Local News Journalism Conference: Know Thy Neighbor: Local News as a Tool for Overcoming Difference -- J-Source.ca -- The Canadian Journalism Project

Sun, 08/20/2017 - 18:53

Posted by fcadweb on November 10, 2015

Local News Journalism Conference: Know Thy Neighbor: Local News as a Tool for Overcoming Difference

Moderator: Amira Elghawaby, National Council of Canadian MuslimsChelby Marie Daigle, Muslim LinkThis presentation will explore the challenge of managing diversity, equity and inclusion in the context of a small Muslim Canadian publication. While a lot of work has been done in identifying the biases and blind spots of mainstream Western media, less is known about how biases, blind spots and more serious issues of systemic discrimination manifest themselves within Muslim community publications. By discussing her personal journey with the publication Muslim Link, reflections on other Muslim-led publications, the role of personal social media networks and the relationship between community media and mainstream local media, Daigle will offer insights into how each of us have a role to play in ensuring that local and community media do a better job at reflecting the diversity and complexity of our communities.Ishmael Daro, BuzzFeedDaro will discuss the importance of local news to national news organizations. Without good, accurate local news, it’s difficult for newsrooms in big cities like Toronto or Ottawa to know what’s happening in communities across the country. The loss of robust local news coverage also means losing a lot of positive news stories. Not everything has to be doom and gloom, but that is often what makes it onto the national radar. By telling positive stories, journalist can help break down stereotypes and bring people together.Naheed Mustafa, Producer, writer and broadcasterAll news is local news. Journalists can’t get at the core of the story without having some idea of the local milieu. Stories are told by going granular. This is particularly telling in that we all acknowledge coverage of Muslims and their issues is lacking because reporters don’t generally know what’s happening at the local level. Not only is there a gap in information about what people are actually talking about, outsiders conclude that no one is talking at all. That’s how we end up with stupid views like “Muslims never condemn terrorism,” for example. It also paints an erroneous picture that there is no intellectual debate happening, or that conversations are not dynamic at the local level in diverse communities. By the time you move up to national/international voices, the nuance and depth are gone.Steven Zhou, The Islamic MonthlyNewspapers used to focus primarily on cities – that is, local news. Every aspect of urban life was covered, no matter how unsexy. Today’s breakdown of this structure means, at least in part, that this equal prioritization is totally disturbed. Online platforms can’t generate enough funds to pay one or two journalists full time to cover “trivial” topics, so they prioritize the sexier stuff instead. This will hurt our future coverage of minority communities, which were already neglected by traditional outlets. Moreover, Muslims will lose out on a lot. There’s already an emphasis on national security reporting (a needed category to be sure) and of other post-9/11 issues, but there won’t be consistent local coverage of Muslim communities in any systemic way. Papers will have to rely on poorly paid freelancers for this kind of thing – if they even bother checking for those pitches in their stuffed-up inboxes.

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