Three Carleton journalism students are joining the CBC this summer through the prestigious Joan Donaldson Scholarship: Catriona Koenig (BJ4), Taylor O’Brien (MJ2) and Ben Steven (BJ4).

The competitive summer program offers 11 students from journalism programs across Canada the opportunity to gain experience working with the public broadcaster. Carleton’s students make up about a quarter of this year’s class of scholars, a tremendous showing.

Catriona Koenig (BJ4)

“I’m honoured to be selected as a Joan Donaldson scholar,” Catriona Koenig (BJ4) said. “It’s difficult to even put it into words. Growing up, I delivered the local newspaper to my neighbourhood. I spent hours writing stories, filming videos on my mom’s point-and-shoot camera and participating in speech competitions. I can’t wait to immerse myself in the diverse multimedia landscape of CBC and allow my love for audio, video and written work to flourish.”

During her time at Carleton, Koenig has interned as a reporter with Cabin Radio in Yellowknife, completed 210 hours as a mentee with The Globe and Mail, worked as a researcher for The Globe and Mail’s History Project, and edited for The Globe and Mail’s Indigenous Enterprises series. She also co-wrote a report on mental health, well-being and trauma among Canadian media workers after attending a roundtable alongside global experts, top newsroom leaders, journalism educators and industry stakeholders. Additionally, she collaborated with a professor to develop a website showcasing a course on reporting in Indigenous communities.

Over the years, Koenig has received multiple awards, reflecting her proficiency in broadcast journalism, investigative reporting and community service. As a member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, Koenig enjoys covering Indigenous and human-interest narratives, continuing the rich tradition of storytelling with authenticity and impact.

“The experience of working alongside talented people in the media industry feels like such a gift. Being an intern for Cabin Radio in the summer of 2021 showed me the invaluable experience of living and operating in a region outside of Ottawa. I feel so lucky to have another opportunity to do so, especially with CBC.

Koenig said the Donaldson provides an opportunity for future growth and learning. “I’m committed to making the most of these four months, harnessing every moment to expand my skills, deepen my knowledge, and contribute meaningfully to the media landscape.”

Taylor O’Brien (MJ2)

Taylor O’Brien (MJ2) is a multimedia journalist from Thunder Bay who is just completing Carleton’s Master of Journalism program. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in French and English from Lakehead University. O’Brien has worked as a reporter and audio producer / technician for CBC Thunder Bay, where she wrote numerous articles that made the CBC News “Top Stories” page and produced audio pieces for CBC Thunder Bay’s and CBC Sudbury’s current affairs radio shows. She covered various stories, from the closure of local businesses to the evacuation in Eabametoong First Nation. Her work has also been published in The Hill Times, Ottawa Citizen, and Capital Current.

“When I entered the Master of Journalism program, I could never have imagined ending up at this moment: saying I’m a Donaldson scholar,” O’Brien said. “ I’m incredibly honoured to be a recipient, and I’m grateful to everyone who has supported and helped me along the way. Getting here has taken a lot of hard work and dedication, and it feels validating to know my efforts have paid off and Canada’s national public broadcaster recognizes my journalism pieces. I couldn’t be more excited to work with some of the best journalists in the country and spend the summer learning and progressing my journalism skills and career.”

Ben Steven (BJ4)

Benjamin Steven (BJ4) is a multimedia journalist who is originally from Vancouver. Steven graduated from Carleton University with a combined honours degree in journalism and political science, where he received the K. Phyllis Wilson Scholarship and the Karen Birchard Memorial Scholarship in Science Journalism. A political nerd at heart, Steven wanted to take his passion for writing and apply it to public service, kickstarting his journalism career. He covered the 2021 federal election as the National Editor for Carleton’s student newspaper — the Charlatan — and later became Chair of the paper’s Board of Directors. He then began working for CBC News.

“I’m honoured, excited and grateful for this amazing opportunity – CBC does incredible work each and every day,” Steven said. Getting the chance to contribute to its stellar journalism and learn from their leading reporters is a fantastic way to cap off my time in journalism school.”

Over his two years with the broadcaster, Steven has worked as a senior writer and breaking news producer for CBC News Network, and as a digital writer for CBC Ottawa and CBC Politics. His stories have also appeared in Maclean’s, the National Post and Capital Current.

“CBC Radio is iconic to Canada. I want to refine my audio skills and learn CBC’s other approaches to journalism to make myself a more well-rounded reporter that can deftly convert stories to all kinds of formats,” he said.

The scholarship is named for Joan Donaldson, the founding head of CBC Newsworld. The official 2024 Donaldson announcement can be found on the CBC’s website.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024 in ,
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