The Docmakers

Emerging Indigenous Doc Maker Program

A program that aims to develop Canada's next generation of Indigenous audio producers.

The Emerging Indigenous Doc Maker Program aims to develop a new generation of Indigenous audio producers. It offers technical training, resources and support to young Indigenous creators interested in pursuing a career with CBC Radio. 

The mentorship is facilitated by award-winning journalist, Duncan McCue. He is the host of CBC Radio One's Cross Country Checkup. McCue was a reporter for CBC News in Vancouver for over 15 years. Now based in Toronto, his news and current affairs pieces continue to be featured on CBC's flagship news show, The National.

McCue's work has garnered several RTNDA and Jack Webster Awards. He was part of a CBC Indigenous investigation into missing and murdered Indigenous women that won numerous honours including the Hillman Award for Investigative Journalism. In 2017, he was presented with an Indspire Award for Public Service.

McCue teaches journalism at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism and Ryerson University, and was recognized by the Canadian Ethnic Media Association with an Innovation Award for developing curriculum on Indigenous issues. He's also an author: his book The Shoe Boy: A Trapline Memoir recounts a season he spent in a hunting camp with a Cree family in northern Quebec as a teenager.

He was awarded a Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 2011, where he created an online guide for journalists called Reporting in Indigenous Communities ( Before becoming a journalist, McCue studied English at the University of King's College, then Law at UBC. He was called to the bar in British Columbia in 1998. He has an honourary doctorate from the University of King's College.

McCue is Anishinaabe, a member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation in southern Ontario, and proud father of two children.

He is currently away from Cross Country Checkup to produce and host a podcast on residential schools for CBC Podcasts. 


This opportunity is open to freelancers and storytellers, recent broadcast/journalism graduates and CBC staff. Candidates should have some basic training or experience in broadcasting, and a great story to share.

Applicants should have a strong documentary pitch suitable for one of the following CBC Radio One shows:

  • Day 6: a news magazine show that delivers a surprising take on the week.
  • Unreserved: a radio space for Indigenous community, culture, and conversation.
  • Tapestry: a weekly show that investigates the messy, complicated, and sometimes absurd nature of life, through the lenses of psychology, philosophy, religion and spirituality.

Candidates should also show a strong interest in pursuing a career in audio storytelling or production. 

If approved, producers work intensively with Duncan and other CBC producers to bring their pitch to life in a short (8-10 minute) documentary. 

A man with dark hair and glasses, sits on a red chair while talking to someone off camera.

The program provides producers with the following:

  • For CBC staff: a paid secondment from your primary assignment (contingent on supervisor's approval)
  • For non-CBC staff: a freelance contract, based on standard CMG rates, that includes built-in time for training
  • Technical instruction in audio production, including field production and audio editing software; equipment rental, training and support 
  • Editorial guidance and support from mentor Duncan McCue, and other CBC senior producers 
  • Up to $700 in travel expenses 


  • Applicants must have some basic experience and training in broadcast journalism; film, television or audio.
  • Applicants must identify as Indigenous.
  • Applicants must reside in Canada.
  • Applicants who work at CBC must have the endorsement of their manager.
  • Applications will be accepted until November 20, 2021.

For tips on how to write a focused and compelling pitch, read through our doc making resources

For questions related to your eligibility or the application process, email

For questions about your story or how to hone your pitch, email Duncan:

No questions? Great pitch? Time to view the application.