In partnership with SFU's school of communication

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Participant Bios in alphabetical order:

  • Abeer Yusuf is a journalist working on unceded Coast Salish territories. Having grown up between cultures and countries, Abeer’s work focuses largely on identity and how we make sense of who we are based on where we are. Intersectional solutions-based journalism is of particular interest to Abeer, as are stories of the weird and wonderful. Follow Abeer on @aboutabeer.


  • Alejandra Lopez is from Mexico City and Vancouver has been her home since 2006. She works at Vancouver Foundation with the “Fresh Voices Initiative” supporting and working alongside immigrant and refugee youth to understand and develop recommendations and influence policy and systems that affect their lives and the lives of their families in BC. She is a member of “Sanctuary Health” where she advocates for access to services without fear of deportation and gives direct support to people with precarious and no immigration status. Her involvement with immigrant and refugee women and youth is connected to her personal journey of redefining identity and belonging as well as to her commitment to address sexism, racism and poverty.


  • Am Johal is Director of SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. He is the co-founder of the Vancouver Institute for Social Research and UBC’s Humanities 101 program. He has contributed to Electronic Intifada, Inter Press Service, The Tyee and many other publications. He is the author of Ecological Metapolitics: Badiou and the Anthropocene (2015, Atropos Press) and co-author with Matt Hern of the forthcoming Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life: A Tar Sands Tale (2018, The MIT Press).


  • Ashvan Wal is a 20-year-old immigrant who moved to Canada in 2012 from India. She is currently pursuing a degree in genetics. Ashvan hopes to work as a researcher in the near future. She has been a part of Fresh Voices since 2015 and when she’s not drowning under a pile of homework, she can be found volunteering at the hospital or chilling by the beach in White Rock.


  • Brielle Morgan has been digging into B.C.’s child welfare system and has found that it’s deeply undercovered. She’s working with youth who’ve experienced government care, community partners and other media makers to build capacity for better, broader reporting.


  • Bruce Grierson is a longtime magazine feature writer specializing in science and social-science issues. He’s the author of three books, most recently What Makes Olga Run? which was chosen as one of the top 10 science books of 2014 by the Wall Street Journal. He lives in North Vancouver with his wife and daughters.


  • Chelsea Palmer co-runs Dctrl Community Commons [], and is the Deacon of the Decentralized Dance Party []. She collaborates with Frontier Foundry, Startup Societies Foundation, and the Human Data Commons, and is a blockchain research fellow at UBC. She writes, performs, and produces educational rap videos as msGNU [].


  • Christopher Cheung is a Vancouver reporter with a focus on urban issues and housing. He writes for The Tyee, Vancouver Courier, and Metro.


  • Dammy Ogunseitan is New/Mode’s Campaign Engagement Specialist. For nearly a decade, Dammy has been working in the digital marketing industry as a marketing manager, strategist and project coordinator. In that time, he has honed his expertise on behalf of both brands and political organizations.


  • David Beers has spent 30 years producing solutions journalism as a writer, editor, instructor and founder of The Tyee and Tyee Solutions Society.


  • Denver Lynxleg is a displaced yet proud member of Tootinaowaziibeeng Treaty Reserve. As a light-skinned ikwe she has focused on projects that explore dialogues of resurgent cultural identity, emotional labour and decolonization.


  • Derrick O’Keefe is a co-founder and Editor with Ricochet. He is the author of The Lesser Evil? and A Woman Among Warlords, co-authored with Afghanistan’s Malalai Joya.


  • Emilee Gilpin is a multimedia reporter and will be leading National Observer’s coverage on Indigenous issues starting in October. She is committed to investigating responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action. She has been awarded the Susan Carson bursary award, a Fulbright Canada scholarship and was recently Journalist for Human Rights’’ “Emerging Indigenous Intern” at The Tyee.


  • Erin Miller is Discourse Media’s editor-in-chief and CEO. She has reported from over a dozen countries for Canadian and international publications. She taught journalism at Quest University Canada and Langara College. She is a trustee of the Uncharted Journalism Fund and serves on the board of the National Magazine Awards Foundation.


  • Frederik Lesage is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University.


  • Jagdeesh Mann has served as the Executive Editor of The South Asian Post, Asian Pacific Post, and Filipino Post weeklies. He writes frequently for Canadian outlets such as The Globe & Mail, Georgia Straight, Vancouver Sun, and others. In 2003, Jagdeesh won a Jack Webster Award for Best Community Reporting and was part of the South Asian Post news team that won a 2nd Webster Award in 2008. These days, he is primarily engaged with Sunflower Media, a multicultural marketing & communications company. Twitter @jagdeeshmann


  • Jen Sungshine is a queer Taiwanese artist-activist based in Vancouver, BC. She is guided by an ethos of care that is rooted in the ancestral lands of the Coast Salish people. A facilitator by trade, she works with creative technology and social justice media through Love Intersections, Our City of Colours, Out in Schools and the Social Justice Institute at the University of British Columbia.


  • Jeneen Frei Njootli​ is an artist and member of the Vuntut Gwitchin Nation.


  • Jennifer Moreau is a former reporter from the Burnaby NOW newspaper. She worked there for more than a decade, covering community news, politics and pipeline issues for more than a decade. She became more involved in her union and is now a fulltime secretary-treasurer with Unifor Local 2000, which represents more than 700 workers, mostly in newspapers. She also sits on Unifor’s national media council and provincial council. Jennifer is the host of Vancouver’s new Press Club, a monthly gathering for print, radio and TV reporters. She’s passionate about saving local news and protecting workers’ rights.


  • Jesi Carson is a values-driven interaction designer and Master of Design candidate at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. As a Design Thinking Facilitator for the Vancouver Design Nerds and Design and Communities Coordinator for Participedia, Jesi believes in the power of design and public participation to create positive social change.


  • Kathryn Gretsinger is a Vancouver journalist. She is a senior instructor at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism. She also trains journalists at the CBC after having a long career working in radio at the public broadcaster. Kathryn’s focus throughout her career has been social justice, democracy and community stories.


  • Munroe Craig is the owner, founder and Outreach Director of Karmik; a Vancouver-based organization which provides pragmatic harm reduction services to festivals and nightlife events internationally. Munroe is a naloxone trainer with the THN Program and is the Volunteer Coordinator for the TOPS Site. She is an addictions counsellor by trade and is employed by the SpencerCreo Foundation as a support worker in the DTES and RainCity. With a specialty in expressive and creative therapies, Munroe is also an active artist.


  • Pete Fung and Samein Shamsher are members of the design collective Discordant Projects. The Vancouver-based studio explores a variety of formats and scales from every-day artifacts to embodied spaces and experiences. Embracing interdisciplinary collaboration, informal research methods, and playful complexity, their work seeks to explore the shifting roles of designers while using design as catalyst for conversation and engaging diverse communities.


  • Petra Klupková is Campaign Strategist and Lead at New/Mode. With her background in communications and project management, Petra ensures all New/Mode clients’ campaigns run smoothly. And as an experienced researcher, she ensures all New/Mode campaigns are backed by keen insight and evidence. Petra holds an MA in English from UBC.


  • Phillip Smith is currently a Mozilla Senior Fellow for Media, Misinformation & Trust and a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford (2017-2018). He’s a veteran digital product developer, having spent more than two decades working with the the world’s top newsrooms & publishers. Phillip also founded the Uncharted Journalism Fund to explore how journalism philanthropy can support bold, adventurous storytelling in a shrinking media environment. His unrelenting passion is to make society a more informed, connected, and empowered place. You can find him online, in all the usual places, as @phillipadsmith.


  • Rabia Mir is a graduate student within Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia and Project Consultant with the Global Reporting Centre at UBC. She was also Project Director for United World College in Pakistan for a year where she oversaw the selection, promotion and operational aspects of the program. Her research is on a decolonial study of madaris (religious schools) in Pakistan and on developing pedagogical resources for anti-Muslim racism training.


  • Robin Puga is the chief technology officer at Affinity Bridge ( in Vancouver, BC. He specializes in software and system design, refining business workflows, and online collaboration tools. He also produces the Each For All radio program, a show about co-operatives, on Vancouver Co-op Radio.


  • Samaah Jaffer is an undergraduate student at Simon Fraser University, finishing off a BA in International Studies and World Literature with a minor in Middle Eastern and Islamic History. She is currently the program assistant at SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement, where she helps to facilitate public programming within the overarching themes of social justice, sustainability and critical urbanism, arts and culture, and democratic engagement. She is also the B.C. Editor at — an independent news platform for progressive Canadians.


  • Shane Gunster teaches in the School of Communication and is a research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. His research interests include climate and energy politics, journalism and alternative media, and his latest book (co-authored with Bob Hackett, Susan Forde and Kerrie Foxwell-Norton) is Journalism and Climate Crisis: Public Engagement, Media Alternatives.


  • Stefania Seccia is the managing editor of Megaphone Magazine. Her work has appeared in The Tyee, Vancouver Sun, Province, Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen, among others. She also co-facilitates a Community Journalism 101 workshop at SFU-Woodward’s for people facing barriers or poverty.


  • Stuart Poyntz is a professor of Communication, has been the Director or Co-Director of the Media Democracy Project at SFU since 2011 and has a long and successful history of working with the media-engaged non-profit sector in British Columbia. He has published three books and has written and published widely in the areas of urban democracy, youth culture, and public media.


  • Tanvi Bhatia is an activist and writer studying political science and creative writing at UBC. She’s been part of the Fresh Voices Youth Advisory Team for 5 years, working alongside amazing young leaders and adult allies to ensure that the voices of immigrant and refugee youth are heard in conversations about the issues that effect them.


  • Tracey Axelsson is the Executive Director of the Vancouver Community Network, the 25 year old Internet Service Provider and charity working to ensure no one is left behind in the digital age.   Her work typically sees her engaging with seniors, street and marginalized individuals  as well as budding entrepreneurs, community non-profit and NGOs seeking help with internet communications technology. She is an advocate and passionate supporter of online education, privacy protections, net-neutrality and digital literacy.


  • Tsēma Igharas is an interdisciplinary artist and a member of the Tahltan First Nation; her work aims to re­Indigenize industrial space through performative artworks.

Thank yous:


Huge thank you to the volunteers and advisors who make MDD happen – we couldn’t have done it without you!

Media Democracy Day Steering Committee: Tara Mahoney, Stuart Poyntz, Robert Hackett, Caroline Brown, Dave Beers, Frederik Lesage

Media Democracy Day Community Advisory Committee: Brielle Morgan, Abeer Yusuf, Adrian Duke, Jorge Salazar, Rabia Mir, Alejandra Lopez

Media Democracy Day Lead Program Director: Tara Mahoney

Media Democracy Day Lead Organizer: Caroline Brown

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