Talented journalists immigrate to Canada every year. But once here, they often find that they do not get the same opportunities to practice their craft that they had at home.
Now, one media collective is trying to change that.
New Canadian Media, a website dedicated to reporting on stories about Canadian immigrants, has started a collective aimed at supporting and empowering journalists who want to make a career for themselves in Canada.
Alireza Ahmadian, the convenor the NCM Collective, says the organization was born out of frustration of the lack of opportunities for journalists who have immigrated to Canada.
“There are a lot of high calibre journalists whose voices are missing from the mainstream media,” he told J-Source. “When you immigrate to Canada, at first everybody struggles. For these people to have their voices missed in the mainstream media would … be a disadvantage to Canadian society, and also to them.”
The collective started forming in 2016. For a one-time $10 fee, members get access to mentorship, networking and training opportunities. The collective also provides support services for its members, including consultations about ethical issues reporters may encounter.
Most importantly, membership means your name is added to a roster of journalists that mainstream media outlets can contact to work for them or provide comment in a story. Members also get first crack at writing for NCM, which is one of the leading news sources for new Canadians. It provides a big opportunity for journalists to add Canadian outlets to their portfolio of work.
Though the primary aim of the collective is empowering journalists who have immigrated to Canada, membership is also open to student journalists and recent graduates, who Ahmadian recognizes face some of the same challenges in getting work. Veteran journalists can also join and take on a mentorship role.
Though it started just last year, the collective currently has over 60 members from almost every continent. (There’s no representative from Antarctica — yet). Ahmadian wants to ensure that all the regular contributors to NCM — some 220 people — eventually join. That way they can become a powerful representative force for journalists who have immigrated to Canada.
”We want, number one, to reach out to communities and identify them,” he said. “And then empower them to actually contribute to our understanding of the world in Canada.”