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CMG member Catherine Basaraba attends FPJQ conference in Saint-Sauveur, Québec

Please note: The conference was presented in French. English references are my own translation.

Catherine Basaraba, CMG member
Catherine Basaraba, CMG member

I attended the Fédération Professionelle des Journalistes du Québec (FPJQ) Conference on the weekend of November 16-18, 2012. The conference had two main components: the annual general meeting and elections of the Federation, and to provide educational and networking opportunities for the participants. There were two days of formal workshops, and several sponsored social activities. The final day was allocated for the AGM.

On the first day, participants could choose from seven “Ateliers” or workshops. The two I chose were fascinating: “Photojournalism: From Composition to Information,” was given by Caroline Hayeur, a professor and foreign correspondent who has spent recent years in the Middle East. Caroline discussed every aspect of photography, from how a camera works, how to choose equipment, how to plan a difficult shoot, and lighting, to dealing with other cultures and customs in a humane way.

The second workshop was by Julian Sher, an investigative reporter at The Toronto Star who has also written many books. Julian’s topic was “How to Organize a Complex Investigation.” His focus was an investigation he had coordinated on an Italian crime family’s infiltration of Ontario. He worked with an international team of reporters, over a period of three years. He showed how he organized many levels of complex information to be accessible to everyone working in different countries and time zones.

Other workshops included social networking, freelancing and structuring a magazine. An exhibit of photographs chosen as finalists for the 2012 Photos de Presse du Québec was presented as well.

The second day of the conference consisted of workshops using a panel format. These included topics such as the “Paywall” concept for on-line news, coverage of the student protests in Quebec, using confidential sources, and the relationship between police and the press. I attended “How will Radio-Canada Maintain its Relevance?” and “Is There a Resurgence of the Angryphones in Quebec?”

The first panel included CBC’s Michel Cormier, now General Director of News at Radio-Canada. He was joined by Michel Arpin, former Vice President of CRTC, and Nathalie Collard, journalist with La Presse. M.Arpin stated that the future success of Radio-Canada lies in adapting its services to better reach and serve the public, collaborating with English CBC, and that more sources of revenue must be found. M.Cormier said that the greatest challenge is to adapt to the multi-platform world of news and the way in which information will be dispersed. He discussed the need for news that goes beyond headlines, offering more profound insight, and how on-line news may be the place for such expansion.

The second group was moderated by Philippe Marcoux, journalist at Radio-Canada. The participants were: Martin Partiquin, Montreal Bureau Chief at Maclean’s magazine, Yves Boisvert, columnist with La Presse, and David Johnston, Communities Editor at the English newspaper in Quebec, The Gazette. According to Johnston, the term “Angryphone” was coined by journalist Don Macpherson in December, 1980, during the Quebec referendum. M.Boisvert felt strongly that a rift is being continuously perpetuated by the way Quebec issues are reported in the English press. For instance there is much more happening besides the corrupton scandal, but that is mainly what is being reported. M.Patriquin actually argued that Anglophones who remain in Quebec are not Angryphones- that he himself is an example of one who emigrated from another country, has embraced Quebec and is dedicated to his work there.

All agreed that the solution is in more freedom of expression, rather than restriction.

The conference was a valuable experience for me. I hope that CMG will consider sending a participant again next year.

Catherine Basaraba is a CMG member and a Senior Designer, Graphic Design, at CBC Toronto



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