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Jennifer McGuire

General Manager and Editor in Chief

Welcome to the 2013 CBC News Joan Donaldson Scholars

Categories: Canada, Community

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2013 CBC News Joan Donaldson Scholars (l to r): Julia Whalen (St. Thomas University), Trinh Theresa Do (Ryerson), Lindsay Sample (UBC), Kate McKenna (King's College), Lucas Powers (UBC), Asha Siad (Mount Royal), Asher Greenberg (Ryerson), Roxanna Woloshyn (Regina), Idil Mussa (Western)


There are many well-known journalists who have left a legacy at CBC News, people whose faces and voices are familiar to the public. Others are better recognized for the innovation they brought to CBC and for the talent they helped nurture. Joan Donaldson's career was tragically cut short over two decades ago but  her enduring impact is commemorated by the premier journalism scholarship program which is named in her memory - and by the talented young people who hope to walk in Joan's footsteps.

 Joan Donaldson was an exceptional journalist whose many roles included founding head of CBC Newsworld (now CBC News Network). She also taught at Ryerson and Western journalism schools and was a passionate mentor to many colleagues at the CBC. The scholarship bearing her name is a testament to her dedication. For the nine Donaldson Scholars who join us this month, their trek actually began last October. That's when the call went out to journalism degree programs across the country to nominate their best and brightest. Hopeful students were then invited to prepare portfolios and detailed applications which include a critique of CBC News (and how we could do our job better.)

Those chosen for the next phase endure a demanding interview - an excellent experience for any would-be journalist. At that point, the pressure transfers over to me to choose the very best, and to then deliver the good - and not so good - news to all involved. Let's just say that in a world where people guard their emotions in order to present a professional air, I have been privileged to hear both heartfelt cries of joy and sadly, disappointment.

A successful scholar demonstrates intelligence as well as the sophisticated editorial and technical skills to work in our integrated - television, radio, online - environment. Over their four months with us, they are expected to be full members of their teams whether they work at The National, radio news, as multi-platform arts, business or health specialists, and or in one of our newsrooms from Vancouver to St. John's.

I have found that successful scholars also share another intangible quality: optimism. They know that their chosen career won't always be an easy - or perhaps a lucrative - one. But they believe that (especially) in a world of self-proclaimed journalists, they can make a difference by walking in the footsteps of broadcasters like Barbara Frum, Knowlton Nash and Joan Donaldson.

And what happens when the program is over? Some Donaldson Scholars become familiar CBC faces and voices: Connie Walker, Lyndsay Duncombe, Zulekha Nathoo, Deana Sumanac, Catherine Cullen, Hilary Walker, Genevieve Tomney, Jeff Semple, Redmond Shannon, and many who work behind the scenes. And some who find work beyond the CBC. 

Wherever they land, we wish this year's CBC News Joan Donaldson Scholars an amazing summer and look forward to sharing their ideas and stories with you.

Mark Mietkiewicz
Senior Manager, Staff Development
CBC News

Tags: How We Work

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