Meet Joe Paris, The Discourse’s spring 2022 intern

Hi, my name is Joe Paris. I’ll be interning with The Discourse for the next nine weeks as I complete my Journalism degree at BCIT. 

Born in Vancouver and raised in Ottawa, I am fully bilingual in French and English. After graduating high school, I returned to Vancouver to pursue a history degree at the University of British Columbia.

My love of underground music and outsider art initially drew me to the history of the American counterculture, but as my studies progressed I discovered the exciting field of environmental history. Environmental history opened my eyes to the symbiotic nature of our relationship to the planet. The idea that nature can have historical agency blew my mind!

Since then, I have been pushing back against the concept of human exceptionalism in my work — always looking for the bigger, more sustainable picture.

After graduating from UBC, I worked as a tour guide throughout British Columbia for many years. I had the privilege of introducing visitors from around the world to the rugged beauty and cultural wealth of the Pacific Northwest.

Human connection and cross-cultural exchange have always been important to me, and I like to think that as a guide, I played a role in fostering an international community in my backyard.

When COVID-19 hit, my tourism job was one of the first on the chopping block. I understand firsthand some of the hardships brought on by this pandemic. Like most of us, I have witnessed systemic failures all around. But I have also seen communities band together in the face of adversity, and become closer than before. 

I believe independent community-focused journalism is more important now than ever. As global systems fracture under the pressures of inequality, disease and climate change, local communities can map out a more sustainable future for all. 

That’s why I’m thrilled to be working with the Discourse, where I will be committed to channelling my passion for research and community into solutions-based journalism.

I am especially excited to have the opportunity to learn more about the beautiful Cowichan Valley, and to explore the issues most important to our Vancouver Island readers.

My history background informs my work — I seek to listen to underrepresented communities and celebrate multiculturalism. I work to challenge colonial interpretations of our relationship to the planet. I am most passionate about covering stories around housing, cultural history, and climate change.

When I’m not chasing stories, I’m chasing waves! I love to surf, and the beach is my happy place. I also collect tattoos — mostly American Traditional. Finally, I love to cook, especially if it’s for a big group of friends and family. My specialty? Enchiladas!

I’ll be around until mid-May, covering local stories and specifically looking into issues around housing in the Cowichan Valley. Want to chat? You can find me on my website, Twitter or through email at

Don’t forget to sign up for our Cowichan Valley newsletter if you’re not already, to stay up to date with my work. [end]

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