By Stefanie Phillips, RSJ ’18 sphillips@ryerson.ca

 

Student journalists from across Canada were challenged to rethink representation and diversity in the newsroom at the 80th annual NASH conference.

The rethinking started with the keynote address on Jan. 4 by CityNews anchor Ginella Massa, who was introduced as Canada’s first hijab-wearing television news reporter. Massa reminded the room of over 250 student journalists at The Chelsea Hotel in Toronto that the job comes with the privilege of choice; to choose which voices get heard and whose stories get told.

 

 

 

From then on, the four-day conference challenged its participants to think about how the media can do better at representing audiences. Students heard from 70 speakers from media organizations throughout the country, including Willow Fiddler from the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, who organizers say has never spoken at a conference before NASH80.

This year, the conference was hosted by The Eyeopener in partnership with the Canadian University Press (CUP). The theme was Connect and aimed to encourage attendees to engage with each other and generate new ideas for the future of journalism.

Sierra Bein, one of the conference coordinators and current editor-in-chief at The Eyeopener said the theme was chosen because “we felt this is an important time for young journalists to get together and talk about new ideas when the industry is running on old ones.

“[This year’s team of coordinators] come from various identities and the three of us wear a lot of hats — we are women, non-binary, queer and we are immigrants and Canadian and people of colour. This hopefully reflects in our work.”

Bein said their decision to make the equity panel, featuring Kyle Edwards and Angelyn Francis from Maclean’s and freelancers, Al Donato and Sarah Ratchford, mandatory and introducing the first “no-men allowed” roundtable were both efforts to generate new ideas.

Throughout the weekend, participants took to twitter using the hashtag #NASH80 to reflect on the conference.