Black on the Prairies: a Journalistic Voyage – with Omayra Issa

Black on the Prairies: a Journalistic Voyage – with Omayra Issa

Categories: Lectures and Seminars | Intended for , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

7:00 PM - 9:00 PM | Add to calendar

2220 Richcraft Building

1125 Colonel By Dr, Ottawa, ON

Contact Information

Allan Thompson, 6137991791,



About this Event

Host Organization: Journalism
More Information: Please click here for additional details.

Black on the Prairies: a Journalistic Voyage
The Kesterton Lecture - featuring Omayra Issa

(This event is free but those who wish to attend must register in advance as space is limited. A Zoom link for those who wish to take part virtually will be shared here closer to the date. )

In her 2022 Kesterton Lecture titled “Black on the Prairies: a Journalistic Voyage,” award-winning CBC News Senior Reporter Omayra Issa will explore how to tell Black stories authentically, with precision and depth. Through the lens of historical research and reportage, Issa examines how to journalistically place Black people's experiences at the centre of the Prairie narratives.

In her lecture, she will review CBC’s Black on the Prairies, an expansive multimedia project that explores the richness, complexity, and multiplicity of Black Prairie life — past, present, and future, that she co-created and co-produced.

Black on the Prairies emerged as a project with the intent to make sure that regional experiences of Black people in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, were included in the global and national discourse on anti-Black racism and Black experiences.

The Black on the Prairies project, and Issa’s recent work covering the Prairies for CBC, has won accolades, but has also exposed her to a torrent of racism and online hate.

Because of her interest in how wide the umbrella of journalism and democracy can expand, who it includes and who it is yet to include, Issa looks at how Black on the Prairies can serve as a blueprint on how journalism can foster understanding of the communities it serves by constantly asking questions that complicate the dominant narrative and amplify lesser told stories. In this lecture, Issa makes a strong case for an inclusive journalism as a pillar of a healthy democracy in the midst of challenges.

Omayra Issa is an award-winning senior reporter for CBC News based in Saskatchewan. She is currently the 2022-2023 CBC/Radio-Canada Fellow, a part of the William Southam Journalism Fellowships at Massey College.

Born in Morocco, raised in Niger, and living in Saskatchewan for 20 years, Issa is fluent in five languages, and has a degree in Economics from the University of Alberta.

She began her career with Radio-Canada in 2014 in Saskatoon, reporting on major Saskatchewan stories for a national audience from the Humboldt Broncos bus crash tragedy to the shooting of Colten Boushie and the Gerald Stanley trial. She covers breaking news, investigates a wide range of topics, and produces original content on digital, tv, radio platforms.

She co-created and co-produced CBC’s Black on the Prairies, a ground-breaking interactive project that brought to life stories detailing Black lives past, present and future in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta. She led the creation of a Teacher’s Guide for students in kindergarten to Grade 12 on the contributions, triumphs, and challenges of being Black on the Prairies. The project has won several accolades, including a national RTDNA and a Digital Publishing Award.

Issa has reported on COVID-19, the justice system, immigration, race, climate change, reconciliation, and LGBTQ issues. She has a passion for stories and a talent for forging strong relationships across diverse communities. She engages communities to tell their stories for more a more inclusive, authentic, and meaningful journalism.

In 2019 she was named one of Canada’s top 100 Black Women to Watch and was nominated for a YWCA Women of Distinction Award.

Issa has mentored early-career journalists as part of the Canadian Association of Journalists’ inaugural Mentorship Program. She partook in the review of CBC Journalistic Standards and Practices through an inclusive lens and currently sits on an advisory group to the Director of JSP on questions related to diversity.

Issa recently became an Atlantic Dialogues Emerging Leader along with 49 other young leaders in the Atlantic Basin who have displayed leadership capabilities in their fields and aim to shape the regional and global agenda in various sectors, including media.

Prof. Nana aba Duncan, Carleton's Carty Chair in Journalism, Diversity and Inclusion Studies, will moderate the evening. Duncan has been reshaping journalism since she first entered the industry. Ghanaian-born and Canadian-raised, her career began in 2004 as the Journalists For Human Rights country director for Ghana. Duncan later became a familiar voice on Canada’s airwaves after joining CBC Radio in 2010, working on shows like Radio 2 Top 20, Here and Now and As It Happens. As the host of Fresh Air, she used her position to amplify the experiences, successes and challenges of underrepresented communities. During this time, she also served as the co-chair of DiversifyCBC, a resource group helping over 300 CBC employees of colour. While at CBC, Duncan also founded the Media Girlfriends podcast production company. Last year she joined Carleton as the inaugural Carty Chair in Journalism, Diversity and Inclusion Studies.

Wilfred Kesterton was a Saskatchewan-born journalist and Second World War veteran when he became one of the earliest graduates of Carleton’s new Bachelor of Journalism program in 1949. His newspaper background and exceptional academic achievements led to his appointment, upon graduation, as the School of Journalism’s second full-time faculty member.

A leading figure at the School for 40 years, Kesterton specialized in media law and journalism history, publishing important studies in both areas, including his seminal 1967 History of Journalism in Canada. The Kesterton Lecture, the school’s signature annual public event, honours his pioneering contribution to journalism education in this country.