Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism visits BCIT

Laura Johnston / November 1, 2018

The Hounourable Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism meets journalism instructor Alan Waterman and students on the set of BCIT Magazine. (Laura Johnston / BCIT News)

Today the BCIT Broadcast centre welcomed the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism and the Member of Parliament for Honoré-Mercier.

Rodriguez assumed office in July of 2018, and oversees Canada’s cultural and creative industries, such as the CBC/Radio-Canada and the CRTC. He also works to continue the modernization of the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act.

Rodriguez collaborates with the Minister of Finance to support local journalism, professional non-profit journalism, and local news. He also works with media organizations to consider how the government can further support the transition to digital media.

Rodriguez sat down with one of our news anchors Carol Xu for a brief interview on BCIT Magazine. Read what he had to say below.

CX: With President Trump calling mainstream media the enemy of the people, how do you feel about the current state of journalism?

PR: For us here in Canada, professional journalism is extremely important, it’s one of the foundations of our democracy. And they’re going through tough times, that’s quite obvious, and a lot of the advertising money is going from traditional media to the [social media] platforms, so as Heritage Minister I am looking into ways where we can help media outlets.

CX: There has been massive downsizing in television and print – is the government looking into any policy that will support this industry?

PR: We announced in the last budget $50 million over 5 years for journalism, but we’re looking at other options and I hope that I will be able to make an announcement very soon.

CX: Do you have any advice for young journalists?

PR: Follow your dreams. That’s what I did. I wanted to be a politician since I was 8 years old. When I was young I wanted to change the world completely, and I understood that you cannot change everything, but a few things here and there. And my dad always said, there’s no perfect tools to change the world, the best one we have at this moment is politics. So I got involved and today I am a Minister.

CX: With journalism in a state of rapid change, how do you see the industry changing and evolving in the next few years?

PR: I’m a bit worried because of this whole phenomenon of fake news. Professional journalism seems to be disappearing, and news is being polarized on both sides. Because people go on the [social media] platforms to get their news, and the algorithms, they verify who you are, where you are, who your friends are and where you shop, and what type of news you consume, then they send you the same type of news… and there’s less room for professional, factual news and we have to support that.

This week’s BCIT Magazine anchors Owen Simpson and Carol Xu with the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez. (Laura Johnston / BCIT News)

Digital Journalism Instructor Christine German shows off the newsroom. (Laura Johnston / BCIT News)

Broadcast Journalism Program Head Connie Monk and student Daniel Mountain show the Minister the Burli news system used for BCIT’s Evolution 107-9 radio station. (Laura Johnston / BCIT News)

Video by Jenny Cameron.