The Discourse and APTN Launch ‘Set The Agenda,’ a Collaborative Journalism Project Driven by Communities Overlooked in Election News Cycles

With support from Inspirit Foundation and the Facebook Journalism Project, Set The Agenda aims to amplify the public’s voices in a deeply divisive campaign.

The Discourse and Aboriginal Peoples Television Network today announced Set The Agenda, a collaborative journalism project that invites underrepresented communities to shape news coverage during the last push of the 2019 federal election campaign.

The project is a response to a divisive election campaign. “During a campaign that has been dominated by the politics of race, a lot of people are feeling unheard right now,” says Erin Millar, founder and CEO of The Discourse.

For APTN, their communities’ frustration about how Indigenous issues were handled in the federal leaders’ debates inspired the project. “With no Indigenous moderator nor questions that acknowledge Inuit or Métis people, the debates really didn’t address what is on the minds of Indigenous Peoples during this election,” says Cheryl McKenzie, executive director of news and current affairs at APTN. “We want to provide election coverage that is meaningful to the communities that we serve.”

The goal of Set The Agenda is to invite people underrepresented in the political dialogue to put forward questions they want on the campaign agenda. The Discourse and APTN will respond with coverage driven by what the public wants candidates to be talking about, rather than by political drama happening far away.

Inspirit Foundation and the Facebook Journalism Project are backing Set The Agenda, as part of a partnership that aims to improve how journalists can serve underrepresented communities. The Discourse is engaging the public in a Cowichan-Malahat-Langford riding where a tight four-way race for MP is underway. 

The collaboration allows The Discourse and APTN to share tools and content while learning from one another about how to respond to communities’ information needs. The outlets partnered with Hearken, a platform that helps newsrooms listen to the public and provide technology tools and expertise. A case study will be published following the project to share lessons learned with other newsrooms.

Set The Agenda is a collaborative journalism project between The Discourse, APTN and Hearken. A portion of the funding for this project comes from partners including Inspirit Foundation and the Facebook Journalism Project. Funding support of the project does not imply endorsement of or influence over the content produced.

Lindsay Sample
Editorial Director
The Discourse
[email protected]

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