Summary of Notes: Journalism Sector Roundtable
The purpose of the summary of notes is to document key takeaways from the journalism sector roundtable held on October 5, 2020. The sector-specific roundtable was comprised of approximately 15 representatives of major associations and groups with representation from across different disciplines, regions and intersectional identity communities. The goals of the roundtable are to:
- Ensure various stakeholders representing different sectors and industries are heard, having an opportunity to express their thoughts/ideas.
- Understand on-the-ground impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for sectors and organizations.
- Have constructive discussions to help identify potential avenues that could help accelerate recovery.
- Build a common understanding of the kinds of support needed, and the role of government(s) therein.
At the start of the roundtable, the representatives shared their general experience of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their sectors and organizations. The introduction was then followed by three segments around the recovery framework:
- Resilience and Sustainability;
- Diversity and Inclusion; and
- Environmental Sustainability.
Resilience and Sustainability
To stimulate the discussion in the first segment, the following question was asked: What would organizations need to move towards a more sustainable/adaptable business model to prevail through similar situations in the future? Some of the key ideas and takeaways included:
- Financial support (e.g., funding/budget, wage subsidy, tax credits, labour tax credits, Canada Periodical Fund, etc.).
- Reform of the Broadcasting Act.
- Modernization of the Copyright Act.
- Review of intellectual property rights.
- Removing or lowering fees associated with Canada Post.
- Digital transition support.
- Modernization of the Canada Periodical Fund to better reflect current and different types of business models.
- Increase the flexibility of the funding program criteria so funding can assist more applicants.
- Modernization of funding programs to be more accessible and inclusive for all types of broadcasting platforms (e.g. radio, television, digital).
- Consultation, collaboration and close involvement of key stakeholders within the journalism sector to understand and appropriately address challenges.
- Initiatives to lower the barrier to entry within the journalism sector for new entrants.
- Initiatives that will help accelerate the pivot to different sources of revenue beyond traditional sources such as advertising (e.g. digital subscription, direct reader funding).
- Review and understanding of the journalism sector’s ecosystem to appropriately address its issues and challenges.
Diversity and Inclusion
To stimulate the discussion in the second segment, the following question was asked: What diversity and inclusion opportunities can be leveraged from the present circumstances for positive change? Some of the key ideas and takeaways included:
- Government support to promote diverse hiring.
- Requirement to report on diversity in the workspace (e.g. newsrooms, programs).
- Implementation of a diversity framework within organizations.
- Initiatives to lower the barrier to entry, for new entrants or hires.
- Support media representing diverse ethnic communities
- Increase the representation of diversity groups in all decision-making levels.
- Implementation of support programs dedicated to diverse hiring.
- Collection of data (e.g. survey) to gain a better understanding of diversity in the workplace (e.g. newsrooms, programs) to address challenges surrounding diversity and inclusion.
- Increase of employment opportunities for diversity groups.
- Review and update of the work and business environment to be more diverse and inclusive.
- Awareness initiatives or campaigns that will reach out to a more diverse pool of job applicants.
- Ability to hire foreign workers indefinitely through work programs that are regulated by the Government.
- Creation of programs that will enable, empower and incentivize organizations to be more diverse and inclusive.
To stimulate the discussion in the third segment, the following question was asked: What environmental sustainability opportunities can be leveraged from the present circumstances for positive change? Some of the key ideas and takeaways included:
- Support for transition to digital, including incentives to transition to digital platforms (e.g. digital tax credits).
- Increase the flexibility of tax credit criteria to further support the transition to digital.
- Research, data collection and detailed reporting on the impacts of digital transition on environmental sustainability.
- Investments in advertising to promote environmentally sustainable programs across Canada (e.g. recycling program).
- Initiatives to support small and vulnerable businesses that need to outsource to stay operational.
- Training opportunities to better understand digital skillsets and how digital transition impacts the environment.
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