Building confidence by taking on new challenges

By Sam Chipera

Jessica's hometown: Richmond Hill, Ontario

Jessica Singer knew she wanted to be a journalist but wasn't sure if she was up to the task. Completing the MMJC program gave her the confidence and the connections to take those first steps into her professional career.


Not every origin story begins with a career quiz.

But for Jessica Singer, a simple quiz in Grade 10 pointed her in the direction of journalism and gave her confidence that it was the right career path for her.

“I wasn't the type of person that was on the fence,” she says. “I knew what I wanted to do.”

Now an associate producer and reporter with CBC Newfoundland and Labrador, Jessica has stayed true to that path from high school, through her undergraduate degree in Media, Information and Technoculture, to grad school and beyond. Currently living in St. John’s, she tells stories about the people and events on Canada’s east coast.

Originally from Richmond Hill, Jessica graduated from the Master of Media in Journalism and Communication program in 2021. Offered through the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University, the program offers hands-on skills training for people interested in professional journalism or communications. To Jessica, it looked like a good next step towards her goal.

Fun Fact

Jessica has a twin sister (fraternal, not identical!)

“I could have hopped right into freelancing and pitching ideas, but then I would have never made the friendships and connections with professors who gave me the career opportunities to help me on my journey,” she explains.

Enrolling in the MMJC program gave Jessica the opportunity to grow her abilities as a journalist—and tackle issues like imposter syndrome.

“I've made really strong relationships with the professors that sort of encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and become confident in myself,” Jessica says, “And with things that I never thought I’d be able to do, like picking up a camera and filming.”

The program helped Jessica become more proficient in journalism, and the flexibility of class assignments and projects also allowed her to spend time on some of her own interests.

“I remember being like, okay, my quirky sense of humour isn't something to shy away from, and in the professional world, I can bring it into what I do, and have fun with it.”

“I love scary things, so I got to go and film a video story of a haunted house—that was really fun.”

Her work in the MMJC program helped her to get a foot in the door of professional journalism after she was awarded the prestigious Joan Donaldson CBC News Scholarship in 2021. Each year, the scholarship program provides aspiring journalists with valuable internship experience and the opportunity to produce high quality, multi-platform news from various locations across Canada.

The Donaldson scholarship allowed Jessica to gain experience through three placements: one with CBC Radio’s Syndicated Audio Unit, one with CBC Toronto’s arts and education beat, and one with a local CBC morning radio show in Newfoundland.

She says without the MMJC program, and without mentorship from individuals like program chair Jeremy Copeland, she never would have considered applying. Jessica says the experience taught her that sometimes it’s worth taking a leap of faith into something that scares you a bit.

“If it wasn't for [Jeremy] and the support from the program and my friends, I don't think I would ever have the confidence to do anything like that on my own.”

She’s excited to see where journalism takes her next.

“I'm going with the flow, living in the moment.”

The MMJC program has allowed many students to launch successful careers in journalism, communications, marketing and other media-focused industries. If you’re interested in starting your media career, apply to Western’s MMJC program to Start Your Story!


Profiles in the Start Your Story blog are written by students in the Master of Media in Journalism & Communication program, who are enrolled in MMJC 9604 - Professional Writing.