Student earns young journalist fellowship

By Costa Maragos Posted: June 19, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Student Jennifer Ackerman is recipient of the 2017 EU-Canada Young Journalist Fellowship. Ackerman credits the U of R’s School of Journalism for much of her early success as a journalist.
Student Jennifer Ackerman is recipient of the 2017 EU-Canada Young Journalist Fellowship. Ackerman credits the U of R’s School of Journalism for much of her early success as a journalist. Photo courtesy of External Relations

Jennifer Ackerman, a student in the U of R’s School of Journalism, has been awarded the 2017 EU-Canada Young Journalist Fellowship.

The fellowship recognizes outstanding journalistic talent among young Canadians. The award is co-sponsored by the European Union Delegation to Canada and the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ).

“I am very honoured. It’s an incredible opportunity and to have been given the chance to experience it is so exciting,” says Ackerman. “I’ve worked really hard over the past three years and so it’s nice to see it paying off. I literally jumped up and down when I got the call, while I was on the call actually. Couldn’t keep the smile off my face.”

Ackerman is already excelling in the world of journalism. She’s currently an intern at the Leader-Post in Regina, working as a general reporter, covering a wide variety of stories ranging from hard news to features.

“Working at the Leader-Post is a dream come true. Ever since I decided I wanted to be a journalist, I imagined myself working at a newspaper, so to be there is very rewarding,” says Ackerman. “The team there is incredibly supportive and kind, but also quirky and fun, which makes the days that much more enjoyable. Tim Switzer is the city co-ordinator at the LP and is in charge of the internship program. He has been a fantastic mentor. I also feel like the j-school did a really good job preparing me for my internship.”

Ackerman grew up in B.C. and graduated from Pinetree Secondary School in Coquitlam, B.C. in 2008.

She earned the fellowship based on a story she produced while in class at the U of R on the impact the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement will have on Saskatchewan’s cattle industry. 

The other two fellowship winners are Marie-Danielle Smith, National Post journalist and Megan Devlin, a journalism student at the University of British Columbia.

The three will participate in a week-long study tour of European Union institutions in Brussels in October 2017, including visiting media outlets in Brussels, taking part in the daily European Commission press briefings and a visit to the Canadian Mission to the EU.

Prior to the trip, the winners are invited to attend an awards ceremony co-hosted by the Office of the Speakers of the House of Commons and the CAJ.

“I want to really get a sense of what the EU does, and what its relationship with Canada is. By getting to go to Brussels and actually experience the various EU institutions, I can hopefully bring better context into future stories that I write,” says Ackerman, whose husband Clinton Ackerman is working on his masters in fine arts at the U of R. “I am also really excited to visit different media outlets while I am there and learn from them, as well as from the other talented journalists from Canada who were chosen for the fellowship.”

Following her stint at the Leader-Post and completion of the fellowship, Ackerman will return to classes in January, 2018 to complete her final semester at the School of Journalism.

Says Ackerman: “The program is amazing. I can’t imagine a better place to learn how to be a journalist. The profs all have amazing background and experience. They know what they are doing and they care so much about bringing out the best in the students.”

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