by Daniel Morton in Vancouver

One year after Canada first resettled 25,000 Syrian refugees into Canadian communities — a number that has since grown to 40,000 — the refugee program has left Canadians divided as to its merit and efficacy. A recent poll by Angus Reid showed that 6 in 10 Canadians approve of the way the government has handled the influx, but a deeper dive into the polling reveal almost one in four Canadians  support a Trump style ban on Muslims. Despite its welcoming reputation, Canada has already seen an alarming rise in Islamophobic incidents. At this point, failing to help newcomers settle runs the risk of a more intolerant future in Canada.

In Metro Vancouver, a region that has seen a 20 fold increase in immigration since 2001,  newcomers often have trouble navigating the services they need. In 2016, seven Metro Vancouver municipal districts identified access to information and services for newcomers as a top priority to strengthen resettlement efforts. As an example, Metro Vancouver immigrants struggle with backlogs for government funded English lessons while failing to make use of the network of free lessons — many offers are not getting to the people who need them.

At a time when social media discourse about immigrants grows more toxic everyday, Vancouver’s vibrant non-profit community is stepping up with a positive response. Currently a top 10 finalist of the Impact Challenge, Vancouver-based NGO PeaceGeeks has partnered with the immigrant settlement community to explore how to better connect immigrants to local services such as health, language programs and housing options to ease their transition. PeaceGeeks is one of several Canadian non-profits vying for $750,000 from Google through a public vote to make their project a reality.

The idea for this application builds on another PeaceGeeks project called Services Advisor, a smartphone app that connects refugees to essential humanitarian services like food and medicine across Jordan—a country that has housed almost 656,000 Syrian refugees according to Amnesty International.  The Services Advisor prototype was successfully deployed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Jordan and will soon be deployed in Turkey and Somalia to support another 3 million displaced people.

Now, PeaceGeeks is exploring how tools like Services Advisor can help to significantly improve the experience of newcomers arriving in Metro Vancouver and beyond, through generating personalized roadmaps for newcomers to navigate what is often a dizzying array of settlement and community services.

PeaceGeeks intends to build this app so that it can eventually be used across Canada.

“We want to create better visibility and access to existing services and providers while reducing what can be an overwhelming experience for immigrants as they navigate the steps to becoming active and vibrant citizens in their new communities,” says Renee Black, the Executive Director of PeaceGeeks. “Services Advisor Pathways (the Vancouver version) aims to connect them to the most relevant and timely services to help with their particular circumstances at any given stage of their immigration journey.”

The project is being developed in partnership and consultation with cities, local newcomers, immigrant service providers such as MOSAIC, Immigrant Services Society of Canada (ISSofBC) and S.U.C.C.E.S.S., as well as Local Immigration Partnerships (LIPs) across the Metro Vancouver region. LIPs are federally funded, cross-sectoral partnerships that aim to improve integration of newcomers into the fabric of local communities and create more inclusive workplaces.

“By building on their global experience using technology to support refugees combined with innovative approaches that will be developed locally, PeaceGeeks is poised to make a pioneering contribution to the way that immigrants and refugees access information about services in Metro Vancouver,” says Nadia Carvalho, Coordinator of Vancouver’s LIP.

The project has received over thirty endorsements since the beginning of March from key individuals and organizations across settlement, tech and humanitarian spaces, including the B.C. Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services.

“By facilitating the integration of newcomers into British Columbia, this new technology will return benefit the whole Province,” says Minister Amrik Virk.

PeaceGeeks anticipates that Services Advisor Pathways can help reduce the stress on government services, by connecting immigrants to the pathways for success before and upon arrival, straight from their smartphones.

At such a critical time for Canada to stand apart from the closing borders of other nations, PeaceGeeks is hoping that Services Advisor will show that Canada’s strength continues to come from its diversity and inclusion.

For more information about PeaceGeeks’ project, visit

The Impact Challenge supports Canadian nonprofit innovators who are using technology to tackle the world's biggest social challenges. will award $5 million across 10 organizations to help bring their ideas to life.

Between March 6 and March 28, Canadians are invited to visit to learn more about the finalists, and to vote for the projects they care about most. One winner will be chosen based on this public vote to receive a $750,000 grant from The remaining winners will be selected by a jury during a live pitching session on March 30 in Toronto.

Daniel Morton is a volunteer for the organization.

Published in Top Stories

by Jacky Habib in Toronto 

Joyce Chan suspected something was wrong with her husband when he started losing his way to their local Tim Hortons five years ago.

“Instead of walking south, hed walk north and get lost. I would have to go out and look for him,” Chan, 77, recalls, about her 82-year-old husband, Peter. She says he lost his way one day when they decided to go out for lunch. “We didnt know where he was, but he had walked home by himself. He fell down quite a few times.” 

Peter was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease, a type of dementia with symptoms including a decline in memory, reasoning and communication skills and a gradual loss in ability to carry out daily activities. 

Over 700,000 Canadians live with Alzheimers and other dementias. According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, for every person with the disease, two or more family members provide care. 

The diagnosis has taken a toll on Chan, who is Peters main caregiver. He has been on a waiting list for the last year to receive long-term care. The couple immigrated to Canada 48 years ago and have one adult son whom they seldom lean on for support because of his busy schedule. 

“Its not easy. Back home in Hong Kong, we have lots of relatives ... I can call them [for support],” says Chan. “We have been here so long and we have friends, but everyone has their own family and their own problems.” 

Reverting to native language, reliving trauma 

Sharon Tong, the support and education coordinator at the Vancouver Chinese Resource Centre (VCRC), says many of the seniors she works with came to Canada through sponsorship and this impacts the dynamic they have with their children. 

Elderly parents often insist they can manage themselves and are not forthcoming with their children about their needs, she explains. 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“They dont want to put an extra burden on their children, but they dont have a social network."[/quote]

“They dont want to put an extra burden on their children, but they dont have a social network, because a lot of their social networks are still in their hometown,” she says. 

The VCRC is an initiative of the Alzheimer Society of B.C. that began 20 years ago. The centre provides educational workshops in Cantonese and Mandarin as well as personal support and support groups for people with dementia and caregivers.  

It has filled a gap for people who struggle to find services in their native language.  

Ekta Hattangady, a social worker at the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, says losing the ability to speak English is a unique challenge for immigrants with dementia. 

“A lot of people revert to their first language,” Hattangady says. “The services that are available to them last year are no longer suitable to them because they no longer speak English.” 

The Alzheimer Society offers information in various languages as well as counselling with an interpreter. The most commonly requested languages are Italian, Portuguese, Greek, Arabic and Cantonese. 

Another challenge with declining memory is that people recall old memories, which can be especially difficult if they have suffered trauma. 

To deal with this trauma, Hattangady sometimes recommends attending programs or listening to familiar music, which has proven to decrease isolation and boost the cognitive processes of patients. 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“A lot of people revert to their first language.”[/quote]

Accessing culturally specific services 

For people with dementia who are in need of long-term care, dietary restrictions such as eating halal or kosher food can also be a concern. 

This is where places like the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care come in. The centre was established in 1994 to serve the Chinese community. It now has four locations in the Greater Toronto Area serving several communities, including a dedicated unit for Japanese patients and another for South Asians. 

The Yee Hong Centre incorporates culture in all aspects of service delivery, from the food it serves to the staff on site, who speak the same languages as the patients. 

“When [patients] talk about home, they are talking about home in a small town in eastern China or a village in India,” says Yee Hong's CEO Eric Hong. “They may not realize theyre in Canada. Our programs cater to that so they feel theyre in familiar grounds and dont get anxious.” Cultural music and newspapers at the centre contribute to this atmosphere, he adds. 

Hong explains that the Centre also provides health care that is conscious of peoples experiences and expectations. 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]"Even if [immigrants] get services here, sometimes they are not tuned into what a person of colour may want.”[/quote]

“Health-care [in Canada] isnt as straightforward as people expect it to be. Even if [immigrants] get services here, sometimes they are not tuned into what a person of colour may want.” 

This includes addressing different perspectives on what constitutes healthy behaviour, and the relationship between a health practitioner and patient, he explains. 

Caregivers face challenges also 

Isolation is another common experience of people dealing with dementia and their caregivers.

Chan shares the difficulty in caring for her husband who she says has not been the same since his dementia has progressed. She says Peter was sharp, intelligent and had a decent build, but is now skinny, weak and needs help with tasks like using the microwave. 

Although hes a quiet person who doesnt converse with her much, Chan says when he gets sick, he screams at night and its tough to handle on her own. 

“I count my blessings every day,” she shares. “I like to play Sudoku and to watch TV and to listen to music, otherwise I will be very depressed. Ive got to keep up my spirits. I have to set an example for my husband. If I dont think positive, hell be worse.” 

Editor’s Note: Joyce and Peter Chan are pseudonyms as the couple did not want to be identified. 

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Published in Health

by Florence Hwang in Regina 

Communities across Canada are ramping up their efforts to link their local settlement services to meet the needs of newcomers through the federal Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) program. 

The idea behind the program is to enhance existing partnerships by building networks upon existing networks to make sure Syrian refugees and other newcomers get connected with the resources they may need in their new communities. 

Recently, the Sarnia-Lambton Local Immigration Partnership in Ontario helped 20 families of Syrian refugees settle into its community, while Moncton, New Brunswick also found out that it would receive funding to start its own LIP. 

Across the country, more cities are getting on board with this model. Here’s a look at two examples: 

Brooks, Alberta: Envisioning stages 

Even prior to it signing up for this program in the fall of 2015, immigration was a major part of this city. 

Shannyn Creary is the coordinator for the Brooks Local Immigration Partnership (BLIP). Creary estimates that immigrants make up 20 to 25 per cent of the city's population, which includes temporary foreign workers employed by the JBS Food Canada packing plant. 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“We are very equipped to receive newcomers.”[/quote]

One selling point that draws immigrants to a small community like Brooks is the low cost of living. 

Even though it isn’t one of the main centres where immigrants tend to gravitate, Brooks meets settlement needs, including housing and education. 

“We are very equipped to receive newcomers,” says Creary. 

On Jan. 26, Brooks held a forum to introduce the BLIP to the community, during which many questions were raised. 

“We’re in that envisioning stage. What can we do? Where is our community at? Where would [residents] like to see this go?” Creary explains. “If we were to embark down certain paths, how would the community rate the project as a success?” 

One of the first things the BLIP has to do is establish a baseline in terms of statistics. In order to do that, it needs to figure out how to collect data in a formal manner. However, Creary notes that there are already partnerships within the community. 

People are used to having an informal network. LIPs can help formalize these networks and provide structured means of collecting information or doing research for community projects. 

One service she says needs to be met is mentorship, as there aren’t many established immigrant families who can formally mentor newcomers. 

The next step is to have the BLIP council established so the program’s steering committee can begin work by March. 

Simcoe County, Ontario: Rapidly growing 

Even in cities where LIPs have been long established, newcomers continue to seek new ways of connecting to services, requiring the programs to keep up. 

Shelley Sarin says that when she moved to Toronto from India as a 21-year-old student, she felt included. But 10 years later when she moved to Barrie, Ontario, she says she was isolated in a place where she didn’t feel a sense of community. 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Sarin noticed other ethnicities also didn’t have formal organizations that brought them together.[/quote]

That led Sarin to start the non-profit South Asian Association of Simcoe County four years ago. Since then, the association has grown. Diwali, which people primarily used to celebrate in their own homes, is now marked with an event Sarin’s organization puts on that attracts 400 people. 

Sarin started working with the Simcoe LIP when it formed in 2011. 

“As I talked with them, I went to more of these meetings, I realized it wasn’t just the South Asians that were feeling that way,” she recalls. “It was the Spanish people involved, the Filipino community was there, the Chinese group was very active, so there are a lot of ethnicities within Simcoe. And they were in the same place as we were.” 

Sarin noticed these other ethnicities also didn’t have formal organizations that brought them together. 

Simcoe LIP worked with each of these groups to provide them with guidance and mentorship. 

“They showed us we had to register as a non-profit organization and we had to do things the proper way and [showed us] what’s out there and what kind of funding we can ask for,” Sarin says. 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“The new Syrians can benefit from the pilot projects we have in place with the local libraries.”[/quote]

Today, about 7,000 new residents are coming into the Simcoe County annually, according to the Rural Ontario Institute, says Sandra Lee, project manager of the Simcoe LIP. 

Syrian refugees are among the recent new arrivals who are benefiting from the network – and forcing its expansion. 

To connect immigrants face-to-face with the services offered by the community, Simcoe LIP added libraries as information and referral mechanisms, because previously there were only two physical buildings within the county where immigrants could access settlement services and community information.

The libraries create 32 more points of access across Simcoe County, which is spread out over 18 municipalities.

“We have had time to prepare for [the Syrian refugees],” says Lee. “The new Syrians can benefit from the pilot projects we have in place with the local libraries.” 

Simcoe LIP is also working towards building a multicultural centre where various ethnic groups can host their respective celebrations. 

“We’re hoping to have inclusiveness,” says Sarin. “We’re painting the stage of Simcoe to be more colourful and being more actively involved in the festivals and embracing the different dynamics that we have within Simcoe.” 

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Published in Top Stories

by Marco Campana in Toronto

When it comes to technology use, immigrants to Canada are well ahead of settlement agencies. It’s a reality the sector needs to face. Organizations can and need to incorporate technology more effectively to serve their clients.

In 2007, Statistics Canada reported that 78 per cent of immigrants who arrived in Canada during the last 10 years used the Internet - a higher percentage than the 75 per cent of people born in Canada who used it.

Yahoo! Canada confirms that trend in its 2014 Digital Acculturation study, which found that, “When it comes to media preferences, new Canadians are digital first, with a particular focus on mobile devices.”

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]They’re mobile, actively using niche social networks, apps and services that are not necessarily mainstream in Canada.[/quote]

New Canadians are actively using niche social networks, apps and services that are not necessarily mainstream in Canada. They’re coming from countries where Internet growth is explosive, faster, cheaper and where online learning is becoming popular.

Settlement agencies need to explore technology use in source countries like China, India and the Phillipines, to understand the technology profile of newcomers to Canada. In many cases, agencies can start with their own staff members – certainly, they should be asking their clients.

Opportunity for settlement agencies, ethnic media

With the pre-eminence of social media, word of mouth information about immigration and settlement is increasingly shared online. Tens of thousands of newcomers share information and orientation on social networking sites like:

These websites are in English, but there are many more in other languages.

We already know that a relatively small percentage of newcomers access mainstream in-person government and community services. Online social networking sites mean they’re potentially bypassing these services even more.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]If newcomers continue to bypass settlement agencies, how informed will they be when it comes to their settlement needs?[/quote]

If newcomers continue to bypass settlement agencies, how informed will they be when it comes to their settlement needs? How effective are newcomer networks and word of mouth? The results are mixed.

In 2010, the Toronto Immigrant Employment Data Initiative found that “immigrants who found their current job through personal initiative, family or friends, and Canada employment centres had the lowest average hourly wages.”

This is not to say that the newcomer networks are not without value or importance. Far from it.

But, it makes me wonder how we can better ensure newcomers’ digital literacy results in better access to settlement information and resources.

There is a role here for settlement agencies. There is also a role for ethnic media. Research has shown that ethnic media can do a much better job informing and orienting newcomers to life in Canada.

Private immigrant-serving businesses and organizations are also looking at how to best use technology and social media to provide services.

In a recent article, Vancouver-based Will Tao wrote about his impressions of how technology is impacting services provided by Canadian immigration lawyers. He notes a few specific trends that should be examined:

  1. Increased use of technology to gather information from potential clients in advance of serving them
  2. Increased use of technology and applications to manage communication
  3. Increased use of technology as a means of establishing communication with, and serving, clients in other cities/countries around the world (i.e. pre-arrival services) 

Use of technology

While online service is still in its infancy in the settlement sector, there are great examples of innovative agencies offering online and hybrid services across the country.

Organizations like Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, COSTI Immigrant Services, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, CultureLink, South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services, Canadian Immigrant Integration Program, North York Community House and Catholic Crosscultural Services have been offering online services and courses in recent years with much success.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]We’re certainly not effectively mining and sharing their learning and knowledge across the sector.[/quote]

In fact, CultureLink recently completed its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for newcomers: Create an Expert LinkedIn Profile for Job Search. The pilot course had 2,000 participants.

Last week, ISANS launched its Settlement Online Pre-Arrival service. It’s an important step forward in providing settlement resources online, before newcomers arrive.

The more I speak to individual settlement workers, the more pockets of service innovation I find.

They’re using this tech to serve their clients. They want to do more. However, we’re not harnessing their knowledge and experience to create better organizational systems, or to create policies to drive innovation around the possibilities technology offers as a means of providing service.

We’re certainly not effectively mining and sharing their learning and knowledge across the sector.

As we imagine the settlement agency of the future, we first need to better understand the digital and settlement literacy of immigrants to Canada. It’s time to start asking them how they’re using technology, how they want to interact with us, and where technology fits into this.

For immigrant-serving agencies, the future is right in front of them. The answers lie with their clients.

Marco Campana does freelance communications work with organizations that serve immigrants, refugees and promote diversity. He provides social media support, writing, editing and internal website consultation and strategy. In particular, he helps settlement agencies harness and implement social media and technology in their community service work.

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Published in Commentary

by Don Curry in North Bay, Ontario

Canada’s big city mayors have been vocal in their support for doing more to expedite the process of bringing Syrian refugees to Canada – as they should be.

Large cities have large capacities to do more – to raise more money and sponsor and settle more refugees. What I have not seen reported so far in the national media is the growing support in smaller communities to do more as well.

In our part of Northeastern Ontario we have two small cities, North Bay and Timmins, eager to sponsor refugees, but unfamiliar with the process.

North Bay Mayor Al McDonald started a Facebook campaign to fundraise the approximately $30,000 necessary to sponsor a family for a year and in its first couple of days he had $10,000 in commitments. 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]The Syrian crisis has been going on for years and has been well documented, but this photograph hit a nerve around the world and changed everything.[/quote]

In Timmins, City Councillor Pat Bamford plans to raise the issue at the September 14 city council meeting and propose that the city itself allocate funds toward sponsorship.

Our settlement agency, the North Bay & District Multicultural Centre and the Timmins & District Multicultural Centre, will provide guidance and support for both initiatives.

This recent municipal engagement is, of course, a result of the powerful photo of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, who drowned off the coast of Turkey. The Syrian crisis has been going on for years and has been well documented, but this photograph hit a nerve around the world and changed everything.

The small city challenge

Some may question the capacity of immigrant and refugee settlement agencies across Canada to settle and help integrate large numbers of refugees.

What they may not know is that many front-line settlement workers are immigrants or refugees themselves, and have the compassion, knowledge and resources to get the job done.

When I look at the names behind the Toronto group, Lifeline Syria, the ones I know – Ratna Omidvar, Naomi Alboim, Jehad Aliweiwi, Mario Calla, Carolyn Davis – have vast settlement sector knowledge, and I am sure have no doubts about the capacity of the sector to out-perform. Lifeline Syria is in capable hands.

Smaller cities don’t have the wealth of expertise that Lifeline Syria has, but they have knowledgeable leaders in the settlement sector and I hope they are being put to good use across the country.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Settling Syrian families in communities where there are no other Syrians will be a challenge.[/quote]

This is a new issue for many smaller city municipal leaders and that’s good for the settlement sector in those cities.

Some settlement agencies in smaller cities have extensive experience settling refugees, while others have little or none. However, they have experience settling newcomers and this is an opportunity for them to provide leadership.

Settling Syrian families in communities where there are no other Syrians will be a challenge.

In North Bay we have none on our client list and in Timmins only one family. However, North Bay has a mosque (a high proportion of Syria’s population is Muslim) and Timmins has a group of Muslims actively trying to create one, so at least there is some religious commonality.

An Anglican minister dropped in to my office to see what she and her church could do to help, and North Bay’s mayor has approached the United Church for support. Ordinary citizens are e-mailing their moral and financial support, so it is gratifying to see communities come together.

Not everyone supportive

On the other hand, online comments about Mayor McDonald’s request for funds to support a family were not all positive.

The online world attracts the ill informed with strident opinions, and they were out in full force. Comments ranged from religion-based to ‘foreigners coming in and taking “our” jobs’ sentiments, and they were neither literate nor enlightened.

It will always be a work in progress to educate people about how immigrants and refugees make Canada a stronger nation. This work has been led by immigrant settlement agencies and local immigration partnerships and now there is an opportunity for others to get involved in the discussion.

Leaders have to lead, whether they are municipal politicians, church leaders, or settlement agencies. It is gratifying to see that in our corner of Canada, and in the big cities, they are doing just that.

Don Curry is the Executive Director of the North Bay & District Multicultural Centre, Co-Chair of the North Bay Newcomer Network Local Immigration Partnership Initiative, Timmins Local Immigration Partnership and northern region board member for OCASI. He is also a board member of Pathways to Prosperity, a national immigration research organization.

Published in Commentary
Friday, 04 September 2015 21:19

Taking Immigration and Settlement to Twitter

by Erica Gruszczynska in Calgary, Alberta

Patricia Gallagher admits it is hard to keep up with social media in her line of work.

As the Operations Manager at the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) she has a vested interest in utilizing platforms like Twitter to leverage relationships and raise community awareness around the organization’s efforts, but she isn’t always clear on the best way to do so. 

This is part of the reason why she attended “Increasing the Visibility of the Immigrant-service Sector” workshop presented by New Canadian Media in Calgary last week. The workshop was the second of its kind; the first was held at the end of June in Ottawa.

“I joined Twitter because everyone was there,” she explained during the workshop. “As a marketing person we have to be on top of those trends, but truth be told I really don’t know what I’m doing with it. I follow a lot of people, and people follow me, and I get stuff … and I can’t keep up with this stuff, quite frankly.” 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“Twitter is the ultimate foot in the door!”[/quote]

Gallagher isn’t the only one. In fact, the two-dozen or so participants in the workshop raised several questions about everything from navigating technical difficulties to deciding on what mediums to use when creating content (i.e. videos, pictures, etc.). 

For example, one participant, Maria Soledad Freire, communications coordinator at Immigrant Services Calgary was intent on learning about how social media could be used in effectively spreading the word about upcoming events, such as her organization’s Immigrants of Distinction Awards. 

Break out the Twitter ‘toolkit’ 

Twitter, if used correctly, can be incredibly helpful in this type of work, according to social media expert Mitchell Kutney, who co-facilitated the workshop. 

Kutney says that if the goal is to get on the radar of prominent figures of interest, then the organization needs to become visible within related communities and adopt similar interests. 

He stresses that making use of the “Twitter toolkit” is important. 

“Retweet, use hashtags, and make yourself known,” Kutney urges, “Twitter is the ultimate foot in the door!” 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"][H]ashtags like #cdnimm, #Syria, #BillC24 or #BillC51 are just a few examples of opportunities for organizations to engage in online conversations.[/quote]

This could prove particularly helpful at times when issues relating to immigration, settlement and citizenship are popular topics of discussion. 

For example, hashtags like #cdnimm, #Syria, #BillC24 or #BillC51 are just a few examples of opportunities for organizations to engage in online conversations. 

Such discussions could represent ways for an organization to align with like-minded individuals. 

Kutney presses that when organizations want to get their word out and develop relationships with industry leaders such as politicians, media reps and individuals, who wouldn’t otherwise be aware of the organization’s existence, Twitter is a great place to start. 

“When you are curious about someone,” he points out, “you want to know what [his or her] interests are. Who do they interact with? Who do they follow? What do they ‘favourite’?” 

Kutney shows that Twitter is specifically designed to do just that through a series of analytics to guide the process of broadening a network and determining where target audiences reside on various relevant subject matters. 

Gallagher, for one, found Kutney’s insight helpful, expressing to him: “Even just the examples you gave, I’m going, ‘Oh my God that's brilliant! I love that!’ Just the way that you are connecting with people.” 

Don’t rule out traditional media 

While social media platforms like Twitter may play an integral role in how immigrant-serving organizations build community awareness and disseminate information, they should continue seeking coverage from mainstream news organizations. 

Managing Editor of Metro News in Alberta, Darren Krause, who co-facilitated with Kutney, explained to workshop participants of the incredibly competitive media landscape – citing that in Calgary alone media outlets are clamouring for the attention of more than 1.2 million people. 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“Create an intentional desire to meet with these people.”[/quote]

It’s important that organizations offer outlets a story that’s both relevant to their audience and exclusive, but also that the story comes packaged in a concise, clear pitch as editors receiving 200 to 300 e-mails a day simply have limited time. 

He also says that it’s important to do research and understand the mandate of the organization, and establishing a relationship with individuals who work there. 

Krause emphasizes the value of ‘following up’ when fostering these media relationships. “Send an email!” he says, “Ask how they are doing. Ask them out for a coffee. Create an intentional desire to meet with these people.” 

In fact, this could start with what Kutney suggested – follow the journalist on Twitter and get to know them through social media. 

Ultimately, Krause presses, a little effort will go a long way.

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Published in Arts & Culture

New Canadian Media provides nonpartisan news and views representing all Canadian immigrant communities. As part of this endeavour, we re-publish aggregated content from various ethnic media publishers in Canada in an effort to raise the profile of news and commentary from an immigrant perspective. New Canadian Media, however, does not guarantee the accuracy of or endorse the views and opinions contained in content from such other sites. The views expressed on this site are those of the individual writers and commentators, and not necessarily those of New Canadian Media. Copyright © 2019 All rights reserved