I’m pretty sure my friends and family are tired of hearing about Dylan Cohen and Diana Oproescu, Discourse’s youth media fellows — and they haven’t even started working here yet (read this for background on the fellowship).
I was so impressed by the thoughtfulness of their application packages, as well as their confidence, curiosity and desire to do meaningful work. Dylan and Diana’s references were almost embarrassingly glowing, and it’s an honour to welcome them to our team. Get to know our fellows a little better:
Mission statement: “I am very excited to be given this opportunity, and I approach this fellowship with the utmost gratitude and optimism [due] to the possibilities it holds for my growth as a writer, photographer and informed citizen. I look forward to sharing my insight into Canada’s child welfare system, and I hope I can bring a new and valuable perspective to the meaningful work Discourse already does.”
Work I’m proud of: Check out this story Diana wrote for The Ubyssey, UBC’s student paper. She told me, “It was very meaningful for me to be a part of this conversation about mental health, as this is an issue that has not only affected myself and other youth in care, but people of all ages, backgrounds and identities. It is incredible how unifying the topic of mental health can be, despite its tendency to be stigmatized.”
Mission statement: “I hope to utilize my experience as an Indigenous youth from care to challenge systems of oppression in new and innovative ways through my time withDiscourse Media. I hope to push for justice through new mediums, and wish to highlight stories of resilience in my communities.”
Work I’m proud of: In an op-ed for The Toronto Star, Dylan called on the Canadian government to support “youth in care with comprehensive supports to age 25.” He told me, “This piece was my first exposure to national newspapers and appeared in multiple publications. For me, it represents the appetite for child welfare dialogue and a call for significant systemic change.”
While I’m thrilled to be working with Diana and Dylan, I also want to acknowledge how difficult it was to narrow down the pool of applicants. We had some really strong candidates, and I’m eager to connect them with other placements. All of these youth would be assets to any media outlet that wants to better understand the child welfare system, and develop young talent. Get in touch if you’ve got capacity.
Burning ethics question
In journalism, it’s standard practice to not identify kids who are in government care. I wonder: Are we striking the right balance between protecting vulnerable youth and creating space for them to speak their minds? I’ve been consulting experts to answer this question, and will be publishing a story soon. Do you know someone with an interesting take on this? Ask ‘em to write me, post on my Facebook page or tweet at me.