Top U.S. diplomat meets members of Toronto's diverse media
By Thandiwe Vela
On Thursday evening, I attended a media reception at the U.S. Consul General's residence in Forest Hill, at the request of Consul General Kevin Johnson.
On arrival, a quick scan of the room revealed that this media reception looked like no newsroom I'd ever seen; there was diversity ... a lot of it.
'What's going on here?' I wondered to myself as I enjoyed a bean empanada on a skewer from one of the many trays going around the room.
On the heels of the State of the Union address, did every news agency in Toronto send their ethnic employee to this reception as a nod to the first non-white American president?
As I mulled this ridiculous, yet quite possible explanation, Johnson called us all into the main room for a few words.
Turns out, the diverse make up of the media personnel was no mistake. This media reception was called as an opportunity for Johnson to meet the ethnic press.
From Johnson's speech and my conversation with him after, I was able to see how important this reception was to him and how genuinely happy he was to have our company.
Aside from his pleasure in increased favour from the ethnic press now that he is representing an Obama-led U.S., Johnson, who has served in several embassies across Europe and Latin America, acknowledges the critical importance of reflecting ethnic communities in the press.
Now if only all newsrooms across the country would be so enthusiastic.
Thandiwe Vela is a Star radio room reporter, a student, a track athlete and secretary of the Canadian Association of Black Journalists. Her goals are to graduate, to be president of her native Zimbabwe (if the position ever frees up), and to beat Usain Bolt in a 60-metre match race. firstname.lastname@example.org