The Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) rolled out a new feature section on their main website this past week: news by and for aboriginal people.
Mind you, CBC Aboriginal is intended for all readers, no matter their ethnicity or location. And CBC has covered Aboriginal issues for a long time too. But this new initiative will feature more stories about Canada’s first inhabitants – a growing population – with topical issues relevant to native and non-native Canadians.
Of course, some may question the need for news lumped together in a quasi-racial category. Others will say “It’s about time, what took them so long?!”
The news team will be lead by Connie Walker and currently includes (in random order): Angela Sterritt, Duncan McCue, Waubgeshig Rice, Merelda Fiddler, Caroline Nepton and Jillian Taylor. There’s more on Facebook and Twitter. (The day I wrote this the CBC Aboriginal Facebook page had over 11,700 likes, with 7,800+ followers on Twitter – numbers that show strong interest and participation.)
It can be tricky to balance what I’ll call “pure journalism” within a large organization like the CBC with “minority-sourced reporting” – both of which I’m putting in quotes as problematic terms.
For example, even if I can claim special insight into the lives of white women aged 50-something because I happen to be one, should I shine everything through that prism? On the other hand, who isn’t affected by what they are? And why wouldn’t news organizations utilize reporters with insight, connections and expertise springing from valuable, hard-earned experience?
There are native-themed outlets in the U.S., such as New Mexico-based National Native News, which bills itself as “news for all Americans”. There’s also Native American Times, something called Indianz.com – and more, no doubt. There’s also local reporting, as exemplified by outlets like Indian Time News, out of Akwesasne, NY. (If I’ve left out your own favorite, please add that in the comment section.)
But how often does the public-at-large stumble across those sources, or seek them out? Being a visible part of something as mainstream as the CBC could be a huge plus for this new department – lots of stories that will be seen with just a few extra clicks.
How do you see that type of specialized reporting? Good? Bad? Or – like so many cases – will the answer depend on the implementation?