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Canadian newsrooms must transform themselves: CAJ

May 20, 2017 / CNW / — Canadian journalists have spent a week confronting complex debates about cultural appropriation, free expression and the underrepresentation of minority and marginalized writers in most major newsrooms. The Canadian Association of Journalists understands these issues are divisive, but urges media owners to lead an industry-wide effort to transform newsroom culture—and make room for more diverse voices.

As the #AppropriationPrize controversy that grew out of Hal Niedzviecki’s resignation as editor of the Writers’ Union of Canada’s magazine continues to unfold, the CAJ remains a champion of free expression. Public debate requires voices from a wide variety of perspectives, including and especially those that challenge the status quo.

But the recent controversy has laid bare the ugly truth that Canadian media suffers from a lack of prominent diverse voices and varied perspectives. “Journalists need to challenge our own assumptions by engaging, learning about, and finally writing about other cultures,” said CAJ President Nick Taylor-Vaisey. “But newsroom leaders also need to recognize the glaring lack of non-white perspectives on their own mastheads and broadcasts—and make tangible, sustainable changes that create more room for those voices.

“Canadian newsrooms are nowhere near as culturally diverse as many of the communities we cover,” said Taylor-Vaisey. “The only way to change that is to hire—and amplify—more voices from as many perspectives as possible.”

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing more than 500 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide public-interest advocacy and high-quality professional development for its members.

For more information, please contact:

Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ President
Phone: 647.968.2393
Email: nick@caj.ca

 

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