Me in Media: how media fosters the inclusion of minorities
“Stories [in the media] are told about us, not with us or by us,” said Mauree Matsusaka of Schema Magazine at the Me in Media, a discussion around ethnic diversity in the multimedia landscape.
Vancouverites congregated at the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library on Tuesday night, hoping to find answers to a question: ‘How does media foster our sense of inclusion?’
Shima Ghailan, a panelist at the event, put it best: “They [the media] don’t know me.”
Simmi Dixit, the National Coordinator of the United Nations Association of Canada’s Multimedia & Multiculturalism Initiative: "We can change the landscape of media and make sure [our] voices … are reflected.”
The Me in Media panelists engaged all in the audience, and one thing that everyone appeared to agree on was the potential of social media.
Throughout history, media progressed in one direction: from the generators to the consumers.
Since the invention of social media, however, the game’s changed, said Riaz Meghji, panelist and Breakfast Television co-host. With social media, the consumers become the generators.
“The means and agency of creating your own content, specifically by youth, have never been like this,” said Steven Poyntz, a panelist and a professor at Simon Fraser University.
With traditional media such as television, radio, newspapers, and magazines, journalists are the only ones capable of communicating to the public. With social media, on the other hand, anyone with a computer and access to the great wide web can instantly have a global audience.
“Take it one tweet at a time,” encouraged panelist Shima Ghailan.
In this way, social media opens doors for individuals who may normally be overlooked. Ethnic minorities. People of low income. Youth. That girl sitting alone in the corner. Me.
That said, liking a link, post, or event on Facebook can only go so far. “Ask yourself what is being done from the fun [on social media networks],” Sid Tan, another panelist and a media producer, instructed the audience. “Where is the action?”
Nevertheless, social media still possesses the potential to begin real change.
“Become more than a consumer or actor,” Tan said. “Become a producer in media.” In other words, become the media.
“We are all responsible for creating our own content,” Meghji reminded the audience. “Don’t wait for media to include you. Create, and media will follow you.”
A group of youth, including myself, will be continuing with Me in Media, taking part in a youth think tank and media production workshops to create our own media — what we think about media’s role in defining society.
Let’s break those stereotypes.