Leading Indigenous journalists bolster adjunct faculty

Three leading Indigenous journalists are joining the School of Journalism, Writing, and Media to share their expertise with students taking the Reporting in Indigenous Communities course.

The new adjunct professors, Robert Doane, Wawmeesh G. Hamilton and Leena Minifie, bring to the course a wealth of reporting and production experience to the classroom.

Among the roster of new adjuncts for the winter term is Master of Journalism alumni Jimmy Thomson, who is teaching environmental journalism, and Vancouver lawyer Farid Muttalib is taking on the media law course.

“I’m so excited about the new additions to JWAM faculty. They’re all talented, highly accomplished journalists and media experts with much to offer our students. They bring current best practices and new vitality to our classrooms,” said JWAM director Kamal Al-Solaylee.

“I’m happy to see that two of them, Wawmeesh G. Hamilton and Jimmy Thomson, are graduates of our master’s program. I look forward to working with them for years to come.”

Immersed in Indigenous communities

The Reporting In Indigenous Communities course was launched in 2012 by CBC journalism and adjunct professor Duncan McCue.

It was the first journalism course in Canada to focus exclusively on Indigenous news stories, and was taught by McCue, associate professor Kathryn Gretsinger, and, later, by  journalist and UBC Journalism alumna Chantelle Bellrichard.

Wawmeesh Hamilton

Photo of Wawmeesh Hamilton courtesy of RavenSPEAK Amplified

This year, Robert Doane, Wawmeesh G. Hamilton and Leena Minifie are taking the reins of the course, with Gretsinger acting as course coordinator. In the course, UBC journalism students learn about First Nations’ ethics, histories, and politics, immersing them in several different indigenous communities in B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

A veteran journalist, Doane started at CBC in 2006 as an aboriginal intern, Since then, he has garnered extensive experience as a researcher, associate producer, reporter and host. In 2020, CBC appointed him to the newly created role of Indigenous Advisor with CBC Engagement and Inclusion.

Based in Prince George, Doane has won two national RTNDA awards and three BC RTNDA awards. Doane is Gitxsan, from the Fireweed Clan.

An award-winning Indigenous affairs reporter with CBC, Hamilton graduated from the UBC Master of Journalism program in 2016. His work has been featured on The National, CBC Radio and CBC Indigenous.

In 2020, his radio documentary Not Alone for CBC The Current won the Jack Webster Award for best feature and enterprise reporting. Hamilton is a member of the Hupacasath First Nation in Port Alberni.

The teaching team is rounded out by Leena Minifie, a Gitxaala and British digital strategist and journalist, and founder of First, a media company, and creative consultancy.

She has worked as a journalist for outlets including Ricochet Media, CBC Radio One, CTV First Story, Native American Calling (US), and APTN National News. Among her work is the fourpart documentary series, BC: An Untold History.

New additions for media law and environmental journalism

Students will also be seeing some new faces in January teaching courses in Media Law and in Environmental Journalism.

Vancouver lawyer Farid Muttalib is the new adjunct professor for Media Law. Muttalib set up his own law firm in 2022, after spending several years in private practice at a litigation firm and 3.5 years as in-house counsel at CBC/Radio-Canada.

Award-winning journalist and UBC Journalism alum Jimmy Thomson is joining as an adjunct professor to teach the Environmental Journalism course. Thomson graduated in 2014 and has since reported extensively on the climate emergency and environmental issues for outlets including National Geographic News, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The Walrus and The Narwhal.

He is the managing editor of Capital Daily, based in Vancouver, and won the Jack Webster Award for Excellence in Multimedia Journalism 2022 for his feature on the work of Indigenous guardians for The Narwhal.

In the fall, video journalism Uytae Lee joined the school as an adjunct to teach Visual Journalism. Lee is the creator of the CBC series Stories About Here, where he explores topics such as underground streams, zoning reform and affordable housing.

He also produces urban planning documentaries for his own YouTube channel, About Here.