To our audience,
As of today and until the end of the Winter 2021 semester, this publication will be referred to as the [ ] Review of Journalism (informally, the Review or the [ ]RJ).
Currently there are two processes underway at the university. One is a task force under the auspices of the office of the president, which is examining Egerton Ryerson’s history and relationship to the university to reconcile his legacy. The other, initiated by the School of Journalism, is examining changing the names of the two publications run by the School and its students: The Ryersonian, and this publication. The presidential task force is scheduled to release its findings in the summer of 2021, while the School of Journalism’s process is currently underway.
At our masthead meeting on January 19, 2021, our team, composed of second-year graduate students and fourth-year undergraduate students who have elected to take this course, voted unanimously (15-0) in favour of pausing the use of the name Ryerson Review of Journalism this semester while these processes are underway.
This is an editorial decision by the 2021 masthead for the 2021 publication. It is not an official change to the name of our publication and its scope does not include content produced by previous masthead classes. As students, we don’t have that power. However, we want this year’s publication to reflect that our name is currently under review. The Review’s Publisher, Janice Neil, who is also the Chair of the School of Journalism, notes that the school is awaiting the conclusion of the consultative and decision-making process about the names of the publications.
Egerton Ryerson’s legacy includes his role in the establishment of the residential school system in Canada. The residential school system was referred to by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada as a cultural genocide and has caused severe harm to Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Of the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action, under the heading of Media and Reconciliation, No. 86 reads:
We call upon Canadian journalism programs and media schools to require education for all students on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations.
Currently the university offers no mandatory education to all students regarding Egerton Ryerson’s involvement in the creation of the residential school system. Many members of our masthead have learned of this history through student journalism, including reporting by The Ryersonian and the Eyeopener, the university’s independent student newspaper.
Each year, this publication has a new masthead of undergraduate and graduate students in our final year of studies. While we will not be the masthead for next year’s issue, we look forward to hearing the results of the university and School of Journalism processes that are underway, and whether they will result in a permanent name change for the university, The Ryersonian, and this publication.
The Review’s mission is to probe the quality of journalism in Canada. One of the central tenets of our mission is to “foster critical thinking about, and accountability within, the industry.” This means we must also foster critical thinking and accountability within our own publication.
The following actions have been or will be taken by the Review over the course of this semester with respect to our name and branding:
– On our social media accounts, the names, logos, and descriptions of the accounts have been updated and now include a link to this statement.
– On our website, the previous logo and any current references to the name have been changed and/or updated.
– On our podcast, each episode will begin with an audio statement about the name. The podcast name, descriptions, and branding have been updated.
– When our 2021 edition is released this spring, it will include a statement from our masthead to accompany the visual re-design.
– In our newsletter, the statement will be included in our first edition of the semester, and subsequent newsletters will feature an addendum with a brief explanation of the decision and a link to this statement.
– Because this is an editorial decision, we cannot change the registered name of the publication. The website URL, social accounts (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram), and contact emails (advertising, circulation) remain the same for now.
There can be no reconciliation without truth. As student journalists, it is our duty to uncover, understand, and act on the truth about our own institutions.
As a masthead, we pledge to continue to educate ourselves on the history and ongoing realities of colonialism in Canada, including the legacy of residential schools, during this semester and following our graduation from this institution.
2020-2021 Masthead Class of the [ ] Review of Journalism
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Statement from Prof. Sonya Fatah and Prof. Stephen Trumper
The [ ] Review of Journalism is a student-led publication in which final-year Bachelor of Journalism and Master of Journalism students take on masthead roles to expand their understanding of both media criticism and magazine journalism. As part of the unique exercise of fostering editorial independence and journalistic practice, we—the instructors—shepherd decision-making by asking key questions and creating an environment that encourages students to make bold and creative editorial and business decisions. As part of this process this year’s masthead has opted to respond editorially—and design-wise—by removing Ryerson’s name to reflect its collective position during the 2020-21 academic year.