More than 100 media workers and staff from across Canada gathered recently to discuss the challenges facing the industry due to the digital revolution and strategies to ensure the survival of their industry.
“The members in this sector have really stepped up to fight for the future of this industry,” Unifor Media Director Howard law said.
In his keynote address, St. John’s MP Seamus O’Regan, a member of the Heritage Committee, said that while Canadians say local news is important to them, few understand the crisis in the industry as digital ad dollars to flow to Google and Facebook.
“We need to fund journalism in this country, we have to,” O’Regan told Media Council, held in St. John’s from June 21 to 25. “We need to find a way to get people to pay attention.”
Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to the National President, paid tribute to the council for its effective work in fighting for the future of the industry, saying the federal government’s recent Heritage Committee report contained many of the recommendations put forward by Unifor.
“This council and our members have worked very hard to get the message out about the needs of the media industry,” Doherty said.
Ed Greenspon, whose Shattered Mirror report in January outlined the funding crisis facing journalism today, told the council delegates that Canadians worry that the media’s watchdog role will be eroded with government support.
Newly elected Media Council Chair Jake Moore from Local 79-M, said the work of the council is vital to the strength of Canada’s democracy by keeping voters informed. “Our members tell our stories as Canadians,” Moore said.
Also elected was Jennifer Moreau from Local 2000, elected as Secretary-Treasurer of the council. Returning executive members are Alex Charles (780G), representing the Graphical sector; Jonathan Ahee (700M), Freelance; Kristy Tapp (M-1), Broadcasting; Paul Morse (87M), Newspapers; and Stéphane Daigneault (145G), Québec.
Tanya Luciani, chair of the Media Action Plan, reported that the communications plan has helped establish Unifor as a major voice on the issues facing the industry – both with the public and members.
Delegates committed to meet with their local MPs, especially from the governing Liberals, over the summer break in anticipation of a report from the Heritage Ministry on Canadian Content in the digital age, to be released in the fall.