Here is the full transcript of Anita Li’s TEDx Talk: The Power of Digital Journalism at TEDxDistilleryDistrictWomen conference.
Growing up at my house, we had four square meals a day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the news. It was part of my family’s daily ritual: every morning, the newspaper was delivered to our home still smelling of fresh newsprint, and in the evenings, without fail, my parents would turn on the TV to watch the news at 6 and 11 o’clock sharp.
The boldface bylines I read, and knowing faces I saw soon became like old friends. As a curious kid, I trusted them to tell me the most important news of the day, but as a budding journalist, I looked to them from much more than just that. These reporters and the outlets they work for represented the gold standard in news: fast, accurate, and reliable. They loom large in my mind as I worked towards my lifelong goal of becoming a professional storyteller, while running my high school paper, while managing a campus magazine, while volunteering at news stations. Everyone around me reinforced their prestige, especially at journalism school, where these outlets were discussed with open reverence.
So when I finally got to join Canada’s storied institutions – and I reported for several – I felt a deep sense of achievement. My dreams were finally coming true. The experiences I had were invaluable, and I was privileged to work with the best in the business. But, looking around these newsrooms, I noticed there was something missing, and that something was people like me, people of color. I was always one of the handful of visible minorities in any newsroom, and the unfortunate truth is, this isn’t out of the ordinary.