The Gordon N. Fisher/JHR Journalism Fellowship at Massey College in the University of Toronto

The Gordon N. Fisher/JHR Journalism Fellowship is an annual opportunity for a journalist from Sub-Saharan Africa or the Middle East to participate in the William Southam Journalism Fellowship Program at Massey College in the University of Toronto.

About the Fellowship

The Fisher Fellowship runs in tandem with the William Southam Journalism Fellowships and takes place over one
academic year – September to May – at the University of Toronto.

Fellows are able to choose from a wide range of university courses and activities, are free to audit any graduate or
undergraduate courses and have access to the University’s many facilities. Fellows live at Massey College, a
multi-disciplinary graduate residential college in the University of Toronto. There are no educational prerequisites for a
Fellowship, nor do Fellows receive credits or degrees for work done during the academic year. The program typically
requires auditing at least two academic courses a semester; one academic course must be taken in full and all assignments

The Fisher/JHR Fellow meets regularly with his or her Canadian counterparts in informal seminars to discuss issues with
speakers from a wide variety of professions. They also participate in full in any trips organized as part of the program.
To obtain the maximum benefit from the program, Fellows agree to refrain from professional work, including writing and
broadcasting, during the period of the Fellowship. Personal holidays are restricted to University holiday periods.

Applicants should note that the University of Toronto, St. George campus, does not offer courses in Journalism.

The Fellowship underwrites:

(1) an eight-month stipend that will replicate the successful applicant’s salary along with any costs associated with the
program. The first monthly installment will commence with an end-September payment and conclude with the
end-April payment;

(2) all university fees;

(3) travel expenses up to the cost of economy airfare to and from Toronto for the Fellow;

(4) travel expenses for organized trips during the program;

(5) a winter clothing allowance;

(6) a book allowance.

Please note that there are no provisions for family members.

Funding for the Gordon N. Fisher/JHR Fellowship has been provided by a generous gift from the Alva Foundation. The program is administered by Massey College in the University of Toronto, the host organization in Canada, with the support of Journalists for Human Rights.


Applicants are shortlisted by JHR staff and the successful candidate is selected by a committee headed by the Master of Massey College, the Senior Southam Fellow and a senior director at JHR. The successful applicant is chosen for professional competence and future potential as an effective and responsible journalist. Both male and female journalists are encouraged to apply. Successful candidates are curious, smart and engaged. They are able to adapt to life in a cold climate for several months. They are open to learning from a new and unfamiliar culture, and interested in building their profile internationally.


  • 5 years’ experience working in media
  • Currently full-time as a news or editorial employee at a newspaper, radio station, television station, magazine or news service. Freelance journalists who have been working consistently in the media over an eight-year period will also be considered
  • Proficiency in English
  • Three letters of reference
  • Statement of intent
  • Proposal for plan of study

Incomplete applications with missing documents will not be considered.

The application time for the 2023-2024 Fellowship has ended. We appreciate all applicants’ time and interest. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted by early April.  


Wanja Gathu is a Kenyan journalist with over 15 years of multimedia experience, working with both local and international media.

She is the 2022-2023 Gordon N. Fisher / JHR Fellow at Massey College, and a passionate human rights defender and a strong advocate for social justice and peacebuilding.

She aspires to a world where people’s rights are respected and protected – a world free from injustice and discrimination. She has written and published hard-hitting articles that speak truth to power and calling out government excesses in her home country Kenya.

Elizabeth holds a Diploma in Mass Communication from the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication and is an avid Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation student. She is a mother of two teenage sons. She enjoys traveling, reading, and writing.


Patrick Egwu is a Nigerian freelance investigative journalist whose work on human rights, social justice, migration, and global health in sub-Saharan Africa has been published by Foreign PolicyNPRDaily MaverickChristian CenturyAmerica Magazine and elsewhere.

Patrick recently completed an Open Society Foundation fellowship on Investigative Reporting at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. He also has master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. In February, he won the 2021 International Center for Journalists’ Global Health Crisis Award for Covid-19 reporting.

Read Patrick’s conversation with JHR here.


Emefa Nancy Dzradosi is a Ghanaian journalist who specializes in field reporting, anchoring and production. Her work focuses on human rights and the environment. Nancy has held key positions at Joy FM and Accra Metropolitan Assembly’s Clean Ghana Campaign. She was awarded the best Sanitation Reporter in 2020 by the Ghana Journalists Association.

Read JHR’s conversation with Emefa here