Before entering the Munk School of Global Affairs Fellowship in Global Journalism program in 2013, Anna Nicolaou, who has a degree in economics, had worked for several years in what she calls “classic business-school jobs:” finance and consulting. Today, she’s a full-time journalist at the Financial Times in New York, and recently reported on the European elections and the Russia-Ukraine crisis for Reuters in Brussels.
But the first news article Nicolaou ever wrote was for The Globe and Mail in Toronto. “I was so lucky to have editors and co-workers there that were enormously supportive and patient,” she says. “I got to write sophisticated stuff about esoteric topics that I’m interested in. I don’t know that I would have liked journalism this much if I hadn’t started there.”
She believes that her current situation would not have been possible without the Munk program. “The best part of the program was getting to learn something totally new with a group of people from such different backgrounds,” Nicolaou says. “We would discuss news stories and hear perspectives from doctors, scientists, architects, human rights advocates.
I think that’s rare and wouldn’t have happened if I had been in a traditional master’s program or at another journalism school.”
After just a month of formal instruction, she began her term at The Globe, where she made connections with editors and wrote articles that allowed her to establish herself as a reporter. In fact, it was one of these articles that won her an Overseas Press Club Foundation award, and that award took her to Brussels to report for Reuters.
“The program showed me that I can do many different things with my life,” Nicolaou says. “I can be an economist, and a journalist, and other things as well. I think so often people define themselves by a specific profession, but the whole experience showed me that you don’t have to confine yourself to one job or one interest.”
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U of T’s Fellowship in Global Journalism is the first program in the world that specifically trains professionals and academics to be reporters. Fellows tap into debates in their own areas of expertise and generate story ideas that conventional journalists might miss.Applications are being accepted for the fellowship’s next year, which will begin in May 2015. The university is hoping to expand the program to 30 fellows per year, and is fundraising for an endowment to support it over the long term.
The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, Postmedia Network, CBC News, Woodbridge Corp (owner of Thomson Reuters), and The Dallas Morning News supported the program with an initial $50,000 donation each in 2012, helping it get off the ground and keeping tuition affordable. Under a separate arrangement, fellows were matched with media partners for the eight-month program. The value of each fellowship is approximately $30,000.
“The Globe and Mail committed to being a founding partner in the fellowship program because we believe that our readers above all want expert insight that they cannot find elsewhere,” says Phillip Crawley, publisher and CEO. “Helping experts in a field to achieve better communication with a wider audience is the end product we want to see. This is a long-term investment in the quality of content. It will take time for it to pay off, but the early signs are encouraging.”
Read all four stories in this series about gifts to the Boundless campaign and the powerful impact they are having:
> Turning subject-matter experts into journalists
> Ethiopia’s sixth pediatric surgeon will share what she’s learned
> Ensuring educational choice for undergraduate students
> The classroom of the future will help engineers get hands-on