At Massey College’s 60th anniversary celebrations last weekend, we caught up with Patrick Egwu about his experience as the 2021-2022 Gordon N. Fisher / JHR Journalism Fellow. Patrick is an award-winning investigative journalist from Nigeria who has written extensively about human rights, social justice, migration, and global health in sub-Saharan Africa. He previously completed the Open Society Foundation fellowship on Investigative Reporting at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.
Here’s what next for Patrick:
JHR: Patrick, we heard you have some fantastic news to share with us.
I will be joining The Globe and Mail in the summer. That’s some exciting news for me and I’m looking forward to joining the team. This is an amazing opportunity to do journalism in Canada and learn more about how the media landscape works. I have had the opportunity of meeting experts from diverse backgrounds since I moved to Toronto last year. These contacts will definitely come in handy during my new role at The Globe.
JHR: That’s amazing, Patrick! Congratulations. What are you most looking forward to in this exciting role?
I will be joining the Report on Business desk, which is one of the premier sections at The Globe. This will be my first time doing mostly business stories. My reporting is originally at the intersection of human rights, social justice, global health, migration, and conflict in sub-Saharan Africa. But writing about business or the economy is also an interesting and exciting task because poor policies in these sectors directly affect everyone, especially vulnerable communities. So, I’m excited to be doing this and looking forward to getting started. I particularly hope to do stories on business that affect people such as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses, Canada’s housing crisis, and how price increases are changing food-buying habits of citizens in the country. These are topics that affect everyone and stories that highlight these issues are very important.
JHR: This also means that your time as a Massey Fellow is coming to an end. How was your experience?
Spending a year at Massey College has been one of the best highlights of my journalism career. I had the opportunity of meeting different people from diverse backgrounds including experts, politicians, activists, lawyers, entrepreneurs, academics, Canadian media executives, and publishers. I audited courses on human rights, global health, and politics from different departments at the University of Toronto. Taking a year from work and crazy deadlines to have some personal reflections and do readings on different subjects is therapeutic and just incredible. In addition, Massey is home to some of the brightest young minds you would ever meet out there. I call Massey a mini-United Nations because you meet people from diverse fields and backgrounds. I am honoured to have shared a space with them and tapped some knowledge from respective fields such as medicine, music, law, and politics not just in Canada, but around the world. Most importantly, I bonded with four amazing Canadian journalists during the fellowship, including having some memorable times during trips in Newfoundland and Berlin. Friendships and relationships like these last a lifetime.
JHR: Do you have any advice for the incoming Fisher fellow and the other journalists who will apply for this opportunity in the future?
It’s important to get immersed in the program, attend all events, initiate ideas to your colleagues, meet people and just have fun. This fellowship has had a tremendous impact on my career and I mean it. Last year, I had some journalists across Africa reach out to me for guidance during the application process for this year’s fellowship. I spent some time reviewing their applications and telling them how this is an amazing opportunity that would change the course of their career. I also told them how highly coveted the fellowship is and why they shouldn’t give up hopes of trying again if their applications are not considered. I have no idea who the incoming fellow is, but he/she would definitely have a great time here. Caveat: prepare for winter and watch out for the raccoons.