July 24, 2020 by Speakers' Spotlight
Marci Ien on Building a More Diverse and Inclusive Media Industry
As new discussions about fostering equality and combatting entrenched racism are happening across all kinds of organizations in practically every industry, this is a good moment to reflect on our news and media culture. After all, it’s one of our primary sources of information and public discourse. Marci Ien, co-host of The Social and veteran news reporter, recently spoke to the Faculty of Communication & Design at Ryerson University about her part in this ongoing conversation.
In her interview with her alma mater, Marci discussed the principles that have guided her throughout her career. She highlighted how over the years and in different professional roles, her focus has changed. Marci said at first, she focused on writing and storytelling as a young, local news reporter. Then, as she began working at a national news level, interview and research skills became more crucial. Now, as she’s decades into her career and regularly in-demand as a speaker, Marci is directing her efforts into helping to make a lasting impact on the media community.
“Now, it’s about legacy,” Marci said. “Speaking up and speaking out. Telling my truth and in doing so modelling for the next generation of young journalists that they should speak theirs.”
As the conversation continued, the interview pivoted to a discussion of the national media industry, and what can be done to make lasting improvements with regard to diversity, inclusion and accountability.
Canadian media is in the midst of a major shakeup, stemming from calls for accountability and greater equity. What do you think is needed to build a more inclusive and anti-racist culture in the industry?
It really is a time of reckoning. It is one thing to have diversity in your talent pool and another to have it in the halls of power. In my almost 30 years as a journalist, I have never had a supervisor of colour. Not one. That says a lot. If we are going to see real change–the reins of power have to be shared. Newsrooms should reflect a country’s citizens and Canada’s do not.
What role can emerging young talents play in building a more diverse and inclusive media industry?
There is an abundance of young talent that is producing innovative content–a lot of it online. Traditional media outlets could learn a thing or two from the next-gen about inclusivity, creativity and empathy.
For over 15 years, Canadians from coast to coast woke up every morning to Marci Ien’s friendly, familiar face as the co-host and news anchor of the national morning program, Canada AM. Today, Marci is seen across the country as a co-host of one of television’s most popular daytime programs, The Social. On-stage, Marci also shines as an emcee, interviewer, moderator, and speaker.