Have you ever felt that your story is not being told?
A common criticism of mainstream print media is that it doesn’t do a good enough job in reflecting the many diverse communities that make up its readership.
Or worse, its readership is not diverse because of its narrow focus on the concerns of the visible majority.
As an editor, I am often asked about the origins of our news stories.
While many of our stories are generated by reporters covering their various beats, I have always felt some of our best stories come from tips by our readers.
Sometimes, the tips are from proud parents or residents wanting to give their neighbours a pat on the back or a helping hand.
Others call to complain why we never print anything about their organization or their area of concern. Some are surprised to learn it’s because no one had contacted us before.
Unfortunately, many people believe we aren’t interested in their story because they haven’t seen any coverage on similar subjects in the past.
They assume a lack of coverage reflects a a lack of interest by the media.
For this reason the Hamilton Media Advisory Council is reaching out to those who feel their stories are not being told.
For anyone unfamiliar with HMAC, its members include representatives from Hamilton’s major media outlets — Hamilton Community News, The Spectator, CHCH News, Cable 14, AM 900 CHML, and CFMU 93.3 — and from the city’s diverse communities. The purpose of the council is to act as a bridge between local media and the community on issues related to racism and diversity.
On May 24, HMAC is hosting one of its major initiatives , appropriately called Story Meeting.
Story Meeting is at 7 p.m. at the Hamilton Spectator Auditorium, 44 Frid St.
Currently, HMAC is seeking applicants for this free public forum.
The Story Meeting is essentially a chance for individuals or groups from under-represented communities to make a story pitch to representatives from the print, radio and television media outlets that call Hamilton home.
There are a few ground rules. The material should relate to media coverage of under represented communities, as well as race and immigration-related coverage.
While we are interested in hearing stories about about discrimination or about problems faced by minorities in the community, we are also interested in positive stories about groups helping to promote diversity in Hamilton or helping immigrants adapt to their new homes.
Presenters will have five minutes to make their pitch and must be prepared to answer questions from media representatives.
The five-minute rule will be strictly adhered to and enforced by the moderator, Jim Poling, managing editor of the Hamilton Spectator.
Subject matter must be respectful to others and while alternate views or perspectives are welcome, decorum and courtesy is mandatory.
Presenters must prepare a one-page handout for the media members with contact names, numbers and credentials.
Pre-register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
So if you are feeling your story isn’t being told, give us a call.
Hamilton Community News Managing Editor Rod Jerred can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @HCN_editor.