jack webster foundation

We gratefully acknowledge our sponosors of the 2020 Jack Webster Awards:

JWF Fellowships

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Fellowship Funding
How to Apply
Frequently Asked Questions

The call for submissions for 2020 Professional Development Fellowships is now closed. The successful applicants will be announced mid March. Check back in January 2021 when applications will then be accepted for that year's fellowships. Until then, read below re: eligibility and what will be funded.

The Jack Webster Foundation offers eligible BC journalists the opportunity to attend the Poynter Institute in Florida for short-term professional development courses or to create a self-defined fellowship for research or enhancement of skills.

Click here to research Poynter programs. Also keep checking the Poynter site as new in-person courses are announced from time to time.

Eighty-four BC journalists have received fellowship funding from the Jack Webster Foundation since the program's inception in 2001. Journalists have attended Poynter courses such as Summit on Reporting and Editing, TV Reporting Academy and Leadership Academy. Others have created their own programs or attended specialized journalism programs. From an Investigative camp at Missouri School of Journalism to research for a documentary, the Jack Webster Foundation welcomes applications that assist BC journalists in pursuing professional development.

Each year, one Poynter fellowship award will be presented in the name of the late Don Matheson, a former BC reporter. This fellowship is designed for a BC-born journalist.

A British Columbia news journalist that is a resident and/or a fulltime employee or correspondent for a BC print, broadcast or an online news organization is eligible to apply. Also, self-employed or freelance journalists whose work has been aired or published continuously over a three-year period are eligible for a Jack Webster Foundation fellowship. Applications from BC journalism educators are also welcome.

Fellowship Funding
At this time, two fellowships will be available each year. For applications to Poynter, the Jack Webster Foundation will cover the cost of a course, flights and accommodation, the total amount subject to final approval by the Foundation. The recipient will cover his or her own personal costs including food, etc.

The Jack Webster Foundation will announce the recipients by mid March. Recipients will have until the end of February of the year following the announcement of their award to complete their fellowships, though recipients may request an extension.

How to Apply
Please complete the online application here

To Apply for a Poynter Fellowship
Please complete the following steps:
• Fill out the online application form after which it will ask to you to also attach and submit:
• A current resume
• A statement or essay of 250-500 words (maximum) describing your daily duties, the relevance of the seminar to your job, your goals for the seminar and how you will apply the training back in your newsroom
• A letter from your employer supporting the application and confirming your availability to participate.

Please indicate on the application form if you are BC-born in order to be considered for the special Poynter fellowship for BC-born journalists.

If selected, you will then apply to Poynter for admission into the seminar that you wish to attend. The Poynter website outlines the steps necessary to apply. Your fellowship is subject to receiving admission approval from Poynter.

Should the deadline for application or the actual date of the course you wish to take, fall before the Foundation Fellowships are announced in approximately mid-March (so courses with dates of Jan./Feb. or March), and if you take the course/are accepted, you may still apply for a Fellowship and if you are chosen, funds will be reimbursed to you, after the fact, for the following: airfare, hotel, transfers from home to airport, airport to Poynter and return, any baggage fees, and the course fee. Copies of receipts must be submitted in order to be reimbursed for these costs.

To Apply for a Self-Defined Fellowship
Please complete the following steps:
• Fill out the online application form, indicating if you are applying for a research-based or skills enhancement fellowship, after which it will ask to you to also attach and submit:
• Your current resume
• A project outline (up to four pages) which includes:
    • purpose, timing
    • details of the project or special courses/studies to be undertaken
    • output including future use of the material, benefits to applicant, media and community
    • budget, including a breakdown of your expenses such as travel, course fees, etc.
• A current resume
• A letter from your employer, if applicable, supporting the application and indicating your availability to participate
• Two reference letters.

The deadline for 2020 applications is midnight, February 29th, 2020.

Award History
Initially, the fellowships were open to broadcast journalists with funding from Telemedia Inc and then Standard Broadcasting. Since 2007, the Jack Webster Foundation has added fellowships for print and online journalists. In 2009, an award in the name of the late Don Matheson, a BC reporter, was added.

Frequently Asked Questions
How is the successful applicant chosen?
The selection committee, comprised of members of the Board of the Jack Webster Foundation, will consider each application based on its merits.

Consideration will be given to the following: for skills-based applications-the tangible outcomes; for research-based projects - the timeliness of the subject matter, the degree to which public knowledge and understanding of issues is advanced and the efficient use of funds.

What kinds of projects will be considered as self-defined opportunities?
All projects will be considered. The Fellowship allows BC journalists to create self-defined opportunities to upgrade or acquire new knowledge or skills. For example, you may apply to an educational institution and acquire knowledge in a specific area, such as law, health, business, or economics or may create a self-defined opportunity to learn more about a specific current issue. Alternatively, the journalist may upgrade his/her skills to meet rapidly evolving technologies.

How will the successful applicant receive the funds?
The Jack Webster Foundation will enter into an arrangement with the successful applicant to provide the funds in a manner consistent with the applicant's project. For example, if the successful applicant is attending Poynter, the Jack Webster Foundation will either pay the tuition to the organization directly or reimburse the fellowship recipient. All other eligible costs will be reimbursed upon providing receipts to the Jack Webster Foundation.

Please note that a report of the successful applicant's fellowship experience is required.

What other organizations have recipients attended besides the Poynter Institute?
Interest has been expressed in the Missouri School of Journalism's seminars, Investigative Reporters and Editors' seminars and the Banff Centre for Science and Communication. The Jack Webster Foundation welcomes applications to attend any organization offering short term professional development.

Why do I have to include my BC birthplace?
The Jack Webster Foundation was fortunate to be the recipient of funds from the late Don Matheson, a BC reporter. The bequest stipulates that the recipient be BC-born.

This BC-born requirement applies to only one of the Poynter fellowships offered. If you are not BC born, you are eligible for other of these Poynter fellowships.

Who has received a JWF Fellowship?
To see which BC journalists have received Jack Webster Foundation fellowships, click here.

Where can I receive answers to specific questions?
Janet Mitchell
Executive Director
Jack Webster Foundation
T. 604-603-4218

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Previous Recipients and their Experiences