Things are getting exciting in our Indigenous Reporters’ Program!

The Commission believes that in the coming years, media outlets and journalists will greatly influence whether or not reconciliation ultimately transforms the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples. To ensure that the colonial press truly becomes a thing of the past in twenty-first-century Canada, the media must engage in its own acts of reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples. – Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada final report.

 

Released just over a year ago, the executive summary of the TRC’s report made it clear: the Canadian media has an important role to play in reconciliation. Now in the midst of its second year, JHR’s Indigenous Reporters Program has strived to contribute to Canadian reconciliation through increasing the quality and quantity of Indigenous stories and voices in Canadian media, and are we busy working on that goal.

The program is expanding as we have now worked in three provinces: we just wrapped an exciting Manitoba-wide workshop series (and are launching a pilot program in a northern Manitoba community this fall) and we just completed our first foray into Saskatchewan.

We recently made the trip to Regina, Saskatchewan to meet with newsrooms, journalism schools and some fantastic emerging Indigenous reporters to discuss Indigenous representation in the media and Indigenous issues in the province. The conversations were lively and constructive and had an underlying theme in common: there is a need for a better understanding of how to effectively report on Indigenous issues, and for increased opportunities for emerging Indigenous reporters to cut their teeth in the newsroom – two things which the Indigenous Reporters Program strives to offer.

JHR & INCA Students
One of the most exciting parts of the trip was our time spent with the students at First Nations University, who are taking part at the INCA summer institute, an intensive seven-week long crash course in all things journalism. In the past years, we have had a number of scholarship and internship recipients who are in or, who have taken the program and it was great to meet them in person.

Meanwhile, in Ontario, we are moving forward with the new year of the field placement component of the program.

We recently welcomed Lenny Carpenter to the team as the Program Manager. A former editor of Wawatay News – the news outlet that covers and serves the Indigenous communities of northern Ontario – and being a member of Attawapiskat First Nation who grew up in the James Bay community of Moosonee, Lenny brings a wealth of northern experience, a first-hand perspective, and a network of contacts to the program.

Further, we have begun hiring four intrepid journalists who will go into four Indigenous communities in the coming weeks. The group brings a variety of experience and skills to the program. One trainer is returning from last year.
Once assembled and prepped, our trainers will venture into the First Nations to train community members on how to report, write a news story, take photos and establish radio programming.

It’s an exciting time in JHR’s Indigenous Reporters Program. Be sure to watch for IRP Friday Field Stories and blog posts to read what the trainers are up to.

 

 

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