Meet Ann Marie Elpa, 2022 JHR Fellow at The Local

Earlier this year, JHR announced a new program, Enhanced Access to Opportunity for BIPOC Youth in Canadian Mediawhich offers paid internships at leading Canadian newsrooms to BIPOC high school/university students and graduates who are interested in a career in journalism. Through this program, UoT English and Media Studies graduate Ann Marie Elpa (pictured here) was selected to intern at The Local, where she looks forward to learning more journalism skills on the job. We talk to Ann about what she hopes to take away from this new opportunity.

Ann Marie Elpa is the 2022 JHR Fellow at The Local.

Congratulations on being selected as The Local’s 2022 JHR Fellow! During your internship, what are you most looking forward to? 

As a lifelong Torontonian, I LOVE hyperlocal content and am most looking forward to drafting a long-form pitch for the municipal elections issue. At the same time, I am looking forward to learning and professional development opportunities. Being in this industry truly means developing your craft over time and I am hoping to take away transferable skills such as data analysis and editing. 

In your experience, what are some of the biggest challenges for BIPOC youth embarking on a journalism career in Canada? How do opportunities like this internship help mitigate those challenges? 

One of the biggest challenges that BIPOC youth face getting their foot into the industry is having equal access to paid opportunities and networking with other BIPOC journalists. While in school, it was quite competitive to apply to newsroom internships given that not too many were compensated or they only hired students from specific programs. Unlike many individuals I met in this industry, I did not go to J-school and did not have formal journalism training (most of my experience came from extracurricular activities). At the same time, it was challenging to find a collective of BIPOC journalists because legacy newsrooms don’t reflect the population or the lived experiences of most consumers. Internships like this help mitigate these challenges by providing an open space for racialized writers to voice their ideas and concerns on how to change the industry.

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