Reporting from Rankin Inlet: Juanita Taylor Shares Good News of Journalism
What started as a dream turned into a story of change. In the end she’s the one telling other people’s stories on the news. Juanita Taylor grew up in Saskatchewan but has lived in Arviat, Iqaluit, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Rankin Inlet, moving all over the country for work and school. Now working as a senior reporter for CBC News in Rankin Inlet, she’s enjoying time with family in the North.
In the past, she’s worked with the Nunavut Government, and within Inuit organizations like Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated and Kivalliq Inuit Association. To build her skills she attended Nunavut Arctic College, Nunavut Sivuniksavut and Academy of Broadcasting Corporation. She worked as a receptionist and in finance before working in journalism.
Going to journalism school was a goal Taylor had in her twenties that she hoped to achieve before she turned 30. Becoming a journalist was a vision she had back in high school, applying to University of Calgary and Mount Royal but instead delayed her dream for another: starting a family. They later moved to Winnipeg so she could go to school and become a reporter, a familiar place where she attended medical appointments and gave birth. With the support of her family, she was able to reach this professional goal through this career and lifestyle change.
With those changes have come chances to explore and grow professionally. “There's a lot of opportunity, especially in the north, when it comes to journalism that as long as you have that curiosity in you that you want to be able to ask questions and talk to people, and to get the story and to be able to be sort of the messenger for those people,” she reflects. “Anyone can do that. As long as you have the communication skills and the passion, you can be a journalist. You are a journalist. It doesn't matter if you have the papers to go with it or not,” Taylor continues.
Her advice for Indigenous youth wanting to pursue education outside of their community or home territory is to just do it. While leaving home can bring homesickness and having to learn to budget and strategize to make things work financially, she sees making a change as a huge opportunity. “You have to go through struggles, and you have to go through challenges. It's not going to be easy. But that is going to build part of your character. Once you reach the end of getting your education, you're going to be such a different person on that day compared to day one and for the better,” she encourages. Outside of challenges,Taylor reinforces all the new experiences, life skills and personal connections to be gained in moving out of your comfort zone.
As a mother, a spouse, and when she was a student, Taylor faced so many expectations and juggling them all was a challenge. From maintaining her home, running errands, and going to school, it was a lot. She’s also hard on herself, not wanting to let herself or others down. Once she was able to establish a routine, it became more manageable. The juggle didn’t stop with school ending, as she finds herself trying to keep up now in the workforce.
Sometimes she misses out on things because she’s only one person, but while it can be disheartening, she is learning to take it easier on herself in her humanness. “I would love to tell myself as a little girl, just to stay true to myself and not change for others and just be the best person you can be,” she confides. At the same time, she would want to tell herself to exercise self compassion when she’s not able to be the person others want her to be.
Feeling too isolated, she’s been trying to work on her mental health. Taylor had a strong support network in Yellowknife after living there for over a decade. In her new community, she has been feeling lonely. To beat the blues, she’s been walking to and from work, something that has lifted her spirits and helped her to decompress. Spending time with and remembering the importance of family has helped her prioritize things when everything gets heavy.
Working in Yellowknife, Taylor was often inspired by her colleagues with whom she worked closely. These days, she’s found fresh inspiration. “I think it just comes from waking up and realizing a new day has been given and that we have got to make the best of the day and to be the best of the person we are,” she explains. Inspired by her family, the scenery of the North and being in community among people, she’s always looking for new things she hasn’t noticed yet to build on.
A career in journalism started as a dream and turned into a story of change. With the support of family and friends that got her on the path to a newsdesk in the north, Juanita Taylor’s the one telling other people’s stories now. Through hard work and being brave enough to make a change, she’s found life has good news for her as a reporter. She’s been all over Canada and now she’s right where she belongs with the people she loves, working in a field of full of opportunity.
Thanks to Alison Tedford Seaweed for authoring this article.
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Funding is generously provided by the RBC Foundation in support of RBC Future Launch, and the Government of Canada's Supports for Student Learning program.