Bachelor of Journalism, 2004
You never know the power of your voice or your pen to make change.
When Michael Dick was growing up in Thunder Bay, Ontario, he hadn’t heard the Latin phrase - A posse ad esse - From a possibility to an actuality. It’s the town motto for Fort William, one of the two cities that joined to become Thunder Bay. It could also be Michael’s motto.
“That’s my next tattoo,” he laughs.
Michael had always thought about the possibility of getting into journalism. For a while, as an undergrad at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, he also considered the possibility of studying law. But he felt the calling and he went to King’s for the one-year journalism program.
“A lot of people who are aboriginal think they can help their people by becoming a lawyer or going down that road,” he says. ”But I always thought it was better to tell stories, to bring out the message of people from the aboriginal community.”
That he is doing, but also so much more.
“I’m a journalist who happens to be aboriginal. It does give me some insight on certain stories but I am a journalist first.”
And as a journalist Michael has covered stories from potholes to protests. They are often stories that bring about change, like the one about the grandmother in a wheelchair who couldn’t accompany her granddaughter to school because of the snow. That story went national.
“The next day people were coming out and shoveling the snow away for her,” Michael remembers fondly. “It’s one small story that affects so many people. You never know the power of your voice or your pen to make change.”
And then there were the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings into the residential school system.
“Sometimes when you’re in those rooms, listening to what the people are saying you get emotional. I know when I am covering them I have to be impartial. But you know there are people in your family who have gone through that. It’s hard not to get angry. But you have to remember that you are telling a story. You have to be unbiased. It really tests you as journalist, but it makes you stronger.”
Michael has found a new set of possibilities as Executive Producer at CBC Thunder Bay. He says it was a tough decision to leave reporting but he wanted to help other reporters develop their skills. And he wanted to keep the station vital to a corporation beset by cuts. Michael has been working hard to improve the station’s digital media strategy.
“People are connecting to us from communities like Webequie. These are communities that depend on ice roads. But now they have Facebook and Twitter. It’s amazing to me how these northern communities are becoming part of our conversation.”
And Michael, always with a smile and always bubbling over with enthusiasm, finds that the possibilities he sees can be turned into actuality. And it’s not even like work.
“There aren’t many jobs where some one will pay you x amount of dollars to go out and tell a story. It’s amazing. It beats working for a living.”
Posted: Apr. 2016