We are now accepting applications for the 2024-25 academic year. Applications are due by February 20, 2024. Before you begin your application, please send us a LinkedIn, CV, or other profile to email@example.com under the subject line: “LAST NAME, first initial prepping application”. That will let us open a file for you.
We are recruiting up to 20 Fellows from around the world — and we’re seeking something different than conventional journalism programs:
- Subject matter specialization. Please apply only if you already have knowledge of a specialty and wish to report on that specialty. We generally consider people who have work experience in a discipline and/or who have studied that discipline at the Master’s level or higher.
- The relevant graduate degree, professional degree or work experience to report knowledgeably on any specialty. If in doubt, please send us your application anyway.
- Prior experience as a journalist is NOT necessary, but some specific qualities are. Read the Qualifications page to understand the kind of personality we’re seeking.
- Written and spoken fluency in English.
Application Procedure and Materials
1. Once you have read the Qualifications page and have decided to apply for this program, please follow the steps below carefully.
2. Because of the limited number of spots available, please e-mail us before you begin your application to tell us you will be applying.
Please send the e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org under the subject line: “last name, first initial prepping application” (e.g., Smith, J prepping application). Include your CV or a LinkedIn profile if you have one. When you are prepared to submit your full application, please complete all of the following materials and submit them as attachments or links by e-mail to: email@example.com.
If you are sending materials in more than one e-mail, please indicate the order using the following format in your subject line, e.g., “last name, first initial application 1/2”; “last name, first initial application 2/2”). Identify all files with your last name, first initial, and the subject (e.g.,Smith_J_resume.pdf, Smith_J_transcripts.pdf, etc.).
Materials to include in your submission:
Resume or Curriculum Vitae
Official Academic Transcripts and/or Professional Designation (PDF scan)
Official transcripts of your academic record from each university attended and/or an official record of your professional designation are required for admission. Please either scan or take a screenshot of your transcripts and/or designations and attach them to the application. Applicants who attended universities outside North America must provide notarized English translations to accompany all documentation not written in English.
Two Story Proposals
Please identify two important stories in your field that have not received enough media coverage. Pitch each story separately with a 200-word proposal, indicating why the story is important and providing some evidence.
One Fully-Reported Story
Report one of the stories you proposed in written form. Please do not write an opinion piece; we’d like to see a clear story that is well-researched and reported, and that includes information obtained through interviews with one or two sources. Story length should range from 800 to 1000 words; stories that exceed this length will not be read. Note, we’re not looking for anything prize-winning here, just your best effort. The stories you send us will remain private. They will not be published or seen by anyone outside of the admissions committee.
Additional Communications Examples
Feel free to send up to three examples of other writing or communications products that you would like to share with us. These examples can be in any format, including blogs, articles, papers, videos, or audio. If you tweet, please tell us your handle. Don’t worry If you have no other examples to share; we don’t expect applicants to have much, if any, communications experience.
Include a 500-word essay to tell us a bit about yourself. Why are you interested in this program? What subject matter do you wish to cover as a reporter during the program? How does your background give you advanced knowledge of that field?
Statement of Integrity
Please print, sign, date and scan the following statement:
“I hereby certify that the information presented in my application is accurate, complete and honestly presented. I authorize the Fellowship in Journalism and Health Impact at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health to verify any aspect of my application and/or my credentials for admission. I understand and agree that any inaccurate information, misleading information, or omission will be cause for the rescission of any offer of admission, or for discipline or dismissal if discovered at a later date. This application is my own honest statement to the Selection Committee for The Fellowship in Journalism and Health Impact.”
3. TWO letters of recommendation are required, from referees who are familiar with your academic and/or professional work.
- Please have your referees e-mail their letters directly to us at firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line “candidate’s last name, candidate’s first initial—reference.”
- Your referees should attest to your knowledge of your subject matter and their experience of the personal qualities we expect in a Fellow (refer to the Qualifications page for further details).
Costs and Financing
Costs and Financing for the Fellowship
Tuition is $12,000 CAD for the eight-month program, plus 13% harmonized sales tax; use this calculator to estimate the costs in your currency. If you pay income taxes in Canada, your tuition is eligible for a 15% tax credit — reducing your costs by $1,800. Fellows continue to receive free coaching through monthly online bureau meetings for two years after the program.
Fellows can continue to work throughout the program. We’ll help you balance the pace of your news reporting with the pace of your professional or academic work to meet your own goals and needs, as well as manage any potential conflicts of interest.
Tuition payments are due in three instalments:
- $1,200 deposit due within two weeks of accepting a spot in the program.
- $5,400 due by August 6, 2024
- $5,400 due by December 6, 2024
An alternative schedule can be arranged if necessary.
Financing Your Costs
- Fellows who are Canadian citizens or landed immigrants may be eligible for student lines of credit from major Canadian banks.
- Fellows who are neither Canadian citizens nor landed immigrants may be eligible for the same lines of credit if their loans are co-signed by a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant, or they may be eligible for financial support and loans from their home country.
- US military veterans, including former employees of the US Public Health Service, can pay for this program through the GI Bill.
- Because this is a certificate program, Fellows are not eligible for financial aid from the University of Toronto or the Government of Ontario.
Qualifications: Twenty Fellows Like This…
We won’t wade into the current debate over ‘who is a journalist’ except to suggest this simple definition: a journalist is anyone who, in live time, helps deepen an audience’s honest understanding of the people or circumstances around them.
In our case, we aim to help outstanding subject matter specialists become great reporters, not pundits. Fellows will be women and men with the potential to lead the global coverage of their own fields by breaking news, not just by offering their own opinions.
It’s tough work, and there is no single personality type doing it, but some qualities do distinguish the types of people we’re seeking.
Hunger and Ambition
You need to be very hungry to “own” the coverage of your specialty — your beat. You must have the urge to find untold stories that are important to your audience, to report on those stories until you’ve broken the news and to tell it more reliably and compellingly than your competitors.
Engagement, Excitement and Collegiality
Cynicism and world-weariness — that sense of having seen everything before — are toxic in journalism. You need an ongoing sense of wonder at the world: an unrelenting curiosity, and more. Take joy in finding the counterintuitive ways in which your stories play out, internationally.
Polite persistence is key. Keep knocking — politely — on dozens and dozens of doors as they get slammed in your face, often over weeks and months. Eventually, the right door opens or you find a better path. You’ll be reporting globally, but language barriers are no excuse. Find a way around it.
Day to day, many great reporters display these qualities through their sense of humour. They also show it in their humility. They shape their own opinions around facts they find and sources who understand a story better than they do. And great reporters operate with respect — for their audiences, for sources they trust as guides to complex subjects, for their editors and collaborators and, most importantly, for the integrity of their coverage. Great reporters are subtle listeners.
Intellectual Rigour, Reliability and Discipline
You’re responsible for deepening your audiences’ honest understanding of their world. That requires a very high standard of analytic rigour and intellectual discipline. You need a critical mind that is queasy about generalizations and seeks evidence instead. You require the discipline to change your story as the evidence you find deviates from your original understanding, and even to kill your story entirely if you find no evidence to support your ideas.
Reliability is also a necessity. This means planning your reporting and sticking to your timeframe, knowing when to file a story or elements of it — and not being late.
Discipline also means respecting your lay audience. Insider jargon is seductive and useful, but you need the discipline to kill the jargon and explain complex ideas in plain language to smart lay audiences.
An Independent Mind, and the Guts to Follow an Unconventional View
You need to question assumptions that other people take for granted. That includes looking for ways your stories play out around the world and not just in one or two countries you know well.
When your instinct tells you to explore an unconventional view because it might be very important to your audience, you can’t wait for the dust to settle. You have to start reporting. You must have the guts to “just go.”
Most importantly, you need an independent mind. You must have the intellectual rigour and confidence to challenge even those you admire, or with whom you sympathize.
Join Us for a Video Open House
Please join Robert Steiner, Director of the Dalla Lana Fellowship in Journalism and Health Impact for a 45-minute open house. You can join from anywhere, via live videoconference. Links will be sent out the day before the open house for those who RSVP. We have a limited number of spots available in each open house. Please reserve a spot now. We look forward to seeing you!