Carleton University’s Susan Harada, associate director of the School of Journalism and Communication, announced today that journalist Sarah R. Champagne and documentary photographer Michel Huneault have received this year’s $25,000 R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship. The fellowship is administered by Carleton University and supports a significant foreign reporting project by a Canadian journalist or journalism student.
“This year’s fellowship received widespread interest and story proposals from an impressive pool of candidates,” said Harada. “The winning proposal will take an in-depth look at an issue of increasing importance in a globally connected world.”
The announcement was made during a reception on Parliament Hill hosted by Senator Jim Munson, which was attended by members of the Travers family, parliamentarians and colleagues of the former foreign correspondent. Travers was editor of the Ottawa Citizen, executive editor of the Toronto Star and an award-winning Ottawa columnist for The Star at the time of his death on March 3, 2011.
“There is no better place for this announcement to be made than on Parliament Hill,” said Senator Munson. “When Jim wasn’t reporting on events overseas, he was in these halls covering politics and national affairs. On behalf of everyone here today, I would like to congratulate Sarah and Michel on receiving the 2016 R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship.”
Champagne and Huneault will examine how money transfers from migrants, the now routine and repetitive act of sending a few dollars home, reshapes their countries of origin. Carried out by millions, this practice has become an important source of cash flow in developing countries. Together, migrants sent home more than $570 billion in 2014.
“Our feature doesn’t only intend to follow the money trail,” said Champagne. “We also want to portray the fine intricacies of our interdependent world. We aim to use the ‘small picture’ to draw a bigger picture of migratory movements that have reached levels never seen before. As this is a subject that captivates both of us, the Travers fellowship will give our team a precious occasion to focus on the story and to go beyond day-to-day reporting.”
“In a time when an increasing amount of foreign coverage is now done by freelancers like us, the Travers fellowship gives us essential and rarefied support in a media environment in crisis,” said Huneault. “It is an empowering honour to receive such recognition, not only for us but for the upcoming generation of journalists and storytellers.”
Last year’s recipient, Laura Payton, travelled to Tanzania and Haiti to complete a series of online stories delving into maternal, newborn and child health in developing countries.
About Sarah R. Champagne:
Sarah R. Champagne is a Montréal-based journalist. Having studied international relations and journalism, she quickly combined her many interests. Her work focuses on in-depth individual stories, out of which emerge larger international themes, especially around migration.
Even before obtaining her diploma, she freelanced from Argentina and Chile, after which she cut her teeth in a hyperlocal newspaper and in a young data journalism agency. She then joined a Radio-Canada/CBC web team that rethinks radio online. A fellowship with Le Devoir introduced her more regularly to the newspaper industry.
Last spring, while working on a story about Nepalese migrants in Dubai, her work was interrupted by the strong earthquake that hit Nepal. She quickly made her way to Kathmandu and then to the epicenter of the quake to cover the catastrophe from the ground.
Champagne has been a member of the board of the Québec Association of Freelancers (AJIQ) for three years. Still early in her career, she has made it her mandate to join multi-disciplinary teams to work on stories in a more complementary and complex fashion. A journalist first and foremost, she believes well-built multimedia projects can foster empathy in the Canadian public and complement traditional press.
About Michel Huneault:
Michel Huneault is a freelance documentary photographer based in Montréal. Before devoting himself full time to photography in 2008, Huneault worked for more than a decade in the international development field, which took him to over 20 countries, including one full year spent in Afghanistan. Michel holds an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of California (Berkeley), where he was a Rotary World Peace Fellow researching the role of collective memory in large-scale traumatic recovery. At Berkeley, he was an assistant for Magnum photographer Gilles Peress and afterwards held an apprenticeship with him in New York.
Currently, his practice focuses on development and humanitarian-related issues, personal and collective traumas and complex geographies. His body of work, often mixing photography with audio and video elements, includes projects created in Canada (Lac-Mégantic), Japan (Tohoku), Haiti (Port-au-Prince) and across Europe during the 2015 migratory crisis. Working at the crossroads of journalism and art, he has also received support from the Quebec and Canada Arts Councils. Huneault has exhibited and published across North America and Europe. In September 2015, his long term commitment to Lac-Mégantic was awarded the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor prize.
About Jim Travers:
Travers worked as the Southam News correspondent in Africa and the Middle East during the 1980s covering major stories – from apartheid in South Africa and the Ethiopian famine, to the conflict in Lebanon and the Iran-Iraq war. Returning to Canada, he continued an influential career as general manager of Southam News, editor of the Ottawa Citizen, executive managing editor of the Toronto Star and finally as an award-winning national affairs columnist known for his compassion and playful wit.
He believed Canadians deserve first-hand, in-depth coverage of important stories outside our borders. He argued passionately that it is crucial for Canadian reporters to “bear witness” – because in our interconnected world, foreign news is local news.
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