Martine St-Victor: Seeing things through a different lens

In a refreshing and very rare case of unity, almost everyone rejoiced at his appointment. The near unanimity was indicative of how much both peers and viewers loved Macabeo as a journalist.

As I cheered the announcement, I was reminded of the National Geographic Editor’s Letter published in the April 2018 issue of the magazine. In it, Susan Goldberg, the first woman and first Jewish person to head Nat Geo, acknowledged and apologized for the magazine’s biased and racist coverage in its previous 130-year history. When I was younger, National Geographic partly shaped my view of the parts of the world I had yet to visit. And as I read that mea culpa, I realized how my perception of these cities, towns, and countries had been dictated by an editorial line that lacked the benefits of diversity of perception and experience, until Susan Goldberg.

I don’t think the Habs have anything of that magnitude to apologize for. I don’t think they have a reckoning to do, either. But Machabée, with her background shaped by who she is, including but not limited to her gender, will bring a welcome new perspective to a beloved sport that is changing just as its players are changing, whether it’s team owners and league leaders whether they fully accept it or not. that reality. That change must also be reflected in how the team’s stories are told.

Year-ends bring balances from the previous 12 months. The last December, women photography — a nonprofit organization with a database of female and non-binary photojournalists — detailed the gender makeup of photojournalists behind some of the year’s major media image submissions. Of the BBC’s 2021 photos, 15.4 per cent were taken by photographers who are female or binary. On CNN, it’s 18.1 percent. At National Geographic, which had promised to be more inclusive? It is 31.1 percent. The disparity is not because men take better photos, but because there is no parity in the photography departments of major newsrooms.

It’s not that women are better photographers, but the images through their lens can often provide a different perspective than their male counterparts. That difference adds richness to what is presented to us, and not only when it comes to documenting what some call “women’s issues”.

Industries that have the power to educate and those that can influence how we view major events have a responsibility to offer perspectives that are not homogeneous. That is as true for the powerful media outlets as it is for professional sports teams.

The Montreal Canadiens are as much a media powerhouse as they are a sports team. But with its rich history and its value of more than a billion dollars, the team transcends hockey and its influence filters into various aspects of society, such as business and culture. It’s an influence he can no longer take lightly, something the team was reminded of in the midst of the Logan Mailloux controversy. Would the Habs have recruited the young player with Machabée as VP of Communications? Yes. But would the news of the draft and the post-draft plan have been presented to us in a different way to accompany Mailloux in his rehabilitation? Yes, surely.

Brands, media and sports teams work best when they don’t underestimate us: the consumers, the fans. As we become more curious, more sophisticated and more demanding, diversity in the management and leadership of these entities is good business. The Montreal Canadiens now seem to understand this.

That should be seen as good news, and not just for Habs fans.

Martine St-Victor is the general manager of Edelman Montreal and a media commentator. Instagram Y Twitter: martinmontreal

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