Rural Communities and the News
I listened to an interesting conversation last night on a Twitter Space about mainstream media in Canada.(I would describe Twitter Spaces as virtual and audio only town halls.)
Presumably prompted by the protests we've seen across Canada, the conversation veered in and out of a wide variety of topics including the safety of racialized journalists when it comes to dealing with police departments, whether journalists can actually be objective, how to have civil conversations and de-escalate situations; it really ran the gamut. I was riveted. And there were some uncomfortable conversations about white privilege within the Ottawa police force. I perked up when a conversation came up about WHERE journalists are located. Specifically, why are we not seeing large corporate media companies putting journalists in small, rural and remote communities, when one journalist described the amount of reporters in Ottawa as 'excessive'? Who is covering the news here in rural and remote Canada and through what lens? Does it represent everyone?
I added this story in an earlier newsletter about a journalist who felt unsafe in a mostly white small community.
I think it's something that needs to be addressed. Objective news sources that include rural communities have disappeared. We have dozens of journalism graduates coming out of schools, competing for coveted jobs in larger urban centres, especially if the students are not white. It's safer there, more diverse and there are.... jobs, as well as cultural support systems that don't necessarily exist in smaller communities.
Women journalists too, how safe can they feel in some of these contentious situations? The Twitter Space conversation discussed tactics to keep safe and how much privilege white women have over racialized women.
Will we now see a shift in coverage in rural and remote areas? Will the conversation continue? If so, how soon? I'd certainly like to see it and I think many people in rural spaces would.
It's a dream of mine to create a rural news network across Canada, one that tells objective stories, not just through a white privileged lens. Is that even possible?
Let's keep talking about it. Change is happening quickly and I'm hopeful there will be some really positives things start happening!