17 Feb 2023 WACC North America receives media monitoring report, elects new board
At its 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 15 February, the WACC North America regional association received initial findings from the Migrant Media Monitoring Project (MMMP) conducted in May of last year, elected a new president, and welcomed new members to its Executive Committee.
Migrants in North American media
WACC North America Vice President Gregg Brekke unveiled a preliminary report from the MMMP, the region’s first-ever monitoring of the representation of migrants and refugees in the media. The pilot project examined coverage from 14 news sources over three days in May 2022.
MMMP research showed that about half of the article studied were linked to politics and policy, Brekke said, reflecting the politicization of the issue of migration in the region. He noted that, according to initial analysis, the “voices of migrants aren’t represented well in the news” in the region, with six out of ten articles not indicating migrants as sources.
Brekke highlighted the positive finding that the tone of coverage was sympathetic to people on the move in three-quarters of stories studied.
Brekke told AGM participants that once a final report was available in May, the North America Executive Committee would be exploring opportunities to use the MMMP findings for media advocacy and education.
The AGM elected Susan Jackson Dowd (Presbyterian Women, Presbyterian Church (USA)) to the office of WACC North America president. She replaces Glory Dharmaraj (personal member, USA) in that role, who stepped down after five years at the regional helm.
Continuing as officers of the Executive Committee are Brekke as vice president (Associated Church Press, USA), Alice Namu as secretary (personal member, Canada), and Praveena Balasundaram as treasurer (United Women in Faith, USA). Dharmaraj rounds out the officer contingent in the position of past president.
Elected as new members of the Executive Committee were
- Sophia Agtarap, deaconess and home missioner, The United Methodist Church, USA
- Mari Evans, manager for digital and social media, Presbyterian Mission Agency, PC (USA)
- Kristine Greenaway, personal member, Canada
- Callie Long, associate secretary for communications, Presbyterian Church in Canada
- Randy Naylor, personal member, Canada
- Charles Okigbo, personal member, Canada
Shirley Struchen (personal member, USA) was elected as a member, following her term as officer in the position of past president.
Ongoing members of the Executive Committee include Jay Chowdhury (personal member, Canada), Mary Lou Greenwood Boice (General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, USA), Terri Miller (personal member, Canada), and John Thomas III (The Christian Recorder, African Methodist Episcopal Church, USA).