionate humanitarian country.”

DeRosa was chosen from a pool of 25 applicants due to her previous achievements (she won a 2011 Jack Webster Award, and graduated from j-school with highest honours) and an engaging strategy for dissemination and publication. The work that she produces will be published in print and online by Victoria Times Colonist in late summer or early fall of this year.