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Meet Ashlynn Chand, PressProgress’ 2022 Labour Reporting Intern

Ashlynn says her reporting aims to ‘shed light on folks who may be missing from dominant labour conversations’

With newsrooms shrinking and entry-level journalism jobs disappearing, it’s getting harder and harder for young journalists in Canada to get a foot in the door.

That’s why PressProgress is making investments in the next generation of journalists by offering a paid summer internship for young journalists interested in pursuing labour reporting.

This year, we’re pleased to welcome Ashlynn Chand as our 2022 labour reporting intern.

Ashlynn is a recent university graduate who got her start as Arts and Culture Editor at The Gateway, the University of Alberta’s student newspaper. But when the pandemic began, Ashlynn found herself gravitating to stories about the impacts on frontline workers.

“I started to think and write more about labour because that’s what was in my head at the time,” Ashlynn recalls. “I was freelancing for different publications and organizations writing about workplace abuse and harassment.”

Last year, Ashlynn went undercover for Ricochet and Jacobin to investigate working conditions at the Amazon warehouse in Nisku, Alberta and reported on efforts by workers to unionize.

“I saw firsthand the exhausting pace of work and the coerciveness of management but also the appeal of the job for working-class people stuck in a labor market in which low wages and bad conditions are the norm,” Ashlynn reported at the time.

Labour reporting is also important to Ashlynn given her family’s working-class background.

“Labour has long been a large part of my cultural and family history,” Ashlynn explains. “I’m Indo-Fijian, so I’m a descendant of girmitiyas, or Indian indentured labourers, and then after Fiji was freed from British rule, my maternal grandfather was a sugarcane farmer in Fiji.”

“My immediate family immigrated to Canada in the 1990s and now work in restaurants, hospitals, warehouses, and so on,” Ashlynn adds. “I was born and raised in Alberta and in my opinion, you can’t really talk about Alberta without talking about labour.”

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Newspapers always have a business section – so why not a labour section too?

During her labour reporting internship for PressProgress, Ashlynn hopes to develop her skills by reporting on labour issues involving sex work – both on the Prairies as well as online.

“Sex workers have been at the intersections of so many crucial discussions about race, gender, immigration, technology, healthcare, etc,” Ashlynn explains. “Media coverage often dehumanizes, sensationalizes, and even glorifies sex work, but rarely does it look at it through nuance, understanding and compassion.”

“They’ve been at the frontlines of the pandemic and the work they do and have done has been long left out of the labour movement.”

Ashlynn says she’s interested in this topic because she is motivated to focus on underreported topics that don’t get the attention they deserve.

“I try to shed light on folks who may be missing from dominant labour conversations.”

 

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We’re an award-winning non-profit news organization that covers topics like social and economic inequality, big business and labour, and right-wing extremism.

Help us build so we can bring to light stories that don’t get the attention they deserve from Canada’s big corporate media outlets.

 

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PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

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