Big Boost to Safety Training for Freelancers at Risk

Zack Baddorf (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)

Tanya Bindra (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)

Rebecca Collard (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)

Félix Brian Corriveau (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)

Meghan Davidson Ladly (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)

Marc Ellison (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)

Kiana Hayeri (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)

Julie Masis (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)

LONDON, ON, July 22, 2014 /CNW/ - It's a record. Eight freelancers who put themselves in danger to cover news for Canadian media will get safety training, the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma announced today.

They are the 2014 winners of bursaries worth up to $2,500 each from the Forum Freelance Fund, which will allow them to attend hazardous environment training courses in the United States or Britain over the next nine months.

"Cash-strapped media organizations are relying more and more on freelancers for coverage from the world's most dangerous places," said Forum president Cliff Lonsdale. "We had a record number of applications this year and we've responded in kind."

One freelancer filed her application from Northern Iraq, as she covered the invasion by the extreme Islamist group, ISIS.  By the time the independent jury awarded her a bursary, she was covering the conflict between Israel and Gaza.  Others have been working in hotspots that include Iran, Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Cambodia.

Five of the eight winners are women, most winners are Canadians and all of them work independently for Canadian and foreign media organizations. Many Canadian news organizations, including The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, La Presse, The Montreal Gazette, The Tyee, The Vancouver Sun, CBC and Radio-Canada are among their clients.

The Forum Freelance Fund has been awarding safety training bursaries since 2011. Nine bursaries were awarded in the fund's first three years.  The fund is sponsored by CBC News and supported by Radio-Canada, CNW and by individual donations. 

"We appreciate the support we get, but it's not enough. This year our board voted to boost the fund by adding to it from other revenues," Lonsdale said. "We've set a new standard, and the challenge will be to maintain it.  For that we'll need to get more news organizations or other interested parties into the tent. Demand is rising, and working together through an independent and impartial fund is the only practical way to meet it."

The Forum Freelance Fund co-operates with a UK-based charity, the Rory Peck Trust, and as a result some of the FFF bursary winners receive additional funding from that source.

The Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma is a volunteer-run charity primarily concerned with the physical and emotional wellbeing of journalists. Earlier this year it published an acclaimed journalist-to-journalist guide to mental health reporting, in English and French versions.

"We're also developing our Inner Circle project, to give coping tools to family members and significant others of journalists affected by work-related stress or emotional trauma," Lonsdale added.

The 2014 winners of Forum Freelance Fund safety training bursaries are:

Zack Baddorf:  In the past year, has reported from Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Crimera and Ukraine.  Clients include CBC, The Tyee, Deutsche Welle, BBC, Radio France International, Radio Netherlands and others.   

Tanya Bindra:  Covers West Africa from her base in Mali as a reporter, photographer and videographer, including street battles between jihadists and French and Malian forces in the occupation of Mali's northern territories by al-Qaeda-linked rebels.  Clients include The Globe and Mail, Associated Press, Al Jazeera English, CNN and Vice News.

Rebecca Collard:  Has been covering the Middle East, including Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, and Israel since 2009.  Clients include CBC, The Montreal Gazette, BBC, Voice of America, Time Magazine and Christian Science Monitor. 

Félix Brian Corriveau: Recently travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo to report on allegations of human rights breaches against a Canadian mining company, the plight of women and children used as sex-slaves nearby, and on Congolese refugees in neighbouring Rwanda. Clients include Radio-Canada.

Meghan Davidson Ladly: Travels frequently to Pakistan where she works in Karachi and along Pakistan's borders with Afghanistan, China and India. She often reports on gender issues and minorities.  Clients include The Toronto Star, This Magazine, The New York Times and The International New York Times.

Marc Ellison:  Works extensively in hazardous environments in Africa including Mali, South Sudan, Central African Republic and Uganda.  His work with child soldiers in Uganda won a CAJ/CNW award last year.  Clients include The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The Tyee, The Vancouver Sun and BBC.

Kiana Hayeri:  Based in Tehran, Iran, working as a photographer and videographer.  Clients include The Globe and Mail, CBC, Al Jazeera English, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and Newsweek.

Julie Masis:  Covers Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, Vietnam, China and Thailand, from her base in Cambodia, where journalists can be at serious risk when they step on the toes of powerful people. Clients include The Globe and Mail, The Montreal Gazette, Le Journal de Montréal, The Christian Science Monitor and The Guardian.

SOURCE Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma

Image with caption: "Zack Baddorf (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140722_C2608_PHOTO_EN_4420.jpg

Image with caption: "Tanya Bindra (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140722_C2608_PHOTO_EN_4421.jpg

Image with caption: "Rebecca Collard (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140722_C2608_PHOTO_EN_4422.jpg

Image with caption: "Félix Brian Corriveau (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140722_C2608_PHOTO_EN_4427.jpg

Image with caption: "Meghan Davidson Ladly (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140722_C2608_PHOTO_EN_4423.jpg

Image with caption: "Marc Ellison (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140722_C2608_PHOTO_EN_4424.jpg

Image with caption: "Kiana Hayeri (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140722_C2608_PHOTO_EN_4425.jpg

Image with caption: "Julie Masis (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140722_C2608_PHOTO_EN_4426.jpg








For further information: Jane Hawkes, Executive Producer, Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma, 1-519 852-4946, jane.hawkes@journalismforum.ca