Canadian journalism outlets as Simpsons characters: A visual guide

They’re helpful avatars for the media outlets that CJOC and CABJ have been meeting to discuss our Calls to Action to strengthen newsroom diversity.

Hey y’all! Anita here. I want to give a quick shout-out to my new subscribers — welcome to The Other Wave and thanks so much for reading 📰

My insider’s approach

This month, I've been watching a lot of Treehouse of Horror, otherwise known as The Simpsons’ annual Halloween specials. Aside from being a gut-bustingly funny distraction during a particularly concerning time, the long-running show’s nuanced characters serve as helpful avatars for the roughly 20 media outlets that Canadian Journalists of Colour (CJOC) and the Canadian Association of Black Journalists (CABJ) have been meeting over the past four months to discuss our Calls to Action (CTAs) to strengthen newsroom diversity across Canada.

Remember my last newsletter in which I described the Diffusion of Innovation theory and Spectrum of Allies framework, and how they informed my approach to advocating for equity in Canadian journalism? Well, here’s a Simpsons-inspired breakdown of the kinds of outlets that fall under these different categories, and what to look for when trying to identify earnest allies committed to doing the work:

Simpsons characters as avatars for Canadian media outlets. (📸: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

Ed. note: The descriptions for each category come from Boston University.

Remember that everyone is capable of learning, so embrace a growth mindset and just do the work. CJOC and CABJ are both committed to supporting all Canadian journalism outlets on their respective journeys toward creating more equitable and inclusive newsrooms. You don’t have to be a Burns or a Bouvier.

My outsider’s approach

Thanks to everyone who gave me suggestions for Toronto-based designers focused on social impact. After interviewing a handful of talented people over the past few months, I’ve chosen a value-aligned design studio staffed by a mission-focused and innovative team that I’m incredibly excited to collaborate with! Once we get started, I’ll introduce these folks to you in an upcoming newsletter.

In addition to conducting these interviews, I’ve been working on a business model canvas for my new, yet-to-be-announced publication with the support of my mentor, Petra Kassun-Mutch, a visionary serial entrepreneur and innovator who’s deeply committed to creating a more inclusive, just, human-centred and generative economy. Petra initially presented me with three options for business model canvases:

All three canvases have valid frameworks, depending on your business’ goals, but the latter two resonated most with me because of my publication’s focus on social impact. I ultimately decided to work with Harquail’s business model canvas because it encompasses many of the values that are essential for the development of a more inclusive democracy. Tell me: What do you think of these three business model canvases? Which one would you use?

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How you can support The Other Wave

My professional mission has always been to support the global movement towards more thoughtful, impactful news coverage, and all the ways that manifests. If The Other Wave gets you to think even a little differently about journalism, especially in Canada, then I will have accomplished what I set out to do. And if TOW gets you to take action and support Canadian media outlets — especially ones that strive to be innovative and inclusive — I will have exceeded my expectations.

If my values and goals resonate with you, I’d really appreciate any contribution you can make to The Other Wave, whether it's providing feedback, passing along resources, donating money or simply sharing this newsletter with your friends.


See ya in two weeks,