February 1, 2024 – Established in 1997, the prestigious Marshall McLuhan Fellowship is awarded annually by the Canadian Embassy in the Philippines to a recipient “embodying outstanding qualities in the field of investigative journalism.” Launched in 1997, it is part of the embassy’s advocacy to encourage responsible journalism in the Philippines with the belief that a strong media is essential to a strong democratic society. Sun Life of Canada is a major sponsor of the program.
The incumbent Marshall McLuhan Fellow is Jodesz Gavilan, investigative journalist, researcher, and podcast host. She has been an investigative reporter and researcher for the independent news outlet Rappler since 2013. Aside from being a reporter, she also hosts and produces “Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories,” a weekly podcast series on Rappler that dissects and deep-dives into the pressing issues in the Philippines.
The Embassy of Canada in the Philippines awarded Gavilan the Marshall McLuhan Fellowship in 2023 for her “unique commitment to investigative journalism, to informing the public about decisions and policies that affect their lives in support of the public interest,” and her commitment to inform, “to enable meaningful public engagement on issues in service of the public, and illustrate how investigations, facts, and transparency can ensure meaningful democratic accountability.”
Gavilan will meet with Vancouver Filipino community leaders on Thursday, February 15, for discussions about human rights condition in the Philippines particularly during Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous war on drugs during his presidency. The discussion/meeting will be at the CFNet office in Hampton Place, Vancouver.
After her CFNet-sponsored meeting, she will have a presentation at UBC on the topic: “Building communities: The evolving role of journalists in covering human rights stories in the Philippines” in which she discusses the journalist’s expanding role that goes beyond reporting to include working on how to create impactful solutions to social challenges. Her presentation would explain how journalism can be more than truth-telling but also as an advocacy for collaborative action.
The Canadian Embassy’s annual McLuhan Awards is in honor of Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian philosopher born on July 21, 1911, in Edmonton, Alberta, whose work is among the cornerstones of today’s study of media theory. He studied at the University of Manitoba and the University of Cambridge. He is known as the "father of media studies.”
McLuhan coined the expression “medium is the message” in the first chapter in his Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man and the term “global village.” He predicted the World Wide Web almost 30 years before WWW was invented and became known worldwide not only to computer users.