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Report from the Government Recommends Financial Support for Minority Journalists to Advance Diversity in Journalism

Cabinet should consider directly paying reporters from indigenous, racial, or religious minority groups up to $45,000 a year to promote diversity in journalism, says a Canadian Heritage report.

Direct cash payments would be on top of the $29,750 rebate per employee at government-approved newsrooms, the report said.

“Organizations mentioned the need for government funds dedicated to creators and journalists from Indigenous, racialized and religious minority communities in the media,” reads the “Changing Narratives Fund Report On Consultations,” reads the document, which was first covered by Blacklock’s Reporter. “Funding should be stable and targeted.”

The recommendation, which comes from responses to a survey with selected advocacy groups, proposes subsidizing “a salary of $45,000 per annum” for reporters who are indigenous, Muslim, black, or LGBT.

“If these new talents are not trained or allocated budgets or resources to share their stories they may well remain invisible,” the report reads. “For these stories to be seen, a paradigm shift is needed in the way traditional news media share the stories of Indigenous, racialized and religious minority communities.”

The report was submitted by Professors Christopher Dornan and Adrian Harewood of Carleton University and Patrick White of the University of Québec. Names of the report’s “stakeholders” were not given.

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The recommendations in the report were made in relation to the $595 million bailout fund created by Parliament in 2019. The funding was earmarked for cabinet-approved media that qualified for subsidies.

News Media Canada, a publishers’ group that lobbied for the subsidies, had said the federal aid should be available for five years, expiring on March 31, 2024.

“There will be news outlets, newspapers, that fail the transition,” former News Media Canada CEO Bob Cox said during 2019 hearings of the Commons finance committee. “You can’t give them forever. We will have to save ourselves.”

News Media Canada has since petitioned the finance committee to extend subsidies at higher rates. Cabinet, in its Nov. 21 fall economic statement, agreed to double payroll rebates from a maximum $13,750 a year per newsroom employee to $29,750 a year through the next election.

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