Aboriginal Media Development Project Wins Innovation Award

TORONTO, June 21, 2013 /CNW/ - The ground-breaking Northern Ontario Initiative, a project by the Wawatay Native Communications Society and Journalists for Human Rights, aiming to improve Aboriginal media coverage in Canada, has won the Canadian Ethnic Media Association's Innovation Award.

The Innovation Award is given to organizations that demonstrate innovation and excellence in Canadian media coverage.  The award will be presented at CEMA's annual award ceremony on National Aboriginal Day, June 21st, 2013, at the Velma Rogers Graham Theater in Toronto.

The Northern Ontario Initiative will create greater awareness of Aboriginal issues in Ontario. The initiative will improve the quality and quantity of news coverage focusing on Aboriginal issues, and will develop positive relationships between the media and Aboriginal communities in Thunder Bay. The Initiative will train 30 Aboriginal people living in remote reserve communities, to produce and sell radio and print news stories about their communities. The project will also host a workshop series in Thunder Bay for Aboriginal people and journalists, which will lead to improved media coverage of Aboriginal issues in the city.

Madeline Ziniak, Chair of the CEMA Board said, "The jury looks for the ways that the organization tells stories that contribute to positive Canadian citizenry, fair and accurate storytelling and positive portrayal."

Mike Metatawabin, Chairman of Wawatay's Board of Directors, and Rachel Pulfer, Executive Director of Journalists for Human Rights will be accepting the award on behalf of the organizations.

"When we entered into this partnership, we didn't anticipate to be recognized by such a prestigious association," said Mike Metatawabin, "Our goal at Wawatay is to support the communities in any way possible, to further their interests and development. This recognition will be very well appreciated by the communities."

"Journalists for Human Rights is delighted to be partnering with Wawatay Native Communications Society and Aboriginal communities in Ontario on this important initiative," said Rachel Pulfer. "We will work with talented young Aboriginal journalists on skills that will enable them to report on issues facing their communities to both Aboriginal and mainstream audiences. This project will build bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities, and open up a constructive public conversation on common issues."

Established in 1974, Wawatay Native Communications Society serves the communication needs of First Nations people and communities of Nishnawbe Aski Nation. It does this through the distribution of a weekly newspaper, daily radio programming, television production services and a multimedia website that seeks to preserve and enhance indigenous languages and cultures of Aboriginal people in northern Ontario.

Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) is Canada's leading media development organization. JHR helps journalists build their capacity to report ethically and effectively on human rights and governance issues in their communities. Since 2002, JHR has trained over 12,000 journalists and their stories have reached over 50 million people.

The Northern Ontario Initiative has been made possible through funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario, and Accenture Canada.

SOURCE: jhr (Journalists for Human Rights)

For further information:

Claire Hastings, JHR's Director of Community Engagement at claire@jhr.ca or t. 416 413 0240 ext. 206

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jhr (Journalists for Human Rights)

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