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I'm not afraid to wear my media colours any more

BayToday reporter encourages the media to show their company colours again
2022 05 11 Reporter
BayToday reporter Chris Dawson wearing his company colours, something that has been uncommon for some media in 2022. Photo by Leah Dawson.

I remember back in the late 1990s when I was working for ONTV as a regional reporter covering northeastern Ontario. Back then my bosses had given me an ONTV Nissan Pathfinder that I was able to use to cover all my assignments.

I was encouraged to use the colourful logo-covered vehicle with ONTV decals during my personal time, as they felt it was a form of advertising and promotion for the station as I travelled across the north.  

My only bad experience wearing media colours in public was during a really bad winter in North Bay about 10 years ago. I have freelanced for the Weather Network for more than a decade and one day while I was at the grocery store sporting a Weather Network jacket, an older gentleman says he would like to chain me up and drag me behind his truck, blaming me in jest for the horrible weather and upcoming weather forecast.  

That was an isolated incident and while it was uncomfortable hearing those words from a stranger, I did not feel threatened and took it as a joke.  

Fast forward to 2022, and now you have seen many news outlets across Canada completely remove media banners from vehicles or even microphone flashes or coats. That was never more apparent than during the Ottawa Freedom protests where reporters were being pushed around, threatened, and had beer cans thrown at them while they were live on camera. 

“What I’ve seen over the last two days has been absolutely sickening,” Brent Jolly, president of the Canadian Association of Journalists,told Global News in an interview back on February 21 about the treatment of journalists during Freedom Protests from the borders to the Freedom Rally in Ottawa. 

If you think BayToday was exempt from this type of treatment, well, I have to say you are wrong.  

Within a two-day period during the height of the Freedom rallies in Ottawa, BayToday received a pair of disturbing threats, one of which was in fact investigated by the police.  

It was a rude awakening for us. 

I have to admit, after that, there were days I hesitated to put on a BayToday jacket to head out to an assignment as in-person events became more common as the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. 

But on Tuesday, a very busy media day in North Bay, with the provincial leader's debate taking centre stage, I realized that my fear was no longer there so I proudly put on a BayToday golf shirt and zipped up my BayToday jacket, and went out and covered my two assignments. 

While covering the protest on Wyld Street I was able to see a number of local and provincial media reporters, videographers and reporters and I realized that none of them was wearing any indicator of who they worked for. The camera crew I saw filming the protest had no microphone flashes or company stickers on its camera.  

I hope that was maybe just a coincidence but I really hope there will be a day again where all journalists can feel comfortable holding a microphone with a microphone flash and wear their media colours once again without being afraid.  

I'm happy to say I am not afraid anymore and neither should any of my colleagues from other media outlets. 

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Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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