Ethnic and Multicultural Media Training Offered

One of the more interesting initiatives from New Canadian Media. Letter from publisher George Abraham to current and developing journalists:

Dear fellow journalist,

Greetings from Ottawa!

It is an honour for me to roll out Canada’s first nation-wide training program aimed specifically at journalists who work with “ethnic” or “multicultural” media organizations.

This accompanying questionnaire will help us determine locations and the specific workshops we will offer. All the information you provide is confidential and will only be used for research and training purposes.

These in-person training sessions build on our successful mentoring program, launched in February, as part of seeking out “new voices”.

Here is some more information that may be helpful:

This training program will be offered free-of-cost and is funded through a federal government grant

NCM will offer up to three individual workshops (two hours each) in each location. Topics for the workshops will be chosen based on responses to the questionnaire

Workshops will most likely be hosted at the nearest journalism school, subject to space availability

A light lunch and refreshments will be provided to all participants

I’d be more than happy to respond to any questions you may have relating to your participation. And, please do forward the questionnaire to your friends as well.

Ethnic and Multicultural Media Training  – New Canadian Media.

What Jonathan Kay Has Wrong About Diversity in Journalism

On diversity (lack thereof) within the media:

In a recent appearance on Jesse Brown’s Canadaland podcast, newly installed Walrus editor Jonathan Kay discussed with Brown the homogeneity of the people writing for that magazine (and other mainstream outlets) in the country. Most of the young writers he meets, Kay said, are “people who grew up in privileged households.” The typical pattern, he added, is that writing is something young people do on their way to law school.

Increasing diversity in workplaces will require leadership, risk-taking and time. It will require creating opportunities for younger, less proven journalists to take on assignments more challenging than what they’ve done before.

Kay or anyone else in a management position who just throws up his hands when confronted with the diversity conundrum should come visit the Etobicoke college campus where I teach—or just about any other journalism school in the country.

Canada’s journalism schools, not to mention independent campus newspapers and radio stations, are filled with people from almost every imaginable background—people trying to enter a field where job opportunities seem to be dwindling and salaries are stagnating. This is not because they don’t understand the situation but because they are passionate about what journalism, at its best, can and should do.

There is no reliable data specific to Canada that I’m aware of to support or refute this—there doesn’t seem to be much after former Ryerson professor John Miller’s Diversity Watch project which hasn’t been updated in 10 years—but a perception exists that there is a disparity in who gets jobs. “Journalism schools are pumping out so many visible minorities and plenty of women, and they do not get jobs the way white kids do,” Hazlitt managing editor Scaachi Koul was quoted by J-Source as saying at a recent Massey College Press Club event in Toronto on the generational gap in Canadian journalism.

…If Kay’s assertion that there are very few good essayists in the country is true, then why not use his position, resources and experience to develop new voices? Instead, when Brown asked Kay to name some people he would like to add to the Walrus’s roster, two of the three people he mentioned were Conrad Black and Rex Murphy—both of whom are exemplars of the status quo. (Not to mention bad writers.)

Kay’s comments are a perfect example of what Don Heider was writing about: someone who is not necessarily opposed to change but has no good reason, personally, professionally or politically, to act.

To give credit where credit is due, The Walrus, with Jon Kay’s support, has been particularly helpful in providing advice to New Canadian Media.

What Jonathan Kay Has Wrong About Diversity in Journalism – New Canadian Media – NCM.

New Anti-terrorism Bill May Fragment Community Relationships

Graham Hudson, in New Canadian Media, makes the valid point that much of the rhetoric and reality of C-51 may reduce the resilience within communities to combat radicalization and undermine some of the outreach efforts of the various police and security forces, key to increasing resilience:

The proposed advocacy or promotion of terrorism offence, for instance, will have a “chilling effect” on the communication of political and religious ideas within the Muslim community. While at first glance it may be seen as a net gain from the government’s perspective, fear of being associated with criminal activity may discourage community members from talking to each other about the issue of radicalization, interacting with high-risk persons in an effort to counter radicalization, or reporting information to police.  This will negatively impact the internal social dynamics of communities, including the viability of community-based programs, self-regulation and other means of “collective efficacy” that have been shown to help counter radicalization and facilitate integration into broader social networks.

New Anti-terrorism Bill May Fragment Community Relationships – New Canadian Media – NCM.

Ottawa Conference Addresses Key Citizenship Questions – New Canadian Media – NCM

Summary of the recent Canadian Race Relations Foundation symposium on citizenship:

The focus of the symposium was clearly on the meaning of Canadian citizenship and the role of Canadian identity in the context of immigrants and newcomers to Canada. This was discussed in several sessions, such as whether new Canadians were “importing conflict” from other regions into Canada, if multi-faith based organizations were impacting positively on greater co-existence between different communities, the role of the media in reflecting diversity, and most controversially, the role of religion, most notably Islam, and the rise of extremism in Canada.

Divisions were clearly etched in this latter discussion, where there was both a call for greater awareness raising and education among both adults and the youth on issues of extremism and racial discrimination, as well as accepting the reality of a changing global security scenario. Law enforcement agencies such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police RCMP and provincial police forces have particularly been the focus of attention in trying to sensitize their officers in working with diverse and multi-faith communities in countering cases of radicalization.

From a psychological and human perspective, speakers suggested that violence should be seen as a function of human vulnerability and personal behaviour, rather than associated with a particular group or belief system. Almost all presenters belonging to various diverse communities had personal stories to share about their experiences in Canada with racial discrimination. However, it was clear that there is still far to go in bridging this divide.

The takeaway from the symposium was that change, especially positive change, takes time. For the 250,000 immigrants welcomed to Canada annually, the message from the government was one of integration.  But the message was not limited to only newcomers. Those born in Canada also need to be aware and understand the responsibilities associated with citizenship. For this, the work of both small community groups and large government organizations were considered to be equally important in creating a tolerant and secure Canada.

The panel I moderated, on the role Canadian values have in improving community resilience against extremism, certainly had a wide and diverse range of views from those who proposed cutting back immigration from certain countries to those focusing on social inclusion.

Ottawa Conference Addresses Key Citizenship Questions – New Canadian Media – NCM.

Conservatives received most election coverage in GTA ethnic newspapers – New Canadian Media – NCM

Interesting but not surprising research:

[April] Lindgren’s research, which will be published in the December 2014 issue of the Canadian Journal of Political Science, focused on coverage of the 2011 federal election in five ethnocultural publications in the Greater Toronto Area – the Russian Express, Korea Times Daily, Canadian Punjabi Post, Punjabi Daily and Ming Pao. All are daily publications except for the weekly Russian Express. The study concluded that while there was no overwhelming pattern of stories or photos skewed explicitly in favour of the Conservatives, the party did benefit in that more of its politicians were featured in photographs, it was the sole focus of more stories and photos than its competitors, and it was mentioned first most frequently in news coverage.

“The degree to which a candidate or party can consistently earn first mentions in stories…is a measure of campaign effectiveness in that it means party strategists are choosing the topic and framing the discussion, leaving the competition to react in later paragraphs,” Lindgren observed in the paper, entitled “Toronto-area ethnic newspapers and Canada’s 2011 federal election: An investigation of content, focus and partisanship.”

Lindgren said she was interested in investigating election coverage in the ethnic media because language barriers have limited the amount of research done in this area. During the 2011 election, the Conservative Party, in particular, also launched a media strategy that targeted ethnic communities, because a “growing number of ridings in and around major Canadian cities were home to concentrations of potential supporters from single ethnic groups,” Lindgren wrote.

In almost all cases the ethnic papers filled in gaps left by mainstream media by providing more extensive coverage of the local races of interest to their readers.

Most Canadian voters do not participate directly in political events and therefore depend on the news media to help them make informed decisions, Lindgren noted. In addition to examining whether the Conservative party’s courtship of ethnic media paid off in terms of coverage, the research also examined how much election-related news the ethnocultural publications carried, the subject matter dealt with in the coverage and the geographic focus of the reporting local campaigns versus national campaigns.

The results showed that interest in the election varied by publication. The Punjabi Daily carried the most election-related coverage – a total of 123 stories and photos, or 32 per cent of all news items the paper published during the study period. The Russian Express, on the other hand, published just 19 election-related stories and photos, which made up a mere 5.9 per cent of their total news items. The study also observed that both the Punjabi Daily and the Punjabi Post were more similar to mainstream news coverage in that both publications ran more stories about election strategy and poll results than issue-related articles.

Analysis of the election coverage also suggested that individual newspaper’s commitment to election coverage seemed to be influenced by the number of candidates from the publication’s readership community. The Punjabi newspapers, which carried the most election news, also had the most in-group candidates to cover.

Conservatives received most election coverage in GTA ethnic newspapers – New Canadian Media – NCM.

“Immigrant Vote” to Gain Strength in 2015 – New Canadian Media

Good interview with Prof. Triadafilopoulos of UofT on immigrant voting patterns and trends. Looking at this in context of my upcoming book on multiculturalism. Following two observations of interest:

6. Given your findings, what does your study suggest on the subject of immigration generally being a non-partisan issue in Canada?

It will likely remain the case. There’s no political pay-off for populist anti-immigrant rhetoric at the federal level.

Canada is unique among major immigration countries in the degree to which immigration policy is de-politicized, and immigration itself is enthusiastically embraced by federal political parties. Quebec’s provincial politics since 2007 may be a partial exception to this pattern, but this has not had a discernible impact on Quebec voices in federal policy debates over immigration.

7. Do you have any further thoughts on the “immigrant vote” in the 2011 federal elections you said it was inconclusive at the time of writing?

We have not done the necessary analysis to move beyond what we have.  We hope to do so soon.  The key point is that all parties in Canada support a relatively liberal immigration policy, as reflected in annual admissions.  There is also consensus on the utility of an official multiculturalism policy – our Conservative Party is rather different than similar parties in other countries.

“Immigrant Vote” to Gain Strength in 2015 – New Canadian Media – NCM.

New Canadian Media Crowdfunding Campaign

As regular readers of this blog know, I contribute regularly to New Canadian Media.

Given the financial realities of publishing and being a start-up, NCM has launched a crowd funding campaign with FundRazr, with the following message:

New Canadian Media is Canada’s premier website dedicated to bringing news and views from an immigrant perspective – bringing you original content from an immigrant perspective.

Established as a non-profit in 2012, we are proudly pioneering a new pan-Canadian form of immigrant journalism founded on the premise that all Canadians need to know what’s on the minds of immigrants … so we can all have a better conversation. If you haven’t already, take a look at our site, and see how we are changing the national conversation

At this time, we need your help to continue producing great multimedia content. Every dollar you donate will go towards content: great content that makes a difference to our national conversation and the digital technology that enables this great content to be accessible, responsive, and easy-to-view.

Help champion NCM’s pioneering journalism.

While I have no financial interest, it is somewhat self-interested of me to support this campaign.

Please take a look at their site and stories and, if you like what you see, please consider making a contribution.


Mirror Images: Antisemitism and Islamophobia – New Canadian Media – NCM

My take on the similarities and differences between antisemitism and islamophobia:

And for those protesting or supporting Israel, a do’s and don’t guide see How to Support Israel without Being Racist and How to Criticize Israel without Being Antisemitic for additional thoughts:

1.       Protest against the political entity Israel, Hamas, not the religion or ethnicity Jews, Muslims, Arabs.

2.       Never protest outside a mosque or synagogue. Find a neutral place e.g., federal or provincial parliaments, City halls.

3.       Avoid any use of Nazi imagery and language no ‘death to the Israelis, no death to the Jews,’no death to the Arabs, no death to the Muslims’ language.

4.       No violence or threats of violence.

5.       Hard as it may, try to understand where the other side is coming from. Not necessarily to accept, but to understand.

Mirror Images: Antisemitism and Islamophobia – New Canadian Media – NCM.

Overstating Citizenship “Fraud” – New Canadian Media

Citizenship Fraud.037My take on citizenship fraud, with analysis of released numbers to date:

Some may argue that any fraud is unacceptable.

But the quest for perfection has to be balanced with the realities of efficient management and good service delivery.

There are more fraud issues with citizens originating in certain countries, both in terms of country of birth and likely country of application. From a risk management perspective, that is where the focus should be and likely is.

As the government addresses the backlog and implements the new Citizenship Act, we will see starting in 2016 whether it has achieved a reasonable balance between reduced fraud, efficiency, and accessibility of citizenship, meeting the Minister’s commitment of a one-year processing time.

Overstating “Fraud” – New Canadian Media – NCM.

Methodological Note: A number of readers have asked regarding the source of the numbers and analysis:

  • An ATIP request provided to me by a student listed the countries of birth for the 3,194 investigations;
  • Beyond the fact that this number was as of 31 March 2012, no details on which years were included (i.e., did all the cases of suspected misrepresentation pertain to citizenship applications in one year or, as I suspect, a number of years);
  • Other numbers were pieced together from public statements and communications material from the past few years. I integrated as best I could;
  • the percentage figures were calculated against the 5 year annual average of new citizens (2008-12);
  • I asked CIC to confirm and update these numbers. CIC declined, suggesting I file an ATIP request and sending along some communications material.


Which Country Would You Die For?

My take on dual loyalties:

We live in a globalized world. We have diverse identities, both individually and collectively. As Canada’s diversity continues to increase through immigration and intermarriage, our identities will continue to become more varied and blended.

Our ability to follow global events and to participate in political and other activities in other countries will also continue to increase.

But we do not expect interest in countries of origin to be exclusive. We expect citizens to vote in Canada. We expect citizens to participate in Canadian political, social and economic debates, and not only vote or advocate on behalf of “homeland” issues.

By and large, the government is comfortable with this approach. The only exception is with respect to citizenship revocation in cases of national security or comparable issues, where the revisions to the Citizenship Act distinguish between single and dual citizens. In other words, the existing long-standing policy that a Canadian-is-a-Canadian — whether single or dual national, whether born in Canada or naturalized — no longer applies.

As Canadians continue to navigate and develop their various identities, we expect them to find a balance between their ethnic or country of origin identity and their Canadian identity. We have few hard and fast rules, given the complexity of our lives and identities, and provide considerable scope for Canadians to express their country of origin. However, we expect this activity to be grounded in a commitment to participate in Canadian life.

Which Country Would You Die For? – New Canadian Media – NCM.