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Announcing the Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship

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rabble.ca and Olivia Chow of the Institute for Change Leaders are delighted to announce the inaugural launch of the Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship.

It was six years ago today that Canada lost a great leader. Jack Layton inspired people by example, demonstrating that working together for social and economic justice is possible and achievable.

We are immensely proud to announce this fellowship in Jack's name as part of his ongoing legacy. The fellowship will support emerging writers and journalists who are passionate and engaged in developing unique voices in social change reporting. The fellowship is a wonderful opportunity for strengthening media democracy in Canada while affording excellent mentorship and growth for new voices in our community.

We are excited that the award and successful candidate will be introduced on October 1 by Olivia Chow at a special event in Toronto with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now.

The criteria and guidelines for this fellowship are outlined below. Please note the closing date for applications is September 17, 2017.

We sincerely hope you will support rabble.ca with its ongoing work to sustain independent, progressive media in Canada. Our readers and supporters make our future possible!

If you would like to help make this fellowship a success, and support our special evening with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, we welcome your contribution.

For the Jack Layton Journalism For Change Fellowship,

Kim Elliott
Publisher, rabble.ca

Olivia Chow
Director, Institute for Change Leaders

$2,000 Jack Layton Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship at rabble.ca

The fellow will write at least six articles, one long-form article, and participate biweekly in story meetings with rabble staff. The successful candidate will be mentored and supported in creating their articles.

The application process requires a cover letter, writing samples, your resume, and more.

There is no age requirement to participate.

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

The fellowship pays $2,000.

The deadline for applications is September 17, 2017.

To learn more, read the application guidelines below.


Applications for the first Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship at rabble.ca will be open from August 22, 2017 to September 17, 2017.

rabble.ca is delighted to introduce the Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellowship. The fellowship, launched in conjunction with the Institute for Change Leaders, will consist 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 in its 17th year. 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, his commitment to independent media and to 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 $2,000 for the three-month period.

We are pleased to kick off the inaugural fellowship program and introduce our first award winner at a special event in Toronto on October 1, 2017 with Amy Goodman. The award will be introduced by Olivia Chow.

Fellows will work with rabble.ca during one of the following four quarters:

  • January 1 – March 30
  • April 1 – June 30
  • July 1 – September 30
  • October 1 – December 31

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

  • Indigenous activism
  • Media criticism
  • Environmental policy
  • Civil liberties
  • Canadian arts and culture
  • Feminism

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

  • Produce a minimum of six online articles for rabble.ca in the beat they have pitched. These pieces should be timely news pieces that are approximately 800 words in length.
  • Produce at least one longform article on an issue determined in consultation with rabble.ca's editor.
  • Participate biweekly 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 $2,000 stipend for the three-month fellowship.

Who should apply?

This fellowship was created to cultivate and amplify new voices.

If you are a writer 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, but an independent fellowship designed for writers who want to develop confident, well-rounded voices and are particularly interested in progressive, mission-driven journalism. 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 and two writing samples to [email protected]. Entries close September 17, 2017 at midnight.

rabble.ca is an equal-opportunity employer. We strongly encourage writers of colour, Indigenous, trans and writers with disabilities to apply.  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 or Toronto?

No, fellows do not need to be based in Vancouver or Toronto. Applications from writers based anywhere in Canada will be considered.

Is there an age limit?

There is no set age limit.

How many hours of writing does the fellowship entail?

There is no set time.

How do you define "emerging"?

By "emerging" we mean a writer 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 800-2000 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.

 Image: Flickr/mattjiggins

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