Master of Journalism graduate Liam Baker will travel to Whitehorse, in Yukon to take up a paid internship with CBC North through a program established with the help of long-time Carleton journalism professor Mary McGuire.

Baker will spend two months with CBC North in Whitehorse working in a reporter/editor position and will receive support for travel and living costs from a donor fund named in honour of McGuire, who retired from Carleton three years ago because of illness.

This paid summer internship is offered annually through a partnership with CBC North and provides reporting and writing experience to a student who has expressed a desire to learn more about Canada’s North and its Indigenous peoples.

MJ grad Liam Baker and former Carleton prof Mary McGuire

Baker just graduated from Carleton’s two-year Master of Journalism program. A native of Barrie, Ontario, he joked during a meeting with McGuire that Barrie might be the furthest north he’s been in the world. He earned his Bachelor of Arts and Science degree, with a specialization in English and Mathematics, from the University of Guelph, where he wrote for the school paper, The Ontarian. Last summer he took up one of Carleton’s Global Journalism internships, through a partnership with Farm Radio International. In Kampala, Uganda, he worked on a podcast project about local climate solutions. Most recently, he completed another internship at CBC, in Toronto.

Now Baker will get to launch his career in the reporter/editor position for a two-month term in Whitehorse with the option of extending the internship being at the discretion of CBC North.

“It is important having spent more or less my entire life in southern Ontario to get out and see the country, learn from different communities and get a more expansive knowledge of the country,” Baker said.

“Building on what I was able to learn last summer in Uganda, with Farm Radio, now immersing myself in a different community with a different culture should make me a better journalist. I hope to be able to achieve a fraction of what Mary was able to achieve by discovering stories I wouldn’t have been able to cover otherwise.”

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.

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.

“I’m thrilled to be part of offering an opportunity to another student to be able to launch their career in the North, a place that meant so much to me and made such a difference to my life. I’m just so happy that Liam will be able to have that experience,” McGuire said.

“I think it’s an exciting opportunity for any young journalist to learn the craft and learn about a part of Canada that they don’t know. It will make them a more rounded journalist, a more creative journalist and make them understand the country better.’’

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.

Carleton’s journalism program supports a number of different internships for journalism students across the country and in the Global South, 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. In addition to its primary function, supporting participants in the CBC North program, the McGuire fund also provides some travel support to other Carleton journalism students who take up paid internships in Canada’s North.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024 in ,
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