As part of our Enhanced Access to Opportunity for BIPOC Youth in Canadian Media program, JHR has placed aspiring BIPOC journalists in internships at leading Canadian newsrooms such as The Local, The Tyee, The Canadian Press, Ricochet Media and Xtra Magazine.  These paid placements will provide this first cohort of JHR Fellows with valuable work experience, while helping to diversify Canada’s media ecosystem by building and sustaining pipelines of high-potential journalists.

This program is funded by RBC Foundation in support of RBC Future Launch and the Meta Journalism Project and was developed by executive consultant Anita Li of The Other Wave and JHR.

Akhila Menon

(The Tyee)

Based in rainy Vancouver, British Columbia, Akhila Menon is a recent graduate of UBC’s Master of Journalism program and a freelance journalist who enjoys reporting on environmental, social justice and health stories.

A budding investigative journalist with a passion for social media, she hopes to marry the two interests and has previously worked in audience engagement and editorial roles. In 2021, she co-wrote a Fairy Creek explainer that won a CAJ award and worked on the Climate Emergency Project-APTN Investigates collaboration.

She’s currently working as The Tyee’s JHR Fellow where she’s reporting on environmental, health and social justice issues.

Read Akhila’s stories:

♦ What Kylie Jenner’s Private Jets Say About Us | The Tyee

 Are Highrises Really Bad for Your Health? | The Tyee

 A Day in the Life: An Aquarium Biologist | The Tyee

Mzwandile Poncana

(Xtra Magazine)

Mzwandile Poncana is a human rights and advocacy journalist currently based in Montreal. Originally from Gaborone, Botswana, he came to Canada in 2017 to study at Concordia University, where he earned both a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism. He has interned at Sunday Standard— a newspaper in Gaborone— and Broadview Magazine. He also had a short stint as a staff writer at The Pigeon in 2021. His work has primarily focused on various human rights issues, particularly migrant rights issues, racialized peoples issues, LGBTQ2S+ rights, and labour rights issues.

His goal in journalism is to one day become a full-time reporter who regularly writes and reports on these issues and advocates for other BIPOC journalists to join in and thrive within the industry. 

He can be followed on Twitter @mzwandilep_

Read Mzwandile’s stories:

India has a massive shortage of life-saving HIV drugs (

LGBTQ2S+ Ontarians face disproportionate barriers to buying and renting homes, new report says | Xtra Magazine

New study shows more mental health services lead to lower suicide risk for LGBTQ college students | Xtra Magazine

Ann Marie Elpa

(The Local)

Ann Marie Elpa is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto with a degree in English and Media Studies. Her work has appeared in CBC, Chatelaine, The Toronto Star, and Refinery29 among many others. When she’s not typing away at a story, you can find her trying out new Toronto restaurants or cuddling up to her cat, Leo (you can follow him on Instagram @leothejournalismcat). 

Christian Collington 

(The Canadian Press)

Christian Collington’s passion for writing began when he wrote songs that transitioned to storytelling. A graduate of Humber College’s journalism program, he honed in on reporting on music and the arts as well as other topics such as health and affordability. In his spare time, he sings and plays guitar and five other instruments.

Anupriya Dasgupta

(Ricochet Media)

Anupriya is an aspiring investigative reporter whose research interests include racialized queer communities and healthcare, public space and architecture, and climate reporting. She is a Sociology graduate from The University of British Columbia and has previously written about political protest, power, and resistance. Anupriya is interested in data-driven narrative writing that centers people and communities in order to demystify and animate larger systemic questions of justice.

Kierstin Williams

(Ricochet Media)

Kierstin Williams is a proud Anishinaabekwe from the territories of Ketegaunseebee (Garden River First Nation) and Batchewana First Nation of the Robinson Huron Treaty. She is a Journalism Fellow with Ricochet Media reporting on Indigenous communities, politics, and climate and social justice. She studied Political Science and Gender Studies at Western University and is working towards a Masters in Political Management at Carleton University.

Visit JHR’s Enhanced Access to Opportunity for BIPOC Youth in Canadian Media‘ site to learn more about the program.