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Canadian Media Innovation Workshop

Taylor Owen (UBC School of Journalism) and Ed Greenspon (Public Policy Forum)

Friday, 4 November 2016 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (PDT)

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Join industry leaders and innovators to reflect on the transforming landscape of Canadian journalism and discuss solutions for how new platforms and practices can thrive in a digital world. 

Be sure to RSVP in order to secure a spot at the event. Please note the change in venue for the daytime events.


Canada’s Journalism Innovation Deficit: Draft Agenda

The workshop will consist of four panels, a lunch discussion and a public evening panel, which will be recorded as an episode of the Canadaland podcast.

Panelists include: Sue Gardner (Wikimedia Foundation), Jesse Brown (Canadaland), Andrew Potter (McGill University), Ali Rahnema (former COO, Digital, Star Media Group), Nikki Usher (George Washington University), Stephen Maher (, 2016 Nieman Fellow), Ed Greenspon (President, the Public Policy Forum), Alfred Hermida (Director, UBC Graduate School of Journalism) Dave Beers (co-founder, The Tyee), Peter Klein (Global Reporting Centre), Candis Callison, (Professor, UBC Graduate School of Journalism), Jeff Anders (The Mark News), Erin Millar (Discourse Media), Mike Ananny (Professor, USC), Michelle Hoar (co-founder, The Tyee), Fenwick McKelvey (Concordia University), Elizabeth Dubois (University of Ottawa), Mary Lynn Young (Professor, UBC Graduate School of Journalism).

Panel 1: Funding and Scaling Challenges

This panel will discuss the potential for market innovation in the Canadian new media landscape. What are the challenges of scaling Canadian journalism startups? What financial models have worked in Canada? What is the role for non-profit journalism in Canada? Is it possible to grow the revenue needed for journalistic scale? 

Panel 2: Innovation in Form

This session will explore how Canadian digitally-native organizations are doing journalism differently. Does being digitally-native lead to a new approach to journalistic form? How does a new ecosystem of digitally native publishers view their civic function?

Lunch Discussion: Platforms as Partners?

Platforms are the new intermediaries of public space. As such, organizations such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and Snapchat are both essential tools for journalists seeking to reach and engage with their audience, but are also competitors with significant control over the distribution increasingly the creation of journalistic content. This session will explore how digital start-ups can constructively engage with platforms.

Panel 3: Partner or Competitor?

This panel will explore whether and how legacy journalism organizations and digital-startups can work together. Should we view the Canadian media space as zero-sum, or are there comparative advantages of differing scales and niches that can allow for a diverse ecosystem?

Panel 4: New Media Policy

The mandate of the Media Math project is to advise the federal government on how and whether they should engage in the Canadian media space. This panel will discuss how public policy could create a more supportive ecosystem for startups. What, if any, public policy ideas could help the nascent digital journalism space in Canada? What existing public policies are constricting the growth of this space? What potential federal policies would be detrimental to this space?

Evening Panel: What is the Role of a Public Broadcaster in the Digital Age? 

This event will be broadcast as an episode of the CANADALAND podcast.

The CBC has played a prominent role in the Canadian media landscape. But as the journalism world transitions online and traditional journalism organizations are increasingly challenged by digitally native organizations, how should the role of the public broadcaster be re-imagined?

Panellists Sue Gardner, Rachel Nixon, Jesse Brown and Stephen Maher will discuss the future of the CBC in an increasingly online media ecosystem. This includes whether the CBC is a competitor or partner to digital start-ups, whether the mandate of the CBC remains appropriate in a digital world, and what approaches the public broadcaster could take to encourage innovation and contribute to the development of a stronger Canadian news media.

Note: The evening session will be held at: Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre 515 West Hastings St. (Fletcher Challenge Theatre). Doors open at 6:45 p.m., event begins at 7:30 p.m.

When & Where

Liu Institute for Global Issues (UBC)
6476 NW Marine Dr,
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2

Friday, 4 November 2016 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (PDT)

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Taylor Owen (UBC School of Journalism) and Ed Greenspon (Public Policy Forum)

This event is a part of the Public Policy Forum’s Media Math Project. The project is led by Ed Greenspon and Taylor Owen is a research principal.

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