Master of Journalism student Lilian Fridfinnson is the latest to take up a paid internship with CBC North, thanks to a program established with the help of long-time Carleton journalism professor Mary McGuire.

Fridfinnson will spend two months with CBC North in Whitehorse, Yukon and will receive support for travel and living costs from a donor fund named in honour of McGuire, who retired two years ago because of illness.

Offered annually, this paid summer internship provides reporting and writing experience to a student who has expressed a desire to learn more about Canada’s North and its Indigenous peoples.

The program is the brainchild of McGuire, who approached the CBC with a 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.

Picture of Mary McGuire and Lilian Fridfinnson

McGuire started her journalism career in Whitehorse and the North holds a special place in her heart. She was a fixture in the Carleton journalism faculty for close to three decades before cancer took her out of the classroom.

“Mary’s career is a testament to the adventure and excitement this opportunity with CBC North has to offer. I’m really looking forward to exploring a new place, getting to know the Whitehorse community and building lifelong connections at CBC North,” Fridfinnson said.

Fridfinnson was born and raised in Winnipeg. Her master’s research project was a radio documentary that centered on the realities and lived experience of Indigenous people in Winnipeg, the city with the largest urban Indigenous population in the country. She focused on their advocacy for better drug policy in Manitoba, where Indigenous people are disproportionately impacted by the toxic drug crisis.

Now she will get to launch her career as an editorial assistant for a two-month term in Whitehorse with the option of extending the internship being at the discretion of CBC North.

“I am so excited for Lillian,” McGuire said. “Launching her journalistic career in the North will give her a sense of the enormity of the country, the opportunity to get to know northerners and Indigenous people and an understanding of a part of the country most Canadians know little about. All that will make her a better journalist for the rest of her career.”

All students in Carleton’s journalism program are eligible to apply for the program, but preference has always been given to students who are in their graduating year. Fridfinnson has completed her MJ program and graduates later this month.

Carleton’s journalism program supports a number of different internships for journalism students across the country, but few exist in newsrooms in northern or Indigenous communities, in part because travel and accommodation costs are a barrier to most students.

Carleton continues to accept contributions to the Mary McGuire Journalism Internship Travel Fund on an ongoing basis.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023 in ,
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