The Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy – known simply as “The Atkinson” – was established to demonstrate the power of journalism to serve the public good. It’s for journalists who have high expectations for themselves and for this country: Canada’s best journalists. It’s a year to “go deep” and to tell a story that has real potential to change public policy.
Tanya Talaga begins her 2018 CBC Massey Lecture tour in Thunder Bay on October 16, 2018. Her five-part series, All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward, explores the connections between colonization and Indigenous youth suicide in Canada and internationally. She will travel to Halifax, Saskatoon and Vancouver. The tour ends in Toronto on October 30, 2018. CBC Ideas will broadcast the lectures on the week of November 12. Her book is available for purchase from House of Anansi Press here.
Tanya is the first Atkinson Fellow to be named the Massey Lecturer. This is also the first time the Atkinson and the Masseys have been devoted to the same topic in the same year.
As the 2016 – 2017 Atkinson Fellow in Public Policy, Catherine Wallace explored the future of journalism at a time the number of working journalists in Canada was in sharp decline. She went beyond examining new business models, instead focusing on what role the community can play in helping fill the gap in information and storytelling. From universities to museums to everyday citizens, Wallace reported on new kinds of collaborations that are helping make sense of data, inform the public and hold governments accountable.
When the public conversation started to heat up this year, we decided to re-publish Catherine’s work in print and on a digital platform . She took this opportunity to update her series and to write a new article on the collaborations and other actions that are shaping the future today.
“Too often ‘news’ can be merely the new, the dramatic or the unusual. But to be good journalism, it also needs to answer the question ‘why?’ Good journalism has a mission to witness but also to explain. And that requires patience, resources and ‘going deep,'” concludes Peter Goodspeed in his reflections on the 30th anniversary of the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy.
Peter was the 2013 – 2014 Atkinson Fellow. He spent a year investigating Canada’s refugee policy in relation to the Syrian refugee crisis. In this retrospective, he shares his conversations with alumni about their experience, where their reporting took them, and the contribution they made to our public life.
The Atkinson Foundation, the Honderich Family and Toronto Star provide a seasoned Canadian journalist with $100,000 and a year to investigate a critical public policy issue. Atkinson Fellows write a series of articles for publication in the Star at the conclusion of their fellowship.
As the 2018 – 2019 Atkinson Fellow in Public Policy, Shree Paradkar is investigating the failure of Canada’s public education system to deliver equitable outcomes for racialized and Indigenous students. She’s following the path created by Indigenous communities who seek to “decolonize education” to see if this process can help us get at root causes of inequity in education.
Shree’s investigation will be global in scope, focusing on leading school boards and educators in Canada, New Zealand and Germany. She is seeking policy recommendations from Indigenous people, Black researchers, and others who have lived experience of the issues up for debate.
Shree is the Toronto Star’s Race and Gender Columnist. She comments on issues of discrimination and identity for the Star. A published author, broadcaster and journalist who has reported from newsrooms in Toronto, Singapore, Bangalore and Mumbai, Shree’s career spans more than 20 years. Her powerful writing on gender, race and misogyny stands out for fearlessness and boldness in pursuit of justice.
Atkinson Fellows in Public Policy have tackled issues Joseph Atkinson would have pursued – equity, health, education and welfare reform – but also others beyond his imagination. The goal of social and economic justice is the common denominator across issues, media platforms and generations.
The 2019 – 2020 Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy application process is now closed. The winner will be announced at the Canadian Journalism Foundation Gala on June 13th, 2019.
If you’re thinking about applying for this fellowship in the future, here’s what you will be asked to do.
You will be asked to upload a three-page letter of intent and curriculum vitae as a single PDF to our confidential online portal. If you have not registered before, please feel free to do so.
Letters of intent should:
The Selection Committee is open to research ideas on a wide range of topics. Preference will be given to issues that are at the forefront of public policy debate. The Atkinson will not be awarded to projects in history, anthropology, literature or folklore.
You are encouraged to reflect on the Foundation’s mission: to promote social and economic justice. The Selection Committee uses it as the bases for its deliberations.
Letters of intent are reviewed and decisions will be communicated by the end of February each year. If your letter is shortlisted, you’ll receive an invitation to submit a more detailed proposal for mid-March. An honourarium will be provided to finalists. The winner is announced in early June.
If you have questions about this exceptional opportunity or the selection process, please contact Jenn Miller, Director of Social Investment at the Atkinson Foundation. firstname.lastname@example.org
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