This conference can be seen as part of on-going efforts to re-imagine journalism in Canada.

We think something important is at stake: the health of Canadian democracy. We believe the more ways we can find for more Canadians to be involved in public discourses and questions of governance, the better off we will all be. We believe journalism can and should play an important role.

Let’s be clear. We don’t mind knowing the latest in celebrity gossip. We think weather stories are important. And we understand Canadians insatiable interest in hearing about their favourite hockey teams.

We just think we need some balance in our media ecology.

Conference Goals

We are bringing together established academics, graduate students, journalists, activists, policy-makers and others interested in journalism policies. Our goals:

1) help mobilize a broad network that will recommend public policies for ensuring spaces in the Canadian media ecology for journalism that places public deliberation and citizen participation at the core of its mission.

2) undertake a process of policy-making that is itself participatory (within the limitations of time and resources available.)

The conference will include the following: panels comprised of presenters who have answered our call for papers; panel discussions with invited practitioners, academics, and activists; and breakout sessions for determining concrete policy strategies.

We have an opportunity here to move discussions beyond either/or approaches: “citizen” journalism vs. “traditional” journalism; “new” media vs. “old” media; “private” media vs. “public” media vs. “community” media; and “international” news vs. “national” news vs. “local” news.

It is an opportunity to imagine ways in which different kinds of actors in the Canadian media ecology can complement each other’s work, as well as ways in which policy can be used to sustain those efforts. 

Themes and Public Involvement

The conference will take place from April 19 – 21, 2012 – at Concordia and McGill Universities in Montreal. Please see the program section for details.

The conference will address four interrelated themes:

1) Working definitions of journalism that place at the fore public deliberation and participation
2) Organizational models
3) Regulatory policies
4) Financial policies

It will include  events for the general public, as well as events for registered participants only.

Two evening discussions will be open to the general public. The first evening will focus on Canadian journalism and involve former Canadian journalists who are now active in other ways in public life. The other evening will involve academics and policy activists from outside of Canada; they will discuss lessons that can be learned from countries such as Australia, France, the U.K., and the U.S.

There will be two days of presentations and workshops for registered participants. (We will post details on how to register in the days ahead.) Each presentation will make two recommendations for policy action. These recommendations will then be discussed and plans for mobilization will be put in place. Please see the “Call for Papers” section of this website for details if you’re interested in submitting a proposal for a presentation.