Exclusive: Insert dramatic buzzword **here**

This is an an assignment for my ad class this morning

 

What I’ve learned about blogging and social media this year

It’s scary.

Unverified information is spreading like wildfire online, people are getting lazy not to mention meaner, and all while hiding behind their screen of choice.

Social media’s changing how we (and especially my generation) interact, but you already knew that.

Newspapers are dying but (sense a bit of sarcasm) the good news is social media is alive and healthier than ever.

It’s here to stay and it’s time we (I’m probably mainly speaking for folks older than me) start to embrace it.

I’d be naïve if I didn’t say there’s still a big problem, though. We (journalists) need to figure out how to make money with social media and create a model that will sustain quality journalism that seems to be disappearing as broadsheets shutter.

Social media doesn’t have to be the big bad wolf it’s often looked at as.

I often hear non-communications people ranting about social media. They usually start with a line that goes like this, “It’s crazy now we have like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace…” and then they stop.

I hate to break it to you but no one I know uses Myspace (formerly MySpace) and hasn’t in like eight years.

As Manitoba Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari recently quipped (don’t mind the paywall on that link) during a leaders’ debate on CJOB ‘It’s Snapchat.”

It’s all about traffic

There’s also Instagram and this once-popular thing called a blog, which my analytics tell me at least a few of you are still reading.

But how do you get more readers?

Well, I could insert a buzzword here or in the headline of this post to improve search engine optimization.

Or I could promote my blog on Facebook or Twitter or I could think of an out-of-the-box way to promote it and use guerrilla marketing to drive more traffic here.

But personally, I’d prefer to just focus on writing well.

What do you think?

 

Winnipeg Liberal candidate wants to create a homeless village

 

Liberal candidate Althea Guiboche, better known as Winnipeg’s Bannock Lady wants to create a homeless village in Point Douglas (AUSTIN GRABISH / FOR CHRISD.CA)

 

WINNIPEG — A Liberal candidate better known as Winnipeg’s ‘Bannock Lady’ has vowed to create a homeless village.

Althea Guiboche said during a poverty debate this week she wants to create a homeless village at the site of a flour mill in Point Douglas, an area where homeless people frequent.

Guiboche said the village would have individual rooms, a community kitchen, and laundry.

“It’s a vision I’ve had now for a while,” Guiboche said in an interview after the Make Poverty History Manitoba debate at Gordon Bell High School on Wednesday.

“I call it the homeless transitional village, so we take them off the street, put them in their own unit, give them the resources they need to transition into a normal lifestyle.”

Guiboche said the village would house up to 100 homeless people, but she would eventually like to see as many three villages created in Winnipeg.

“We would have to make at least a few villages.”

Guiboche said a homeless village is a better idea than social housing because the transition from the street to a house is often hard for homeless individuals.

“Even just sleeping in a home they find hard transitioning from being outside to actually sleeping inside of a house.”

Wednesday night’s debate was also attended by Manitoba Health Minister and NDP candidate Sharon Blady, Conservative Ian Wishart, and Green Party candidate James Beddome.

A similar village to the one Guiboche envisions already exists in Oregon.

Guiboche said she has yet to talk about the villages with Liberal leader Rana Bokhari.

The Liberals have just one seat in the Manitoba legislature, but opinion polls suggest the party’s popularity has recently grown.

Voters go to the polls on April 19.

Source: Winnipeg Liberal Candidate Wants to Create a Homeless Village

Reservations on review

I went to a play on Tuesday for school.

Below is my review.

Reservations is a two-part play that attempts to explore colonization and the child welfare system.

The show is an ambitious attempt to educate the public about Canada’s sorry history with First Nations and centres around a conflict between an Alberta farmer, who wants to sell his land and give back portions to local aboriginals to make up for what was stolen in colonization.

The farmer faces conflict with his daughter, who doesn’t understand the point of her dad’s intentions.

The play then turns into a history lesson as the dad tries to explain his reasoning for the land donation – or return I should say.

There’s intriguing graphics projected on three screens that look cool, but at times, it feels like the dad is just rambling on.

The acting from the three-person cast also seemed a bit weak, but that went on to change in part two after a much-needed intermission.

It’s here that a new play is started — putting an end to the history rambling.

This time, the story is about the flawed child welfare system, which wasn’t mentioned in the first half of the play.

White foster parents concerned over a new worker assigned to handle their file are the story here.

The white mother has deep concerns over the new worker, who struggles to pronounce her foster children’s names. But you don’t see these kids once. It’s all adult actors here.

The mother fears her son Justice is going to be taken from her, so he can be returned to his home community and the worker makes matters worse by telling the mom ‘They are not your children.”

Then in an odd twist, the play turns into a lecture theatre. Like literally.

Sitting in the far back of the cramped theatre I was reminded of my time in university lecture theatres…. Something I don’t miss.

If the director wanted to make the crowd feel like they were in a real lecture, he succeeded.

The room packed with college students and a handful of older guests got hot and the lecture went on and on, which wasn’t necessary.

We got the point when the professor took the podium.

Reservations could have been strengthened if more story and less history was added.

History is important, but so are the details in a story that matter.

But at least they tried.

The play runs at the Rachel Browne Theatre until Sunday.

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Wab Kinew has apologized, but is that enough?

The so-called ‘star’ candidate who is running for the NDP in Fort Rouge was finally starting to feel the heat yesterday, as the Liberals called for his resignation over past tweets he made that the party deemed offensive.

The tweets, which made fun of gays, lesbians, First Nations children and fat women, came to light last Monday, a day after the 34-year-old faced criticism and re-apologized for past misogynistic and homophobic song lyrics he wrote as a rapper.

But the criticism for Kinew wasn’t a problem – people seemed to believe Kinew’s apology and the media did not scrutinize him for his tweets.

Yet just a week prior, the NDP called on Jamie Hall, a Liberal candidate, to resign over social media posts he made that referred to women as whores and skanks.

Hall, unlike Kinew, was rightfully scrutinized in the media and then stepped down.

Some argued an apology Kinew made years prior for his lyrics was good enough, but it’s hard to use that apology as justification for ignoring his tweets.

The tweets, which were dug up by Winnipeg political consultant David Shorr, who is the former director of communications for the Liberal Party, are disturbing.

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Kinew tweeted “Riding in my limo back to my king sized sweet feeling really bad for those kids in Attawapiskat #haha #terrible #inative.”

The Ontario First Nation is plagued by poverty and other social issues and was dealing with a housing crisis at the time of Kinew’s tweet.

In a reply to a 2009 tweet about H1N1, Kinew asked: “Is it true you can get it from kissing fat chicks?”

In another tweet, Kinew said he was going to wrestling class “Because jiu-jitsu wasn’t gay enough” and “My bro is convinced that ‘Do you like the 90s?’ is a gay pick up line.”

Kinew also tweeted about running over a cat and posted a photo of an aboriginal person sleeping on the ground.

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But perhaps even more troubling is that these tweets were made when Kinew was employed as a broadcaster at the CBC and associate vice-president of indigenous affairs at the University of Winnipeg.

On Friday, Kinew told a wall of media he’s been an ‘open book,’ transparent, and accountable.

He said the tweets were made when he was an angry young man suffering from self-hatred and arrogance.

But some of that arrogance seemed to continue as he snapped at reporters, who pressed him while he stood next to Premier Greg Selinger.

At one point, Selinger had to tell Kinew to keep his cool.

And on Friday evening, a quick glance at Kinew’s Instagram account revealed more questionable posts for a politician to have.

So, is Kinew really sorry?

Or is it that the 34-year-old still needs an attitude change?

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austin.grabish@gmail.com

 

Shoal Lake band member says ‘Canada needs to smarten up’ following visit to UN

 

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Linda Redsky, 55, with her nephew Adam. AUSTIN GRABISH / FOR METRO

The UN’s heard their story, but for now band members living on Shoal Lake 40 First Nation must wait.

My follow to Linda Redsky’s trip to Geneva for Metro is below.

By Austin Grabish For Metro
She’s shared her community’s story with the world, but for now, Linda Redsky and other Shoal Lake 40 band members must wait.

Redsky was to return to Shoal Lake yesterday following a weeklong trip to Geneva, Switzerland with Human Rights Watch and Samantha Redsky, another band member.

Linda, 55, told a UN committee on economic, social, and cultural rights that “Canada needs to leap and not shuffle” when it comes to First Nations water rights.

She explained to the committee how she must travel off reserve just to bathe her 14-year-old nephew Adam who otherwise breaks out with eczema from the First Nation’s water, which is tainted with parasites.

He just breaks out, she said while shaking her head showing Metro the boy’s eczema Sunday.

Shoal Lake 40 provides the City of Winnipeg with clean water, but lies in isolation on an island cradling the Manitoba-Ontario border and has been under a boil-water advisory itself for almost two decades.

The grandmother said while her community’s fought for years for change, she didn’t realize her human rights were being violated “on so many levels,” until she arrived at the UN.

She said Human Rights Watch didn’t mince words when presenting about Shoal Lake 40, and neither did she in an interview Sunday.

“Canada needs to smarten up and start dealing with these issues,” Redsky said.

“All these years they’ve been kind of dragging their feet whenever we bring up our issues nothing really gets done about it.”

She said she was disappointed to hear Canadian representatives tell the UN they would need five years to correct issues brought forward by Shoal Lake and other First Nations last week.

“We need to be treated with dignity and not be put on the back shelve,” she said.

Manitoba’s largest high school lacking handi-bus

‘Discrimination,’ says mother

By Austin Grabish

Sharon Machinski has one wish she’d like to see come true before her daughter finishes high school.

The Winnipeg mother wants a mobility vehicle to be purchased for students in wheelchairs at Sisler High School.

“I would love to see that van pull up at school I really would,” Machinski said.

Machinski says the absence of a handi-van is leaving students like her daughter Laura, 19, behind.

Machinski said her daughter, who lives with cerebral palsy, has been unable to attend a school work placement that provides social and pre-employment skills due to the absence of a mobility vehicle.

She asked the Winnipeg School Division’s board of trustees Monday night to consider putting $65,000 aside for a three-person mobility van that her daughter and other students at St. John’s High School could use.

Machinski said the division has mobility buses that transport students to and from school, but during the day they are unavailable so a special vehicle must be called, and the service is often unreliable.

Trustee Dean Koshelanyk said he was ‘deeply concerned’ to hear students are missing programming off-campus that’s part of their curriculum.

“That’s absolutely ridiculous,” Koshelanyk said.

Machinski said she’s gotten used to seeing her daughter miss out on opportunities other students have, but that still angers her.

“I would call it discrimination,” she said.

Machinski said she sometimes picks Laura directly up from school, so she can attend her work placement, but then “I feel guilty because I know I’m leaving four other students behind.”

Trustee Chris Broughton asked Machinski if she’d support a pilot project addressing the issue, and Machinski nodded and said she absolutely would.

She told a reporter she’s hopeful the board will do something before her daughter ages out of the school system.

“They seem to be very supportive.”

But trustee Mike Babinsky warned board matters take time and a van may not be purchased before September.

“The wheels around here sometimes don’t move as quickly as we’d want them to,” he said.

The board has until March 15 to complete its 2016 / 2017 operating budget.

The $396.5-million budget is calling for a five per cent tax increase from property owners, which is equivalent to roughly $62 for a home valued at $203,900.

austin.grabish@gmail.com

Twitter: @AustinGrabish

PHOTOS: Meet Manitoba’s new official voyageurs

Festival du Voyageur has unveiled the identity of its new official ambassadors.

The festival announced tonight that the Perron-Beaudry family will represent it over the next two years. The family of five starts official ambassadorial duties Sunday evening.

The family’s identity was a closely-guarded secret until just after 9 p.m. tonight at the official unveiling at the Franco-Manitobain Cultural Centre.

Festival du Voyageur executive director Ginette Lavack Walters said organizers wanted to attract more people to the unveiling by building suspense, and it appeared to work. The cultural centre was packed with an anxious crowd that cheered and crowded around the family after their faces were finally revealed.

If you want to go but haven’t had a chance to visit Festival du Voyageur yet this year there’s no need to fret. The festival still has a day of activities planned and doesn’t wrap up until late Sunday night.

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Festival du Voyageur executive director Ginette Lavack Walters does a run-through in a hidden room backstage with Christian Perron (centre) and his son Manu, before they are named the festival’s new official voyageurs./AUSTIN GRABISH
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Véronic Beaudry waits with a smile in a hidden room away from the curious public at the Franco-Manitobain Cultural Centre before being named one of the festival’s new official voyageurs./AUSTIN GRABISH

An anxious crowd enjoys some live music before the big unveiling.

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The Perron-Beaudry family has made their way to the stage but teases the crowd a little bit more before unveiling their faces./AUSTIN GRABISH
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The wait continues for a few more moments./AUSTIN GRABISH
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The suspense is over as Christian Perron and his family show their faces. / AUSTIN GRABISH
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Manu Perron stands tall with pride as he gives the crowd a wave./AUSTIN GRABISH
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Nicole Beaudry (back left) with her children Félix Perron, Manu Perron, Véronic Beaudry, and husband Christian./AUSTIN GRABISH