As part of celebrations in honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, with support from the Government House Foundation, has launched the Lieutenant Governor’s BC Journalism Fellowship.

Administration of the fellowship, including judging of entries, will be done in partnership with the Jack Webster Foundation, an organization that fosters and celebrates excellence in journalism to protect the public interest for British Columbians.

The 2022 Lieutenant Governor’s BC Journalism Fellow

The first recipient of the new Lieutenant Governor’s B.C. Journalism Fellowship is Francesca Fionda, an experienced and award-winning investigative and data journalist, journalism instructor and adjunct professor.

Fionda has been awarded $25,000 to explore the gaps in support for evacuees of disasters in British Columbia. Over the coming months, she will investigate parts of this issue that have not been deeply covered. The findings of this investigation could have major impacts on preparedness and planning for people in B.C. displaced by disasters that are now occurring far too often. The Tyee has committed to publishing Fionda’s work this year.

“This year alone, our province was hit with disaster after disaster,” said Fionda. “It’s crucial that we look deeply at how we can support communities as they rebuild and where we’re falling short. I’m grateful for this tremendous opportunity to create long-form journalism and hope that reporting on this issue will highlight ways forward through the climate crisis.”

Read the news release.

The Fellowship

In the spirit of supporting a healthy democracy with a thriving journalistic community, the Lieutenant Governor’s BC Journalism Fellowship will encourage the development and support of local journalists in British Columbia.

It is often the dream of many journalists to have the time and other resources to produce in-depth coverage of important issues. However, budget cutbacks have become a reality for most newsrooms and deep-dive journalism requires significant resources. The fellowship will provide funding to journalists so they can invest the time and other resources in producing excellent in-depth coverage of important topics. The objective is to encourage and enable journalists to go above and beyond their typical level of coverage so that many of the crucial challenges we face today are no longer under-reported and receive deep, complex storytelling to better inform the citizens of British Columbia.

Each year, beginning in 2022, for three years, journalists from various stages of their careers (emerging or experienced) will receive a monetary award to spend up to 4 months to research, produce and publish/broadcast their project supported by a committed publishing/broadcast partner. The final product(s) created by fellows may include written content for print and digital, or multimedia such as video or podcasts.

Application and Selection Process

The selection process for the fellowship will be open to new, emerging, or returning journalists who have a proven capability to craft a professional level of journalism

The programme will administer up to $75,000 for awards to fellows over three years, with a maximum of $25,000 per year. There will be 1-2 awards of $5,000-$25,000 each of the 3 years.

The prospective fellows will be expected to develop and submit a detailed, comprehensive, and well researched proposal. In the interest of being inclusive of all British Columbians and accessible to all communities, fellowship applications in other languages will be considered, and should include and amount for translation in the budget application.

The jury will be comprised of current and retired journalists and media specialists, in addition to professionals and community leaders with lived experience to evaluate journalistic work.

The jury for 2022 will be:

  • Susan Danard
  • Shushma Datt
  • Pamela Fayerman
  • Margo Harper
  • Pauline Rafferty
  • Suromitra Sanatani
  • Andy Yan

Read the news release for the Lieutenant Governor’s BC Journalism Fellowship.