A national discussion on journalism policy is needed now for two reasons: The Bell purchase of Astral, and the recently announced cuts  to the CBC. As Christine Crowther, lead coordinator of the Journalism Strategies Conference explains, media concentration and cuts to public broadcasting are not new. That’s precisely the problem. Both are well-known and much-discussed by those who worry about journalism's ability to help Canadians be effective citizens. 

By Christine Crowther, lead coordinator, Journalism Strategies Conference (Montreal, April 19-21)

A national discussion on journalism policy is needed now for two reasons: The Bell purchase of Astral, and the recently announced cuts  to the CBC. Media concentration and cuts to public broadcasting are not new. That’s precisely the problem. Both are well-known and much-discussed by those who worry about journalism's ability to help Canadians be effective citizens.  You know things have gotten serious though when Jonathan Kay – historically not a big fan of the CBC – says we need to protect its journalism.

The Journalism Strategies Conference complements the excellent work already underway to get media issues on the public agenda in Canada – two examples of which are OpenMedia and Reimagine CBC. The focus of the conference is journalism in the public interest. Its goal: bring together Canadians who have a stake in this kind of journalism, and who want to make sure there are spaces for it in the Canadian media system. This is a conference for people who want to move beyond the well-worn complaints about journalism in Canada and
actually craft solutions. Just as journalism isn’t just for journalists, policy is not just for wonks.  

One of the things that makes the Journalism Strategies conference unique is the mix of people who will be there. Senior executives from TVO, CBC/SRC, APTN, OpenFile, Le Devoir, and The National Campus and Community Radio Association, will be in conversation with academics, working journalists, policy-makers, grassroots activists, and other Canadians who care about the links between journalism and democracy. It’s this combination of participants that offers opportunities for innovative ideas to emerge.

How can you get involved:

Option 1: Register for the full 3 day conference. Full program details here: http://journalismstrategies.ca/en/?page_id=208  

Registration details here: http://journalismstrategies.ca/en/?page_id=28

Option 2: Come to the two free events open to the general public.

Thursday, April 19th 7pm: "Where to From Here." Moderator, Mike Finnerty from CBC Radio One's "Daybreak". Panelists: Kai Nagata, Judy Rebick, Dominique Payette, and Tony Burman. D.B. Clarke Theatre, Concordia 1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. West

Friday, April 20th, 6pm: "Insights from Abroad." Panelists will discuss how Australia, France, Tunisia, and the U.S. are dealing with journalism policy. McGill Faculty Club, 3450 McTavish Street

You can join our conversation ahead of the conference by going to the debates page on our website. We've posted videos from people like Bob Hackett, Kai Nagata, and Shelley Robinson in English: http://journalismstrategies.ca/en/?page_id=45.

On the French side we have Dominique Payette, Bernard Descoteaux, and Jean LaRose: http://journalismstrategies.ca/fr/?page_id=7

Dominique Payette raises an excellent question for those of us who do international journalism assistance work: why do we focus on the link between strong journalism and strong democratic life when we do work in emerging democracies, but ignore it in our own?

Time for a national discussion on journalism policy — Register now for the Journalism Strategies Conference