Editorial: A movement in media

Since we first announced insideWaterloo, we have been overwhelmed by the response from the community. You have supported, promoted and funded stories that honour narrative sovereignty. Our stories are often developed through journalistic mentorship. We don’t choose our writers because of their journalistic experience; we support historically excluded voices to tell the stories of their community free from systemic oppression of mainstream media. This is narrative sovereignty in action: stories told by the community in the community’s own voice. 

You have also highlighted through your tweets and emails the hope you hold for insideWaterloo and the stories you would like to read. Our team is encouraged that our visions are aligned. We are responding to a need the community has identified; yet, our goal has always been to do more than respond. We are developing and delivering movement journalism in our region. 

What is movement journalism?

Movement journalism is journalism in service of transforming the community. It is rooted in narrative sovereignty and recognizes the role and responsibility of journalists in advancing social justice and honours the identities of those most impacted by colonial structures of injustice. insideWaterloo will not pander to historical relationships between media, colonialism and capitalism. As a entity created and led by non-white people, our identity cannot be separated from the work that we do. Moreover, we exist at the lived intersections of various marginalized experiences in this region. Thus, journalism that advances social justice is journalism that advances our personal goals of dismantling white supremacy on the stolen land we call home.

(Source: Out of Struggle: Strengthening and expanding movement journalism in the U.S South)

What to expect?

Firstly, you will recognize that the newsletter looks a bit different this month. Rest is a part of our resistance practice. Mainstream journalism sustains on a grind ideology that can create incredible harm to marginalized identities. Thus, we took the month of July to rest and check in with ourselves and the work insideWaterloo. Our stories come from the community and like many of us, the pandemic has challenged how the community connects. As we slowly find our way out of this moment, insideWaterloo will be spending more time physically in the community to gain deeper understanding of what stories aren’t being told. 

For the second half of 2021, expect to read more long-form, in-depth journalism told through a variety of media formats (for example, we are working on our first podcast series). In meeting the numerous requests from the community, we will be exploring more historical and lyrical journalism that spotlights the myriad of erased and ignored communities that contribute to our region. 

You have asked us for more public education stories and political analysis. We will be moving our newsletter to a bimonthly model giving writers more time to craft their story. We are excited to share the stories we are currently developing and introduce you to new voices while you continue to engage with existing voices on our platform. 

A note on language

Colonization, displacement and land theft have long been achieved through genocide in all its form. The genocide of language and its relationship to our identities has been fundamental to colonization. In loading kidnapped and enslaved Africans unto vessels of violence, the Europeans intentionally separated members of the same tribes so they could not communicate not just in their spoken language but also their metaphysical language. Further, as we look at the legacy of European colonization, we know that more people speak English as an additional language than their people born in English-speaking countries. There is no colonization without language erasure. Thus, if we are to foster an anti-racist, decolonial and justice media platform, we cannot participate in the practice of colonizing identity through linguistic prejudice and oppression. 

Our commitment to decolonizing language

  • Our stories may sometimes include multilingual narratives including what Western linguistics may classify as dialect
  • We understand that as a diverse region with immigrant communities represented that the story may not be authentically told in Canadian English
  • We will honour identity above colonial language and grammar rules
  • We acknowledge that the violence of colonialism has led to precolonial languages developing different linguistic arcs as communities were destroyed
  • As colonization is ongoing, so is the erasure of language, where possible we will endeavour to be act as an archive for languages at risk of extinction

The last sixteen months stand as evidence that, globally, there is a demand for a shift from journalism that extracts from the community and sustains the status quo to journalism that fuels the community dismantling the system that has never served us. 

~The insideWaterloo Team

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