Opportunity: Journalism internships available with Radio-Canada for First Nations youth

A new kind of partnership with First Nations organizations and communities is about to take root at Radio-Canada. I use the word “partnership” because the entire initiative is the product of an ongoing collaborative relationship between the public broadcaster and First Nations.

Luc Simard, Radio-Canada’s Director of Diversity and Community Relations, has been working for over two years on setting up these one-year paid journalism internships for First Nations candidates. Luc was inspired by a similar program launched a few years ago by CBC – a program that has yielded some impressive results. A prime example is the CBC News/Aboriginal portal, which I encourage you to visit if you haven’t done so already.

I might as well say it straight away: Luc and I had a fascinating conversation. Right off the bat, he told me: “This initiative is definitely a win-win situation.” In other words, the one-year internships in four Quebec regional newsrooms (Sept-Îles, Saguenay, Trois-Rivières and Quebec City) will be just as beneficial for Radio-Canada as they are for our Aboriginal partners, who include the First Nations Education Council and the member media organizations of the Société de communication Atikamekw-Montagnais. The interns will be supervised jointly by their Radio-Canada colleagues and the Aboriginal organizations – something that’s never been done before.

Naturally, the goal of the internships is to recruit First Nations journalists and bring them on board Radio-Canada News and Current Affairs; but the collaboration works both ways. The interns will be able to move back and forth between the public broadcaster and the Aboriginal media outlets they came from. This flexible arrangement was a key requirement for the First Nations, as it will allow the interns to share their newfound knowledge and experience. “It’s important to remember that although half of Quebec Aboriginals live in the city, they like to stay in close touch with their roots and their community – the place where their parents and grandparents lived,” Luc said.

For its part, Radio-Canada has everything to gain from this new form of inclusive partnership: not only will the interns allow the public broadcaster to provide more accurate, culturally sensitive coverage of First Nations realities, including noteworthy initiatives taking place in native communities, but they will also bring an Aboriginal perspective to general news reporting. “I’d be very interested in seeing how an Aboriginal reporter tackles environmental or public policy issues,” Luc says.

I, too, look forward to seeing the tangible results of these internships starting this fall. In the meantime, interested First Nations candidates can submit their résumés and cover letters through our corporate website. The deadline is July 15, 2016.

– Jacinthe Lacombe-Cliche, Senior Writer, Enterprise Communications

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CBC pilot project expands The Current’s audience through daily transcripts

In February, with the generous support of the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund, Canada’s most listened-to current affairs radio program, The Current, launched a pilot project to make Canadian public radio accessible to a wide and diverse audience.

As part of the pilot project, CBC has made text transcripts of The Current available to the public through CBC.ca on a daily basis. They have also filmed, edited and posted one American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted radio documentary from the program on CBC.ca each month. This was a first for CBC Radio and unique in Canadian media and has made public radio accessible to millions across the country who are of deaf or hard of hearing. Since the project’s launch, The Current’s transcripts have been viewed more than 22,500 times.

– Erin Cowan

– Erin Cowan

“Thank you so much to CBC for these transcripts. I am hearing impaired and often have difficulty following radio media. I look forward to this moving past the pilot project and being adopted as regular practice.” – Erin Cowan

Hosted by veteran journalist Anna Maria Tremonti, CBC’s award-winning radio program The Current is the number-one radio interview program in the country, reaching nearly 2.3 million Canadians each week.

“Our goal is to foster a daily national conversation about the people and ideas surrounding us,” said host Anna Maria Tremonti. “With this transcription project, we are pleased to expand this dialogue to a new audience including English language learners, deaf and hard of hearing Canadians, post-secondary students and those in rural communities.”
The project has received much praise from across the country.

– Toby Brooks

– Toby Brooks

“Dear Anna Maria: I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time, even though I have a hearing loss and sometime miss parts of the material. Thank you for pioneering accessible broadcasting. Now I will be able to read the text and my deaf friends will benefit from ASL.” – Toby Brooks

For audiences who prefer to read along as they listen, the transcripts become a useful tool for developing or deepening English language skills. Radio transcripts give English language learners an opportunity to engage with radio content at their own pace. The transcripts can also be easily translated into other languages, as well as Braille.

The transcripts also create an educational opportunity for the over two million post-secondary students in this country by providing them with access to daily transcripts for a program that routinely discusses issues that are studied and taught in Canadian classrooms. Students and their educators now have a handy way to cite the Canadian experts, academics, politicians and cultural figures that appear on Canada’s most listened to current affairs program.

Those who do not have audio playback available, as well as those in remote communities where access to high bandwidth is limited, can also participate in the national conversation fostered by The Current for the first time. Additionally, radio transcripts are captured by text-based search engines, making it easier for all Canadians to find and share the stories that are most relevant to them.

The monthly American Sign Language (“ASL”) interpretations of certain radio documentaries provides the estimated one-to-three million Canadians who are deaf or hard of hearing with different ways to engage with internationally renowned, award-winning documentaries.

As storytelling grows and finds new mediums, The Current reminds us that the importance of accessibility does not diminish.

– Shayla Kelly, Specialist, Enterprise Communications

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CBC Comments: Building the community you want

Today, we’d like to share some important news about a move first announced in March and that we hope will have a positive effect on the conversations happening in our online spaces.

CBC has always been at the heart of Canada’s conversations and increasingly, those conversations are happening online. With so many digital spaces either disappearing or struggling to maintain a civil discourse, we still believe it’s possible to promote a respectful exchange of ideas in our online communities.

The challenges we face are not to be underestimated – especially with a community the size of ours – but we’ll continue to strive to create a healthy space that reflects a diversity of voices, encourages a shared understanding of our stories, and celebrates both our differences and common values.

An invitation to start over

Months ago, we began a thorough review of our online communities: the current state of discourse, how we support our members, and the technology available to us. While by and large, the submissions made to our sites respect the guidelines we’ve put in place, we believe a fresh start will help correct some of the more troubling behaviours we occasionally see.

So, on June 13, CBC.ca will be resetting our online community. As we announced back in March, moving forward, all our CBC.ca community members will be asked to use their real names when engaging on our sites.

What’s more, all our members who use an email address to sign into our platform will be asked to re-register and create a new account. Community members who sign into our sites using Facebook or Google+ will not be required to create a new account, but we will no longer publish comments from anyone using an obvious pseudonym, regardless of how you sign in.

Re-building our community, together

While we’re working hard to ensure what you see in comments on our sites meets the standard you expect of your public broadcaster, we also count on you to help shape the conversations and report any behaviour that contravenes our guidelines.

We hope you’ll debate your convictions with passion, respect and an open mind, and take full responsibility for your contributions.

A fresh start, and a work in progress

In the last few weeks, we’ve brought back the ‘down-vote’, are adding email verification to all new accounts and will soon be introducing new functionality that allows people to ‘mute’ trolls.

This is just another step as we continue to evolve our digital communities, our relationship with you, and your connection with each other. We welcome your constructive thoughts, ideas and feedback. What works, we’ll build on; what doesn’t, we’ll adapt.

Understandably, you may have questions, we’ve tried to anticipate what those may be and answer them here

Welcome to your new community at cbc.ca (starting June 13).

– Alex Johnston, Vice-President, Strategy and Public Affairs, CBC/Radio-Canada and the CBC.ca Community Team

 

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Carrying the flame: Marie-José Turcotte takes part in the Olympic Torch Relay

Marie-Jose TurcotteWhen Marie-José received an email from her boss asking her to see him in his office, she naturally wondered what she had done to earn such a summons. She never imagined that she was going to be invited by senior management to represent the public broadcaster as part of the Olympic Torch Relay in Brazil! It was not only an honour, but also a wonderful acknowledgement of her contribution to sports journalism. “It’s very touching,” Marie-José told me in all humility. I could tell from her tone of voice how pleased she was.

Marie-José will be one of roughly 12,000 people taking part in the Olympic Torch Relay through 300 towns and cities across Brazil. She will run her 200-metre leg on June 7 in Fortaleza, a city of 2.5 million in the country’s northeastern corner.

The first thing I wanted to know was how someone prepares for such an intense event that takes place over such a short distance! “It’s not a sprint,” answers Marie-José. “I am going to take my time and enjoy the moment!”

There is a great deal of symbolism associated with the Olympic flame. For Marie-José, taking part in the relay is primarily about “being part of something big.” The torch will be carried by people from every walk of life, including a Syrian refugee, a mathematician, former athletes and regular citizens. “The flame is the same one that left Athens and crossed several countries, and is now set to light the Olympic Cauldron for the Games’ official opening. It symbolizes unity and peace. I know that it’s all very symbolic, but the idea is that the Olympic flame spreads hope everywhere it goes in a world that currently isn’t doing too well.”

Covering the Games leaves reporters with very little time to soak up the local culture because of their hectic schedules and the great distances between sites, but for Marie-José the relay will be an opportunity to get to know the people of Fortaleza and file a few reports. “I downloaded the Babel app on February 1. I don’t speak Portuguese, but I know how much people appreciate it when you speak a sentence or two to them in their own language. It makes breaking the ice that much easier.”

Marie-José describes herself as someone who is naturally curious and has a good memory. She has many memories of her travels and the 13 Olympic Games that she has covered in her career. She does not collect souvenirs and takes very few pictures, but she does like to keep a trip diary when on vacation. Over the years, she has adopted a small ritual to make herself feel at home when travelling: “I always bring an old pair of sandals, which I keep in my hotel room. After a long day, slipping on my sandals makes me feel like I’m at home!”

For the last few years, Marie-José has been keeping a closer eye on Brazilian news to prepare for Rio 2016, and she has read at length about the country’s history, economy and culture. I was quite impressed by how much she has to learn to do her work. “It’s all part of the job, and when the subject really interests you, it comes quite easily,” she says. 

I kept the hardest question for last, asking Marie-José which discipline she would choose if she could watch just one at Rio 2016. Her response came immediately: “I couldn’t do it!” But I did pick up this tidbit of information: “I have a soft spot for track and field. Our Canadian athletes might surprise us there. But most of all, the Olympic Games are an opportunity to meet people who have experienced something extraordinary and to tell their stories.”

– Jacinthe Lacombe-Cliche, Senior Writer, Enterprise Communications

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Our urban beekeeping initiative is growing

Following last year’s launch of our urban beekeeping initiative, Real Estate Services and the Health, Safety and Environment department are proud to announce the growth of our biodiversity program with the installation of bee hives on the rooftop of our CBC Vancouver and CBC Winnipeg buildings!  

“We are working in partnership with Vancouver Honeybees [in Vancouver] and Beeproject Apiaries [in Winnipeg]”, reports Athena Trastelis, Senior Manager of Environment. “The program is intended to engage employees to participate in biodiversity initiatives and raise awareness of the integral role of bees in the environment and in our food supply system. In addition, the initiative will allow CBC/Radio-Canada to do our part in reducing the dramatic decline seen in the world’s bee population”.

“I participated in the installation of four hives on the rooftop of our Vancouver building on May 18,” says Daniel Langevin, Senior Manager of Health, Safety and Environment with Real Estate Services.  “Employees on site who heard of the program were excited to learn of the expansion. Athena will be participating in the installation at CBC Winnipeg planned for June 3rd. We are both very excited to grow this program and hope to continue to do so over the next few years.”

Fun facts about honeybees:

  • There are three kinds of bees in a hive: queen, worker (females) and drone (males).
  • The queen can lay up to 2,000 eggs a day.  
  • Drone bees do not have a stinger.
  • Worker bees live for about 30 days, and literally work to death. They are responsible to keep the hive clean; feed the queen and younger bees; pack pollen and nectar into cells; cap the cells; build and repair honeycombs; fan to cool the hive; and guard the hives.
  • Bees are the only insect in the world that make food that humans can eat.
  • Bees communicate through chemical scents called pheromones and through special bee dances.

Fun facts about honey:

  • There are five products that come from the hive: honey, beeswax, pollen, propolis, and royal jelly.
  • Honey has natural preservatives. Bacteria cannot grow in it.
  • Honey comes in different colours and flavours. The flower where the nectar was gathered from determines the flavour and colour of the honey.
  • The average worker bee makes about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.

Honey generated as part of this initiative will be used for internal promotional and charitable purposes. This initiative is part of the wider range of activities underway across the Corporation in our ongoing effort to be a good corporate citizen. Details regarding activities are found in our Annual Environmental Reports.

– David Oille, Senior Advisor, Strategic Communications, Enterprise Communications

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