Concordia journalism student earns a 2020 Joan Donaldson CBC News Scholarship
When Concordia journalism student Meriem Chiadmi graduates this June, she won’t be worrying about her next move.
That’s because she’s one of 10 students from across Canada to be awarded this year’s prestigious Joan Donaldson CBC News Scholarship.
Recipients are given the opportunity to complete a four-month paid internship in Toronto within CBC News and Centres.
“From the moment Meriem joined the graduate diploma in journalism, it was clear that her visual eye and storytelling abilities were going to take her places,” says David Secko, chair of the Department of Journalism in the Faculty of Arts and Science.
“She joins a long list of Joan Donaldson winners from Concordia and we are very proud of her.”
‘Incredible national opportunity’
Chiadmi says she was thrilled when she heard the news.
“I felt so grateful for the opportunity and the support I had at Concordia from my professors, the department and my peers.”
Chiadmi will complete her Graduate Diploma in Journalism this June. Last year, Lina Forero (GrDip 2019) from the Graduate Diploma in Visual Journalism program also received the scholarship.
Of Moroccan descent and born in Copenhagen, Chiadmi moved to Montreal when she was nine years old. Before enrolling at Concordia, she earned a master’s degree at Paris-Sorbonne IV in food and food cultures and a bachelor’s degree in global nutrition at McGill University.
Candidates for the Joan Donaldson CBC News Scholarship are nominated by their home institution and undergo a rigorous portfolio and application process. A department committee chaired by Aphrodite Salas, assistant professor of journalism, recommended Chiadmi.
“Meriem came to us with a fascinating story,” Salas says. “Her academic background combined with her natural talent made her an excellent fit for our program, and since the summer she quickly emerged as one of our strongest students. We could not be prouder of her as she moves on to this incredible national opportunity at the CBC.”
Amélie Daoust-Boisvert, assistant professor of journalism, was one of Chiadmi’s references for the scholarship. Daoust-Boisvert taught her Intermediate Reporting (JOUR 504) class.
“Meriem really distinguished herself right away,” she says. “She is outstanding. I was not surprised she got it. She’s one of the top students I’ve had.”
‘My experience at CBC was truly memorable’
Chiadmi was conducting interviews for her MA when she discovered her passion for people’s stories.
“Hearing their background and what motivates them makes you learn a lot about yourself and your own perceptions on life. The interviews always took me somewhere unexpected and I loved that,” she says.
“I discovered something in me I didn’t know I had — a passion for uncovering untold and forgotten stories. This was a bigger gift than I had ever imagined.”
As Chiadmi went on to begin her PhD in Toulouse, France, “Something inside me was not being embraced,” she says.
So she came back to Montreal and enrolled in the intensive one-year Graduate Diploma in Journalism program because she saw that it would allow her to learn new tools to add to her profession.
The program also led her to an internship at CBC Montreal during her studies, where she discovered she wanted to work for this news outlet.
“My experience at CBC was truly memorable. The team there was so welcoming and inspiring to work with,” Chiadmi relates.
“CBC is a place I have respected for years. Since I knew that was the news outlet I wanted to work for one day, it made sense to apply for the scholarship.”
Chiadmi says the Department of Journalism has given her the tools she needs to succeed and has even helped her discover potential she never knew she had.
“I’ve met some of the loveliest human beings in the department and this is something I’ll always remember about the program: the people.”
She adds that one of the most important things about success is a strong support system at school. The department has given her that — and she’ll forever be grateful.
Learn more about Concordia’s Department of Journalism.