This season of Pull Quotes we’re doing something a bit different. Readers of our publication know that every year the student journalists at the Ryerson Review of Journalism produce feature articles about some of the most important issues in Canadian news. While working on a long-form piece, you invariably encounter so many people, each with their own unique point of view. Word counts in magazine writing tend to be rigid, and as a result, many of these perspectives do not make it into the finished piece. Instead of allowing these stories to wither on the editing room floor, we at Pull Quotes decided to scoop them up and tell them ourselves.
This episode, you’ll hear from Emily Morantz, one of the journalists at The Review, who spoke to our guest, Brian Daly, as part of her research for a profile she wrote for the magazine’s upcoming annual print edition. She felt Brian had a lot of important things to say about the underrepresentation of Black people and people of colour in Canadian media. We agreed.
This episode is being released a little over a year to the day that the CABJ and the Canadian Journalists of Colour (CJOC) put out their calls to action. The document pointed to racism among Canadian news outlets and outlined seven concrete steps that media organizations should take to redress the lack of diversity in their newsrooms. After their release, the calls to action elicited little response. Then, on May 25, 2020, officers of the Minneapolis police department murdered George Floyd.
In the resultant global outcry against police brutality and racism, Canada’s biggest media organizations have been forced to reckon with their own histories of biased news coverage and hiring practices. What began with criticism of the CBC for unbalanced reporting on Black Lives Matter protests eventually snowballed into a more general indictment of Canadian media, which is predominantly white, and has moved at a glacial pace to increase representation.
Brian Daly got his start as an editorial assistant at CBC and spent the first half of his career as a print journalist covering major Canadian events like the Montreal biker wars and the sponsorship scandal that would sink Prime Minister Paul Martin’s government. He ultimately left print to work behind the scenes as a television news producer where he has spent time working for several major news networks across the country. In addition to his current position as producer at CBC News in Halifax, Brian serves as the Atlantic director of the CABJ.
Having experienced such a representative cross-section of Canadian media, we wanted to get Brian’s take on why the industry seems to be lagging so far behind in terms of diversity. We also spoke about his own storied career and the actions the CABJ are taking to foster interest in journalism among Black youth across Canada.