2021-22 Annual Report
The Journalism program at Carleton University School of Journalism and Communication established a Permanent Working Group in 2020 in the wake of a Call to Action made by concerned Carleton journalism students and graduates seeking to address systemic racism within the journalism program. The PWG was charged with the task of helping create a welcoming, stimulating, professional and creative environment for the school’s increasingly diverse student body.
The PWG is committed to eliminating racism against racialized and Indigenous people, as well as inequities or other barriers based on ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender expression, sexual orientation, or ability. It employs anti- racism and anti-oppression practices which it believes benefits all students and faculty. The PWG’s raison d’être is to ensure that Carleton’s Journalism program is making structural changes that honour its pledge to make the school an inclusive and safe place for students and faculty.
The PWG committee has become, arguably, one of the most outward facing committees in the in the journalism program, and thus plays a critical role in communicating the values of the J-School to the university community and wider public.
Since the PWG’s launch, two of the primary lessons committee members have learned are to listen to the voices of students and respond to their concerns about structural issues within the J-School in an empathetic, gracious, principled, honest, measured, and forthright manner. Such learnings continue to inform how the committee conducts its work.
The PWG has helped Carleton’s journalism program respond to calls for change to its curriculum and the composition of faculty. The committee will continue to monitor the progress of the school, ensure it is living up to its commitment to represent the diversity of Canadians and push the department to become more representative of the diversity of the country.
The PWG committee is committed to gaining a better understanding of the journalism program’s student body. It seeks to answer some key questions: How and why did the J-School’s students come to Carleton? What does the school need to do to have the most diverse student body in the country?
Carleton’s journalism program must establish specific recruiting goals. If the J-School is not attracting and retaining students from a range of backgrounds, the committee must discover why that is.
Carleton’s journalism program must be on the cutting edge of change. It must continue to lead and take bold steps to address the systemic issues that have long plagued Canadian journalistic institutions.
One of the Calls to Action stated that Carleton must commit to collecting race-based student data through a student wide survey. The survey would discover the number of BIPOC students admitted to the school; the number of BIPOC students who graduate from the school and secure stable employment in the industry; the number of BIPOC students receiving awards and scholarships and internships; determining whether BIPOC students face challenges to completing unpaid apprenticeships and what the barriers are.
Gender Neutral Washroom Issue
The washroom signage issue became particularly challenging in the Spring of 2022. The signs were all changed with little notice which caught some colleagues off-guard, and they complained. The signs were subsequently switched back.Professor Allan Thompson, director of the School of Journalism, has reached out to other units/occupants in the Richcraft Building to form something like a “condo board” to appeal to the Dean of theFaculty of Public Affairs and to support the PWG’s request for these washrooms.
Review of the Bachelor of Media Production and Design’s (BMPD) activities
BMPD continues to follow the equity checklist when preparing its syllabi. Reading lists and class examples have included works (stories, videos, VR, artwork, etc.) from and about BIPOC storytellers and content creators. BMPD has incorporated parts of the Indigenous course packs into classroom activities and lectures and has included land acknowledgements in our course materials.
BMPD has restructured its syllabi, assignments, and course delivery models to be as inclusive as possible. This includes the creation of a policy that invites students to keep their cameras off during classes and awarding equal points to a variety of participation activities (e.g., asking questions on camera, typing questions into the zoom chat, or posting to forums or course discord channels) BMPD is committed to creating a safe and welcoming space for students of all identities in our courses.
A Review of Activities within the school.
In the past year we have seen a troubling increase in the number of online hateful attacks on Canadian journalists particularly women and racialized media. On Oct. 21, 2021, in response to this online hate and harassment, the Carleton J-School in conjunction with the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) held a four-hour panel discussion to address the topic. The event featured four sessions with 21 speakers.
During the week of February 7, 2022, Duncan McCue the decorated CBC Indigenous journalist and former host of Cross-Country Checkup joined the Carleton’s Journalism School for a week of class lectures, meetings, and presentations meetings. In total McCue spoke to hundreds of students in seven classes and delivered a public talk entitled “Rethinking Reporting of Indigenous Trauma” moderated by Professor Nana aba Duncan.
Also, in February 2022 during Black History Month, former New York Times award winning foreign correspondent Howard French delivered a virtual public lecture to the Carleton University community based on his best-selling book Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World. His talk was followed by a virtual interview. CBC IDEAS later rebroadcast the lecture and aired excerpts of the conversation that followed.
Another Black History Month event in February 2022 hosted by the journalism program featured CBC’s Washington correspondent Makda Ghebreselassie who gave a presentation based on the theme Eyes on the Prize in which she spoke about her career journey.
The 2022 Kesterton Lecture – one of the most prestigious lectures on the Canadian journalism calendar – was delivered by Omayra Issa. Omayra is a senior national CBC reporter based in Saskatchewan is the 2022/2023 Radio-Canada Southam fellow. Her talk was entitled “Black on the Prairies: A Journalistic Voyage”- the event was hosted by Professor Nana aba Duncan. Omayra has been a leading voice on matters of equity within Canadian journalism and a tireless advocate for change in the Canadian Journalism industry.
A new course on the History of Black Canadian Journalism (JOUR 3401A) led by Professor Adrian Harewood, was launched in the Fall 2022 semester. It is introducing students to a history that has long been neglected but is an integral part of the country’s journalistic fabric. The course is understood to be the first of its kind offered at any university in Canada.
Training and Professional Development
At a year-end meeting in June 2022, faculty participated in a workshop on implementing inclusive, antiracist and decolonial pedagogies to curriculum with Krista Craven, the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Learning Specialist at Carleton University’s Department of Equity and Inclusive Communities (EIC).
The PWG is now working Krista Craven and Keegan Prempeh from EIC to develop a trans/non- binary inclusion workshop for faculty and staff.
Students and Faculty
The journalism program held an information session and Q&A for students and faculty with Carleton’s Department of Equity and Inclusive Communities on how to handle equity issues in and out of class. From that session, a module was created guiding students on steps to take when issues come up. The module is available in the shared resources Brightspace page for faculty to add to their course pages.
Innovative/Redeveloped Courses & Workshops
The last year saw the creation of JOUR 3401: Journalism and Belonging, a course led by Professor Nana aba Duncan, on how diversity, inclusion, and belonging affect journalism, journalism practice and society in Canada.
We also saw the redevelopment of JOUR 2201: Fundamentals of Reportingto embed concepts of equity, diversity, and inclusion within the course to better reflect the urgent calls for an anti-racist focus in the program and the journalism community in general. Professors Matthew Pearson, Patricia Longo, Allan Thompson, and Nana aba Duncan all served as instructors.
Professor Matthew Pearson led trauma-informed workshops in JOUR 2201, as well as the grad-level Intro to Reporting course. The need for trauma-informed journalism of course was mentioned in the initial 2020 Call to Action from students and graduates. The call specified that instruction should include coverage of marginalized communities, which it does, and should be led by BIPOC instructors, which it is not.
Journalism Race and Diversity Course (JOUR 5508) the first course on race in the Carleton School of Journalism’s history was offered for the second time to a large cohort.
A further point in the journalism program’s open letter to students refers to our responsibilities as a journalism program as outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Call to Action #86. All students in the mandatory, second-year reporting course JOUR 2201 had two dedicated workshops on reporting in Indigenous communities, one led by Martha Troian,and one led by Duncan McCue.
JOUR 2201 students also had a workshop on navigating fear in journalism led by Professor Nana aba Duncan.
The Globe and Mail’s mentorship program for BIPOC students in the School of Journalism and Communication continues. This is a prime opportunity for students to work in one of the most vibrant and esteemed newsrooms in Canada.
Anti-Ableism Brainstorming Session
An initial brainstorming session took place to assess ways to support journalism students with disabilities. The session was led by two MJ students, Shelley Page,and Rukhsar Ali. The recommendations were shared with the Journalism Program Head, Allan Thompson.
Following Through on the Call-to-Action
This second annual report on the implementation of the Journalism program’s commitments on equity, diversity and inclusion has focused on the journalism program’s efforts to respond to the original Call-to-Action document through the plan of action published June 11, 2020. While the push towards addressing systemic barriers to inclusion may no longer have the momentum it had in the heady days, weeks and months following the brutal murder of George Floyd, the PWG committee remains steadfast in its commitment to achieving the myriad goals set for Carleton’s journalism program over three years ago.
Addressing Unpaid Internships for Carleton Journalism Students
On August 31, 2022, Carleton’s School of Journalism decided to formally move toward ending its support for unpaid internships or apprenticeships involving its students. The J-School will now offer a minimum $100 honorarium to all students who undertake these internships and up to $400 per week for students who request additional financial assistance so that there is no barrier to participating in internships. These funds will be drawn upon school endowments as well as varying amounts of compensation offered by employers.
While the School recognizes that students benefit from work experiences provided by our partners, it believes student labour must be compensated. Carleton’s journalism program recognizes that when positions are unpaid some students are unable to take advantage of these career-defining opportunities due to their own challenging financial circumstances. We know unpaid positions can cause roadblocks that disproportionately affect BIPOC and economically marginalized students. A lack of newsroom experience can be a barrier to entering the industry particularly for BIPOC and economically marginalized journalists, and it exacerbates the lack of diversity in Canada’s media landscape.
Carleton’s journalism program is participating in the J-Schools Canada/Écoles-J Canada initiative to tackle the issue of unpaid internships for journalism students. The J-School believes it’s unacceptable for a journalism student to be denied the opportunity to pursue a work placement due to financial strain, and it is redoubling its efforts to find a solution to ensure that this will not happen in the future.
Ongoing Support for the Student-led Association for Equity and Inclusion in Journalism (AEIJ)
From its inception, the primary leadership of the AEIJ consisted of senior students. Those students who founded the organization have since graduated. As a result, the organization is in the processing of establishing new leadership. The journalism program is committed to working with any students who wish to revive the organization.
Ongoing Support for the Canadian Association of Black Journalists (CABJ)
Carleton’s journalism program has pledged support for the CABJ’s J-School Noire program which focuses on high school students. It will also facilitate the CABJ’s Campus Initiative by offering access to space on campus.
Develop an official policy for honoraria to guest speakers
The PWG continues to debate how best to create a consistent policy that would standardize the payment of honoraria to guest speakers.
Survey journalism students about effectiveness of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI)
The PWG Committee is continuing its efforts to survey journalism students about the effectiveness of EDI initiatives. Professor Brett Popplewell hosted a session on April 1 with students, faculty, and staff to clarify what to do if there’s an EDI issue that needs addressing.
Carleton’s journalism program will continue to work with the university to find ways to gather race-based data in a manner that ensures student safety. Carleton University’s administration states in its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Action Plan that it is in the midst of preparing implementation plans for the collection of disaggregated demographic data for students and employees “relating to Gender Identity, Racialized Persons, Indigenous Persons, Persons with Disabilities and Sexual Orientation on a disaggregated, intersectional basis. The plans shall consider current and proposed changes to disaggregated data collection by Statistics Canada and higher education sector best practices while also respecting privacy considerations.”
External Advisory Council
The PWG has embarked upon a process of establishing an external advisory council which will provide advice, guidance, and support to the committee. Advisory Council members will be compensated with honoraria.
2020-21 Annual Report
The leaders of Carleton’s journalism program posted an open letter to students on June 11, 2020 acknowledging the role the journalism program has played in the perpetuation of systemic racism in the education of young journalists, and setting out an action plan to begin to address the very real concerns about the lack of diversity and inclusion in our program. An important aspect of our action plan is a commitment to release an annual report of our progress – where we achieved positive change, what we still need to do. What follows is the first such annual report, which revisits the original action plan commitments and reports chronologically on the efforts to fulfill those pledges and other steps taken.
This report concludes by looking at the way forward, with a focus on new commitments for the year ahead. We are ever mindful of the fact that the task of shifting the perspective that Carleton’s journalism program has been rooted in for decades will take time. We are committed to grounding the overall philosophy of our school in EDI principles. We will fundamentally change the system that has existed. Our new Carty Chair in Journalism, Diversity and Inclusion Studies, Prof. Nana aba Duncan, has a personal mission that we support as a program: “to foster an environment in Canadian media in which racialized journalists feel psychologically safe, where their perspectives and communities are just as worthy of coverage as those of white people.”
We recognize that it is crucial that we set a new path forward. This was best expressed by one of our new faculty members, Prof. Adrian Harewood, in the summer of 2020 before the launch of his critically needed course for our program on the intersection of race and journalism.
“Understanding race is fundamental to understanding our world,” Prof. Harewood said. “If you are going to tell the stories of your community, you don’t only need to understand race, you also need to understand class, gender, sexuality and disability. All of these are part of the reality of your community. You need to understand them to provide your audience with sustenance, critical analysis and insight.”
Annual report for the 2020-21 academic year
On June 11, 2020, faculty members in Carleton University’s journalism program met to review details of the journalism program’s equity, diversity and inclusion action plan. At this meeting, the then-program head, Prof. Susan Harada, told colleagues that “sometimes there is a confluence of events that serves as a very powerful force for change. Now is one of those times.” Faculty members voted overwhelmingly in support of the package of changes that were laid out.
“Carleton University’s journalism program is the oldest in the country. As such we have a responsibility to acknowledge the role we have played in the perpetuation of systemic racism in the education of young journalists,” the letter began. “Equally important, we have a responsibility to be clear about the actions we are undertaking as we try to address the very real concerns about the lack of diversity and inclusion in our program.”
The letter went on: “We have not done enough to ensure that our racialized students feel welcome and heard in our classrooms. Nor have we done enough to ensure that all of you acquire the capabilities you need to report on the full diversity of communities and individuals who make up Canadian society and the world.”
The letter linked directly to the Call to Action, a powerful document compiled by current and former Carleton journalism students that included student testimonials speaking to institutional racism in the program. It also featured a detailed list of more than 30 recommendations – action items that led directly to change in our program. We thank the students and alumni who drafted the call to action for their labour and commitment to making our program better. We also thank members of the student-led Association for Equity and Inclusion in Journalism for their labour and dedication to bringing about meaningful and lasting change.
It is our hope that addressing systemic racism in our own program will ultimately improve the journalism profession writ large.
Below are the commitments made by the journalism program in the June 11, 2020 action plan, followed by a description of the steps taken in the year since. (This chronology has also been published, as it has unfolded, in an accountability section on the journalism program’s website). The current report also lists other changes to program governance, training programs and public events that took place during the past year in support of the program’s efforts.
Plan as published on June 11, 2021
June 11 action plan:
We will start recruiting for our newly mandated academic post – the Carty Chair in Journalism, Diversity and Inclusion Studies. Our goal is to hire a new faculty member for this endowed chair by July 2021. The successful applicant will create new course offerings, establish a program of research and bring a focus to the Journalism program’s efforts to foster an environment that cultivates diverse journalists and fully recognizes and engages with all members of Canadian society. We won’t stop there – we commit to more diversity in the people we hire to teach you and work with you.
Our three newest tenure-track hires, including our new Carty Chair, reflect this first commitment, adding women and Black faculty members to our complement. This raises the percentage of Black (full-time) faculty from 0% to 11%, racialized (full-time) faculty from roughly 6% to 16%, and the percentage of women faculty from roughly 42% to 53%. The journalism program has also hired 13 stellar journalists with a wealth of experience to offer our students as new contract instructors for the 2021/2022 academic school year. Of these new hires, 69% are racialized and 77% are women. We acknowledge that our tenure and tenure-track faculty remains 84% white.
- On March 25, Nana aba Duncan was appointed to be the journalism program’s new Carty Chair in Journalism, Diversity and Inclusion Studies, to take up her appointment on July 1, 2021, at the level of Associate Professor. The award-winning journalist, podcaster, entrepreneur and long-time CBC Radio host will teach a new course on journalism and diversity for third-year students, will contribute to important curriculum reform and will conduct research, continuing the work she started in fall 2020 as a Southam Fellow at Massey College in Toronto.
- On May 6, Carleton announced the appointment of CBC Ottawa anchor Adrian Harewood as a Journalism faculty member. Harewood took up his new teaching and research position at the level of Associate Professor on July 1. He will continue to teach a graduate level course called Journalism, Race and Diversity as well as the capstone Journalism Now and Next course for all fourth-year students. Harewood has plans to launch his research program with a project to foster an interest in journalism among BIPOC high school students.
- The program was able to add more diversity to its corps of contract instructors and adjunct professors in the 2020-21 academic year and again for the upcoming 2021-22 academic year, but we acknowledge that this is just a beginning. Please consult the Our Team pages on the School of Journalism website for further details.
- On June 22, Carleton announced that journalist, researcher and educator Trish Audette-Longo would join Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication as a full-time assistant professor in the journalism program on July 1. This is a new position for Audette-Longo, who has been teaching digital journalism, reporting and graduate seminars as a course instructor and term instructor in the program since 2018. Her research plans include launching a new lab geared toward exploring journalism across platforms, contributing to journalism education, and developing digital, research and storytelling skills among our students. She has also launched a soft skills undergraduate workshop that addresses notions of “professionalism” through an EDI lens, investigating whether some professionalism norms are rooted in white supremacy.
June 11 action plan:
We will redesign our first-year introductory undergraduate courses and ensure they have a strong central focus on diversity and inclusion. For example, the winter term course will be renamed “Foundations: Practising Journalism in a Diverse Society” and will be anchored firmly in the belief that real change starts with a clear understanding of how to cover communities that have long been marginalized. It will provide our first-year students with the means to approach and practice journalism from varying perspectives. We will make the same curricular changes in courses in other years of the program. At the graduate level, we ensure our foundational courses reflect the same focus. We will launch our new Master’s course on journalism, race and diversity in September.
- As a then-contract instructor, Adrian Harewood designed and delivered a new graduate course for Master of Journalism students in the fall of 2020. The course, JOUR 5508 – Journalism, Race and Diversity, connected our graduate students with prominent journalists working on a variety of media platforms, including web, television, podcasts and print publishing. Now a full-time member of faculty, Harewood will teach a revised version of the course in the autumn of 2021 and pending university approval, this course will become mandatory.
- We made significant changes to both of our first-year journalism foundations courses. JOUR 1001, a history of journalism through the lens of new technology, was taught by Prof. Sarah Everts in the fall term. Everts used a lesson on the dawn of photography to focus much of the content on how images can be used to promote cliches and harmful stereotypes of racialized people. She also interspersed examples of diverse journalists or EDI topics throughout other lessons, including a discussion of how Canada’s first newspaper, The Halifax Gazette, helped slave owners find Black slaves that had escaped to Canada. Another lesson included a profile of The Provincial Freeman, the first Black-owned newspaper in Canada, covering issues important to the Black community, founded and edited by Mary Ann Shadd, the first woman to publish a newspaper in Canada, and the first Black woman to do so in North America. The lecture on investigative journalism included a profile of Ida B. Wells Barnett, a pioneering Black investigative journalist who wrote about lynchings in 1893 and Simeon Booker, the first full time Black Washington Post reporter who covered the civil rights movement. Other lectures touched on the trolling faced by a Latinx LGBTQ2S+ journalist and how Google’s algorithms have reinforced racism. Source material during the term also included APTN National News, Walking Eagle News, Connie Walker’s Missing and Murdered podcast series (optional given trigger), the Stursberg lecture with Larry Madowo and Sara Mojtehedzadeh’s undercover work at the Toronto Star.
- In JOUR 1002, taught in the winter term, Prof. Brett Popplewell dedicated a class podcast episode to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the media and introduced students to the three TRC recommendations that deal directly with journalism. Two other podcast episodes focused specifically on Indigenous affairs reporting. One episode featured a recorded interview with Kyle Edwards (managing-editor of Native News Online). The other was a “live segment” with Tanya Talaga who appeared in class to field questions directly from students. The class had recurring discussions through the course on equity in journalism by looking at such issues as objectivity and sourcing.
- We are building on changes introduced to the first-year undergraduate courses in journalism foundations with a concerted effort to integrate an EDI approach in the introductory reporting skills courses offered to second-year undergraduates and students who are just beginning the two-year Master of Journalism program. A working group led by Prof. Matthew Pearson, course coordinator for JOUR 2201 Fundamentals of Reporting, and the incoming Carty Chair, Prof. Nana aba Duncan, has taken on this task. In her capacity as the Carty Chair Prof. Duncan will oversee a fundamental shift in the way we teach introductory reporting skills. She will work closely with the instructors delivering those courses to help shift perspectives, and develop lesson plans, modules, exercises and assignments meant to foster a greater understanding of EDI in reporting. She will also deliver a number of lectures to the JOUR 2201 Fundamentals of Reporting and JOUR 5200 Graduate Newsroom courses.
- MPAD 3002 and 3003 Civic Engagement and Public Institutions (offered as part of the Bachelor of Media Production and Design program), centres marginalized perspectives and activism in Canada, seeking to uplift the voices of those who are often removed from conversations of civic and community engagement. MPAD 3002 Civic Engagement and Public Institutions examines the political, cultural, and social events and systems that govern Canada. Through an analysis of core themes and theories such as government, policy, health, labour, economics, and community, this course intersects events of systemic racism, queerphobia, whiteness, and colonization, to understand how we as a nation have gotten to where we are today. We explored media events and platforms that influence our ways of thinking and engaging with these systems, while also reimagining and being critical of the future of Canada as a nation. We as a class discussed: The history and origins of political, social, and cultural events in 21st century Canada; The present and historic structures of systemic racism, whiteness, settler-colonialism, and queerphobia that influence public policy; The importance of community-based research, art, activism, and civic engagement in the creation and implementation of public policy, law, and institutional decision making.
June 11 action plan:
We will give clear guidance to instructors to be mindful of diversity and inclusion issues in course design and delivery and in interactions with you. To ensure we have real change in course content throughout our program, including the selection of topics, readings, assignments, examples and guest speakers, we will continually assess our curriculum and provide a Diversity and Inclusion checklist to assist instructors as they build their courses. And to support the use of that checklist – to ensure you and your story ideas are truly heard, understood and welcomed – we will ask everyone who teaches you to participate in unconscious bias training in preparation for this coming fall and beyond.
- Shortly after publishing its plan of action on June 11, 2020, the journalism program implemented changes to program governance to better coordinate equity and diversity efforts. The Permanent Working Group on Anti-Racism and Inclusion (PWG) was created on June 26, 2020 to oversee EDI efforts. Its chair, Prof. Brett Popplewell, is one of the faculty liaisons attached to the student-led Association for Equity and Inclusion in Journalism, which was established in 2019. Prof. Popplewell also represents the Working Group on the journalism program’s Program Committee. The PWG, in consultation with the student-led AEIJ, crafted the Equity Checklist described below.
- As part of our plan to ensure lasting change in course content throughout our program, including the selection of topics, readings, assignments, examples and guest speakers, we created a checklist to assist instructors as they build their courses. This is a living document that will be updated as necessary. The current version of the Equity Checklist for Journalism Courses is available online. All faculty members and contract instructors were provided a copy of the checklist in the summer of 2020 and all reported back to the program head on how they used the checklist in preparing to teach for the fall and winter terms.
- We have made a commitment to ongoing training and professional development with faculty, staff and contract instructors. This past year, all full-time Journalism faculty members as well as staff and contract instructors were asked to join unconscious bias training sessions facilitated by consultant Lisa Khoo. These discussion-based sessions looked at how implicit bias is formed and how it can affect our work and workplace. Attendees were also given tools and training on how to counter such biases. In order to accommodate all faculty, contract instructors and staff, two six-hour sessions were held on Aug. 27 and 28, 2020 with a follow-up session on Dec. 9 meant for contract instructors teaching in the winter term as well as full-time faculty who were on leave in the summer or unable to attend the August sessions.
- On May 18, 2021, more than a dozen faculty members participated in a workshop organized by J-Schools Canada/Écoles-J Canada: Moving the dial: How journalism schools can be more equitable and inclusive.
June 11 action plan:
We will make it mandatory for all of our students to complete a course in Indigenous history in order to meet our responsibilities more fully as a journalism program under the Truth and Reconciliation’s Call to Action 86. Several years ago, we created one course that probes the historical and present-day relationship between journalists and Indigenous peoples in Canada and another that took students to Indigenous communities in Canada’s North. We made a calendar change to add an option from Indigenous Studies to our required history credit. But we know there’s more to it than optional offerings. That is why we will commit to this more fundamental change.
- A formal change to the undergraduate journalism curriculum comes into force for the upcoming 2021-22 academic year, making it mandatory for all Bachelor of Journalism students to complete a course in Indigenous history. With thanks to our colleagues in Carleton’s School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies, our students will select from the following course options: Introduction to Indigenous Peoplehood Studies, Introduction to Indigenous-Settler Encounters and Contemporary Indigenous Studies.
June 11 action plan:
We will continue to support the work of the Journalism program’s student-led Association for Equity and Inclusion in Journalism as well as its efforts to engage with all of you. In 2019, after discussions with current and former students, we hired an expert journalist with lived experience to conduct a consultation with our faculty and staff on issues of diversity. This expert then organized a “story circle” for students to share their experiences in our program and suggest changes. Out of that process emerged the student-led group, which includes faculty members as liaisons (the group adopted the name Association for Equity and Inclusion in Journalism in August 2020). The group gathered and presented student concerns to us, along with specific recommendations for how we could make progress. It began examining how students could comfortably raise their complaints and have them addressed. It offered to provide feedback to us as we worked to improve the scope of our teaching practices and materials. With financial support from the journalism program and the Faculty of Public Affairs (FPA), the Committee scheduled a second story circle – this one to bring students and instructors face-to-face so that we could listen to the hard truths and then together explore ways of making our program better. This initiative was cut short by COVID-19, as was the committee’s planned public event that would have brought in journalists of colour and from other marginalized groups to discuss challenges in modern newsrooms.
- The journalism program has followed through on its commitment to provide financial support for the activities of the student-led Association for Equity and Inclusion in Journalism. The association has been very active, convening more than a dozen meetings (with detailed minutes posted online) to deliberate on various issues and also organizing a number of events and initiatives, detailed below. Three journalism professors, Brett Popplewell, Susan Harada and Matthew Pearson, serve as faculty liaisons for the AEIJ.
- On August 24, 2020, the AEIJ held a story circle facilitated by Anita Li. The story circle brought journalism students and faculty members together to share their experiences and talk about how the program and university can improve anti-racism efforts in journalism education.
- On Feb. 22, 2021, a new one-on-one mentorship program was launched. In partnership with the university’s Alumni Mentors program, the Journalism program joined forces with the student-led Association for Equity and Inclusion in Journalism to develop and launch a project that pairs BIPOC students with BIPOC mentors working in journalism. This new mentorship program, currently in its pilot phase, is being administered by Alumni Relations.
- On Feb. 25, the panel discussion racialized in the Newsroom was held. Organized and hosted by the student-led Association for Equity and Inclusion in Journalism, with support from the Faculty of Public Affairs and the journalism program, this event brought Pacinthe Mattar and Kyle Edwards to the school for a panel discussion on the experiences of BIPOC journalists. It was open to journalism students from all years of the program.
Other journalism program events and initiatives:
Over and above its role in delivering courses for journalism students in the Bachelor of Journalism and Master of Journalism programs, Carleton’s journalism school routinely hosts numerous public-facing events and projects. We recognize that these events and initiatives need to better reflect our students and the community we serve and that a greater effort must be made to be mindful of reflecting diversity, equity and inclusion when inviting keynote speakers and panelists.
- The first major event of the academic year for the journalism program was an international symposium called Journalism in the Time of Crisis, hosted online Oct. 22-23, 2020. The event engaged a global network of experts to examine the nexus between journalism and the COVID-19 pandemic to find lessons for journalism practice and study in the future. Over two days, the event featured several keynotes and more than 20 panel discussions. In organizing the event, a particular effort was made to ensure gender equity among speakers and to make sure that racialized voices were featured in every panel. Keynotes included journalist Ed Yong of the Atlantic and Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam. One panel discussion of note was titled Missing the Story: Underreporting of the racialized Impact of COVID-19.
- On Dec. 2, Larry Madowo, a Kenyan journalist and the then BBC North America Correspondent, relayed his experience covering the 2020 US presidential election during the annual Peter Stursberg Foreign Correspondents lecture, redefining the annual event’s traditional focus on conflict reporting. Madowo took the virtual stage from his home in Washington, DC. He discussed his experience covering disputed presidential elections both in his native Kenya and the US and noted the similarities.
- On Feb. 1, 2021 a new research project was launched on the relationship between news media and BIPOC communities. Students and faculty have begun working together on a research project to examine issues related to the relationship between news media and BIPOC communities. Working as paid researchers, two students are collaborating with prof. Aneurin Bosley to look at the perceptions that local BIPOC communities have towards journalism and the role that local alternative media might play in supporting these communities. The goal of this research is to help inform journalism teaching practice.
- The Journalism program launched a partnership with the Globe and Mail to provide two paid mentorship opportunities in the Globe’s Ottawa bureau for Indigenous and racialized journalism students. The intention of the program is for mentees to interact with Globe reporters and editors, participate in daily news meetings, and cover such events as Question Period, committees and news conferences. They receive guidance on how to use the access to information system, the lobbyist registry, spending reports and the courts as well as other resources. Students also have the opportunity to assist Globe reporters with reporting assignments and to write stories of their own that could be considered for publication. Two Carleton students, undergrad Leila El-Shennawy and MJ Erika Ibrahim, were the first students selected to take up the mentorship.
- Journalism student Meral Jamal was the first to take up a new paid internship program for Carleton students with CBC North, part of a program inspired by long-time journalism professor Mary McGuire. Carleton’s journalism program partnered with CBC North to create the new, paid internships for Carleton students in CBC newsrooms in such communities as Iqaluit, Yellowknife and Whitehorse. McGuire approached the CBC with the original proposal to create the internships and a commitment to establish a special fund at Carleton to help cover the high cost of travel and accommodation for students selected for these internships at CBC North. The new Mary McGuire Journalism Internship Travel Fund also provides financial support for other Carleton journalism students taking up paid internships in Canada’s North or in Indigenous communities. This summer, Carleton students Catriona Koenig and Ben Andrews were able to access funds to offset travel costs related to their paid internships at Cabin Radio, in Yellowknife.
- Through its new Journalism and Democracy initiative, the journalism program is partnering with Prof. Erin Tolley, Canada Research Chair in Gender, Race and Inclusive politics on a new project: “Tracking Diversity in Canadian Elections.” The initiative will be co-chaired by Tolley and journalism professor Aneurin Bosley to create an institutionalized source of district-level data on candidate diversity in Canada that will be used for an innovative data journalism project during the coming federal election. Journalism students will be hired as research assistants to help gather data and gain paid, hands-on experience undertaking public-facing data journalism. Preference will be given to students with racialized, Indigenous, and/or historically under-represented backgrounds.
- The journalism program, with the generous support of the Journalism Chapter of the Carleton University Alumni Association, has created the new Journalism Award for Indigenous, Black and Racialized Students, valued at $1,000. It will be awarded annually on the recommendation of the Director or Associate Director of the School of Journalism and Communication to outstanding Indigenous, Black and racialized undergraduate students who are enrolled in the fourth year of a Journalism program. Preference will be given to students who demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to the importance of diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences in newsrooms.
- The journalism program was able to establish the Brooke Forbes Award for Internships in the Field of Audio Production, thanks to the decision by the Brooke Forbes Committee to transfer its entire fund in support of our Black, Indigenous or racialized students who have a shared passion for radio, audio or podcasts. This award will continue Brooke Forbes’ legacy, aiming to address issues of systemic racism through the creation of accessible opportunities for racialized individuals in Carleton’s School of Journalism to pursue an internship in audio production. Funds will provide students with financial assistance to cover the costs of rent, food, travel and other living expenses while completing an approved internship.
- The journalism program, with the generous support of an external funder, established the Emerging Reporter Fund on Resettlement in Canada. This $5,000 fund is available to an upper year or graduating journalism student who will work with an academic lead on a project that is focused on an area of interest to new Canadians and/or refugees and immigrants to Canada. The successful applicant will produce informed journalism on topics that impact immigrants, newcomers including first generation Canadians and/or refugees and topics of relevance to those communities, and with the support of the Future of Journalism Initiative and the Carty Chair in Journalism, Diversity and Inclusion Studies, to advance a project for public dissemination through publication or other channels better suited to the successful applicant’s research project.
- Dr. Stéfy McKnight is developing a research-creation project titled “Aqtion Arqhive” that will archive the work and labour of 2SLGBTQIA+ in Katarowki-Kingston. Aqtion Arqhive: Tracing 2SLGBTQIA+ labour activism in the Katarokwi/Kingston Region (Aqtion Arqhive) is a multimedia mapping project that celebrates and centres the labour of Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Agender and other gender-variant folx (2SLGBTQIA+). “Aqtion Arqhive” is a digital archive of 2SLGBTQIA+ labour and activist related artwork and texts, that tells the stories and histories of Queer labour activism in the Katarowki/Kingston region. We need to celebrate the work 2SLGBTQIA+ activists have contributed to ongoing labour actions to change the future of labour laws and policies. If funded, this project will historicize these events while also archiving the important work produced in the fight for 2SLGBTQIA+ workplace equity. This project works in partnership with the PSAC Kingston Regional Office, giving us access to union campaigns and documentation as well as experts in union organizing and mobilizing. “Aqtion Arqhive” is important to Queer workers and our partner because it not only celebrates their work but invites workplace change attuned to 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusivity.
- Our public-facing, multimedia publication for student-produced journalism — Capital Current — has a special mandate to cover issues emerging from underrepresented and underserved communities in Canada’s capital and beyond, amplifying the voices of a wide range of marginalized groups and individuals. This has included the in-class hosting of community panels featuring representatives of the Ottawa-area Muslim, Indigenous and Black communities. Students in senior classes that are directly connected to Capital Current are specifically encouraged to pursue stories in keeping with the “Covering Ottawa Communities” motto and spirit of the publication. As a result, the CapCurrent news site is carving out an important niche — and producing a significant amount of content — as a portal for local journalism that’s especially mindful of equity, diversity and inclusion.
The Way Forward
This first annual report on the implementation of the Journalism program’s commitments on equity, diversity and inclusion has focused on our efforts to respond to the Call to Action document through the plan of action published June 11, 2020. It is important for us to continue to respond to the original Call to Action recommendations and also to take on new challenges.
- Addressing unpaid internships by Carleton journalism students
As an institution, we commit to working with other journalism schools and with our partners in the journalism industry to bring an end to the practise of unpaid internships or apprenticeships. We recognize the value and benefit to students that come from the work experience provided by our partners but we also recognize that the labour of our students has value and should be compensated. We understand that there are unequal barriers that stand in the way of students when those positions are unpaid. In particular, unpaid positions can pose a financial barrier that disproportionately impacts BIPOC students. We recognize, as the call to action noted, that a lack of newsroom experience often prevents aspiring BIPOC journalists from entering the industry, which ultimately contributes to the lack of diversity in the Canadian media landscape. Carleton’s journalism program is participating in the J-Schools Canada/Écoles-J Canada initiative to tackle the issue of unpaid internships for journalism students.
No journalism student who wishes to undertake one of the work placements arranged by the school should be prevented from doing so because of the financial burden. For its part, Carleton’s journalism program commits that as soon as possible, participants in work placements that are part of the journalism curriculum (two- to three-week placements arranged by Carleton that take place during fall and winter terms) will be eligible for some form of financial support to alleviate barriers to participation.
- Continuing with training and professional development
An in-person retreat for all journalism faculty and staff scheduled for Sept. 1-2 will include a Theatre of the Oppressed workshop on the dynamics of power conducted by Toronto-based consultant Sheliza Jamal. Jamal is an educator, speaker, and Equity and Inclusion Coach. She is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she studied the impact of arts in education, leadership in social change organizations, education entrepreneurship and innovation, and educational policy through the lens of systemic inequities. This workshop uses Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) conventions to think critically about power structures in our society. In this workshop, participants will engage in theatre exercises and activities to investigate issues of power, privilege and justice. Individuals will gain tools to critically analyze power dynamics in the workplace and develop a deeper understanding of disrupting oppressive structures in a low risk/high impact learning environment to address issues of inequity.
- Continued focus on diversity across the curriculum
At the Sept. 1-2 retreat, Prof. Nana aba Duncan, the Carty Chair in Journalism, Diversity and Inclusion Studies, will lead a session based on material she gathered during a five-week Poynter Institute course on diversity across the curriculum. In this session, faculty members will also follow up on how best to make use of the J-Schools Canada/Écoles-J Canada Online Equity and Inclusion Resources shared in a May 18 workshop.
- Ongoing support for the student-led Association for Equity and Inclusion in Journalism
Carleton’s journalism program pledges continued financial support for the activities of the AEIJ along with access to school venues and social media channels for AEIJ events and activities.
- Support for the Canadian Association of Black Journalists (CABJ)
Carleton’s journalism program will renew its support for the CABJ’s J-School Noire program aimed at high school students. We will also facilitate the CABJ’s Campus Initiative by offering access to space on campus.
- Develop an official policy for honoraria for guest speakers
Over the past few years an informal practise of paying honoraria to guest speakers has evolved in the journalism program, which is a departure from past practise. We undertake to develop a more formal and consistent policy that would standardize the criteria for the payment of honoraria.
- Continue efforts to survey journalism students about the effectiveness of EDI efforts
This year the AEIJ and the faculty liaisons developed a survey tool to gauge the effectiveness of the equity checklist for journalism course content. Unfortunately, despite the time and effort devoted to the project, the university survey committee did not give us permission to proceed with the survey and informed us that they did not feel this approach was appropriate for collecting student feedback on this topic. The journalism program will continue to work with the university to find ways to measure how students view our progress, cognizant that it must be done in ways that ensure student safety.
- Establish an external advisory council to consult on the program’s progress
Over the past year, members of the program’s Permanent Working Group on Anti-Racism and Inclusion have held meetings with the authors of the Call to Action in order to discuss the journalism program’s progress on its EDI efforts. The program is committed to formally establishing an external advisory council to continue to consult with members of the Permanent Working Group. The work of the advisory council members will be recognized with honoraria. It is our hope that this body will help the program to track a positive direction into the future, executing fundamental and long-lasting changes to Canadian journalism and journalism education.