The fellowship program, which launched last year in partnership with the B.C.-based Tula Foundation, will see the two fellows spend the next six months deeply immersed in issues of importance in the region and producing journalism in the public interest.
This time and focus will allow them to build a strong repertoire of work with guidance from The Tyee’s award-winning editorial team.
The fellows expressed their excitement at being selected for the paid fellowship.
“I’m beyond honoured,” said Fung, who returns to The Tyee after completing her master of journalism practicum with us last year and freelancing for the magazine afterwards.
It’s been amazing to watch The Tyee’s growth since she was introduced to the magazine as a high school student, Fung said.
“I’m grateful to know how much people believe in me and the work I hope to do,” Fung said. “I’m excited to do my best and make it count.”
Before joining The Tyee, Helmore completed her practicum with the Capital Daily, Canadian Geographic and the Globe and Mail. She also interned at Kelowna’s Daily Courier during her undergraduate degree, edited for Sliced — a magazine focused on food security — and freelanced for local Vancouver music magazine BeatRoute.
“I still can’t quite believe that I get to spend the next six months at The Tyee, emulating the kind of fearless, ambitious and compassionate work done here,” Helmore said. “Seriously, I’m being paid to be curious, ask questions and talk to inspiring people. Name one job better (excluding cheesecake sampler).”
Managing editor andrea bennett said The Tyee received an overwhelming number of applications for the fellowships from early-career journalists across Canada.
“It was honestly a bit nail-biting to evaluate applications and interview journalists this year,” they said.
“But I am very excited to be welcoming Kate and Kaitlyn to the team, and I’m even more excited to see the stories they’ll produce during their time with us.”
The program, bennett added, provides a great way for The Tyee to use its editorial and reporting knowledge to help earlier career journalists further develop their skills by working on a wide variety of stories, including series and features.
Yunker wrote important stories focused on climate change, forestry, energy and Indigenous rights, and Mansukhani provided valuable reporting related to labour and B.C.’s legal system (his major project will be published this summer).
“We are very fortunate to be able to serve as an immersive environment for the coming generation of journalists through the Tula fellowships,” said Tyee editor-in-chief David Beers. “Mentoring committed, keen young journalists Zoë, Hiren, Kate and Kaitlyn is part of our mission. We think it’s essential to the future of the kind of journalism our democracy depends upon to function. And the immediate beneficiaries are Tyee readers.”
Our two new fellows, who want to make the most of their six months, are already working on stories in their respective beats.
Helmore is particularly interested in stories about agriculture and fisheries. “Maybe I read too much Steinbeck growing up,” she said. “But nonetheless, there’s something about land, and how the dirt or current under our feet defines who we are.”
She has a couple stories up her sleeves already and a lot of questions she’s aching to answer, but she’s also hoping to learn and grow as a journalist with her time here.
“I want to develop my craft. I want to become a better photographer, videographer, interviewer and researcher,” Helmore said.
“I want to be able to look at an issue and find a story that will inspire compassion. There’s so much injustice in this world. If I can do something — anything — to minimize, correct or even just expose that, then I’ve done something worthwhile.”
Fung is always curious about “how people and places shape each other, especially in cities,” and she hopes to continue developing an urban issues beat.
Her previous work at places like UBC’s CiTR and CBC Radio explored topics related to diaspora, race, culture and identity and she hopes to bring these interests together in her future work.
“I hope to make the most out of my six months here by telling stories that reflect the interests of everyday people, including communities who don’t usually feel seen in journalism,” Fung said.
“Especially in a city as complicated and ever-changing like Vancouver, there are so many layers that are easy to miss in the social fabric we all share. If I can help with untangling even a few of them, and also manage to do that in meaningful or interesting ways, I’d be thrilled.”
Tula fellows Kaitlyn Fung and Kate Helmore both start this month, so please feel free to leave them a nice welcome and any information you think they’d find interesting in the comment thread below.
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