Two new Journalists-in-Residence have joined the team at Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communication to work on a project to change the way journalists report on disability.

Sarah Trick and Alanna King, both employees of TVO, were awarded this year’s Michener-Richard O’Hagan Fellowship for Journalism Education to create a style guide for journalists covering disabilities and to develop journalism curriculum materials. They will carry out that work from within Carleton’s journalism program, using their 18-month Journalist-in-Residence appointments to interact with Carleton journalism students, faculty and staff.

Trick, who is based in Ottawa, graduated from Carleton’s Master of Journalism program in 2016. She was the inaugural TD Chair on Disability and Inclusion at The Walrus in 2019, and her work has appeared in print, digital, and broadcast outlets, such as Global News,, and others. She is currently a digital media producer at TVO.

Photo of Sarah Trick and Alanna King

“When I came up with the idea for this project, I knew that TVO and Carleton were the only institutions I wanted to work with,” Trick said. “Carleton’s history as a leader in accessibility for disabled students, and its world-class journalism school, made it a natural fit, and TVO is the only news organization in the province to have curriculum development experts on staff. Their contribution will make the guide so much richer than anything I could have produced on my own.”

Alanna King brings her rich teaching and instructional designer experience to the project. She is an alumni of Brock University, University of Ottawa and the University of Alberta. While she has been seconded from the Upper Grand District School Board to work on digital educational resources while employed at TVO, King was asked to partner with Trick to provide educational components.

“As soon as Sarah approached me about partnering with her, I felt a call to action,” King said. “An opportunity to develop a curriculum in support of positive change and for this audience is very rewarding. I’ve spent my career trying to make a difference in school communities, and to work on this scale is very exciting. I can’t wait to spend the year researching in this capacity with journalism experts and their students.”

The curriculum will embrace supporting frameworks from the Association of Media Literacy, and the work of Canadian School Libraries. King plans to develop curriculum and instructional supports that will enhance the style guide through the teaching of its recommendations.

The goal is to create a one-of-a-kind style guide suited to the Canadian news and media landscape: “A guide to help journalists and journalism students cover disabilities thoughtfully, accurately and with nuance.” In their submission, Trick and King wrote that: “Journalists are not and should not be activists, but they do have the responsibility to accurately reflect the communities they cover and live in.”

The style guide will be easily accessible and easily updated as it will be in a digital format.

Michener fellowship recipients are traditionally honoured at an annual ceremony at Rideau Hall, hosted by the Governor General of Canada, which ultimately unveils the winner of the prestigious Michener Award for public service journalism in Canada. This year, after two years of virtual ceremonies due to the global pandemic, the ceremony was held live at Rideau Hall on June 16, 2023.

Trick and King were embraced by the journalistic community for their endeavour to improve disability representation in media. The Michener – L. Richard O’Hagan Fellowship for Journalism Education, supported by BMO Financial Group, is dedicated to the advancement and enrichment of the education of Canadian journalists and journalism students. It is named for the late L. Richard O’Hagan, distinguished press secretary to Prime Ministers Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Trudeau and long-time senior vice-president at Bank of Montreal. He began his career as a reporter at the former Toronto Telegram.

Winning projects are designed to expand the knowledge of newsroom products, processes and practices. During the fellowship Trick will have an office in the School of Journalism and Communication so that she can interact with Carleton journalism students, faculty and staff members as she and King work to develop the style guide. King will be available virtually and will continue to teach secondary school English in Fergus, Ontario while working on this project.  “We can’t wait to get to know everyone at Carleton.”

Photo of Sarah Trick, Mary Simon and Alanna King

Friday, June 30, 2023 in ,
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