Journalism student Meral Jamal is the first to take up a new paid internship program for Carleton students with CBC North, part of a program inspired by long-time journalism professor Mary McGuire.

“I applied for this internship because as a migrant student of colour, I still have a lot to learn about Canada, it’s difficult history, and the resilience of its Indigenous communities through it all,” said Jamal, who is now into her second week of the two-month internship. “The internship with CBC North gives me the opportunity to do that.”

Carleton University’s journalism program partnered with CBC North to create the new, paid internships for Carleton students in CBC newsrooms in such communities as Iqaluit, Yellowknife and Whitehorse.

The project is the brainchild of long-time journalism professor Mary McGuire, who approached the CBC with the original proposal to create the internships and a commitment to establish a special fund at Carleton to help cover the high cost of travel and accommodation for students selected for these internships at CBC North.

After graduating from Carleton’s journalism program in 1979, McGuire worked for seven years in Whitehorse, primarily for CBC Radio. She also covered northern and indigenous issues on Parliament Hill and across the North for the CBC’s Northern Service before joining Carleton’s journalism faculty in 1990.

Photo by Fangliang Xu

McGuire was a fixture in the Carleton journalism faculty for close to three decades before cancer took her out of the classroom. She’s taught more than a thousand students over the years and helped change the school’s curriculum, first to expand courses in radio journalism and then, as the internet evolved, to develop and launch courses in digital journalism, too.

One part of McGuire’s legacy at Carleton will be this program to introduce another generation of students to Canada’s North.

Because of ongoing COVID-19 travel restrictions, the first iteration of the internship program is being conducted remotely. Jamal is based in Ottawa, reporting to CBC North. And two weeks into her role, Jamal said she has already been afforded great opportunities.

“I’m in my second week of the internship and have written a couple web and radio stories so far. I feel like my mind and perspective is stretched and expanded a little every day and I’m just so grateful for that,” she said.

“To be operating from a place of seeking and not knowing right off the bat — it’s all such a gift.”

Through an initial, four-year agreement that is open to renewal, an outstanding Carleton journalism graduate will be selected to go North as a reporter for the CBC while the CBC will get a well-trained young journalist to work with them for several weeks in the summer.

“We have created an environment of opportunity at CBC North,’’ said Mervin Brass, the senior managing director heading CBC North. “Our goal is to build a partnership with Carleton that will help us develop northern journalists. This partnership is the start of that relationship.” Brass said he is committed to having young producers and hosts in his newsrooms, to help a new generation of journalists realize the value of reporting from small communities.

In future years, it is anticipated that interns will travel north and will be able to make use of funds donated in McGuire’s name to help offset travel and living costs.

Learn more and donate to the Mary McGuire Journalism Internship Travel Fund here.

Monday, June 14, 2021 in ,
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