Frequently Asked Questions: Fellowship for International Development Reporting

Fellowship for International Development Reporting

For general program information and guidelines, visit the main Fellowship page.

 

  1. What is the Fellowship for International Development Reporting?
  2. How do I apply?
  3. Who is eligible to apply?
  4. How does the selection process work?
  5. When will the Fellowship recipients be announced?
  6. How are the applications assessed? Do you have any tips for a good application? How much importance will be given to the requirement that proposed projects use innovative storytelling techniques?
  7. How many Fellowships are available?
  8. What are the responsibilities and expectations of a Fellowship recipient, beyond producing the actual reporting project?
  9. How will the money be distributed?
  10. Can I use a portion of the Fellowship funds to pay myself?
  11. Can I work with another journalist or submit a team proposal?
  12. Can a portion of the grant be used to hire the services of individuals such as a local fixer or a photojournalist/videographer?
  13. What if my project will cost less than $25,000? Does that give me an advantage over other applicants with more expensive projects?
  14. Can my project be published in a language other than English or French?
  15. Can I submit more than one story pitch?
  16. I want to turn this project into a book. Can I apply for the Fellowship?
  17. I want to make a documentary film. Am I eligible?
  18. How is the Fellowship for International Development Reporting funded?
  19. Who has been awarded the Fellowship for International Development Reporting in the past?
  20. I still have questions. Can I speak with someone who works for the Fellowship program?

 

1. What is the Fellowship for International Development Reporting?

The Fellowship for International Development Reporting provides funding to journalists to produce in-depth reporting projects from the developing world, in print, broadcast, and online media. The Fellowship is valued at $25,000.

Proposed reporting projects must fit within these simple parameters: the project should be about a development issue within a developing country or region.

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2. How do I apply?

Applications are accepted by email. Please visit the application page for further details and instructions.

Can I send my application via snail mail?

No, we only accept applications by email.

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3. Who is eligible to apply?

To become a Fellow for International Development Reporting, applicants must:

  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada
  • Have at least five years of full-time work experience as a journalist (as a freelancer or staff)
  • Have the commitment of a Canadian media outlet to publish/broadcast the proposed project in English and/or French, within one year of the recipient being awarded the Fellowship

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4. How does the selection process work?

All complete and relevant applications will be reviewed by an independent jury made up of individuals such as senior or retired journalists with extensive background in overseas reporting, editors, media owners, academics and journalism educators, and representatives from non-governmental organizations. The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) will chair the jury.

Following the full review of applications, all applicants will be informed of the status of their application – and a shortlist of candidates will be invited for an interview.

Following the interview process, the jury will select the Fellowship recipient(s).

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5. When will the Fellowship recipients be announced?

This depends on the length of the review process, however the announcement is expected in late 2016.

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6. How are the applications assessed? Do you have any tips for a good application? How much importance will be given to the requirement that proposed projects use innovative storytelling techniques?

All complete and relevant applications will be assessed according to the criteria outlined below. This criteria is provided in order to guide the applicant in developing their proposal – following the jury’s review, scores will remain confidential and will not be disclosed to the applicant.

  • Importance, relevance, and originality of the story proposed – 30 points
  • Professional quality of the reporter – 20 points
  • Estimated reach of project (through news outlet(s) and other promotion) – 15 points
  • Feasibility of project – 15 points
  • Innovative use of digital media to communicate the project – 10 points
  • Overall quality of proposal (clarity, grammar, etc.) – 10 points

Applicants are strongly encouraged to seek outside support the project, in order to leverage the Fellowship funds. Any support – financial or in-kind – committed by the proposed media outlet for the project (or another source) will significantly strengthen an application.

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7. How many Fellowships are available?

Up to three Fellowships will be awarded. The number of Fellowships awarded during each cycle depends on the available funding and quality of applicant pool.

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8. What are the responsibilities and expectations of a Fellowship recipient, beyond producing the actual reporting project?

Recipients are expected to promote their projects through social media and/or other channels prior to departing and during their travels (where possible).

Upon completion of the project, recipients will submit written observations and reflections on their reporting experiences. They must also be available to share their experience with members of the media and the public, through activities such as events, seminars, webinars, etc. (Applicants are not required to budget for post-Fellowship activities in their application. The $25,000 budget should focus solely costs of producing and promoting the reporting project.)

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9. How will the money be distributed?

Fellowship recipients will sign a contract which outlines the terms and conditions of the Fellowship. The funding will be distributed in a few installments based on milestones (for example, signing the contract or finalizing travel arrangements).

Do I need to keep receipts?

Recipients are not required to submit receipts to AKFC (aside from those necessary to demonstrate that they have met certain milestones, such as finalizing travel arrangements) but are strongly encouraged to retain receipts for their own income tax purposes.

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10. Can I use a portion of the Fellowship funds to pay myself?

Applicants are permitted to use a reasonable portion of the funds as personal income, however applicants are strongly encouraged to seek support from the proposed news outlet for the project, in order to leverage the Fellowship funds. Paying the journalist for their work is a good example of how the news organization could provide additional support (and thus strengthen the application).

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11. Can I work with another journalist or submit a team proposal?

Yes, you can propose a project that would be carried out by a team of journalists. However, it is important to clearly state the value of taking a team approach, outline how each reporter would contribute to the project, and budget accordingly.

One member of the team should be designated as the project lead, and be the main point of contact with the Fellowship administration and jury.

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12. Can a portion of the grant be used to hire the services of individuals such as a local fixer or a photojournalist/videographer?

Yes, provided these expenses are outlined in the budget submitted as part of the application.

What is the maximum portion of the grant that may be applied to these expenses?

There is no maximum – however the jury must be satisfied that the amount is reasonable and will provide good value for money.

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13. What if my project will cost less than $25,000? Does that give me an advantage over other applicants with more expensive projects?

The Fellowship for International Development Reporting encourages journalists to “think big” about reporting on the developing world, and undertake a substantial, well-researched project. The costs associated with conducting in-depth research on complex topics are significant, and the value of this Fellowship reflects this reality. In fact, applicants are strongly encouraged to seek additional support – financial or in-kind – from the media organization which has committed to disseminate their project, in order to leverage the $25,000 provided by the Fellowship.

For this reason, an application which does not use all of the available funding will not be advantaged.

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14. Can my project be published in a language other than English or French?

No, the Fellowship is only open to journalists reporting in Canada’s French- or English-language media. After the full project has been published/broadcast, the Fellowship program does not place any limits on how the recipients may repurpose their content in other languages.

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15. Can I submit more than one story pitch?

Yes, but each pitch must be provided as a full application package – you can’t include two story pitches in one application. If you are submitting multiple applications, you can re-use standard elements of your application such as your resume, but the reporting plan, budget and letter of commitment from the news organization must be specific to the project proposed.

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16. I want to turn this project into a book. Can I apply for the Fellowship?

The Fellowship recipients are committed to publishing/broadcasting their reporting project with a French- or English-language media outlet in Canada, within a year of being awarded the Fellowship. After the full project has been published/broadcast, the Fellowship program does not place any limits on how the recipients may repurpose their content.

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17. I want to make a documentary film. Am I eligible?

The Fellowship recipients are committed to publishing/broadcasting their reporting project with a French- or English-language Canadian media outlet within a year of being awarded the Fellowship – so if your film will be broadcast by an eligible media outlet within that timeframe, you can apply.

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18. How is the Fellowship for International Development Reporting funded?

The Fellowship is part of Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s public engagement programming, which aims to help Canadians gain a better understanding of international development issues around the world. This program is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada, through the Global Affairs Canada.

Aga Khan Foundation Canada and the Government of Canada do not hold seats on the jury which selects the Fellowship recipient. The Canadian Association of Journalists chairs the selection process.

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19. Who has been awarded the Fellowship for International Development Reporting in the past?

In the first cycle of the program, Mellissa Fung and Marc Ellison were each awarded a Fellowship. You can learn more about their projects here.

In the second cycle, Kayla Hounsell, Marc-André Sabourin, and Shannon Gormley were awarded Fellowships. You can read about their projects here.

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20. I still have questions. Can I speak with someone who works for the Fellowship program?

Please note the Fellowship administrators will not answer questions about specific proposals (such as story topics). If you have questions about general Fellowship guidelines and procedures, contact Rosemary Quipp at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ” target=”_blank”>rosemary@akfc.caThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 with “Inquiry: Fellowship for International Development Reporting” in the subject line.

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