Ashleigh-Rae Thomas: 2022 CJF-CBC/Radio-Canada Black Women’s Journalism Fellowship
I applied to the CJF Fellowship in January 2022, after one of my colleagues sent me a link to the job. I didn’t really think much of it. The pandemic continued to rage on, and everything was so uncertain. Imagine my surprise upon landing an interview a few months later, and then actually being chosen as a fellow. I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to work in the CBC newsroom for the first time, as my only experience working in a newsroom, until that point, had been virtual.
September rolled around, and I started out in CBC’s entertainment unit. It was a perfect fit for me, as I was already well versed in the world of entertainment and pop culture. Then, I moved on to “Being Black in Canada.” Here, I learned the ins and outs of chasing guests and pitching to them. Next, I spent some weeks with Amanda Parris and her team on an upcoming docuseries. I got to spend a day on set at a shoot, something I had never done before. It was exhausting, but rewarding at the same time. I can’t wait to see the show’s premiere. My final weeks at CBC were spent in the investigative unit. I helped research potential stories that my colleagues would be pitching. It was very different from anything I had done before. Working in breaking news meant sharp deadlines and quick turnarounds, whereas working in the investigative unit had me slow down and learn as much about a subject as I could. It was also very rewarding.
In all, I feel that my experience at CBC really leveled me up as a journalist. I can’t wait to take these skills with me into my future endeavours. I want to thank everyone at CJF and CBC for taking the time to teach me and foster my curiosity.