The Munk School of Global Affairs is partnering with five major media organizations to open a new path into global journalism for people with advanced knowledge of specific subjects. Starting in September 2012, the Munk School Fellowships in Global Journalism will teach 10 subject matter specialists how to cover their own disciplines for media around the world. The program is a partnership with the Globe and Mail, CBC News, the Toronto Star, Postmedia Networks and the Thomson Reuters Foundation. It’s led by Robert Steiner, a Pulitzer Prize finalist who was U of T’s assistant vice-president of Strategic Communications from 2006 to 2010.
The program serves a growing demand for reporters with advanced expertise to cover complex beats for international media, Steiner says. “Someone who really knows a subject should be able to own their beat worldwide,” he explains, “but you need three things most J-schools don’t offer: Deep knowledge of a specialty, experience reporting for diverse clients and entrepreneurial discipline.”
So, while traditional journalism students take classes for two years and work as interns for three months, Munk School Fellows will spend eight months freelancing with the program’s media partners and others including the BBC and the Financial Times. Fellows will also be mentored by their bureau chief and take seminar-style courses in journalism skills, entrepreneurship and global affairs.
All this complements U of T’s 50 years hosting the Canadian Journalism Fellowships at Massey College. CJF Fellows are mid-career journalists who study a specialty at U of T, Steiner notes, while “Munk School Fellows will be specialists who come to U of T to start as journalists.”