Indigenous journalism training program extended for three years

TORONTO, June 26, 2017 /CNW/ - In honour of the re-naming of National Indigenous People's Day Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) is proud to announce it will be offering its journalism training program in northern Ontario First Nations for another three years, thanks to renewed funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF).

The OTF grant positions JHR to fund training in First Nations communities across Northern Ontario through its Indigenous Reporters Program, a four-pillared program that aims to increase the quantity and quality of Indigenous stories and voices in Canadian media.

The funding will primarily support the program in providing skills training and mentorship to First Nations community members wanting to pursue careers in journalism. This training will help build reporting skills in radio, print, and online reporting, enabling them to produce reliable news content within their own community. Community members will also produce stories for other media outlets across Canada.

"Journalists for Human Rights is delighted to announce a three-year extension of its work on the Indigenous Reporters' Program in Ontario through this funding," said Executive Director Rachel Pulfer. "We have put together a superb consortium of partners and are looking forward to building on the project's momentum and significantly expanding our scope to empower community members to tell their own stories in media."

"The Foundation is proud to support Journalists for Human Rights and recognizes the importance in training Indigenous community members in communications and journalism skills," said Tim Jackson, Chair of the Ontario Trillium Foundation's Board of Directors.  "Knowledge is power and this initiative will encourage members of the Indigenous community to continue to speak their truth and have their voices be heard."

The announcement comes as JHR is in the third year of community media training in its current three-year program. Community journalism trainers recently began training in the First Nations of Webequie, Marten Falls (Ogoki) and Wabigoon Lake.

Since 2014, the Indigenous Reporters Program has also worked in seven First Nations communities, including Weenusk (Peawanuck), Fort Albany, Sandy Lake, Sachigo Lake, Kasabonika Lake, North Spirit Lake and Eabametoong.

JHR is also proud to announce it is holding its first Indigenous reporters conference in Lac Seul First Nation from July 11-13, 2017. Called the Mookitaakosi Conference, the three-day event will bring together community members across northern Ontario who have intensively engaged in the current journalism training program. Mookitaakosi will celebrate emerging voices in Indigenous community journalism and is designed to create a forum to discuss best practices in Indigenous community journalism.

The conference will feature Angela Sterritt, an award-winning Gitxsan journalist and writer, who belongs to the Gitanmaax band in northwest British Columbia, as the keynote speaker. Sterritt has worked as a journalist for close to 20 years and has been with the CBC since 2003. She currently works with CBC Vancouver as television, radio and online reporter, producer and host.

The conference will host a series of discussion panels featuring Indigenous journalists from the region and different parts of the country.

To date, the Indigenous Reporters Program has

  • trained 258 community members in journalism and media production training.
  • Trained 500 community members in media literacy and media engagement
  • Helped trainees publish content in Wawatay News, the Ottawa Citizen, Out of Doors Magazine, CBC Indigenous
  • reaching an audience of more than 2.2 million.
  • In addition to local radio programming development, trainees have had content aired on the Wawatay Radio Network
  • Wawatay broadcasts to 50 First Nations communities in northern Ontario, as well as the municipalities of Timmins and Sioux Lookout.

The renewed funding will enable JHR to work in an additional 12 First Nations in northern Ontario until 2020.

JHR has also published two media monitoring reports which examined media coverage of Indigenous stories by Ontario-based media outlets. Buried Voices measured the number of Indigenous stories published by Ontario media and also looked at the tone of the coverage between 2010-2013. Its follow-up, Buried Voices: Changing Tones, examined media coverage between 2013-2016.

  • Our thanks to CNW Group for sponsoring this announcement   

Notes for Editors

About Journalists for Human Rights

Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) is Canada's leading media development organization. Through skills training and mentorship, JHR empowers journalists to report ethically and effectively on local human rights issues that would otherwise be ignored and unaddressed. Since 2002, JHR has trained more than 14,500 journalists in 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Canada.

SOURCE Journalists for Human Rights (JHR)

For further information: Rachel Pulfer, Executive Director, rachel@jhr.ca or 416-413-0240 Ext. 206

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