Into 2012…

It’s been a busy couple months since I last posted — I headed back to London briefly for my graduation (amazing!) and spent most of January and much of December occupied with coverage of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.

On the personal front, after some editing, my dissertation was published as part of the LSE Media and Communication department’s Electronic MSc Dissertation Series. Entitled, “Observers, Witnesses, Victims or Activists? How Inuit Voices are Represented in Mainstream Canadian Press Coverage of Global Warming,” it is the product of much contemplation and research over the course of my year away. Here is the abstract:

“Global warming in the Arctic has prompted international debate over contested maritime borders and the potential promise and pitfalls of new natural resource extraction. However, heightened political rhetoric related to Canada’s North and Arctic sovereignty has not been accompanied by new attention to the political claims and narratives of people indigenous to
the region. Inuit cultures are endangered when receding ice and melting permafrost compromise hunting practices and threaten the sustainability of isolated northern communities. By surveying 135 articles published over a five-year period in three agenda setting Canadian newspapers – the Globe and Mail, Edmonton Journal and Toronto Star this research shows Inuit voices are absent from nearly half of all articles dealing directly
with climate change, the Arctic and indigenous community issues.

“As a case study of the extent to which traditionally marginalized groups are represented in mainstream news coverage of ongoing political issues, this research is grounded in postcolonial theory and Nick Couldry’s (2010) concept of ‘effective voice.’ Content and critical discourse analysis are employed to interrogate how Inuit voices are represented, treating the
act of voicing claims as a political one. Among this paper’s key findings is the extent to which Inuit voices are marginalized when accounts of experience or observation are treated as the only narratives for Inuit community members to share, effectively framing them as witnesses to or victims of climate change rather than political actors.”

I also had an opportunity earlier this month to build on my Freedom of Information seminar, when I was a guest presenter for a second-year journalism class at MacEwan University in Edmonton. The presentation is here, and it expands on ideas from an earlier seminar I delivered to colleagues at the office. For this audience, I expanded a little on some basic do’s and don’ts (like please, please, please don’t lead a story by saying you got a document! boring!), and talked about non-journalists who could benefit from FOIP and ATIP know-how, like community or NGO advocates, post-graduate students, or business professionals….

Meanwhile, the Journal‘s dedicated page for all things related to the Northern Gateway pipeline can be found here. As an environment reporter, my part in our coverage includes landowners’ questions, Albertans’ stake in this, provincial politics, federal politics and aboriginal issues.

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