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Mainstream media's 'not the only option' for newcomer journalists – OrilliaMatters



Immigrant journalists open their own outlets in Canada

When immigrant journalists like Gerard Keledjian arrive in Canada armed with decades of television production experience and fluent in English, Arabic, and Armenian, they expect to find a job in the media industry relatively quickly.

What Keledjian found upon his arrival over 10 years ago instead was an industry that was “very closed” to immigrants and only too eager to label them “ethnic media.”

“My language (English) was more than enough for the positions that I applied for,” says Keledjian, one of the many respondents who recently participated in the first groundbreaking Canadian study on the socio-economic conditions of first-generation immigrant and refugee journalists conducted by New Canadian Media

But in this industry, it is difficult even to get a call for a job interview.”

That’s how he ended up volunteering at Rogers TV Toronto, a community channel, in order to begin building so-called Canadian experience, since no employer seemed to care about the years of expertise he’d already gained as a television producer throughout the Middle East and North Africa. 

But not even that helped. Although he eventually started landing job interviews, the arguments for not hiring him were always that he was new and did not know Toronto well enough.

“Thank you to my team and to everyone in the immigrant-serving sector for trusting me and for helping me on my journey over the past 10 years to help newcomers and would-be immigrants be better informed and thus build a better life in Canada,” says Keledjian after 10 years working as a journalist in his new home-country. (Photo supplied).

Keledjian, like many immigrant and refugee journalists, arrived in Canada at a time when journalism jobs had begun to systematically dwindle.

According to the Digital Media at the Crossroads 2020 report, the number of journalism jobs in Canada dropped by over 20 per cent from 13,000 in 2013 to 10,200 by 2018.

“Little research exists but what there is suggests Canada’s newsrooms lack diversity and are challenged to represent/appeal to the Canadian population,” the report states.

It further warns that in the streaming business, “big tech and big international brands will continue to divert the attention of Canadians.” 

It concludes by suggesting that government support of journalists in smaller communities and some entrepreneurial initiatives “might preserve the emphasis on democracy.”

Mainstream media’s loss

Eager to work as a journalist in Toronto, in 2015 Keledjian launched his own media outlet, New Canadians, the nation’s only national TV show and web-based series dedicated to newcomers and would-be immigrants. 

In the first six years, he has grown his TV program to reach up to $90,000 in yearly revenue, even managing to hire over 25 professionals, primarily internationally educated media and communications professionals, and Canadian-born young graduates.

He has also produced over 118 half-hour TV episodes — all of which helped him win the Pioneers for Change Award for Excellence in Innovation in 2015 and the MNLCT Community Impact Award in 2016.

Gerard Keledjian and the team of New Canadians TV Show. (Photo supplied).

In his view, by shutting out immigrant journalists, Canadian mainstream media loses out on a wide network of international contacts and thus on “opportunities for better coverage in international news.”

For example, he says, if a Canadian outlet wanted to cover a story about South America or the Middle East, a journalist from those regions could provide context, research and even on-the-ground contacts to interview.

He recalls that during the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) coverage of the Arab Revolution (Arab Spring) in 2011, many of the reports misidentified city names.

“They (CBC) missed an opportunity for better coverage,” he says, as he could have connected them “to the Arabic network.” 

“Canada is a diverse country, and (the) media should reflect that,” he adds.

Not the only option

Passionate about newcomer integration and immigrant entrepreneurship, Keledjian is also the founder and managing director of New Horizons Media Inc., a multicultural social enterprise for video production and content creation. 

There, he works with a team of internationally-trained media professionals, Canadian-born young graduates, and people with disabilities to assist Canadian non-profits and small businesses with storytelling and brand messaging through content creation.

These endeavours have helped Keledjian realize and accept that Canadian mainstream media “is not the only option” for immigrant journalists. 

“They can pursue a self-option in media, focusing on their niche of interest,” he says. “We used to focus on the main players, but we can start community news outlets.”

Keledjian says he considers unions within the media industry to be a “barrier” because it limits the opening of new positions for immigrant journalists. He therefore recommends starting with small positions first, trying internships, volunteering for a “short time” as a way to both showcase and hone journalism skills while also establishing professional connections.

In order to better help immigrant journalists integrate, and as a way of recommendation, Keledjian says more internships are needed to help new immigrant and refugee journalists get a sense of the landscape. He also recommends opening up more permanent staffing positions for ethnic reporters; mentorship opportunities, and job contracts.

“Both parties of the media industry — media organizations and immigrant journalists — must understand each other,” he concludes.

This article is based on the results of the first Canadian study on the socio-economic conditions of first generation immigrant and refugee journalists, currently underway.

Please complete our survey on immigrant and refugee journalists here .

Please share our stories!

The post Mainstream media’s ‘not the only option’ for newcomer journalists appeared first on New Canadian Media.

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‘Think Before You Link’: app launched to help social media users detect fake profiles – The Guardian



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‘Think Before You Link’: app launched to help social media users detect fake profiles  The Guardian

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These middle school students have a warning about teens and social media –



The town of Rockwall, Texas, has a few claims to fame: Bonafide Betties Pie Company, where “thick pies save lives”; the mega-sized Lakepointe Church; and Lake Ray Hubbard, which is lovely until the wet, Texas heat makes a shoreline stroll feel like a plod through hot butter.

Now add to that list: Rockwall is home to the middle-school winners of NPR’s fourth-annual Student Podcast Challenge.

Their entry, The Worlds We Create, is a funny and sneakily thoughtful exploration of what it means that so many teens today are “talking digitally,” instead of face-to-face. It was one of two winning entries (the high school winner is here) chosen by our judges from among more than 2,000 student podcasts from around the country.

The team behind the pod

Rockwall hugs the eastern shore of the lake and got its name from a wall-like thread of sandstone that unspools beneath the town. “Every street name sounds the same: Lakeshore, Club Lake, Lakeview, Lakeside, and so on…” says the podcast’s narrator, 8th-grader Harrison McDonald. “If it sounds like our town is boring, that’s because it is. But let’s zoom into the center of one of those neighborhoods, on Williams Middle School.”

That’s where Harrison, fellow 8th-grader Blake Turley and 7th-graders Kit Atteberry and Wesley Helmer made the podcast, as part of librarian Misti Knight’s broadcasting class. Knight began teaching Harrison and Blake last year, when they would make videos for the school’s morning announcements. “But then I realized how good [the boys] were, and so I would say this year, I’m honestly more their manager,” she laughs.

Meaning, often Ms. Knight just gives the boys the roughest of ideas and encourages them to get creative. Which is why, when Harrison came to her with an idea for NPR’s Student Podcast Challenge, she said, “Why not?”

Harrison’s interest in the contest surprised no one. He wears chunky headphones around his neck every day, like a uniform, and says he was raised on public radio. “[My family] have a system. On long road trips, we listen to This American Life. On shorter road trips, we listen to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.”

Kit also brought a love of podcasting to the effort: “My dad got me into listening to podcasts, and we would just listen to them in the car and listen to them in the house. You know, he never really got into music. He was mostly into podcasts,” Kit says, especially The Moth.

For their entry, Harrison, Kit and the team wanted to explore how students at Williams Middle School, and likely every other middle and high school in the country, interact on social media. Specifically, when they go on a platform like TikTok or Instagram and create anonymous accounts to share things about school and their classmates.

“People feel anonymous, so they feel like they can do whatever they want”

For example: An account dedicated to pics of students considered “hot.”

“My friend was on there,” Blake says, “and I texted him, ‘Hey, do you know that you’re on this Instagram account?’ And he’s like, ‘What?!’ ”

Most of these accounts “aren’t even gossip,” Blake adds, “they’re just pictures of people sleeping, eating, acting surprised, acting sad.”

One account was dedicated entirely to pictures of students sleeping in class. On some accounts, students are in on the joke, but often they’re not, Harrison says.

“Through the internet … people feel anonymous, so they feel like they can do whatever they want — and get likes for it without any punishment.”

The boys found at least 81 of these accounts at Williams alone. Then they got a bold idea.

Fake it till you make it

“After seeing all of these social media pages, we decided it would be fun if we just made our own profile and posted fake gossip to see the impact it has and how it spreads through a middle school,” they explain in the podcast.

Fake gossip is putting it mildly.

“We knocked on our school police officer’s door and asked if he would pretend to arrest one of our A-V club members for the camera. Surprisingly, he actually agreed,” Harrison says.

It was the first video to go up on their new gossip account. “We didn’t think it would actually get anywhere, but less than 15 minutes later, we heard people starting to talk about it.”

Williams Middle School in Rockwall, Texas.

/ Cooper Neill for NPR


Cooper Neill for NPR

Williams Middle School in Rockwall, Texas.

Next up: The boys staged a fight in the band room, hoping a shaky camera and sound effects added in post-production would convince their classmates it was bigger and very real.

“Some of us would have kids walking up to us daily to tell us how we got absolutely destroyed in that fight or how they didn’t know we were in band. We were having fun with it now,” Harrison says in the podcast. “It didn’t take long for our fake account to start getting more followers than any other gossip account we could find.”

“Our generation prefers talking digitally”

As a social experiment, these four middle-schoolers went from quiet observers of social media to the school’s master muckrakers – even though everything they posted was utterly fake. In that way, the podcast works as a warning about the importance of media literacy — at a time when Americans half-a-century their senior are being suckered by social media every day.

But the podcast isn’t just a scold about fake news. It’s also about how, for kids their age, this is communication.

“We don’t pass notes, we send texts with our phones hidden under our desks,” Harrison says. “We don’t tell people about incidents that happened in class, we post it on TikTok. Our generation prefers talking digitally with each other from a distance, [rather] than communicating with each other in the real world.”

The boys named their podcast, The Worlds We Create.

Ms. Knight, a veteran teacher, says she’s seen these changes in students over the years.

An interior view of Williams Middle School in Rockwall, Texas.

/ Cooper Neill for NPR


Cooper Neill for NPR

An interior view of Williams Middle School in Rockwall, Texas.

“I just think there’s a lot less talking and a lot more, you know, swiping through their phone instead of saying, ‘Hey, guess what I saw today?’ ”

Knight has even seen it in her own family. “I would talk to my husband about, ‘Oh, did you see our eldest daughter?’ She lives in California. ‘She did this or whatever.’ And he would say, ‘How do you know this?’ ”

Her answer: “‘Because I’m following her social media and her friends’ social media.’ Because if you don’t do that, she’s probably not going to pick up the phone and call us and tell us.”

Is that inherently bad? Knight says, no, not necessarily. She does get to see more of what her daughters and her friends, far and wide, are doing.

The boys’ views are similarly complicated. All this “talking digitally” can be a real “curse” for teens, they say, especially when it hurts or excludes others. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

After all, the boys say, the whole purpose of technologies from radio to the telephone, TV to the internet, has always been to help us feel less alone and more connected – by helping us create worlds – and build communities – bigger than the ones we’re born into.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

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Media Evolution iPad winners announced –



Thank you for participating in the Media Evolution Project survey.  The survey closed at the end of April and we are currently reviewing the results.

Our goal is to take the feedback we’ve received from the survey and create changes and update policy so that can improve its local news coverage.

The goal of the Media Evolution Project is to know and understand the local audience to become a better curator of local news, through thoughtfully and strategically connected stories that the community might find valuable, that will resonate with them, and that will have a meaningful impact on them.  Moorsaic Strategic Services, on behalf of and Moose FM, is exploring how to serve the community better with news and stories that are relevant and to understand better how to increase reader trust and engagement.

We hope to share the results of the survey and some of the changes you’ll see on this Spring.

With the survey, we held a draw for three iPad’s.  Anyone that participated in the survey and agreed to enter the draw had a chance to win.  The winners were picked at random using a random number generator.

Congratulations to John Boyer, Vera Walter and Karen Mason-Bennett who have each won a new iPad.

Watch for more updates on the Media Evolution: Striving to Serve project at or email our team at

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