Toronto Star columnist and veteran journalist Gillian Steward recently received the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy in Toronto at The Canadian Journalism Foundation’s 17th annual awards gala. Steward will use the Fellowship to explore the intended and unintended consequences of Alberta’s oil sands development.
The fellowship, is named after one of the Toronto Star’s first publishers, the late Joseph E. Atkinson. The annual fellowship provides a career journalist with $75,000, and an additional $25,000 for expenses, to work exclusively on a “game-changing” public policy story.
“The Fellowship will allow me to hitch my passion, experience and curiosity together so that I can take a long, hard look at one of the most crucial issues facing Canadians whether they live on the shores of Northern British Columbia or in downtown Toronto,” she said in the press release.
Steward cut her teeth as a reporter for the Calgary Herald from 1972 to 1979. After spending six years as a freelance journalist she returned to the paper in 1985 eventually becoming the Herald’s managing editor from 1987-1990.
Her writings on the petroleum industry have earned her three National Journalism Awards from the Canadian Petroleum Association. She has also written extensively about issues associated with oil sands development and has been a key participant in two research projects for the Oil Sands Research Information Network at the University of Alberta that focused on the oil sands and media coverage.
Gillian is also a long time juror on the Dave Greber Freelance Writers Book and Magazine Awards for Social Justice Writing.
As a freelance journalist Steward’s work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, Canadian Business Magazine and Report on Business Magazine. She has also contributed several documentaries to CBC Radio’s Ideas series.
She currently writes a regular column for the Star, teaches journalism at Mount Royal University in Calgary, and is a PhD candidate in communication studies at the University of Calgary.
Steward has been quoted as saying "I am simply another writer who believes social justice issues really matter".
To see Gillian's acceptance speech please go to http://tinyurl.com/ky66a9u