King's College to cover tuition for 3 Mi'kmaw journalism students a year

The University of King’s College in Halifax is dedicating $600,000 over five years to cover tuition for three Mi’kmaw students a year in its journalism program.

'Diversity just makes newsrooms better,' says Trina Roache

A building framed by foliage
The University of King's College in Halifax is offering free tuition to three Mi'kmaw students a year in its undergraduate journalism program. (Robert Guertin/CBC)

One Halifax university is removing barriers for Mi'kmaw students hoping to enter the journalism field by covering the cost of tuition for a cohort of students. 

The University of King's College announced last week that it had developed the initiative in consultation with Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey, a Mi'kmaw education authority, to encourage Mi'kmaw students to study journalism and to better support all Indigenous students at the school.

The university is investing $600,000 over five years. Beginning in 2023, the initiative will support up to three students studying in the undergraduate bachelor of journalism program each academic year through bursaries, scholarships and tuition waivers.

The students must be endorsed by their community and meet King's admission requirements. 

Trina Roache, the Rogers chair in journalism at King's College, is L'nu (Mi'kmaw for person of the land) from Glooscap First Nation in Nova Scotia. She helped in developing the Mi'kmaw journalism initiative and is hopeful that more Mi'kmaw youth see journalism as a career path. 

Trina Roache, the Rogers chair of journalism at the University of King's College, hopes with this new initiative more Mi'kmaq will enter the field. (Submitted by Trina Roache)

"It's so key that we're represented in our stories but also that we're telling our stories," said Roache. 

She said when Indigenous journalists cover their own communities, they come in with a specialized knowledge and context. Roache said that knowledge can be vital to communities feeling well represented. 

She remembers in her journalism career often being the only reporter walking around the First Nation and feeling alone. Roache said there were a lot of stories that went untold because it was just her and she said she hopes this initiative can start to change that. 

"Diversity just makes newsrooms better," said Roache. 

Roache said she'll also travel to communities to encourage Indigenous youth to give journalism a try. She said journalism is fun and she would love to see other Mi'kmaq pursue it.

Ann Sylliboy, is a post-secondary consultant at Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey, helped develop the initiative. She said her organization wants to see Mi'kmaq succeed and be involved in every sector of the Canadian economy. 

"Part of it is getting our people into production, reporting and all of the stuff involved in media," said Sylliboy, who is L'nu from Eskasoni First Nation in Nova Scotia. 

She said she hopes that with more Indigenous people in newsrooms, more Canadians will see things through an Indigenous lens.

Sylliboy said she hopes that when students see more Mi'kmaq in journalism, it will encourage more Mi'kmaq to enter the field. 


Oscar Baker III is a Black and Mi’kmaw reporter from Elsipogtog First Nation. He is the Atlantic region reporter for CBC Indigenous. He is a proud father and you can follow his work @oggycane4lyfe