The new Gordon Sinclair Roving Reporter Bursary will support a research and reporting trip by an early career Canadian journalist who has recently graduated from one of Canada’s university-level journalism programs. The purpose of the $15,000 bursary will be to encourage a young journalist to get off the beaten track and to spend a considerable period away on a reporting assignment – a minimum of six weeks.

The original Gordon Sinclair Fellowship was established in 1986 after friends of the late broadcaster created the Gordon Sinclair Foundation and a university scholarship for recent journalism graduates to honour his memory. The stated purpose of the original award was to encourage a recent journalism graduate to embark on another year of study that would enrich them as journalists. The award was presented 25 times in the years that followed.

Recently, the Gordon Sinclair Foundation decided to review its mandate and examine the contribution the annual award was making to journalism. After some deliberation, a decision was made to revamp the annual competition. The Foundation decided to use the endowment to support a different type of award, but one still very much in keeping with the spirit of the kind of adventurous journalism Gordon Sinclair came to represent.

The new Gordon Sinclair Roving Reporter Bursary will support a research and reporting trip by an early career Canadian journalist who has recently graduated from one of Canada’s university-level journalism programs. The purpose of the $15,000 bursary will be to encourage a young journalist to get off the beaten track and to spend a considerable period away on a reporting assignment – a minimum of six weeks. To be successful, the applicant would have to outline a proposal to travel abroad or to a region of Canada that is not usually well covered by the media and to research and then prepare a substantial body of journalistic work on an important issue.

In addition to changing the mandate of the award, the board agreed to expand the eligibility criteria to include journalists who have graduated in the past five years, rather than just in the past year. The Foundation’s view was that in the current marketplace, there are a considerable number of recent journalism graduates who would benefit from the opportunity to go abroad or to a remote region for a few months to undertake a reporting assignment and in so doing, carve out a place for themselves in the journalism industry.

A key element of the new award will be journalistic mentorship for the successful candidate and some assistance with preparations for the research trip. As part of an agreement with Sinclair’s two former employers – the Toronto Star and the CBC – the winner of the award will be linked with an editor or senior journalist at either The Star or the CBC in advance of the research trip to seek out advice on the project. In addition, the Sinclair Foundation will facilitate a pre-departure orientation exercise to help the bursary winner deal with cultural adaptation and such logistics as travel arrangements, insurance and medical needs. Finally, the Star or the CBC will consider the journalistic output of the research trip for broadcast or publication.

Eligibility

Journalists who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents and who graduated from a university-level journalism program in the past five years are eligible to apply for the Gordon Sinclair Roving Reporter Bursary. Journalism students who are in their graduating year are eligible to apply for the bursary, but must demonstrate that they are eligible to graduate this June. The purpose of the $15,000 bursary is to encourage an early career journalist to get off the beaten track and to spend a considerable period away on a reporting assignment – a minimum of six weeks. Applicants must outline a proposal to travel abroad or to a region of Canada that is not usually well covered by the media and to research and then prepare a substantial body of journalistic work on an important issue. Applicants who work full-time with a media organization must include a letter from an editor who is in a position to guarantee that a leave of absence of a minimum of six weeks would be granted for the applicant to take up the reporting trip if selected for the bursary. The editor can use the referee appraisal form to submit this note confirming that a leave of absence would be granted.

Terms of the Award

A bursary winner should be selected by April 2014, at the latest, based on the volume of applications. The successful applicant will be expected to embark on the reporting trip – which must include a minimum of six weeks on the ground – within six months of notification of receipt of the bursary. For example, if the winner is notified on April 15, 2014, they must depart on the reporting trip before October 15, 2014.

The final journalistic output from the trip must be submitted no later than one month after the completion of the reporting trip to either the CBC or Toronto Star (as determined by the Gordon Sinclair Foundation) for dissemination. A holdback of $3,000 from the $15,000 bursary will be released to the recipient only after receipt by the Gordon Sinclair Foundation of:

– journalistic output deemed satisfactory by the Foundation and:
– a detailed trip expense report, submitted according to the guidelines of the media outlet.

Publication and / or broadcast of bursary work will be accompanied by an appropriate credit citing financial support from the Gordon Sinclair Roving Reporter Bursary. While published work shall remain the property of the bursary recipient, the Gordon Sinclair Foundation reserves the right to use completed projects to promote the bursary and the partner media outlets, the CBC and the Toronto Star, will have the right to publish or broadcast the work.

Deadline

A call for applications is published  each year. The deadline for applications is Sunday, March 30, 2014 at 11.59 p.m. EST.

Further Information

If you have any questions, you can contact the Executive Director of the Gordon Sinclair Foundation, Prof. Allan Thompson, at:

allan.thompson@carleton.ca

Please mention Gordon Sinclair Roving Reporter Bursary in the subject line of the email message.

Confirmation messages will be sent to all applicants within two weeks of the submission deadline. If you have submitted your application but have not received a confirmation email by April 14, please contact Allan Thompson atallan.thompson@carleton.ca to follow up.

APPLY FOR THE BURSARY

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.