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Dept aims to attract journalists from minority groups

by Archives April 11, 2007

Concordia’s journalism department will host a day-long event April 14 to attract prospective students of visible minorities to the school’s journalism program.

Headed by Journalism professor Ross Perigoe, in conjunction with the federal Minister of Heritage Canada, the event is intended to help address the lack of ethnic diversity in the field of print news in Canada. Concordia university contributes a large number of journalists to the Quebec media.

“The print media [in Canada] has a very low rate of hiring visible minorities to report, edit, and manage news coverage. The employers say that’s partly because there aren’t enough trained applicants. We’re trying to change that,” Perigoe said.

Aimed at CEGEP and high schoolstudents from “cultural communities,” particularly those of visible minorities, visitors will get a chance to discuss diversity-related issues in the media during the first portion of the event Friday evening at the CJ building.

At Saturday’s full-day seminar, participants can learn the basics of interviewing, news writing and newspaper layout.

The Journalism department invited representatives from the Young People’s Press, a North American news service, to “mentor young journalists in order to get them ready for study in the journalism program.” Several of Concordia’s journalism students went on television to help promote the event and discussed diversity in such cultural programs

Lily Wang, a third-year journalism student of Chinese descent, said the event highlights the need for more diverse representation in print media.

“We shouldn’t just give journalists the benefit of the doubt. They are just as human as everyone else, said Wang.

“Since ultimate objectivity could never be reached by one single view, we need more ‘biased’ opinions to enter the fray and give a more complete perspective,” she said. “There is this misplaced assumption that unbiased opinions come from unbiased individuals.”

A 2004 study by Professor John Miller of Ryerson University concluded that only 3.4 per cent of workers in print newsrooms across Canada are visible minorities, including aboriginal people.

Coupled with the fact that the percentage of visible minorities in Canada is 12 per cent, and that of aboriginals at 3 per cent, the lack of diversity in newsrooms is even more apparent.

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