Indigenous journalism students have until midnight on Oct. 3 to apply for a $2000 scholarship from the Jack Webster Foundation.
The foundation will grant up to three awards of $2000 each to Indigenous students in B.C. who are enrolled in a full-time post-secondary journalism program at one of the following schools: British Columbia Institute of Technology, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Langara College, Thompson Rivers University or the University of British Columbia.
Janet Mitchell is the executive director of the Jack Webster Foundation. She says they established these awards in 2019 in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report and 94 calls to action — which were published in 2015.
“Out of the report itself, there was the call upon the media and journalism schools to address the lack of cultural awareness about the history of Indigenous Peoples across Canada,” says Mitchell.
The TRC specifically called upon “Canadian journalism programs and media schools to require education for all students on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations.”
Mitchell says she recognizes the need for more diversity in the newsroom.
In January 2020, the Canadian Journalists of Colour (CJOC), a “support and resource-sharing network for BIPOC journalists across the country,” published calls to action with respect to the lack of diversity in Canadian newsrooms.
They called, for example, on newsrooms to “increase representation and coverage of racialized communities by hiring more editors and reporters of colour.”
“If we can foster the next generation of journalists in the province of British Columbia, and increase the number of Indigenous voices, then we can have more fair, balanced and respective storytelling,” says Mitchell.
Indigenous journalism students interested in applying for a Jack Webster scholarship can get more details on the foundation’s website.
Jenessa Joy Klukas, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse