Youth internships boost community media in minority settings
Melanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, announced a wave of new internships in official language radio and print media in minority communities last Thursday. This first set of nearly 60 paid internships across the country stems from $ 4.5 million budgeted over five years to support official language minority media in the Action Plan for Official Languages launched earlier this year, and the move was welcomed by the Consortium of Official Language Minority Community Media.
"We welcome this additional funding destined to build media capacity and support the distribution of information to our local communitie,” said Steve Bonspiel, President of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association. “Through this capacity building initiative, local media will be able to enhance their contribution to the vitality and sense of inclusiveness of our minority communities."
According to the president of Englishlanguage Arts Network (ELAN), Bettina Forget “Quebec’s English-speaking community does not suffer from a lack of content in its own language. What we do lack is information about our communities, and platforms to share our own stories. This is a role that can only be played by community media. Stronger media means stronger communities.”
The Action Plan for Official Languages announced by the federal government last March also includes $ 10 million over five years to develop the capacity of the Official Language community media.
"Community media is at the heart of local information in the country and we must help develop the skills of future generations to ensure the continual flow of community information. The federal government’s investment is a first step in the development of an action plan that will ensure that our community media activities are maintained over short and medium term," said Francis Sonier, President of the Association de la presse francophone.
For his part, Claude Chabot, president of the Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada, believes that "the measures announced today will benefit not only the local media but especially all citizens of the communities they served."
The Consortium of Official Language Minority Community Media, whose members speak with one voice, represents some 105 newspapers and radio stations in 10 provinces and 3 territories. Created in 2016 by the Association de la presse francophone (APF), the Quebec Community Newspapers Association (QCNA) and the Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada (ARC du Canada), the Consortium has just welcomed the English-language Arts Network (ELAN) in its ranks as a representative of English-speaking community radio in Quebec.
The new internships for young Canadians have been developed through the Young Canada Works program, and are already in place in media across the country, including The Record.