In Every Issue — December 12, 2018 at 7:11 pm

News in Brief

by

By Austin Spearman and Kateryna Horina

The world is always changing, for the better and for the worse. These are only a few of the stories told by the media in 2018.

BAD NEWS

Children were kept in cages in the U.S.

Thousands of children were locked in small cages, miles away from their families, in what the U.S. government claims was an effort to deter illegal immigration. 

Children were held in warehouse-like facilities, in wire mesh cells with only the ground to sleep on. The lights were always on. 

These government-run facilities break the Convention on the Rights of the Child which states no child should be separated from their parents against their will. 

Nearly 2,000 children were taken from their parents under the Trump administration. 

Hundreds of people died this year in an overwhelming number of terrorist attacks

From an ambulance bombing in Kabul to a mass shooting in Nigeria, several large-scale attacks went mostly unreported by Canadian media. The largest of these attacks took place in Syria. 

The As-Suwayda bombing killed 255 people and left 180 injured yet only two major news outlets reported this event. This trend of not providing coverage isn’t anything new. Often, it’s only when journalists or media members are killed that headlines are written. 

A blast in Kabul that killed 26 was widely covered because journalists were among the casualties. However, the ambulance bombing that left over 100 dead was not widely
reported.

Ten killed in van attack in Toronto

On April 23, a 25-year-old Toronto man ploughed into a busy sidewalk in the North York area with a rental van, zigzagging as he targeted pedestrians, killing 10 and injuring 16. 

The attack left Toronto in mourning. 

The suspect was arrested several streets away after a tense standoff with a police officer. In an effort to get the story out quickly, the media began contacting the friends and family of a man with a very similar name to the attacker. The man had to publicly request that the media stop contacting them.

One media outlet was quick to say that the van attack was a terrorist attack, and some far-right conspiracy theorists said the attack was committed by a Muslim man. This was patently untrue.

Good news 

Black Panther movie advocates better representation for people of colour in film

Black Panther took the world by storm to become a cultural phenomenon and launched conversations about representation and diversity across social media. 

It was more than just a superhero movie. Director Ryan Coogler used his Marvel platform to celebrate black culture. With hashtags like #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe, Twitter was flooded with stories about how important it is to see people like yourself on the big screen.

“I remember growing up and Black folks being ready to fight you when you called us African. Now, I’m so proud this new generation sees images of Pan-African beauty, brilliance, and bravery,” wrote @TheHealstorian. The movie was widely recognized as the first Afrofuturist blockbuster. 

“We’re in a moment when people are feeling empowered about being black,” said Camille Friend, lead hair designer on the film in an interview with the New York Times. 

Canada passes cannabis legislation

On Oct. 17, the federal government legalized the recreational use of cannabis. This makes Canada the second country in the world where weed is legal. Now, in Ontario, people 18 or older are legally allowed to buy cannabis products from a provincially-licensed retailer, possess up to 30 grams of weed in public and share them with other adults. 

There will be no fee or waiting period for Canadians who want to apply for a pardon for their past pot possession convictions.

The exhaustive coverage before and after legalization lead to pot-centred beats for many news organizations. 

Federal government pledges $600 million
to Canadian media over next five years

The federal government of Canada has proposed an initiative that will give the Canadian media approximately $600 million over the next five years. 

In a speech in the House of Commons, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said, “To protect the vital role that independent news media play in our democracy and in our communities, we will be introducing measures to help support journalism in Canada.”

The goal of the program is for the government to fund journalism without influencing it. 

There have been some concerns raised about possible perceptions of the media being in the pocket of the government. 

However, the $600 million injection is sure to help struggling media outlets.

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