Blog·Mentorship Program

Meet our new mentees!

The Mentorship Program is an ongoing professional development initiative that teams veteran documentary makers/editors with emerging producers to bring fresh and innovative stories to life. We regularly review applications from CBC producers, audio storytellers, and radio freelancers hoping to participate in the program.

The Doc Project's Mentorship Program is an ongoing professional development initiative that teams veteran documentary makers/editors with emerging producers to bring fresh and innovative stories to life. We regularly review applications from CBC producers, audio storytellers, and radio freelancers hoping to participate in the program. Congratulations to our most recent round of successful applicants — we look forward to hearing your stories come to life!

Karen Chen is a curious person with a bad eavesdropping habit (a.k.a. a reporter). She was one of the founding producers of Out in the Open and has also worked for The Current and q. She came to CBC Radio from the world of newspapers. Most recently, she worked as an investigative reporter in Houston, Texas. Prior to that she did stints at The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Star in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Ottawa Citizen.

Karen is thrilled to be working with mentor Alison Cook. After noticing that almost once-a-week a parking enforcement officer in Toronto was assaulted by an angry driver, she decided to do an audio portrait of what it's like to do one of the world's most hated jobs.

Michelle Macklem is a Canadian radio producer. Her radio work has been featured on CBC's Spark, Day 6 and The Doc Project, NPR, ABC and Radiotopia. She uses vivid sound design to explore the atmospheric and ambient nature of audio. Michelle works with audio collective Mixtales, using the imaginative power of sound to amplify stories. Her sound-rich work Swimmers was a finalist for the Third Coast Short Docs 2016 competition. When she's not mixing it up in the studio, she can be found out and about recording forests, fields and sidewalks. Currently, Michelle is the associate producer for Sleepover.

Michelle is excited to be teaming up with mentor Alison Cook to produce Absence Makes the Heart Grow Stranger, a documentary that delves deep into multiple long distance relationships and the couples' intimate lives together. Michelle will uncover why long distance relationships have become such a pervasive part of our culture, and what does it take for these relationships to survive?

Jessie Levene is a British-Canadian freelance journalist and producer. Now based in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, Jessie's last home was London, U.K., where she freelanced for many media organisations, including the BBC, for whom her credits include: producer and presenter of a World Service documentary on fashion in China (where Jessie lived 2007–2010), co-producer of The Reunion: Tate Modern for Radio 4, and China consultant on BBC Two's Sacred Rivers: The Yangtze. Jessie is interested in crossovers of cultures, social justice, nature, literature and much more, and is thrilled to be making radio in Canada, her home as of 2015.

Jessie will be working with mentor Iris Yudai on a story for Unreserved that comes from the First Nations community of Ahousaht on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Ahousaht made headlines last October with their members' quick and heroic response to the capsized whale-watching boat, Leviathan II. 6 people died in the incident, but now one survivor is giving back – by helping the  community build a skate park.

Yasmine Mathurin is a freelance journalist and filmmaker, and holds a masters of journalism from Ryerson University. Her work has been featured on CBC News and Exclaim! magazine. When she's not trying to find a way to perfect her skills as a storyteller, she can be found with a camera and recorder in hand shooting portraits or posting on social media. Yasmine spent her childhood in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, her teenage years between Calgary and Montreal and now calls Toronto home.

Yasmine will be working with mentor Alison Cook on a story that is close to home — keeping up appearances. Since gaining her masters in journalism this year, Yasmine has found herself in the position of being overeducated and underemployed ... and is feeling the pressure to maintain an illusion of success. She's not alone. In this documentary she explores why she, and so many of her f​ri​ends, are living lives they can't afford.
Jess Shane is an emerging radio producer and freelance multimedia storyteller with a passion for human interest journalism and immersive sound design. Her love for radio was born of her work as a community artist with Making Room Community Arts, where she collaborated with a team of artists and community members to design site-specific art and sound installations. She has recently begun working with CBC Toronto as a production assistant for As It Happens, and is excited to work on this project as her first long-form radio documentary.

Jess is thrilled to be working with Alison Cook to produce a documentary for The Doc Project about sisters, success, and the cutthroat world of girls in competitive sports. This doc, narrated by a recently-retired teen gymnast, is a warning, and love letter, to the narrator's younger sister, whose athletic career is just ramping up.

Sam Colbert is an associate producer with As It Happens on CBC Radio. Before that, he was a breaking news reporter for the Toronto Star and a copy editor for The Globe and Mail. He's a master of journalism graduate from Ryerson University, where he specialized in radio storytelling, though this will be his first documentary for the CBC.

With his mentor, Josh Bloch (The Current), Sam will profile a Utah family whose son went missing in 2004 during a hiking trip through China. Local police concluded that David Sneddon fell into a gorge and died. But the family has another theory: that he was abducted by North Korean agents and forced to teach English to the country's leaders, including Kim Jong-un. It's a bizarre accusation. But the theory is far more plausible than it sounds. And the family's fight for recognition from the U.S. government could have serious geopolitical consequences.

Theresa Lalonde produces the weekend current affairs TV program, Our Vancouver. She's worked all over the country for the CBC in both on and off air roles and in almost every department nationally and regionally. Her first job in broadcasting was with CBC North. She hosted the region's Saturday Night Request Show at the age of 17 and recognized a pattern of connections made, connections sought, and connections lost in those simple song requests. 

Theresa is over the moon to have Karen Levine of The Sunday Edition as her mentor. Recently, Theresa found out about a grassroots group called the Street Thug Barbers. They are burly. They are tattooed. They swear like a hot damn. And they are out on the street on their day off — no matter the weather — offering free cuts. They are unassuming men offering nothing more than a simple trim and some time holding space. Theresa's doc will explore the Thug's drive and backstory and how doing this has added meaning and stability in their own lives.


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