• Toronto, University of Toronto
  • January 19, 2010 - 18:30

The Rise of "Ethnic Media"
January 19, 2010, Toronto


Photos: Roger Cullman

The Rise of "Ethnic Media"


While mainstream media continue to wring their hands over the future of newspapers and the loss of ad revenue, another more optimistic scenario is playing out across the country. The so-called "ethnic media" – journalistic publications and broadcasts targeting new and third-language Canadians – are flourishing.

CJF Forums welcomes Jagdish Grewal, editor and publisher of Punjabi Post; Shirley Chan, managing editor of the magazine and supplement section of Ming Pao Daily News; Madeline Ziniak, Canadian Ethnic Media Association executive chair and OMNI Television national vice president; and Lori Abittan, president and CEO of Multimedia Nova Corporation, to discuss their respective visions, how they're realizing them and the progress they're making. Chief Diversity Officer of the Ontario Public Service and former journalist Noëlle Richardson moderates the panel.

About our Panelists


Lori AbittanLori Abittan is one of Canada's most passionate and committed advocates of Canadian unity, intercultural communication and social inclusion of The New Mainstream™. As President and C.E.O. of Multimedia Nova Corporation, a publicly traded company, Abittan oversees the company's publishing, printing and marketing divisions. Recently, Lori founded Diversity Media Services, a multicultural marketing company that connects the private sector and public institutions with cultural media. Under her guidance, partnerships have been established with over 420 print publications in 40 languages across Canada. As well, Lori founded www.talentoyster.com, an all inclusive job board in 11 languages which will cater to the widest audience in the country, both Canadian-born and immigrant communities. Lori is also a McMichael Canadian Art Collection Trustee.


Shirley ChanShirley Chan is the managing editor of the magazine and supplement section of Ming Pao Daily News. She started there as a reporter when the Eastern Edition launched in 1993, the first full colour printed Chinese daily newspaper in Canada. Ming Pao Daily News was established in Hong Kong in 1959 and now has 3 overseas offices in Toronto, Vancouver and New York, with a daily circulation of 51,000 in Eastern Canada. Besides the 100 pages, broadsheet daily newspaper, Ming Pao also publishes 5 weekly magazines and 1 free weekly newspaper.


Jagdish GrewalJagdish Grewal is the editor-in-chief of the Punjabi Post, the first daily newspaper in the Punjabi language to be published outside India. The publication launched in 2002 with 3,000 small black & white copies – today, the two-colour full-size newspaper has a circulation of 18,000. Previously, Jagdish was editor of the award-winning weekly Panj Pani and has hosted various community affairs programs on local radio and TV. In October, 2009, Jagdish was attacked outside the newspaper’s offices by masked gunmen in what is believed to be a politically motivated assault. The case is still being investigated.


Madeline ZiniakMadeline Ziniak has been with OMNI Television for more than 25 years and in her current role as OMNI’s National Vice President, is responsible for evolving its over-the-air multilingual/multicultural system across Canada. She has worked in ethnic media for over 30 years and is also Chair of the Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA), an organization founded by her father, the late Sierhey Khmara Ziniak. Madeline has been honoured throughout her career with numerous industry, community and government awards, including, most recently, the Order of Canada for "her contributions as the major driving force behind the development and growth of multilingual and multicultural television in Canada."

About our Moderator


Noelle RichardsonNoëlle Richardson was appointed Chief Diversity Officer of the Ontario Public Service (OPS) on August 18, 2008. In that role, she is responsible for guiding the 68,000 employee organization toward its goals of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility. The OPS was named one of Canada’s Top Diversity Employers in both 2008 and 2009. Prior to joining the OPS, Noëlle worked nationally and internationally as a diversity consultant for major corporate clients. She first began her career in broadcasting with Toronto’s CFMT-TV (now OMNI) and CBC Television.