The original Gordon Sinclair Fellowship was established in 1986 after friends of the late broadcaster created the Gordon Sinclair Foundation and a university scholarship for recent journalism graduates to honour his memory. The stated purpose of the original award was to encourage a recent journalism graduate to embark on another year of study that would enrich them as journalists. The award was presented 22 times in the years that followed.
In 2011, the Gordon Sinclair Foundation decided to review its mandate and examine the contribution the annual award was making to journalism. After some deliberation, a decision was made to revamp the annual competition. The Foundation decided to use the endowment to support a different type of award, but one still very much in keeping with the spirit of the kind of adventurous journalism Gordon Sinclair came to represent.
The new Gordon Sinclair Roving Reporter Bursary was established to support a research and reporting trip by an early career Canadian journalist who has recently graduated from one of Canada’s university-level journalism programs.