Journalism Strategies Conference at McGill April 19-22

From April 19-23, McGill hosted a "Journalism Strategies" conference. The goal was stated as follows:

"We think something important is at stake: the health of Canadian democracy. We believe the more ways we can find for more Canadians to be involved in public discourses and questions of governance, the better off we will all be. We believe journalism can and should play an important role...

We are bringing together established academics, graduate students, journalists, activists, policy-makers and others interested in journalism policies. Our goals:

1) help mobilize a broad network that will recommend public policies for ensuring spaces in the Canadian media ecology for journalism that places public deliberation and citizen participation at the core of its mission.

2) undertake a process of policy-making that is itself participatory (within the limitations of time and resources available.)"

This sounded like a perfect venue to discuss the important contributions played by community media in the Canadian "media ecology", so Karen Wirsig of the Canadian Media Guild and Catherine Edwards of CACTUS co-submitted a paper the explored ways that public and community broadcasters could work together for mutual benefit and to the benefit of Canadians.

The paper is available here:

Public and Community Partnerships to Improve Local Media.

You can also see our presentation at the conference (as well as the other conference presenters) here:

CACTUS Presentation at Journalism Strategies (starting at minute 43).

The most pressing need for public-community collaboration that surfaced at the conference was for CBC towers and transmission infrastructure slated for decommissioning on July 31st this year to be offered to communities to maintain going forward. We proposed that they be offered to communities not just to keep the CBC going, but to offer new services: community TV or radio as well as rural broadband (wireless Internet) and mobile services in underserved areas.

Let us know what you think about the conference and stay tuned re. CBC transmission infrastructure. There will be further announcements by the CBC, by CACTUS, and by the CRTC this week.

May 7, 2012