The Star’s Joe Fiorito stirs things up at CEMA
Archived Articles 09 Nov 2007 Adu RaudkiviEWR
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The October speaker at the Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA) monthly meeting was a Toronto Star columnist with an Italian name: Joe Fiorito. It was expected, I imagine, that he would speak about what it is like to write for a flagship mainstream newspaper and to give younger journalists hints and tips how to take the journey to the top.

The members of CEMA who thought all of that were in for a surprise. Fiorito was born in northern Ontario to an Italian immigrant, but sees himself simply as a Canadian. Not only that but "journalists have no nationality, no race nor creed," said Fiorito. He added, "you don't write about nationalities, you write details (persons, events) which happen to be of a nationality."

This certainly cut across the grain to those in the ethnicity business. He then proceeded to give us a lecture (with some encouragement, mind you) about reporting, sort of a Reporting 101.

"You don't talk down - if you do you've lost them," continued Fiorito, adding, “you are not interesting (your subject is). Your subject must relate to the audience."

"I never interview over the phone, always in person," said Fiorito.

Fiorito explained that he was once invited to a graduation party of an English as a Second Language Class (ESL) and he managed to get many people to interview, people who had interesting stories to tell. Fiorito told of some fascinating accounts that took hours to tell by the subject — but that was the interesting part of Reporting 101.

When CEMA President (and OMNI-TV vice president and general manager) Madeline Ziniak asked Fiorito what significance he thought ethnic media would have, Fiorito's answer was one I couldn't understand.

Fiorito's comment that "your subject must relate to the audience" has to take into consideration that his audience is different from that of an ethnic paper.

The Canadian Fiorito working for the Canadian paper The Star was giving his viewpoint to a group of people who thought that he was, thanks to his background, Italian more than Canadian.
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