The R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship

Honourable senators, it has been a year since Jim Travers died suddenly, leaving countless readers and viewers, who turned to him for his thorough and wise coverage of the news, reeling from shock. Praise for this intelligent and extremely likeable man came from everywhere — from the Prime Minister and opposition leaders, to journalists and others who worked with him during his long, exemplary career.

Some of the quotes about him were that he was “a journalist’s journalist; a first-rate friend of many years; . . . someone who loved journalism for all the right reasons.”

Jim always brought tremendous skill to his work as a reporter, as a foreign correspondent and Bureau Chief for Southam News, as Editor of the Ottawa Citizen and as Managing Editor of the Toronto Star. “A clever and reassuring presence in print and on television” is how Don Newman described him. I could not agree more.

The knowledge and insight Jim garnered from each job he held and every event he covered continually enriched his ability to tell a story. He was committed to his craft. As focused as he was on honing his own skills, he was just as much a trustworthy source of encouragement and guidance for other journalists.

To commemorate Jim’s ideals and ensure that journalists will continue to benefit from his contribution to the field, his friends and family have established the R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship. Jim particularly cherished the experience of bringing Canadian stories of important events taking place outside our borders — in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere. Each year, the fellowship in his name will award a Canadian journalist or a journalism student a $25,000 grant to support a significant foreign reporting project.

Honourable senators, it is my pleasure to tell you that the first recipient of this fellowship has been selected and will be announced this afternoon, at 4 p.m., at a reception right here on Parliament Hill, in the Commonwealth Room. That is room 238-S, Centre Block. Of course, to entice my former journalistic friends, I said that refreshments will be served. I hope to have a big attendance and I also hope to have a few senators from both sides there because I think it is important for Jim, for his family, for journalism, for Senator Wallin, for Senator Duffy, for Senator Fraser, for Senator Fairbairn, for me, and for all of us who have worked in that special field.

Honourable senators, Jim Travers for me was a wonderful person. We worked on the road together. What happened on the road will stay on the road. What happens here, stays here. I hope my honourable friends will be able to attend this event, which will be memorable, moving and fitting to Jim himself.