Toronto Star reporter awarded Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship

This year’s winner of the Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship is Toronto Star reporter Marco Chown (left). He is with Chris Waddell, the director of the School of Journalism and Communication, and last year’s winner Mike Blanchfield, of the Canadian Press. (Chris Roussakis Photo)

Marco Chown Oved has spent his journalistic career all over the world – from France, to Africa and now back to Canada.

As the 2014 R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship recipient, the Toronto Star reporter will return to his international reporting roots and bring a story back home to Canadians.

“My background is international reporting and, if anything, coming home to work at the city desk in Toronto has been a learning experience. It’s a different type of reporting and work,” says Oved, who received the award on March 11 at Carleton’s annual Kesterton Lecture. “Now, I’m sort of returning to a more comfortable type of reporting for me and reporting on issues I’ve thought a lot about.”

The $25,000 award will allow Oved to travel to South America and Africa, where he will dig deeper into international development projects funded by Canadian mining companies, and the impact it has on communities.

He says about two years ago, pilot projects developed that included public-private partnerships with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and mining companies, to work on development projects abroad.

“No one has really taken the chance or time to look at these projects,” Oved says. “How is it different than the way we did it before? What are the positives and negatives?”

Throughout the years, he has worked at the Associated Press (AP) in Paris, at l’Equipe, France’s most widely read newspaper and joined France24 television where he helped launch the French version of CNN. He then started covering African news at Radio France Internationale (RFI).

Oved decided to turn his attention to freelancing, where he went to the then-calm Ivory Coast and reported for AP, RFI and France24 – also appearing on Al Jazeera, CBC, Radio-Canada, Radio France, NPR and the BBC. After covering the 2010 contested election and civil war, Oved was the first journalist to walk through former president Laurent Gbagbo’s palace once it was liberated.

These experiences will help Oved has he embarks on covering his next major story, says Mike Blanchfield, the Canadian Press reporter who received the fellowship last year for his report on the human cost of cluster bombs.

“I’m really happy for Marco,” he says. “I think he’s a great choice and I’ll be pulling for him all the way.”

Chris Waddell, head of the journalism and communications school at Carleton, was on the fellowship’s selection committee.

He says the committee felt Oved had a strong story pitch that would have an impact on Canadian public policy, and would be a story Canadians could relate to.

“It’s a really interesting idea,” Waddell says. “And the Toronto Star will give it as much visibility as possible.”

Now in its third year, the award is administered by Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communications, and is named in honour of Jim Travers – a foreign correspondent, editor, and award-winning Toronto Star columnist.

Oved says he’s honoured to receive the fellowship, and he hopes the story will help Canadians see how aid money is being spent.

“Canadians like to think of Canada as a place that does a lot of international aid work,” he says. “I think it’s a great project, and I’m glad (the committee) sees it’s worthy.”

Oved’s reports will be published in the Toronto Star and online later this year.

This entry was written by Kristy Strauss and posted in the issue. Tags applied to this article are: . Leave a comment, bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media:

Kristy Strauss

By Kristy Strauss

Kristy Strauss graduated from Carleton's journalism program in 2009. She is a regular contributor to Carleton Now. She has worked as a reporter for the Kemptville Advance. She currently reports for EMC Ottawa South.

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