A New Kind of Journalism Education
Our curriculum combines mentored freelancing to global media with courses in multimedia journalism. And because fellows’ needs are different, this journalism fellowship is flexible; you can report in a way that works both for you and for our partners. Our coaching continues for two years after you graduate, for no additional fees.
This Journalism Fellowship is built on four pillars:
1. The Bootcamp (Sept. 7, 2022 to Oct. 7, 2022)
The Fellowship begins with a five-week boot camp, during which Fellows learn the foundations of journalism. This is the only part of the program requiring full-day attendance. We will teach the bootcamp remotely, if conditions do not allow for in person attendance in Toronto. Some elements may change to keep track with industry practices, and to incorporate feedback from earlier Fellows. Through the experience of finding and reporting your first story under very close mentorship. you’ll start to learn journalism:
- Story ideas and news judgment. Successful journalism starts with great story ideas. You’ll begin boot camp by learning news judgment from seasoned editors and correspondents: How to find news stories on your beat, and how to distinguish strong story ideas from weak ones.
- Pitching. A story idea is only a strong as the pitch you make to an editor. Pitching is a precise art. We’ll teach you how to structure story pitches that work.
- Audio newsgathering. You’ll start learning how to prepare radio news packages on your smart phones and laptops.
- Reporting essentials. You’ll start learning how to break news with an efficient and thorough reporting strategy.
- Structuring the 600-800 word news feature. Your editors will also teach you how to draft a compelling feature, up to 800 words in length — the typical space that most news services make available.
- Meeting our partners. Through a combination of newsroom visits and videoconferences, you’ll meet the editors you’ll be pitching around the world – and start learning how they pick stories.
2. Mentored Freelancing To News Organizations Around The World
Fellows with advanced knowledge of a discipline can offer news organizations value as freelance journalists right away with the right mentorship.
Every fellow is assigned to a six-person “bureau” under the mentorship of a highly experienced journalist. Right after bootcamp, you’ll start hunting stories and vetting those ideas with your bureau chief. We’ll send the strongest pitches to our media partners every week. When our partners commission your idea, you’ll report it for them under our mentorship.
- Primary Freelance Arrangements. Each fellow is part of a pool reporting for members of our media network, including major news organizations in the US and Canada. This work takes precedence over other freelance work.
- Secondary Freelance Work. Specialized journalists become “go-to” reporters for media around the world that need such expertise. That means Fellows must learn to work for more than one freelance client at a time. We support fellows as they pitch and file stories to other media around the world, including specialized media focused on a Fellow’s own discipline.
- Mentorship. Mentorship sets this Fellowship apart from other journalism schools, and ensures that fellows are supported in a way that few freelancers are at the beginning of their journalism careers. We assign each fellow to a small ‘bureau’, under the leadership of an experienced journalist acting as ‘bureau chief’. The ‘bureau chief’ mentors them individually on their story judgment, pitching, reporting, and writing. Our journalism mentorship has three dimensions:
- The Bureau Meeting. Fellows meet as a group with their bureau chides every week to review pitches, debrief experiences and plan their careers.
- Editing. Your bureau chief edits the first drafts of every story you write, before you file it to our media partners. Editing is treated as a core learning experience.
- One-on-Ones. Your bureau chief will also meet you individually to discuss your stories and your broader experiences.
3. Classroom Curriculum (Oct. 11, 2022 to Apr. 19, 2023)
After the boot camp, we continue to deepen fellows’ journalism skills with 13 skills courses, taught on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If you’re based in Toronto and conditions allow, you’ll join us on campus at U of T; f you’re outside Toronto, you’ll join us via live videoconference — the experience is the same. Our curriculum sometimes changes to keep pace with industry needs and to incorporate fellows’ feedback, but our current curriculum includes:
- Radio (Scripts and Performance): This course will build on the lessons you’ve learned about basic audio stories in boot camp and teach you how to write scripts for radio stories, and basic voice performance.
- Clean Writing: You’ll learn how to write your stories in clear copy that editors expect to receive, and how to edit yourself to fix mistakes before filing, with particular attention to Canadian Press / Associated Press style.
- Interviewing Skills: You’ll learn effective tools for building a relationship with sources through interviews. Your own experiences will provide the building blocks for stronger interviewing skills.
- Investigative Journalism: You’ll learn when a story idea merits an investigative approach; what a “document frame of mind” is, and the core kinds of documents to look for; and how to plot an investigative reporting strategy. This course is also a key foundation for both Data Reporting and Solutions Journalism.
- Podcasting: Building on your audio training to date, you’ll learn the qualities of a compelling podcast, how to create and edit it using easily available tools, and how to distribute and promote it.
- Smartphone Photography: You’ll learn basic photojournalism for your smartphone.
- Data Journalism: You’ll learn how to look for open data on your beat, how to retrieve it, and, using easily available tools, how to manipulate it responsibly to notice patterns that may be worthy of stories.
- Longform Journalism: You’ll learn how to identify stories worthy of longer written treatment, in magazine form, and the reporting techniques and distinct writing structures necessary to execute compelling, longer pieces.
- Freelance Tradecraft: Fellows will learn how to deploy these skills after the Fellowship, based on successful alumni experiences — ranging from alumni who became reporters for major news organizations in Canada, the US and the UK, to others who have deployed their journalism skills alongside or within other professional careers.
- Performance: You’ll learn how to present your ideas powerfully in an interview with a TV or radio host. These skills will equip you to do broadcast “hits” as experts in their fields.
- Solutions Journalism: You’ll learn how to deploy the rigours of deep reporting into larger projects that investigate the way complex problems are being solved. We’ve developed this course in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network, based in New York.
- CIUT Radio Program Workshop: This is an option for Fellows who choose to produce and contribute to a documentary radio series. You’ll create a long-form show and air it on U of T’s community radio station, CIUT.
4. Coaching for two years after the program (May 2023 – May 2025)
Fellows continue to receive free journalism coaching for two years after the program, through monthly bureau meetings with the program’s bureau chiefs. Fellows can attend the monthly meetings in person in Toronto or online from anywhere in the world.
Fellows graduate in April 2023 with a Certificate in Global Journalism from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.