The Hamilton Media Advisory Council (HMAC) wants you.
The advisory council’s beginnings date back to the days following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when Hamilton residents witnessed an upsurge in hate-related crimes and incidents.
The council was originally called the Media Strategy Team and was struck by the Strengthening Hamilton Community Initiative (SHCI), which is now known as the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion.
Although the names have changed over the years, the goals have remained the same – to serve as a conduit between Hamilton’s mainstream media and the city’s diverse communities.
The council consists of six media representatives, of which I am one, and up to 12 community members.
While there is no fixed term for the media representatives, the standard term of office for community members is two years.
The council is losing five key community members at the end of this term and is currently in the process of searching for applicants to replace them.
Interested applicants will undergo an interview process and will be considered for approval based on several criteria, including:
• racial, ethnic and religious diversity;
• ability to make necessary time commitment;
• demonstrated track record of anti-racism activity and a clear understanding of racism;
• socio-economic diversity;
• ability to work cohesively within a team framework.
I attended my first council meeting last October, shortly after joining the Hamilton Community News as managing editor.
For me, it has been one of the more rewarding experiences of my new job.
The council meets the third Thursday of each month.
The discussions have been lively and thought provoking. At times, the media members have been challenged about their coverage. Rather than acting defensively, I learned it was better to listen. After all, the community members’ viewpoints were coming from perspectives I normally would not encounter.
As a member of the media, I have walked away from the meetings questioning our coverage of Hamilton’s diverse, and often times under represented, communities and wondering how we could improve it.
At the same time, the meetings have given the media representatives a chance to explain to community members how we provide coverage of their communities and more importantly, how they can influence and improve that coverage. Hopefully, we have all walked away from the meetings with some useful information.
So, if you think you can bring a worthwhile perspective to the advisory council, please contact us.
Application forms can be currently downloaded from the council’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/YourHMAC.
Deadline for applications is April 15. Completed applications can be e-mailed to
firstname.lastname@example.org or dropped off at the Hamilton Spectator, 44 Frid St. Applications must be clearly labelled “Hamilton Media Advisory Council.”
Hamilton Community News Managing Editor Rod Jerred can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @HCN_editor.