2021-22 Michael Gordon Fellowships Guidelines & Criteria

Key Dates

Applications for the latest round of Michael Gordon Fellowships have closed. Information on the next round will be available soon.

2021-22 Guidelines and Criteria



Entries for this round have now closed

The following is a basic outline of the Fellowships program and criteria information for applications. You can download this as a PDF by clicking the link above.



The national fellowship program for social justice journalism honours the memory of Michael Gordon, the widely respected former political editor of The Age newspaper who died suddenly in February 2018.

The grants aim to encourage and enable the kind of journalism Michael Gordon exemplified by funding reporting projects in the field of social justice journalism in Australia and overseas – covering areas such as Indigenous affairs, migration policy, human rights and international development.

The fellowships are administered and promoted by the Melbourne Press Club and awarded by an independent panel appointed by the club in partnership with the Gordon family.

The panel will look to support proposals that highlight inequity and injustice with insight, fairness and compassion – and champion those who work to achieve social justice. It will favour projects that demonstrate originality and potential impact.

Supporters of the program include the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, Nine Entertainment and Robyn Carter.



  • The grants contribute to costs incurred in researching, producing and publishing social justice journalism by Australians working in Australia or on assignment overseas. This includes such items as transport, accommodation, research assistance and other related costs.
  • Freelance applicants may also seek a daily allowance of $200 towards their labour during the period of research, travel and publishing.
  • The maximum individual grant is $10,000 but, in exceptional circumstances, a larger grant may be agreed at the discretion of the selection panel.
  • Up to two people can travel on one grant (for example, a journalist and a videographer).
  • Fellows will need to be self-reliant. All arrangements, including transport, accommodation, visas and travel insurance will be the responsibility of the applicant.



  • All health and safety precautions will be the responsibility of the fellows.
  • Fellows will be expected to observe applicable international travel warnings issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • The MPC will not be responsible or liable in the event of any health or security problems that might arise in the course of travel.



  • Australian journalists, photographers and videographers working in print, broadcast and digital media, freelance journalists and accomplished journalism students are welcome to apply.
  • Applicants must demonstrate an established track record in the media or have their skills vouched for by recognised professionals.
  • The grants are intended to enable the creation of content for established media outlets, including newer digital outlets, and cannot be used to fund academic research or for a personal blog.
  • All applicants must undertake to adhere to the code of ethics published by the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, observe the laws of Australia and any other countries visited in the course of their research and agree not to engage in any conduct that would bring into disrepute the Michael Gordon Fellowships program.
  • Fellows will need to demonstrate how they will achieve their research project outcome pending ongoing Covid 19 travel restrictions and border closures.



  • Fellows hold copyright over their work but the Melbourne Press Club reserves the right to republish or re-broadcast any of the content for the purposes of promoting the fellowship program.
  • Applicants will need to provide a written confirmation of support that an established media outlet intends to publish their work.
  • It is expected that the content created with the support of a grant will be published/broadcast within three months of the funding being provided unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  • The support provided by the fellowship program must be acknowledged clearly by the publisher or broadcaster of the work.
  • Fellows may also be requested to speak about their work at an MPC event.



  • A written outline of the story or project proposal and what it seeks to achieve in no more than 750 words (all information will be treated as confidential).
  • Your outline needs to demonstrate how the project will highlight inequity and injustice with insight, fairness and compassion – and/or champion those who work to achieve social justice.
  • A budget of the expected costs to be incurred in travel, accommodation and related expenses and, in the case of freelance and student journalists, the number of working days you wish to claim. The budget should be supported as much as possible with fully quoted costs, not estimates.
  • A statement about destinations you intend to travel to - and how.
  • A statement identifying health and safety risks involved in the travel and how these will be managed.
  • A statement about how the research project will be achieved, pending ongoing Covid travel restrictions and border closures.
  • Applicants employed by media organisations must provide written confirmation of support for their application from an appropriate editor, news director or producer.
  • For freelancers and students, written confirmation of intention to publish from an established media outlet is required.
  • Contact details of employers or commissioning editors will be requested for verification by the selection panel.
  • Applicants employed by mainstream media organisations are encouraged to propose budgets that acknowledge a co-contribution by their employers.


Apply to join the Melbourne Press Club

Membership is $100 for journalists, $150 for associate members and $40 for students.

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