Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship

APPLY for the 2021 Journalism for Change Fellowship by Oct 30, 2020

DONATE to support the fund into the future. 

"Don't let them tell you it can't be done." -- Jack Layton

August 22, 2020, marks nine years since Canada lost a great leader and friend. Jack Layton inspired people by example, demonstrating that working together for social and economic justice is possible and achievable.

It is therefore a fitting occasion for rabble.ca and the Institute for Change Leaders to proudly announce the fourth annual search for a recipient of the Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship. The fellowship supports emerging writers and journalists who are passionate and engaged in developing unique voices in social change reporting. The deadline for applications is October 30, 2020.

"Within our current media landscape, opportunities for social change reporting are rare, and opportunities for mentorship are even rarer. The Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship is a unique merger of the two, a chance for an emerging journalist to pursue the stories about economic, environmental and social justice under the guidance of rabble's passionate and talented editorial staff. Above all, the Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship is a call to action; it is a reminder of the urgent need to speak truth to power during these difficult times." -- Phillip Dwight Morgan 

"Fellowships like this are important because it allows you to expand on topics that aren't otherwise covered in the media. The Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship gave me even more motivation to continue exploring and digging deeper bringing justice to those communities I was reporting on, giving voice to those who didn't have a platform." - Olivia Robinson 

"It's important to hold space for young BIPOC writers to develop their investigative skills with access to resources and mentorship. I appreciated the support from the small but mighty rabble team, and for the opportunity to dig deep into social justice issues with an anti-oppressive lens. Throughout the course of this fellowship, I was able to share stories on abolitionism, surveillance, and the growing disparities for Black youth in conflict with the law." - Lidia Abraha

The Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship is a unique and exciting opportunity to strengthen media democracy in Canada while affording excellent mentorship and growth for new voices in the Canadian media landscape. Encourage the exciting, developing journalists in your community to apply! Details below.

Over the past three years, each of the selected Jack Layton Journalism for Change fellows has brought insight and passion to the role, amplifying underrepresented voices and stories. Their work has tackled themes such as systemic racial and economic inequality, and the vital role that public libraries play in strengthening social justice measures. Our most recent fellow, freelance journalist Lidia Abraha, focused on stories of community with an anti-oppressive lens, including some of the issues most urgently affecting racialized and marginalized communities, notably racism in the criminal justice and policing system. You can follow her work here

If you would like to support the development of a new generation of journalists who are critical thinkers and have an understanding of social justice journalism, and if you want to carry on Jack's legacy, please consider making a special donation to this fund. If your organization would like to become a sponsor, please do not hesitate to be in touch with [email protected] to discuss opportunities. 

In solidarity,

Olivia Chow, Institute for Change Leaders

Kim Elliott, publisher - rabble.ca 

PS: We are very proud to preserve Jack Layton's legacy through our commitment to the Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship. This fellowship is only possible through community support: through donations from individuals and from founding support from organizations including UNIFOR, USW District 6 and CUPE Ontario. 

$3,000 Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship at rabble.ca

The fellow will develop a work plan with rabble's editor based on their submitted proposal that will include a combination of news reporting and feature writing. The fellow will participate in story meetings with rabble editors and staff over a period of three months. The successful candidate will be mentored and supported in creating their articles.

The application process requires a cover letter, writing samples, a pitch and your resume. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of judges, and readers will be encouraged to also have their say in the process -- with an opportunity for the final shortlist of applicants to showcase some of their best work in an online voting tool. All shortlisted candidates will also be invited to write a (paid) story for rabble.

There is no age requirement to participate.

Applicants must reside in Canada for the duration of the fellowship.

The fellowship pays $3,000.

The deadline for applications is October 30, 2020.

To learn more, read the application guidelines below.


Applications for the fourth Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship at rabble.ca will be open from August 22, 2020, to October 30, 2020.

rabble.ca is delighted to host the Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship. The fellowship, launched in conjunction with the Institute for Change Leaders, consists of a three-month intensive writing experience, the goal of which is to support and amplify diverse voices in reporting in Canada.

rabble.ca is an independent, nonprofit progressive media organization now nearing its 20th anniversary. Our mission is to provide and encourage an engaged, thoughtful response to mainstream media and to report and amplify the messages of progressive movements. We provide fresh perspectives on contemporary issues in politics, labour, environmental activism, and Canadian arts and culture.

rabble.ca was founded in 2001 by a group of open-source technology advocates, frustrated journalists from the mainstream media, and social justice activists through a one-time grant from the Atkinson Foundation. These were the early days of the internet, and it was at the height of the anti-globalization movements. rabble's founders envisioned the possibilities of an online publication that would rival corporate media for audience base and influence by opening access to a diversity of voices and talent excluded by the elitist practices of most media.

rabble demonstrates its ongoing commitment to media democracy through ethical and rigorous journalistic practices, through education and training, and by amplifying the work and voices of those not represented by the interests of corporate media.

Jack Layton (1950-2011) was a grassroots organizer and leader of the federal NDP from 2003 until his death. Launched in partnership with the Institute for Change Leaders, the fellowship's goal is to continue the legacy of Jack Layton's lifelong passion for social change and his commitment to independent media and progressive movements.

As a respected activist, academic, municipal leader, and leader of the federal New Democrats, Jack inspired Canadians to be their best and to do their best. He demanded excellence in striving for democratic and progressive political change at the local and national levels.

Jack inspired people by example, demonstrating that working together for social and economic justice was achievable and possible. His vision and pragmatic approach brought hope and optimism to the political arena and to public discourse. This fellowship is named in his honour and legacy.

The fellowship is intended to support emerging writers and journalists. We are seeking fellows who are passionate, engaged, and interested in developing their unique voices in social change reporting. The fellowship pays a stipend of $3,000 for the three-month period.

Fellows will work with rabble.ca over a mutually agreed three-month period in the year following their selection. 

Fellows will be asked to pitch a beat as part of the application process, and will be expected to cover national events. 

For details on how to pitch, please see our pitch guidelines here.

During the three-month fellowship the Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellow will:

  • Produce weekly news reports for rabble.ca in the beat they have pitched. These pieces should be timely news pieces that are approximately 600-800 words in length.

  • This may be in combination with a longform piece on an issue determined in consultation with rabble.ca's editor.

  • Participate in rabble story meetings (by phone or online conferencing) and join rabble's virtual newsroom on Slack.

  • Receive mentorship and support in creating, shaping, and editing articles.

  • Receive a $3,000 stipend for the three-month fellowship.

Who should apply?

The fellowship was created to cultivate and amplify new voices, and is designed for writers who want to develop confident, well-rounded voices and are particularly interested in progressive, mission-driven journalism.

If you are a journalist who wants to grow your publication experience, we strongly encourage you to apply. If you are passionate about the need to report on social movements but do not have a history of writing or blogging about them, we strongly encourage you to apply.

This is not a full-time position. Fellows must be based in Canada.

Writers who have contributed to rabble.ca before will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Candidates will be evaluated by a jury of three journalists.

How to apply

Please send a cover letter indicating why you should be the Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellow together with your resume, beat pitch, and two writing samples to [email protected]. Entries close October 30, 2020 at midnight.

rabble.ca is an equal-opportunity employer. We strongly encourage writers of colour, Indigenous and LGBTQ writers, and writers with disabilities to apply. rabble is committed to the principles of social advocacy journalism outlined in our editorial policy.

We hope that our fellows will be able to find a community among their co-fellows and the workers of rabble.ca.

Have questions? Read our FAQ below.


Do I have to be based in Vancouver, Toronto or Ottawa?

No, fellows do not need to be based in Vancouver, Ottawa or Toronto.

Applications from writers based anywhere in Canada will be considered.

Is there an age limit?

There is no set age limit.

How do you define "emerging"?

By "emerging" we mean a journalist who has some experience writing for an audience (maybe post-secondary media, a blog, regional or local writing or reporting, online sites) but who has not been published widely.

How long should my samples be?

Anywhere from 800 to 2,000 words.

What if I've contributed to rabble in the past?

People who have contributed to rabble in the past will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

What if I don't have many writing samples?

Then you can use this as a chance to write something specifically for this application!

What if my writing samples aren't about the subject I'm applying for?

That's fine.


Thank you for reading this story…

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