IndigiNews is doing journalism in B.C. with different standards

The online media platform IndigiNews has only been around for a little over a year but the independent news source has been making waves since coming on the scene.

Launched in May 2020, IndigiNews is a joint venture of The Discourse and APTN that covers the Okanagan Valley and Vancouver Island in British Columbia with the goal of covering news in a way that allows for “Indigenous stories to be heard, understood and respected.”

“I think it’s a seed that’s been planted into the Canadian media landscape. One that continues to be watered and nurtured and will continue to grow,” says managing editor, Emilee Gilpin on the latest episode of Face to Face.

“It’s an example of independent media that’s doing things differently. Sharing community-based stories with a really high ethical standard of how we practice journalism. So, relationship reporting, trauma-informed reporting, anti-oppressive reporting.

“We have a really high standard of trust in our newsroom, so, the people that come to us with their stories or the people that we’re talking to, they have a trust because we’re so clear about our intentions and process.

“When someone pitches a story or a story is offered to us, one of the first questions we ask is what is the intention of this story, either with the person who has brought it forward or else ourselves pursuing it. And if we find the intention is, to let’s say, get more subscribers, get lots of likes, get lots of clicks, win an award, then that story can be mishandled really, easily. If we clear that our intention is to share the truth, hold power to account, report really accurately, and be held accountable in the process, then that’s an entirely different experience, as well.”

It would appear there is a big appetite for a different approach to journalism. Last week, IndigiNews hosted a three-day workshop on “Indigenizing journalism, journalism training and reporting on the child welfare system.” More than 400 people took part in the sessions.

Brielle Morgan was previously with The Discourse before coming on board as an editor and coach at IndigiNews. Her work has focused on the “so-called child welfare system.”

Years ago, Morgan was at an event with youth transitioning out of the system who felt the media was something they were up against rather than as an institution serving them.

“As a non-Indigenous person, who didn’t have lived experience in that system, I questioned whether I had a place in that space and was told again and again as a journalist, I have an opportunity to leverage the education that I have, the resources we have in the newsroom to try and dig deeper and work with families and communities to tell stories that weren’t being told,” says Morgan.

Morgan feels some newsrooms are missing the big picture happening with the transformation happening within the child welfare system with nations and communities reclaiming jurisdiction over the system.

IndigiNews has just hired a new reporter who will focus on the child welfare system and education.

“I think that newsrooms are under a lot of pressure to really diversify their news teams. I think we’re seeing a lot more space intentionally being made for BIPOC folks, for Indigenous folks, for non-gender-conforming people and I’m really, really encouraged by that,” says Morgan.

“I think when it comes to covering the child welfare system, I’m encouraged by the number of journalists in my network that are genuinely interested in learning how to report on the system in a more trauma-informed way and working together as journalists from different newsrooms.”

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