On Thursday and Friday, the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council held its first-ever Partnership Forum in Winnipeg.
The Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council isn't just another gathering of the usual suspects involved in fighting poverty. Yes, inner city activists, food bank organizers, labour leaders, government officials and even some actual poor people are involved.
But what makes the Council interesting is the active and meaningful participation of business leaders (Charles Loewen, Jan Belanger, Edward Kennedy) colleges and universities (Red River College, U of W, U of M), and the media (Margo Goodhand of the Free Press). Even the Winnipeg Police Service sent a speaker. The Council is actively mobilizing the resources, skills and assets of all these people and organizations in support of truly innovative programs like Pathways to Education and the North End Hockey Program.
Why are we telling you this?
Well, one of the themes that emerged at the conference was the need for supportive local media. A venture capitalist from Hamilton gave an inspirational speech in which he spoke of the critical role played by his city's local media in raising awareness about poverty and what people in the community can do about it.
To its credit, the Winnipeg Free Press is an active participant on the Council and we look forward to its coverage of the fight against poverty in Winnipeg.
What about Global TV? When Global sent a reporter and camera down to the Forum on Friday morning, the speaker at the podium noticed and lauded the media for coming down to cover the Poverty Reduction Forum.
Even that pat on the back didn't stop Global from thumbing its nose at poverty and those trying to do something about it.
As soon as Premier Greg Selinger finished his speech, Global's reporter pulled him aside for an interview, presumably to ask what the Premier is doing and will do to reduce poverty.
But no, Global's reporter didn't ask a single question about poverty, the Forum, or the poverty reduction announcement the Premier had just made.
It turns out that Global had not come down to the Forum to cover it. Global was there purely to talk with the Premier about the stadium project.
We don't question the significance of the stadium story or the media's responsibility to ask the Premier and others involved some hard questions about the costs.
But c'mon Global, surely you can cover the Poverty Forum too.
Your own statement of corporate core values commits you to "empower citizens with knowledge" and "give back to the community."
We know you can do better, Global. Just give it a try.