Helping journalists, producers and conference planners find the female guests, speakers and expert sources they need.

Anita Li

Media consultant and journalism professor, 

Journalism, Media, Digital media, Canadian media, Innovations in journalism, Diversity, Innovation, Ethics, Community, Community-driven journalism

Media

A Millennial Journalist's Perspective on the Future of Journalism

Anita Li featured in Atkinson Foundation video: We invited millennial journalist Angelyn Francis to create this video "op-ed" to add her voice to the public conversation on the future of journalism -- and to encourage others to do the same. Follow #futureofjournalists to listen in.

Digital News Disruption

Digital news was supposed to save the struggling newspaper industry. But companies like BuzzFeed and Vice, who were considered industry leaders, are now laying off thousands of staff. Will Canada's media bailout help or hinder the Canadian news landscape? To help assess that and other challenges facing the future of digital journalism, The Agenda welcomes: Canadaland’s Jesse Brown, Postmedia CEO Andrew MacLeod, Anita Li of The Discourse along with professor Colette Brin, a visiting scholar at the Ryerson School of Journalism.

Women in Journalism Panel at Carleton University

Read for more: https://carleton.ca/sjc/journalism/about/women-in-journalism/

Why gender and colonialism matter in journalism startups

This panel will examine how technology is privileged in discussions about journalism startups despite evidence that structural power relations such as gender, race and colonialism matter as much or more in understanding the impact and future possibilities of the “crisis” in journalism. This panel tries to make sense of how unexamined power relations and the exclusions of peoples, relations, “neglected knowledge,” and “alternative conceptualizations” of the future have limited the possibilities for what journalism startups can and should do in the early 21st century (Felt 2017, 253). Specifically, we contend that the industry’s construction of innovation and technology as the main saviors of journalism have systematically excluded ways of knowing that destabilize hegemonic power relations and present questions for professional identities and well-worn epistemologies in the field of journalism. Alongside these exclusions, digital technologies have been reified to the extent that their role as ‘modernizing’ forces of journalism are relatively unquestioned despite scholarship from feminist, postcolonial and science and technology studies that suggests the need for a much more critical approach to the postcolonial logic legitimated by the “new technologic … man in the street” (Spivak, 1999). As such, this panel will be oriented around the question: “Who participates in imagining and shaping the future” of journalism through conversations with founders and researchers of journalism startups (Felt 2017, 253). Con: Candis Callison (University of British Columbia), Anita Li (director of communities Discourse Media), Minelle Mahtani (University of Toronto), Nikki Usher (George Washington University), Mary Lynn Young (University of British Columbia).

Read for more: https://www.journalismfestival.com/programme/2018/why-gender-and-colonialism-matter-in-journalism-startups

The Power of Digital Journalism | Anita Li | TEDxDistilleryDistrictWomen

Anita Li navigates the evolving landscape of digital journalism by brainstorming creative ways to cover news online.

Anita's TEDx talk has been taught in universities around the world, reshared by reputable industry publications like Editor & Publisher, and written about in dozens of blogs and social media posts. It was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

Anita Li – Young Canadian digital journalist

Anita Li is a Canadian journalist who has worked on both sides of the divide between traditional and digital news. After brief stints at The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star, she headed to Fusion Media in New York City. In this video, she shares her optimistic view of the future of journalism in an age of disruption.

Race and the Election Campaign

CBC News, October 19, 2019Television

URL: https://twitter.com/aartipole/status/1185700195918462977

What role has race played in this year's election campaign? Have race issues, and the way they've been handled, swayed your vote?

Trump tells Democratic women of colour to leave U.S. in 'racist' tweets

CBC, July 18, 2019Television

URL: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JMfKtpTwr52IzTTOAOiNJi6qG6O94cLI/view

Anita Li on panel: U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday assailed a group of Democratic congresswomen of colour as foreign-born troublemakers.

Panel discusses news coverage of Jussie Smollett

CBC, February 24, 2019Television

URL: https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1447447619852

Anita Li of Discourse, Ernest Owens Philadelphia Magazine speak with CBC's Aarti Pole about how the media reported on the Jussie Smollett events as they unfolded

'Missing voices and missing perspectives': Trudeau blackface scandal renews calls for newsroom diversity

CBC's The Current, September 20, 2019Radio/Podcast

URL: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-september-20-2019-1.5291245/missing-voices-and-missing-perspectives-trudeau-blackface-scandal-renews-calls-for-newsroom-diversity-1.5292338

Many say Canadian newsrooms must tackle race head-on — and employ more diverse reporters.

SiriusXM's "Progress Presents": Millennial Issues

SiriusXM, March 10, 2017Radio/Podcast

URL: https://soundcloud.com/anita-li-916902937/siriusxms-progress-presents-millennial-issues-march-10-2017

One hour of a three-hour-long episode of "Progress Presents," featuring guests Anita Li and Alexandros Orphanides.

work x work ON AIR: Unheard Voices

work x work, February 12, 2017Radio/Podcast

URL: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/unheard-voices/id1239617753?i=1000391616428

For this hour, editor Anita Li of The Other Wave and previously of Fusion leads a discussion on the role storytellers of color can play in today’s social and political climate. Featuring HuffPo Black Voices Senior Editor Lilly Workneh, filmmaker and writer Dean Marcial, and the multi-talented creative producer Sahra V. Nguyen, this conversation shines a light on the ways we approach covering underrepresented communities, the sometimes difficult journey to find your calling, and how to help marginalized stories get told. Prior to Fusion, Anita worked as news director at Complex Media, weekend editor at Mashable, on-air reporter at CTV Ottawa, research assistant for The New Yorker's Beijing bureau, and reporter/photographer at The Toronto Star.​

Why Canadian media need to talk more about race

CBC, November 18, 2016Radio/Podcast

URL: https://www.cbc.ca/news/why-canadian-media-need-to-talk-more-about-race-1.3858505

Journalist Anita Li says media in Canada need to talk more about race. Now living in New York City, Li says while the discussion around race isn't perfect in the U.S., she argues there's a lesson to be learned in the frankness with which it is done.

A post-election glimmer of hope for cultural pluralism?

Policy Options, October 25, 2019Print

URL: https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/october-2019/a-post-election-glimmer-of-hope-for-cultural-pluralism/

Op-ed: Canadian voters largely resisted destructive populist narratives during the campaign, but will the country do the necessary work to dismantle racism?

Prince Harry and Meghan would find friendlier media in Canada but impossible to escape scrutiny

Reuters, January 10, 2020Online

URL: https://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCAKBN1ZA00U

Reuters interviewed me as a media expert/analyst for this story about how Canadian media would cover the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

The Overwhelming Maleness of 'Silicon Valley'

Canadian media lacks nuance, depth on racial issues

Policy Options, September 10, 2019Online

URL: https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/september-2019/canadian-media-lacks-nuance-depth-on-racial-issues/

Op-ed: The Canadian media is complacent about discussing our evolving cultural identity. We shouldn’t avoid tackling issues of race during the election.

The Discourse claims to be a leader in diversity. Here’s how we’re really doing.

Poynter, June 4, 2019Online

URL: https://www.poynter.org/business-work/2019/the-discourse-claims-to-be-a-leader-in-diversity-heres-how-were-really-doing/

Op-ed: "These days, wherever you look, companies across industries are rolling out their diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts with lots of fanfare. D&I has become such a trend that 'diversity' in 2019 is a buzzword that’s nearly lost all meaning."

Searching for Solutions

Ryerson Review of Journalism, May 29, 2019Online

URL: https://issuu.com/rrjca/docs/rrj-2019-complete_issue

Article featuring interview with Anita Li: "A new way to report on social issues."

How representative are Canadian newsrooms, actually?

J-Source, November 19, 2018Online

URL: https://j-source.ca/article/how-representative-are-canadian-newsrooms-actually/

Article featuring interview with Anita Li: "Racialized journalists are trying to create change in a predominantly white industry, but say support needs to come from the top."

A guide to building deeper relationships with the communities you cover

Poynter, December 20, 2017Online

URL: https://www.poynter.org/tech-tools/2017/a-guide-to-building-deeper-relationships-with-the-communities-you-cover/

Explainer by Anita Li and Sam Ford: "When newsrooms think of communities as their 'audience,' we often imagine their existence only in relation to the products and services we offer. Of course, journalists know that the people who read, watch and listen to our stories don’t only exist in this vacuum. However, when we talk about the people who engage with our work every day as 'traffic,' 'followers,' 'commenters,' 'subscribers' and 'members,' it’s easy to lose sight of who they actually are, and think about the metrics rather than actual people."

Canada as a global leader in journalism

Policy Options, February 7, 2017Online

URL: https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/february-2017/canada-as-a-global-leader-in-journalism/

Op-ed: With the news media under attack in the US, Canada has an opportunity to lead with quality, cutting-edge journalism.

How We Talk About Race

The Walrus, November 4, 2016Online

URL: https://thewalrus.ca/how-we-talk-about-race/

Op-ed: US media aren't afraid to confront sensitive issues. Why is Canada so far behind?

Beyond Facts: Increasing Trust In Journalism Through Community Engagement and Transparency

by Mazi Javidiani

Published by OCAD University

April 1, 2018

Interview with Anita Li featured: The shift in media ecology has disrupted the journalism ecosystem, exposing many of the challenges it faces today. In the economy of scale, local news faces great financial adversity. The concentration of power, the alarming influence of powerful individuals over journalism, lack of transparency, and the lack of diversity have all contributed to alienating the public, ultimately resulting in a loss of trust. This research identified two key leverage point that would help journalism build trust with communities: Engagement and Accountability. Through effective engagement, journalism can tap in to the collective wisdom, approaching issues from a more humble stance that would allow for a diversity of voices to be reflected, ultimately resulting in solution oriented stories that resonate with the realities of different communities. Transparency allows for a track record that can demonstrate the sensitivity of the journalist towards the community, while also acknowledging the possibility of wrong doing.

URL: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/2294/1/Javidiani_Mazi_2018_MDes_SFI_MRP.pdf

The Shattered Mirror: News, Democracy and Trust In The Digital Age

by Public Policy Forum et al

Published by Public Policy Forum

January 1, 2017

Profile of Anita Li featured: "The Public Policy Forum has some bold suggestions for how independent, trustworthy news can survive in the digital age."

URL: https://shatteredmirror.ca/wp-content/uploads/theShatteredMirror.pdf

Biography

Anita Li is a media consultant, journalism professor and the editor-in-chief of The Other Wave, a website dedicated to covering media from a multicultural perspective. Anita has worked as a multi-platform journalist in Toronto, New York City and Ottawa.

She started out her career as a reporter and editor at establishment Canadian media outlets, including The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and CBC. After that, Anita worked in strategic roles at American digital media startups, such as Complex Media and Mashable. Most recently, she was director of communities at The Discourse, a disruptive new player in the Canadian media scene that fills in gaps in news coverage for underserved communities.

In 2018, Anita co-founded Canadian Journalists of Colour, a rapidly growing network of BIPOC media-makers in Canada. She's also a member of the Online News Association board of directors.

Given her unique background, Anita has established herself an industry leader and expert in journalism innovation, audience-pay business models, newsroom diversity and media ethics. She is a frequent media commentator, and has spoken on these topics in press interviews and at conferences worldwide.

Recognition/Reconnaissance

Online Journalism Awards Finalist for 2018 Feature, Small Newsroom | Professional

For more about our nominated series, The Discourse's #FirstNationsHousing, read this: https://awards.journalists.org/entries/first-nations-housing/

Poynter-NABJ Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media | Professional

Member, 2016 class for Poynter-NABJ Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media
https://www.poynter.org/leadership-academy-for-diversity-in-digital-media/

Additional Titles and Affiliations

Durham College Journalism

Instructor, Advanced Reporting I
https://durhamcollege.ca/programs/journalism-mass-media#tabCourses

Centennial College Journalism

Instructor, Newspaper Laboratory 2
https://www.centennialcollege.ca/pdf/printshop/5-G-MPost-sec0809.pdf

Online Journalism Awards

Judge, Online Journalism Awards 2019
https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/08/13/1901410/0/en/2019-Online-Journalism-Awards-finalists-announced.html

Digital Publishing Awards

Judge, 2018 Digital Publishing Awards
https://digitalpublishingawards.ca/2018/04/05/the-2018-digital-publishing-awards-jury/

Online News Association

Member, Board of Directors

Liisbeth

Member, Advisory Board
https://www.liisbeth.com/about/advisory-board/

Centennial College Journalism

Member, Program Advisory Committee
https://www.centennialcollege.ca/industry/program-advisory-committee/

Canadian Association of Journalists

Member, Ethics Committee
https://j-source.ca/article/about-the-caj-ethics-committee/

Past Talks

Community Engagement Tour at The Discourse-Scarborough

Assocation for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) 102nd annual conference (http://aejmc.org/events/toronto19/theme/)

Toronto, ON, August 8, 2019

Why gender and colonialism matter in journalism startups

International Journalism Festival 2018 (https://www.journalismfestival.com/programme/2018/why-gender-and-colonialism-matter-in-journalism-startups)

Perugia, Italy, April 13, 2018

Now and in the future: Promoting greater diversity in media and higher education

Worldviews on Media and Higher Education 2019 Conference (https://worldviewsconference.com/2019-conference/sessions/)

Toronto, ON, June 14, 2019

Innovations in journalism and newsrooms

Worldviews on Media and Higher Education 2019 Conference (https://worldviewsconference.com/2019-conference/sessions/)

Toronto, ON, June 14, 2019

How to cover underserved communities (co-presented with Katherine Ellis of the American Press Institute)

Solutions Journalism Summit 2018 (https://solutionsjournalismsummit.org/)

Sundance, UT, November 9, 2018

Getting it Right: Community-driven and solutions journalism at The Discourse

2018 ORCUP Regional Conference (https://www.evensi.ca/orcup-regional-conference-victoria-college/270296216)

Toronto, ON, October 5, 2018

Whose news? Building a media industry that truly serves Canadians

RightsCon Toronto 2018 (https://rightscon2018.sched.com/event/EHnz/whose-news-building-a-media-industry-that-truly-serves-canadians)

Toronto, ON, May 16, 2018

Creating Value With Memberships

ONA Insights 2018 (https://insights.journalists.org/speaker/anita-li/)

Toronto, ON, May 11, 2018

Getting Around 360 Video

NASH 80: Connect (https://nash802018.sched.com/event/D74e/getting-around-360-video)

Toronto, ON, January 6, 2018

Towards a New Exciting Era in Journalism: Transparency, Empathy, Inclusion and Genuine Public Engagement

Nordjyske Medier's "Future of Publicism" journalism conference

Aalborg, Denmark, September 19, 2017

Time to Get Real about Virtual Reality Journalism

National Association of Black Journalists convention 2017 (https://www.nabjconvention.com/2017/profile.cfm?profile_name=session&master_key=C2C143C2-894C-E711-80CC-001517B05C0F&page_key=63BDD2E9-7199-4AF5-9A22-54F3EB9DDFC3&xtemplate&userLGNKEY=0)

New Orleans, LA, August 10, 2017

How the rise of 360/VR content is influencing a new form of storytelling for journalists

2017 RTDNA Canada National Conference (http://www.rtdnacanada.com/2017-program/)

Toronto, ON, May 26, 2017

Who Gets Connected? A Panel on Inclusion & Tech

Toronto 4 Everyone: Community Hub (http://torontoforeveryone.com/community-hub)

Toronto, ON, February 25, 2017

Expertise

  • Journalism
  • Media
  • Digital media
  • Canadian media
  • Innovations in journalism
  • Diversity
  • Innovation
  • Ethics
  • Community
  • Community-driven journalism

Education/Éducation

  • Carleton University
    Journalism
    Master of Journalism, 2011
  • University of Toronto, Trinity College
    International Relations, Asia-Pacific Studies, English
    Honours Bachelor of Arts, 2009