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News release

Jan. 12, 2022

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

The fellowship will first be presented in 2022 to a working journalist or journalists, with the opportunity to develop a well-substantiated, long-form piece of journalism to shed light on a subject of importance to British Columbians.

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 long-form journalism requires significant resources. The lieutenant governor’s B.C. Journalism Fellowship will provide funding to encourage and enable journalists to go above and beyond their typical level of coverage, so that some of the under-reported but crucial challenges of today receive the deep, complex storytelling deserved by the citizens of B.C.

Beginning in January 2022, a journalist or team of journalists, in various stages of their careers (emerging, returning or experienced) can apply for a fellowship with a monetary award of up to $25,000, to spend up to four months to research, produce and publish a project supported by a committed publishing partner. The subject matter must be clearly tied to British Columbia, its people and communities. The content produced may be written for print or digital publishing or may be multimedia, such as a video and/or a podcast. At this time, the lieutenant governor’s B.C. Journalism Fellowship is committed to delivering the annual fellowships for the next three years.

“One of the greatest challenges faced in our society is the fragility of democracy in the 21st century,” Austin said. “Across our communities, we are seeing increased polarization as we encounter trials on a magnitude never experienced, all the while news outlets we rely on to maintain an informed citizenry are eroding and under-resourced. Many of the most crucial challenges we face are under-reported and do not receive the deep, complex storytelling deserved and necessary to better inform the citizens of British Columbia. This fellowship helps to address this need.”

Joy Jennissen, chair of the Jack Webster Foundation, said: “We are delighted to partner and offer this fellowship. With shrinking newsrooms, journalists don’t have the time to devote to long-form, in-depth coverage, and this fellowship will afford them the time and resources to do so, whether it be in the form of print/online coverage, or TV/video, radio or podcast.”

Details regarding eligibility and requirements for application can be found here: https://jackwebster.com/lieutenant-governors-bc-journalism-fellowship/

Application intake will begin on Jan. 12, 2022, with the deadline to apply being midnight, Feb. 28, 2022. Recipient(s) will be announced in spring of 2022.

About Government House Foundation

The Government House Foundation was created in 1988 to preserve, enhance and support the legacy of Government House, the ceremonial home of all British Columbians. Resources raised by the foundation also help fund the legacy programs of lieutenant governors past and present.

Austin is the 30th lieutenant governor of British Columbia, acting as the representative of the Crown in the province, and serving British Columbians through the themes of her mandate: Reconciliation, diversity and inclusion, and engagement in democracy. Her previous role was that of CEO of the YWCA Metro Vancouver; her professional career includes work with BC Housing and Big Sisters, in addition to serving on various boards, such as Translink, and the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

About the Jack Webster Foundation

The Jack Webster Foundation was established in 1986, upon the retirement of its namesake, who was Western Canada’s best-known and most influential reporter, in order to foster and celebrate excellence in journalism, protect the public interest for British Columbian’s, and create a community where trusted outstanding journalism thrives.