Communication for Community
Stephenville, Newfoundland, Canada, March, 1997
Sponsored by Communication for Survival Initiative,
Westviking College and the Long Range Regional
Economic Development Board
Jennifer Young of Stephenville was one of more than 100 participants
at the Communication for Community Survival Conference at
Westviking College. This photo and these stories first appeared in the
conference newsletter, Community Mosaic. For your copy, ask Tom
Promoting Dialogue on Issues Facing Our
More than 100 people braved a March-comin'-in-like-a-lion
snowstorm to participate in the first Communication for Community
Cec Godwin of Fogo Island was the first to register on-site; he drove
his old Chev across the island in the storm. But it was Evelyn Knight of
the University of Kentucky who made the longest trek.
It was a doing conference; most of the event was live on local
television. The participants were the crew: on-air and off-air.
Workshops were faciliated on community television; community radio;
newsletter; popular theatre; black and white photography; posters,
and computer communications.
The conference was phase 8 of the Communication for Survival
initiative and most of the participants were communication
volunteers from rural communities in western Newfoundland.
For the past two years the initiative has been facilitating dialogue on
survival issues within and between rural communities.
Perhaps it was the storm raging outside the college cafeteria, but on
Friday night as the group participated in making television and
listening to each other's stories, everyone seemed to agree there was
a feeling of togetherness that permeated the rest of the conference.
In true Newfoundland fashion, there were lots of opportunities to
share yarns and socialize. There was excellent music the whole
weekend, thanks to sound technology students and Le Gars Ti Jardin
from Cap St-Georges.
The participants met in small groups to discuss both issues facing
their communities and strategies for positive change. All report backs
were live on-air.
Headlines from Community Mosaic
Greetings from the World Wide Web
Messages from as far afield as Australia were sent to the particants.
Sharing information through newsletters
Sharon DeLodder, executive director of the Bay St. George Chamber of
Commerce, says a newsletter is the most effective way to
communicate with members and the public.
Community Economic Development: What is it?
Turning the Tide, a Baccalieu region newsletter, suggests the first step
to community economic development is people accepting
responsibility for their future and recapturing the spirit of self
reliance that built Newfoundland outports.
Telecentre offers Internet as a local business resource
The Western Regional Telecentre, located at the W. E. Cormack
Development Centre in Stephenville, offers one-on-one sessions with
members of the Bay St. George Chamber of Commerce.
Outer Bay of Islands form Round Table to ensure future
Action groups from Lark Harbour and York Harbour are working for the
future of their communities faced with a closed fishery.
Newsletter focuses on youth out-migration
The Trinity-Conception Community Development Corporation is
concerned that more than 7,000 young people have recently been
forced off the island.
Making our voices heard
Cindy O'Neill, facilitator of the popular theatre workshop, said about
her group's performance - "We all have a voice, and we're going to
get a chance to get our voices out there."
Reaching out to the world
Each participant in Kevin Brake's computer communications workshop
got an opportunity to create a personal home page.
, a member of the Burgeo
communication for survival committee, also runs a bed and breakfast.
D'Arcy Drury, co-ordinator of Westviking's journalism department,
helped by students Nicole Adams and Tanya Eales, conducted hands-on
radio sessions with representatives of Association Regionale de la
Cote Ouest. Journalism has an AM station while the francophones of
the Port au Port Peninsula have a community FM station.
Participants from community television groups in Placentia and
Lourdes produced videos in the community television workshop,
facilitated by Don Murphy of the journalism department and Dave
Cooper of the Burgeo Broadcasting System, a community owned cable
Ray Mackie, co-ordinator of the college's art school, helped
participants create posters for the conference, as well as for the
According to participants in the newsletter workshop, facilitated by
instructor Stan Moeller, the importance of creating a newsletter is it
will provide people within the community a chance to unite and share
similar interests. It also brings about an awareness of the importance
of community involvement.
Stephen's photo tips
Stephen Lee, facilitator of the black and white photography
workshop, is also associate editor of The Georgian and former
Great distances, but common problems
by Shana Doyle
What happens when people from as far away as Kentucky and as
close as here in Stephenville met to discuss issues that affect their
communities? Common ground on many issues.
One of the initial activities of the conference was a Friday discussion
session. The participants broke into four working conversation groups.
They discussed issues relevant to what they hoped to see change. The
groups then met together to give live on-air reports on what was
achieved during these conversations.
One of the common themes was the sustainability of culture in our
communities. It was decided that the mass media is vital in changing
Social problems identified included the abuse of alcohol,
unemployment and a lack of adequate infrastructure.
"People just aren't getting the message," said Damian Meade. He said
that through public meetings and sessions people could be more
Information was another common theme throughout discussions.
Florence Courtenay said "one solution is to ensure people have an
The topic most addressed was communication - when we are able to
look at communication problems, especially between government and
people, barriers can be lowered and community advancement can
If you want to find out more about the Ryakuga Newspaper Wall
concept, check this out.