By Rick Garrick
THUNDER BAY—Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Thunder Bay Executive Producer Michael Dick, a Fort William First Nation citizen, is looking forward to featuring more good news stories about First Nation people on CBC.
“One of the mandates of CBC and my mandate as Executive Producer here [in Thunder Bay] is to really focus on some of the positive stories that are out there to really make inroads in the different communities around northwestern Ontario,” Dick says. “There are so many good stories out there; there are so many stories obviously that need to be told.”
Dick says CBC Thunder Bay teamed up with all of the CBC stations in Ontario on National Aboriginal Day to launch the I Am Indigenous project that focused on positive stories about seven First Nations people from across Ontario.
“We used that as a national springboard for a campaign using the hash tag: IAmIndigenous, to allow First Nations people to tell their stories and for a national callout for people to express their pride,” Dick says. “That project was a cross-platform project that had extensive television coverage using a First Nations reporter. Every hour on the news network there was at least six minutes of programming towards it.”
Dick says more than a million people looked at the I Am Indigenous project on National Aboriginal Day.
“That was a major project that was spearheaded right out of Thunder Bay,” Dick says. “So I am quite proud of that project.”
Dick says he was “struck by how many good things” First Nation people were doing in Thunder Bay after returning from a decade of pursuing his journalism career across Canada and in Japan.
“People are doing good things and those stories need to be told,” Dick stated. “There are always going to be those stories that need to be told, reluctantly or for better or for worse, but there are also those good stories, and that is something we are trying to focus on too.”
Dick says CBC Thunder Bay also launched the Deep Water In-Depth investigative project by CBC Thunder Bay reporter Jody Porter into the deaths of seven First Nation high school students that was examined by the Seven Youth Inquest from October 2015 to March 2016. The students died while pursuing high school studies in Thunder Bay. The Deep Water project is available online.
“It looked at the students and their stories,” Dick says. “We actually travelled to Keewaywin … to meet with the family there and to tell the story.”
Dick says Deep Water also focused on the issues that First Nation students face while pursuing their high school studies in Thunder Bay.
“That was something we really wanted to focus on with Deep Water was a reality check of not just the fact that people have to leave their communities, but also the issues they face when they come to Thunder Bay: the racism, the isolation, the loss of culture,” Dick says. “Those are stories that are important for Canadians to understand.”
Dick returned to Thunder Bay for his management role at CBC last year after working as a consulting producer for Newsline, a 24-hour English news program at NHK World in Japan. He previously worked at CBC stations in New Brunswick, Toronto, Edmonton, and Halifax after studying at Acadia University and University of King’s College in Nova Scotia, where he earned his journalism degree.