Carleton University’s Susan Harada, associate director of the School of Journalism and Communication, announced today that Aleksandra Sagan and Laura Kane have received this year’s $25,000 R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship. The fellowship is administered by Carleton and supports a significant foreign reporting project by Canadian journalists or journalism students.
“It’s heartening that we received such high-calibre applications for the fellowship that bears Jim’s name,” Harada said. “Our 2018 recipients—a team of two—proposed a project that the selection committee felt embodies Jim’s belief in the crucial nature of journalism’s international mission.”
Canadian Press reporters Sagan and Kane plan to use the fellowship to travel to India and South Africa to examine the impact of antimicrobial resistance and innovative approaches to combating an impending global crisis for a series to be published by the national wire service.
Growing resistance to life-saving antibiotics kills hundreds of thousands of people each year by some estimates and costs governments millions. Without urgent action, the death toll is expected to rise to 10 million annually by 2050, and cost the global economy trillions.
“We will explore the epidemic in India, a hotbed for new superbugs, and South Africa, a nation fighting to contain the deadliest antibiotic-resistant disease today: drug-resistant tuberculosis,” said Kane. “While this issue may seem distant, bacteria don’t respect borders and pose a threat to Canadians’ health and safety.”
The announcement was made at an event hosted by Senator Jim Munson and 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.
“Jim brought the Canadian perspective to global events,” said Munson. “He is an inspiration and a role model for a new generation of foreign correspondents and I congratulate this year’s fellowship recipients for tackling this pressing global health issue.”
“We are grateful to the selection committee and the Travers family for the opportunity to pursue this story,” said Sagan. “We hope the project carries on Jim Travers’s legacy of bringing important international issues to Canadians in our increasingly interconnected world.”
About Aleksandra Sagan
Sagan is a Vancouver-based business reporter for The Canadian Press, covering the food and beverage industries, retail and technology. She’s dug into why some of the country’s egg producers shun free-range farms, the secretive process of cryptojacking, the growing do-it-yourself mortician movement and the ongoing legal battle between Tim Hortons and its franchisees – among many other stories.
Her interest in antimicrobial resistance started after working on a piece about a Canadian company that developed a natural alternative to using antibiotics in animal feed.
Sagan has travelled in Ontario, Quebec and the United States to tell stories for the wire service in print, online, audio and video.
She worked previously as an online writer for CBC News and graduated from the University of British Columbia’s Master of Journalism program.
About Laura Kane
Kane is a journalist with The Canadian Press in Vancouver. She covers a wide range of issues, including gender, sexual violence, Indigenous rights, child welfare, drug policy, housing and the environment.
Kane holds a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia. In 2016, she was nominated for best news reporting at the Jack Webster Awards, which honour excellence in B.C. journalism. Her work showed how universities struggle to respond to sexual assaults and her reporting was specifically referenced in the legislature when the province announced it would require post-secondary institutions to have clear sexual misconduct policies.
Before she joined The Canadian Press, Kane was a reporter for the Toronto Star, where she covered such major stories as the police shooting of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim. She wrote a series on Toronto police killings of people with mental illness that revealed Mental Health Act apprehensions had increased more than 16 times since the 1990s.
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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