Meet Discourse's local news fellows for 2018
Three journalists from diverse backgrounds join our team to report on energy and environment in their communities.
Discourse Media is officially launching our Local News Fellowship. We’re excited to welcome three new journalists to the team: Jacqueline Ronson from Cowichan Valley, B.C., Brandy-Lee Maxie from White Bear First Nations, Sask. and Daniel Mesec from Smithers, B.C.
Over the next six months, these reporters will provide sustained coverage of issues related to energy and the environment in their communities. With the seemingly endless number of cutbacks that have occurred at media organizations across Canada, we know that there is a need for better local news coverage, especially by reporters who have local context. Ronson, Maxie and Mesec have that, and will be sharing multimedia stories to help fill the void.
Ronson is a freelance journalist based in Cowichan Valley, B.C., where she’s written on science and environment for publications like Hakai Magazine, Pacific Standard and Inverse. Ronson believes there’s a lack of understanding about the vulnerabilities and resilience of salmon. She will be connecting with the research hubs on Vancouver Island to understand why some species in the Cowichan watershed are thriving, while others are in crisis, and how their survival relates to land. “I want to tell the story of the salmon and the forests so that I can understand it for myself and share that understanding with my community,” she says.
Brandy-Lee Maxie is a storyteller, entrepreneur and mother of three from the White Bear First Nations in Sask. “My goals over the next six months are to learn as much as I can during this time, to grow as a journalist and to explore the stories within my communities that can only be told from an Indigenous perspective,” she says. Maxie had enrolled in a journalism program in 2010, but had to leave to focus on the needs of her family. In recent years, she’s seen members of her community turn away from mainstream media – especially on issues related to controversial oil and gas projects – for its inability to capture the full range of perspectives and realities on the ground. Her reporting will focus on the impact of fossil fuels and pipelines on her communities.
Daniel Mesec is an independent multimedia journalist based in Smithers, B.C. He provided the primary cinematography for two wildlife documentaries featured on B.C.’s Knowledge Network, has freelanced for outlets like Indian Country Today Media Network, and produces a weekly radio show on CICK 93.9FM Community Radio in Smithers, exploring the progressive rock era. “The upheaval within the Canadian media landscape is arguably hitting small rural communities the hardest,” he says. His reporting for the next six months will focus on the new northern economy. “In my time in the north I’ve witnessed one community’s local economy almost completely collapse. Another community, just 300 km away, remains relatively stable, despite a global economic recession,” he says. “How can we encourage and support all communities to build resilient local economies?”
The three journalists will be supported by the entire Discourse team based in Vancouver, B.C. and Toronto. Stay tuned for their stories and outreach.
Want to know more about the fellowship or get in touch with the fellows? Contact Lauren Kaljur at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The local news fellowship is administered and produced by Discourse Media through financial support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Catherine Donnelly Foundation. The foundations’ financial support does not imply endorsement of or influence over any content produced.