‘Our mini-bursaries are designed to help Canadian freelancers and freelancers of other nationalities serving Canadian media, take advantage of these opportunities’
The Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma re-opened its annual Forum Freelance Fund (FFF) bursary competition for hostile environment and first aid training (HEFAT) with rules adjusted to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These are unprecedented times for journalists, with the pandemic compounding other safety and stress issues,” Cliff Lonsdale, forum president. “Many organizations have responded by offering a variety of virtual courses, dealing with handling the pandemic itself, with covering civil unrest, digital security and so on. Our mini-bursaries are designed to help Canadian freelancers and freelancers of other nationalities serving Canadian media, take advantage of these opportunities.”
Winners will now have up to two years to take a $2,5000 HEFAT course, as they are gradually reinstated by course providers. They can also take a combination of virtual and live training over this period.
FFF bursaries can also be used to pay for refresher courses for journalists whose HEFAT qualifications may be out of date, some of which are now being offered on a virtual basis.
Also, a new companion competition will provide a stream of smaller bursaries intended to help freelancers take advantage of topic-specific virtual safety courses now being offered by a variety of journalism and safety organizations in Canada and abroad. Initial funding has been provided for at least 15 bursaries of up to $400 each.
Applications for both bursary streams opened on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, and separate online application forms for each type of bursary can be accessed through the forum's website. The competition for the regular FFF bursaries will close on August 31.
Mini-bursaries will be awarded on a continuing basis until funding is exhausted or the Forum announces its closure.
In June, groups of Canadian news workers expressed their anger over how the police in the U.S. have treated Canadian journalists, and journalists in general, who are covering the protests which have followed the death in police custody of George Floyd.
Also, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) released the results of a survey it conducted, which found that COVID-19 has increased gender inequalities in the media.