Indigenous Reporters Program (IRP) seeking participants for online programming
Helps Indigenous people find and develop their voices and use them
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) has worked around the world to train, engage and empower journalists to cover human rights stories objectively and effectively.
JHR has transitioned online from its community journalism-training model due to COVID-19. Starting early September, JHR’s Indigenous Reporters Program (IRP) introduced its 2020 Remote Media Training, a pilot project for the Indigenous people in northwestern Ontario. The program offers online training that enables and encourages people of all ages to sign-up, offering media-related guidance, information and resources.
Media trainer for Journalists for Human Rights, including the Youth Media Collective group, Shayla Bradley said, “I think it is a greater opportunity for young people, if they’re interested in journalism, writing or just being able to connect with other people. No matter how old they are, if they want to join the adult program, that’s great.
“It can already be challenging to find things for kids to do, that they want to do. It is a way that has pivoted to actually be able to include potentially more people, because the eligibility has opened up to all of the Northwestern Ontario areas, rather than just the communities that we are in for that year.” Bradley added that there is a Facebook group where trainees can connect with and talk to like-minded people and share their successes.
“It’s fun to watch people getting through the process and getting closer to being able to publish.” Bradley said that they have recently had a trainee get published in the Kenora Miner and News. She explained that some people start with a vague interest in journalism, exploring their options through several different kinds of media, like, podcasting, local media, broadcast journalism, news and feature writing, photography, etc. “There’s really something for everyone.”
The remote media program encourages youth participation; offering special after school programs like the Youth Media Collective and Junior Journalists. Junior Journalists is a program for children between nine and 13 years of age. It allows youth to produce weekly news podcasts and share their stories with the community. Youth Media Collective caters to high school students and youth 14 and over. It is a great opportunity to learn from media trainers, share stories, express ideas and collaboratively work on media projects. People interested in registering for the programs can visit bit.ly/IRP2020form, with a simplified version for the Junior Journalists at, bit.ly/IRP2020JuniorJournalists.
The Indigenous Reporters Program encourages interested Indigenous participants to pursue careers in journalism through internship, mentorship, and networking opportunities, aiming to strengthen Indigenous voices in Canadian media. The program also invites and trains non-Indigenous journalists and journalism students on best practices for reporting on Indigenous stories to ensure they are reported with more accuracy, frequency and offer better informed perspectives. Bradley said that IRP started as a pilot project in 2013, becoming an actual program by 2014.
A Sioux Lookout trainee for the IRP, with a background in Indigenous Studies and Northern Studies, Monica Pishew said, “I found it was important that there would be more Indigenous representation doing stories about Indigenous people. I wanted to bring that experience and knowledge out.” She added that while learning to do a podcast, and share stories that she felt hold greater importance, she realized, “It was more complex than I thought it would be.”
“Even if they don’t continue with journalism after this, I think it helps Indigenous people find and develop their voices and use them. I think the more that they are able to tell their own stories, rather than having someone else show up and tell them on their behalf, there’s better understanding. They have ownership over their stories and their voices and then hopefully the media and the stories that the people hear in the news, they are more reflective of the actual people living in our country,” said Bradley.