Lieutenant Governor’s B.C. Journalism Fellowship

With the support of the Government House Foundation and in partnership with the Jack Webster Foundation
Presented by Her Honour, the Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.

Announcing the Inaugural Lieutenant Governor’s B.C.
Journalism Fellowship Recipient

Francesca Fionda
Francesca Fionda to produce a long-form piece of journalism for The Tyee looking at climate displacement

In the spirit of supporting a healthy democracy with a thriving journalistic community, the Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, with the support of the Government House Foundation and in partnership with the Jack Webster Foundation, is pleased to announce the first recipient of the new Lieutenant Governor’s B.C. Journalism Fellowship is Francesca Fionda, an experienced and award-winning investigative/data journalist, and journalism instructor/adjunct professor. The fellowship was offered and designed to afford a working journalist the opportunity to develop a well substantiated, long-form piece of journalism to shed light on a subject of importance to British Columbians.

Ms. Fionda has been awarded $25,000 to produce a long-form piece of journalism that will 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 Ms. Fionda’s work later this year. The fellowship selection was determined by an esteemed jury of community leaders and former journalists.


In the spirit of supporting a healthy democracy with a thriving journalistic community, this 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 Lieutenant Governor’s B.C. Journalism 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.

Eligibility
  • The fellowship is focussed on British Columbia public interest journalism that takes a deep-dive into a subject that is under-reported or may fill a knowledge gap on a matter of significance to the people of British Columbia.
  • The topic will be of complexity that requires well substantiated storytelling to support a better-informed public.  
  • The subject matter must be clearly tied to British Columbia, its people/communities.
  • The journalism produced may be of written content for print or digital publishing or may be multimedia such as a video and/or podcast.
  • The journalism produced can be in a language other than English.
  • While fellowship projects may be published/broadcast in a language other than English, jurors reserve the right to have submissions translated into English.

Who is Eligible?

  • B.C.-based journalists with a minimum of three years of experience in various stages of their career are eligible for the fellowship.
  • You must be a working journalist, full time or freelance.  
  • Teams of journalists may also apply.
  • You must have a letter of support from a publishing source which confirms to publish/broadcast the work upon its completion.
  • If you are a full-time working journalist you must have a letter of support from your employer stating that you may have the requisite time/time-off (2 to 4 months) to work on this project.
The Award

The Lieutenant Governor’s B.C. Journalism Fellowship will offer up to $25,000 each year, over three years, starting in 2022.  Each year an eligible journalist or journalists will receive the funds to spend 2 – 4 months to research, produce/write a deep-dive journalism project of significance to British Columbians and have it published/broadcasted by a committed publishing source.  

It is expected that the project be produced and then published/broadcast in the year it is awarded, barring unforeseen exceptional circumstances.

About the Funding of the Lieutenant Governor’s B.C. Journalism Fellowship

The Lieutenant Governor’s B.C. Journalism Fellowship has been made possible with the financial support of private donors through the Government House Foundation and in partnership with the Jack Webster Foundation.  

About the Government House Foundation

The Government House Foundation was created to foster the preservation of Government House and its grounds; to enhance its decor, character, maintenance, historical and cultural values; and to provide funding for the Lieutenant Governor’s programs and awards that have a positive impact province-wide. All funds raised are from private donors, not government funds.

Programs that have been funded by Government House Foundation include honours such as the British Columbia Reconciliation Award, the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence and others. Funding also sustains the Lieutenant Governor’s Youth Advisory Council, and the youth-focused Stewards of the Future program that encourages ecological awareness.

Costs covered by this Fellowship

Costs that are covered by this fellowship may include:

-travel costs, if necessary and as specified and detailed in the project proposal including the costs of travel (air/train/car), ground transfers/local transportation, baggage costs, hotel costs and a per diem of $50 per day for meals and other incidentals.

-research costs, as specified and detailed in the project proposal and may also include costs to offset any salary loss if time off is required in order to research/write/complete this project.

-production costs, if necessary and as specified and detailed in the project proposal to cover costs for necessary studio or video/audio processing costs in order to complete the project.

How to Apply

Fill out the online application form by clicking here and prepare/provide the following information:

  • basic contact information
  • a copy of your current resume
  • two samples of your published/broadcasted work (print/online, radio/podcast, or TV/video) which demonstrate your journalistic skills
  • two letters of recommendation attesting to your professional experience, credentials and ability to conduct independent research that will result in a piece of journalism that is of publish/broadcast quality and contact information from the person writing the letter as these people may be contacted about your application
  • if time off is required, a letter from your employer confirming this is permitted (this may be included in a letter of recommendation if such letter is provided by your current employer)
  • a letter of intent from a publishing/broadcast source confirming:
    • that they will publish/broadcast your work upon completion of the piece.
    • that the published/broadcasted work will include a statement that this project/story was “made possible with funding provided by the Lieutenant Governor’s B.C. Journalism Fellowship, in partnership with Government House Foundation and the Jack Webster Foundation.”
    • that the published/broadcasted work will be made available for the public to access for a reasonable amount of time online or via other media.
    • this information may be included in your letter of recommendation if such letter is provided by your current employer and your employer is committing to the above terms of publication.
  • a project proposal, no more than 4 pages long in 10 – 12 point font which includes:

Project Description

Section 1 – Describe your project’s scope and substance including:

  • why the subject matter is of relevance to British Columbians,
  • why this subject matter may be under-reported or may fill a knowledge gap on a matter of significance to the people of British Columbia,
  • why the topic is of complexity that requires well-substantiated deep-dive storytelling to support a better-informed public,
  • explain why this project is important, relevant, and worthwhile and describe how this project will help inform the public and what you hope or expect will be an outcome of such work.
  • tell us who you are: include your experience, background/skills and why you should be considered for this fellowship.

Section 2 – Describe the parameters of your project including:

  • a timeline for this project/how long it will take to have a piece of journalism ready to publish/broadcast (up to a 4-month maximum, however, if there are extenuating circumstances that require more time, please be specific) and expected milestones along the way
  • a budget for your project including the number of working days you expect to be necessary, if time off is required, please calculate the number of working days expected x your daily rate and the sum total, plus also include:
    • travel costs, which can include the costs of travel (air/train/car), ground transfers/local transportation, baggage costs, hotel costs and a per diem of $50 per day for meals and other incidentals.
    • production costs, if necessary to cover studio or video/audio processing costs or other specified production costs in order to complete the project.
    • specify any other costs you are requesting to be covered.

Pleases then provide a budget total for your project and note that if your project is selected, this will be the final amount allotted/considered.  Should costs overrun your expected budget, further funding will not be possible.

Click here to access the online application form.

Deadlines

Applications for the 2022 Lieutenant Governor’s B.C. Journalism Fellowship are no longer being accepted. The recipient will be announced soon, this spring. For 2023, applications will be accepted in January of 2023, with the deadline to apply at the end of February. Recipients will be announced in the spring.

Judging & Criteria

The Jury

The jury for the Lieutenant Governor’s B.C. Journalism Fellowship comprises members of the Jack Webster Foundation’s board of directors, members of the Government House Foundation and members at large who are recognized leaders in their communities who have contributed to advancing the public interest.  All decisions of the jury are final.

The 2022 Jury


Margo Harper
Board Member, Jack Webster Foundation

Pamela Fayermam
Board Member, Jack Webster Foundation

Susan Danard
Board Member, Jack Webster Foundation

Pauline Rafferty
Government House Foundation Board Member

Suromitra Sanatani
Chair of the Board of Directors, Canada Post

Shushma Datt
BBC, Spice Radio Founder

Andy Yan
Director, SFU City Program

Judging Criteria

The judges will assess the project proposal for its merits, including:

  • the journalist applying for the fellowship, their background, experience;
  • the subject matter to be covered, including relevance to British Columbians, the unique nature of the project, its potential impact, importance, and ability to fill a knowledge gap on a matter of significance to the people of British Columbia;
  • why the topic’s complexity requires deep-dive storytelling to support a better-informed public;
  • the quality and audience reach of media outlet(s) that will publish or broadcast the work;
  • the diversity of research materials, interview subjects and sources used for the project;
  • does the project represent good value for the funds invested?

For more information:

[email protected] or call the Jack Webster Foundation at 604-603-4218.