Vancouver venture philanthropist Alison Lawton has donated $1 million to the UBC Graduate School of Journalism to launch Canada’s first International Reporting course that sends students abroad to cover important and under-reported issues.
Annually, the gift will enable 10 students to travel and produce international journalism for major media outlets focusing on broadcast and online. Emmy Award-winning 60 Minutes producer Peter W. Klein, who joined UBC as an associate professor in 2007, will lead the course.
“We need in-depth journalism more than ever and this course offers students an opportunity to work with some of the best journalism faculty in North America,” says Mary Lynn Young, Director and Assoc. Professor, UBC Graduate School of Journalism.
In a UBC pilot of the course, students produced a documentary that PBS Frontline will broadcast this summer.
Lawton, who runs Mindset Social Innovation Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to investing in social development and building awareness around important and under-covered global issues, says she believes that in-depth documentaries can change the world and facilitate democracy.
“This new course is a vehicle to inspire people to think, feel and act differently towards some of the most pressing issues of our time,” says Lawton.
The gift is one of the first independent non-profit sponsored news content creation models in Canada, similar to new sources launching in the United States. According to UBC’s holistic approach to journalism education, the course will create news stories for broadcast and for the web.
“My core philosophy has always been working with people, investing in human capital,” says Lawton. “This course will challenge students to look beyond the constraints of conventional mainstream media and examine the definition of conscientious reporting.”
For more information on UBC’s Graduate School of Journalism, visit www.journalism.ubc.ca.
2008-2009 International Reporting student bios
Shira Bick will be interning at Time Out, an international travel and culture magazine, in London, England, in May 2009. A Master of Journalism candidate at the University of British Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, she has also successfully completed internships at Adbusters, a globally recognized award-winning alternative magazine based in Vancouver, B.C., and BC Business, a monthly publication devoted to business news in Western Canada. Shira has traveled extensively in Europe, Australia, South America and the Middle East. She brings with her a background in Sociology and History from the University of British Columbia.
Ian Bickis interned at the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) in London, England; The Globe and Mail; Business, a weekly business publication in Western Canada; and Transparency International, an anti-corruption organization. He is a Master of Journalism candidate at the University of British Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he is pursuing a journalism career in international politics and business, and was awarded the David Baines Scholarship for business journalism. He has an honours degree in political science from the University of King’s College, Halifax, with stints of study at Queen’s University, Kingston, and American University, Washington D.C.
Krysia Collyer interned at Canada’s highest-rated national newscast, Global National, with Kevin Newman in Summer 2008. She completed a documentary on the Canadian health system for Dan Rather Reports. She is a Master of Journalism candidate at the University of British Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her journalism interests include: Canadian politics, human rights issues and sports. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Communications from the University of Ottawa. She won a Joan Donaldson Scholarship and will be working at the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. in Summer 2009.
Allison Cross will begin a position as a journalism trainer in Bo, Sierra Leone, with the Canadian organization Journalists for Human Rights in May 2009. Allison began her journalism career as a local reporter and photographer for the Nanaimo Daily News, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. She was nominated for a Best Community Reporting award by the Jack Webster Foundation, which recognizes excellence in journalism in British Columbia. As a Master of Journalism Candidate at UBC’s Graduate School of Journalism, Allison interned at Canada’s largest national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and worked as a city reporter at the Vancouver Sun. She was also the recipient of the Jack Webster Student Journalism award in her first year of graduate studies. Her journalism interests include social issues, gender, foreign policy and the environment in print and digital media. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in English literature from Queen’s University.
Heba Elasaad has international reporting experience from Reuters in Dubai, the DubaiTV News Centre, the current affairs magazine, Egypt Today, Business Today Egypt, and the UAE-based Time Out magazines. She also produced work for Global National, one of Canada’s national news broadcasters, and now freelances for the weekly paper, Xtra West, in Vancouver. Heba is a Masters of Journalism candidate at the University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in her second year and has a degree in comparative literature, anthropology and film from the American University in Cairo. Her research interests are currently focused on Egyptian-Sudanese relations, North African languages, and art and culture reporting.
Dan Haves co-produced a class-led project for HDNet’s Dan Rather Reports and is currently in the process of finishing a project for CBC, a documentary shot in India. He graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Film Studies. He entered the University of British Columbia’s Master of Journalism program later that year where he’s developed skills in video and documentary filmmaking. After graduation, Dan hopes to pursue his interest in documentary filmmaking.
Doerthe Keilholz is an international graduate student from Germany. As an intern, she was recently based in Washington, D.C., where she covered the U.S. presidential election for Deutsche Welle, a German international television and radio broadcaster. To share her outdoor adventures in beautiful British Columbia, she freelances for the travel section of a major German magazine. Her research focus is environmental and human rights issues.
Jodie Martinson has worked in documentary filmmaking since 2006 and recently completed her first feature-length documentary film, To The Tar Sands, which was screened to a sold-out crowd at the 2008 Calgary International Film Festival and will screen soon at DOXA Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver. Jodie is on the hunt for compelling stories about environment, health, and development issues through video documentary, and is currently working on a feature documentary and multimedia project in Northern Uganda. She holds a BA Honours from the McGill School of Environment and studied Video Directing and Producing at the Berkeley Digital Film Institute in California. Her work as a Journalism student at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research through their Health Research Communications Award.
Blake Sifton completed his undergraduate education at McGill University where he did a joint honours degree in International Development and Political Science with a regional focus on the Middle East. He interned at the London bureau of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the Daily News Egypt in Cairo in Summer 2008. On assignment for the Daily News, he traveled to the West Bank to write a feature article on opposition to the Israeli separation barrier. The Daily News is Egypt’s only independent English newspaper and is a division of the International Herald Tribune.
Leslie Young has an undergraduate degree in public policy from Carleton University, where she specialized in International Affairs. Her journalism career has included internships at Canada’s largest national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and CBC Radio. She also has several years of experience with the federal government, including stints on Parliament Hill and at the Department of National Defence. Her journalistic interests include the investigative reporting and the coverage of domestic and international public policy issues. Her graduate studies in Journalism at the University of British Columbia are currently funded by an award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.