Editorial

Gertrude J. Robinson (McGill University)

I am pleased to announce that the editorship of the Canadian Journal of Communication will pass to a new editor with issue 18:4 (Fall 1993) and I wish Rowland Lorimer of Simon Fraser University well in his new position. After six years in office, I take this opportunity to reflect on what was achieved and to thank my Board colleagues and the Journal's subscriber and readers for the trust and support you extended to me during my editorship.

In beginning this retrospective account, I was surprised to find that our publication is by now about 20 years old, which is quite a feat in the Canadian publishing scene. The Canadian Journal of Communication was founded in 1973 by Earl Beattie (1973-82) and has had three editors since the early 1980s. It started out as a publication for journalists, whom Professor Beattie taught at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, The University of Western Ontario, and York University. Under its second and third editors, Eugene Tate (1982-86) of St. Thomas More College, Saskatoon, and Andrew M. Osler (1986-87) of the University of Western Ontario, the Journal slowly began enlarging its scope to encompass ever more varied communication issues. In the process it also began to attract a different readership, which itself was being constituted by the newly founded Canadian Communication Association (CCA) in 1980.

In the past six years (1987-93), the Canadian Journal of Communication has expanded in readership and grown in content diversity and prestige. Its original list of Central Canadian subscribers has grown from 250 to about 500 located in all parts of Canada, the United States, Western Europe, and Australia. At present about half of our subscribers are individuals and the rest institutions. During the same period of time, the size and number of pages of the Journal have also expanded as befits a scholarly publication which has come of age. Under the guidance of Wilfrid Laurier University Press (Waterloo) the Journal's appearance and layout have been upgraded and the issues have grown from 80 to about 150 pages per issue. New sections, increased numbers of articles, Research in Brief reports and more timely and enlarged book reviews have all added greater content variety. They have also enhanced the Journal's stature which has been acknowledged by increased Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council support, which presently provides a $9,000 annual publication grant.

All of this growth and change could not have been achieved without the editorial support and encouragement of dedicated colleagues. Managing Editor Jean McNulty (Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade) has for the past three years edited the final copy and been responsible for all contacts with Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Over the six years, two Associate Editors have furthermore aided me in planning issue topics, enlarging the reviewer network and keeping track of manuscripts. Liss Jeffrey (McGill), 1987-90, and Armande Saint Jean (UQAM), 1990-93, have expanded the Newsforum section and the latter has also provided exceptional networking with Quebec colleagues and monitoring of French translations. Three Book Review Editors have enlarged the book review section and made it more timely and relevant. They are Akira Ichikawa (Lethbridge), Walt Romanow (Windsor), and James Linton (Windsor). I want to thank all of these individuals for their creative ideas and for the time and effort they were willing to expend to make the Journal what it is today. Three Board Presidents need also to be mentioned because they planned and guided the Journal Corporation's fortunes with energy and insight and put it on a sound financial footing. They are: Hilary Horan (University of Ottawa), Annie Méar (Université de Montréal), and Claude-Yves Charron (UQAM).

In looking back over the past six years I am personally most proud of the following achievements. Among these are the publication of two supplementary special issues which deal with the "Canadian inflection" of our discipline. They are, first, the December 1987 issue "Canadian Communication Studies: A Discipline in Transition?" It contains contributions by Roger de la Garde (Laval) and John Meisel (Queen's) which have affected our academic understanding of the Canadian discipline. The other is the December 1989 issue "The Medium's Messenger: Understanding McLuhan," which preceded the North American re-evaluation of McLuhan's work and broke all publication records. It featured such renowned McLuhan scholars as Donald Theall (Trent), Paul Heyer (Simon Fraser), Derrick de Kerckhove (Toronto), and Liss Jeffrey (McGill).

Three other developments have been particularly satisfying: the increasing visibility of women scholars and French Quebec work in the pages of the Journal and the expansion of its theoretical approaches. The exceptional productivity of women scholars is exhibited not only in the September 1989 issue (14:3) on "Women's Voices" but in virtually every issue of the Journal throughout the years. Through the active engagement of Associate Editor Armande Saint-Jean, French Quebec work both in the original language and in translation has also begun to bridge the "two solitudes" and produced such theme issues as "Le Journalisme au Québec / Journalism" (14:2, May 1989), which was guest-edited by Marc Raboy (Laval). International media regulatory and market issues have also demonstrated that Canadian scholarship is looking beyond its own borders. "The International Market for Television and Film" (16:2, Summer 1991) featured work by Robert Babe (Ottawa) and Colin Hoskins & Stuart McFadyen (Alberta) and explored the impact of globalization on local media production. A final domain which has soared in importance is that of inter-cultural communication, reflecting the varied theoretical approaches Canadian researchers use in analyzing popular culture productions in the post-modern age (17:2, Spring 1992).

After sponsoring an issue on the Constitutional debate and its impact on Canadian communication (18:2), it is fitting in this current issue to focus on First Nation concerns which have received increased salience through this debate. "Crossing Borders: Issues in Native Communications" is guest edited by Gail Valaskakis (Concordia). This issue explores a broad spectrum of concerns from cultural appropriation to the Oka crisis which have preoccupied us as citizens and as scholars. Valaskakis's introductory essay, "Parallel Voices," explores the important topic of feminist resistance and Native communications, and how the two approaches intersect and affect scholarship. Marian Bredin's (McGill) "Ethnography and Communication: Approaches to Aboriginal Media" analyzes whether and how issues like "appropriation" and "voice" can be negotiated to enhance inter-cultural understanding. Lorna Roth's (Concordia) "Mohawk Airwaves and Cultural Challenges" analyzes the pivotal agenda-setting role of local radio for the Mohawk and Montreal communities during the 1990 Oka crisis and how this coverage was skewed by the producer's and reporter's English / French language capacities or incapacities. In the process, the theoretical and practical contradictions of the doctrine of "multi-culturalism" are illuminated. Two Carleton scholars, Valda Blundell and Marilyn Burgess, explore white North American popular culture images of "Indians" and how they affect First People's self-understanding. Their provocative studies are respectively titled " `Echoes of a Proud Nation': Reading Kahnawake's Powwow as a Post-Oka Text" and "Canadian `Range Wars': Struggles over Indian Cowboys." Moira McLoughlin's (Santa Clara) "Of Boundaries and Borders: First Nations' History in Museums" demonstrates how "white" ways of seeing Native cultures are reinforced by Canadian museum exhibits. Together, these articles present a thought-provoking example of how the mass media construct minority discourses in such a way that majority "learning" is severely impeded and First Nation concerns remain unintelligible to other Canadians.

I wish you a fond farewell and continued good reading in the pages of our Journal as it changes under its new editor.



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