TORONTO, Dec. 8, 2017 /CNW/ - Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) is pleased to announce the release of its Style Guide for Reporting on Indigenous People, a style guide produced in consultation with Indigenous journalists and scholars across Canada.
The guide was developed to address gaps in the ways Canadian media describes and references Indigenous people in stories and reports. It includes valuable descriptions on why Indigenous is preferred over Aboriginal, reasons to avoid use of "Canada's Indigenous people" and the like, proper descriptions of Métis and Inuit, and a section on Two Spirit people.
"Too often, Indigenous people are misrepresented and mislabeled in news stories across Canada," said JHR Indigenous Reporters Program manager Lenny Carpenter, who edited the guide. "We hope that by releasing this style guide, media outlets will consult and incorporate it into their own style guides, and lead to improved and respectful terminology when they cover stories on Indigenous people and communities – whether they be Inuit, Métis or First Nations."
"Journalists for Human Rights has been working to improve the quality and quantity of Indigenous stories and voices in Canadian media since 2013," says JHR's Executive Director Rachel Pulfer. "Creating change in the way Canadian style guides counsel journalists to describe Indigenous peoples was one of our longer-term goals. In 2017, information from JHR's style guide has already been used by both The Canadian Press and the Toronto Star. While there is still plenty of work remaining, the guide and its impact represents long-term, institutionalized change in the way Canadian journalists report on Indigenous people. It is testament to at least some progress along the long road to reconciliation."
Contributors to the guide include:
- Maureen Googoo, an award-winning journalist from the Mi'kmaw community of Indian Brook First Nation and is the founder/Editor-in-Chief of Kukukwes.com;
- Joyce Hunter, a member of Weenusk First Nation (Peawanuck) who has spent more than 10 years working as a journalist and has won national and provincial awards for her work;
- Adam Gaudry, Ph.D., a Métis assistant professor in the Faculty of Native Studies and Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta;
- Melody McKiver, an Anishinaabe musician, composer, media artist, and arts educator of mixed ancestry from Obishikokaang Lac Seul First Nation;
- Ossie Michelin, a freelance Inuk journalist based out of North West River, Labrador, and Montreal and who works in print, photography, radio, and video;
- Angela Sterritt, an award-winning Gitxsan journalist and writer belonging to the Gitanmaax band in northwest British Columbia who has reported for CBC since 2003.
JHR developed the guide in summer 2017, in part in response to news the Canadian Press (CP) was working on a new edition of its Stylebook. The CP Stylebook is a comprehensive reference work that is used by journalists across Canada, and is required reading by post-secondary journalism programs. The team at CP reached out to JHR for guidance on their Indigenous section -- and the 18th edition of the CP Stylebook, released this fall, has adapted portions of the JHR style guide into its Indigenous Peoples section.
"Journalists for Human Rights is doing vital work in helping to ensure that the stories of Indigenous Peoples in Canada are told with respect, equity and accuracy — a goal that is shared by The Canadian Press," said CP Stylebook Editor James McCarten. "Thanks to the invaluable help of Lenny, Angela and all of the contributors, users of the Canadian Press Stylebook will benefit from JHR's unique and essential perspective on how best to fairly and respectfully represent Indigenous Peoples in their work."
JHR thanks the contributors for their time and expertise in developing the style guide, and to CP Stylebook Editor James McCarten for adapting the guide into the latest edition. Should any newsrooms or journalists request further information, or be interested in adapting the style guide into their newsroom, please contact Lenny Carpenter, Indigenous Reporters Program manager, at [email protected].
The style guide can be found here: http://www.jhr.ca/en/jhr2017-style-book-indigenous-people/
The style guide project was supported by the J. M. W. McConnell Family Foundation and the RBC Foundation, along with many of JHR's individual donors.
"Accuracy is the bedrock of journalism and applying the same rigor to truth-telling to Indigenous stories as any other story is our responsibility to the public." – Angela Sterritt, contributor
"What people don't learn in their education system, they look to the media to fill their information gaps about Indigenous peoples, their cultures, perspectives, histories, legal and economic standing and so on. What the public fails to realize is, these journalists went to the same schools they did and received the same poor education about these issues. How the media portrays Indigenous people is crucial to building understanding among the collective Canadian consciousness, and so, we must commend and thank the Canadian Press for acknowledging that our identities should not be assigned to us collectively by an outside source and has worked with us to ensure the industry itself is coming to Indigenous peoples in a way that is communicative, open and done so in a spirit of reciprocation which helps to grow understanding among Canadians in a very real way." - Joyce Hunter, contributor
- Our thanks to CNW Group for sponsoring this announcement
Notes for Editors
About the Indigenous Reporters Program:
JHR's Indigenous Reporters Program, established in 2014 after a yearlong pilot program called the Northern Ontario Initiative, is JHR's first development program focusing its activities in Canada. The goal of the program is to increase the quality and quantity of Indigenous stories and voices in Canadian media. The program seeks to build opportunities for Indigenous people to pursue careers in journalism, ultimately strengthening Indigenous voices in Canadian media, and to ensure that non-Indigenous journalists are trained in best practices for reporting on Indigenous peoples, cultures and issues.
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 14,500 journalists across 28 countries whose stories have reached over 50 million people worldwide. JHR currently operates projects in Jordan, South Sudan, Syria, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Canada.
SOURCE Journalists for Human Rights (JHR)
For further information: Lenny Carpenter, Indigenous Reporters Program manager, [email protected] or 416-413-0240 Ext. 209