The Faces Behind the Scenes: Demographics and Attitudes of News Decision-Makers in Canada

Ann Rauhala
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Canadians are understandably preoccupied with their social diversity. The United Nations, for example, identified Toronto, the nation's primary media centre, as the world's second-most diverse city, based on the ratio of 'foreign-born' residents. In this context it is crucial to know more about who shapes public perceptions and about their attitudes about diversity. Journalists mediate perceptions and influence pubic discourse through their reporting. Senior journalists, known in broadcasting as news directors, intercede at a level less understood by the general public, determining the priorities of those whom they supervise and influencing the ability of all citizens to be seen, heard and accurately represented. The authors identify for the first time the demographic characteristics of Canadian radio and television news directors — most of whom remain overwhelmingly white men, even after almost two decades of federally mandated 'employment equity' policies aimed at improving the representation of women, members of visible minorities, persons with disabilities and persons of aboriginal descent. The small ratio of women and members of visible minorities is described and analyzed, as are the attitudes of news directors toward diversity and racial and gender equality.

Keywords: Media Representation, Broadcast Journalism, News Decision-Makers
Stream: Organisations
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Faces Behind the Scenes, The

Ann Rauhala

Director, Newspapers, School of Journalism Faculty of Communication and Design , Ryerson University

Ref: D05P0133