Mar 24, 2014

Vancouver, BC - The third annual Jeani Read-Michael Mercer Fellowship has been awarded to four students in this year's Journalism Program. Each fellowship is worth $5,000 and will allow the winners to pursue a major piece of journalism for either CBC Radio or the Vancouver Sun

Nick Eagland and Gavin Fisher are taking their talents to CBC Radio, while Tyler Hooper and Vanessa Szpurko are headed to the Vancouver Sun this spring. They will be working on the following compelling stories:

  • Eagland will tackle the issue of prescription drug addiction. How are police and Health Canada being held accountable for the ease with which drugs fall into the wrong hands? His story will air on veteran journalist Stephen Quinn's show On the Coast.
  • Fisher will explore how LGBTQ individuals from ethnic and/or immigrant communities face unique difficulties in coming out, including potential discrimination from the mainstream LGBTQ community. His story will air on CBC's The Early Edition.
  • Writing for the Vancouver Sun, Hooper will investigate the prevalence of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in society, its causes and its possible cures, and how it fits into the greater mental health discussion in Vancouver.
  • Szpurko, also writing for the Sun, will visit people with disabilities. Such people are often seen as asexual, so it is extremely difficult for them to lead complete lives in a society that doesn’t acknowledge them as sexual beings.

"CBC Radio is looking forward to welcoming not one, but two Langara Journalism Read-Mercer Fellowship winners to CBC Vancouver this year," said Laura Palmer, executive producer of CBC. "We are thrilled to be able to bring these important stories to our listeners. It's an incredible opportunity for Nick and Gavin. We couldn't be more pleased for them."

"It was a thrill to meet the students, all of whom were well-prepared and so enthusiastic," added Adrienne Tanner, deputy editor of the Vancouver Sun. "We at the Sun are very much looking forward to working with Tyler and Vanessa on their projects."

The four fellowships are made possible by an endowment left to Langara by long-time Province newspaper columnist Jeani Read and her playwright husband Michael Mercer.

"Jeani Read was my beloved cousin, so this fellowship is an ongoing reminder to me of her and her devotion to good writing and to making the world a better place," said Langara journalism instructor Nicholas Read. "I know she'd get a real kick out of seeing how her money is being spent, and she'd be so proud of this year's winners and their projects. I am too."

About the Fellowship

The Jeani Read-Michael Mercer Fellowship for Journalism Students was established to encourage students to continue their pursuit of journalistic excellence through mentorship. This endowed scholarship fund provides $20,000 of scholarship funding to students annually. The successful applicants receive support from a mentor for approximately three months while they produce a major work of journalism, such as an in-depth newspaper story, or a series of stories suitable for publication in a newspaper, magazine, or on the web. Journalism students may apply for this award in their final term. 

About Langara's Journalism Program 

Langara's Journalism Program has earned a reputation as the top school for intensive, hands-on training that leads to exciting careers in the media and related fields. Students gain the varied skills important for success in a multimedia world. Langara's graduates get jobs on daily and community newspapers, with radio and television stations, and with websites, magazines, and public relations firms. 

Learn more.

Sylvia Tan
Communications Officer
Langara College
604.323.5961 |