New INJC program welcome students from across Canada
- INCA staff | October 02, 2021
This fall, a new program at First Nations University welcomed students from across Canada. The Indigenous Journalism and Communication (INJC) certificate program is a one-year, mostly remote program that provides academic foundations, hands-on training and networking for students who want a career in storytelling.
“Our goal is to help students learn and work for the benefit of their home communities,” says program coordinator Shannon Avison. After completion, students have the option to continue on to the two-year Indigenous Communication Arts (INCA) diploma and a journalism degree.
Zooming in from across the land, the first week of classes included advice from seasoned professionals and recent grads.
“Keep an open mind, because you're going to learn so much and you're going to meet so many people,” advised CTV news assignment editor Nelson Bird.
Kerry Benjoe, CBC’s first Indigenous Storyteller, was also on hand to encourage the students. “One of the things that really keeps me interested in journalism is telling these stories of ordinary people,” she said.
Broadcasting veteran Mervin Brass recalled his very first job as a reporter for the Edmonton Journal. “I thought I had the best job in the world. They were paying me to talk on the phone, write stories and drink coffee. It doesn’t get any better than that,” he joked.
“I've done a lot of different things, and you know today I'm head of CBC North based in Yellowknife and I would never have thought of that,” said Brass, who was appointed senior managing director of CBC North last year.
Among the students taking notes was Bee Bird from Montreal Lake. “You guys are really quite prestigious in the broadcasting arena. This is really an honour to be here,” he said.
Not long ago, Jaida Beaudin-Herney was attending her first university classes, just like Bee. After finishing her INCA diploma and political science degree last year, she helped break a major national story on Indigenous water issues. “Just believe in yourself and say yes to any opportunity,” she advised.
CBC journalist Jennifer Francis described how she began working as a journalist at CBC even before she graduated, via two internships that turned into employment.
Under the program, students will learn online from their home communities through the fall and winter. They will meet each other in person during an intensive summer institute in May and June, followed by a community-based internship.
Students have plenty to look forward to. “When I look back at my career, what stands out the most is the laughter -- the people I laugh with and the people I made laugh,” said Nelson Bird.
For information about the INJC, visit www.incaonline.ca.