Photo by Kyla Hidalgo

Girls+ Rock is collaborating with Apartment613 for an eight-week workshop series called Music Journalism 101. The workshop will run every Thursday, from April 2 to May 21, 2020 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the National Arts Centre.

The workshop will be open to women, two-spirit, non-binary and trans people, 19 and over, with priority given to Indigenous people and people of colour.

Adella Khan, a Carleton University journalism graduate, is leading the workshop. Khan has a great deal of experience in both journalism and music and has written and edited for various publications, including Ottawa Beat. Khan was approached by Girls+ Rock a few months ago and decided to accept the role because she believes the organization is doing amazing work.

“I see them disrupting the music industry,” said Khan. “They are focused on marginalized communities because they want to be able to give people in those communities [the] skills that they need to go and start working in the Ottawa music scene.”

This is Khan’s first time leading a workshop where she gets to combine her musical and journalistic talents. She also has a lot of experience creating DIY publications–something she is looking forward to teaching.

“I think what’s so exciting about it is that it is helping people up their skills and translate these ideas–that they probably already have–into work,” said Khan.

Through the collaboration, Girls+ Rock hopes to increase representation and diversity in the newsroom and the music industry by giving artists from marginalized and racialized communities a chance to participate.

“[If] there’s no diversity in the newsroom, it affects how topics and issues are written about and reported,” said Tiffanie Tri, chair of Girls+ Rock. “This relates to the music industry because, similar to the journalism industry or the media industry, we have a major issue with diversity.”

The demographics in newsrooms don’t always represent the demographics of the public being served. Tri said this lack of diversity means artists from marginalized communities are often overlooked. Girls+ Rock had been planning the workshop for two years but waited for the right time and person to lead it.

“[Khan] is of both worlds,” said Tri. “This is also her passion to mentor the next generation of music journalists, especially for marginalized communities.”

The program includes hands-on activities and homework such as going out to a live show and writing a review. Journalism experience is not required, and the program will allow participants to build their portfolio while getting the opportunity to write for Apt613 and Girls+ Rock’s blog.

“We hope to create the next editors and journalists,” said Tri.

The program costs $599, but for students, youth and seniors, it is $399.  There are opportunities for further subsidization if the cost is a barrier. Girls+ Rock is supportive toward creating a diverse music industry and allowing those who identify as women from all backgrounds to thrive.

“Everyone has a role in this movement to increase representation and I encourage and challenge anyone—especially from marginalized communities—to participate, even if it seems scary,” said Tri.  “Give it a try because we are here to help you. You can do it.”

Apt613 is an award-winning blog dedicated to showcasing Ottawa’s arts and culture scene. On the site, editors, writers, photographers and podcasters contribute to share local community stories.