The Mainstreeter Receives “Bilingual Ottawa” Grant to Boost Francophone Reporting in Old Ottawa East

Mainstreeter Receives Bilingual Ottawa grant 4

Mainstreeter Staff

The Board of Directors of The Mainstreeter, the community voice of Old Ottawa East, announced this month that the community newspaper has been selected as a recipient of a prestigious “Bilingual Ottawa” micro-grant awarded by the Association des Communautés Francophones d’Ottawa (ACFO Ottawa) to help promote and strengthen the bilingual character of Ottawa and its communities.

The Mainstreeter’s project, entitled “Another Voice/Une Autre Voix”, was one of 38 projects developed by 31 different French, English and Bilingual non-profit organizations in and around Ottawa and seven private companies that were selected by ACFO in mid-July to receive micro-grant funding under ACFO’s Bilingual Ottawa program. In total, the Bilingual Ottawa funding for the 38 approved projects totalled $485,000.

In its successful grant application, The Mainstreeter explained the objective of its Another Voice/Une Autre Voix project as follows: “Our project will build bridges between francophones and anglophones in Old Ottawa East through…The Mainstreeter. The project’s main activity is hiring a francophone reporter to cover news and events about francophone youth and students, with a focus on the arts. The goals are to boost reporting in French in The Mainstreeter, and to inform all readers about the vibrancy of our francophone community, thereby creating ties between our francophone and anglophone residents.”

Editor-in-Chief of The Mainstreeter, Lorne Abugov, was delighted by the announcement, and noted that the grant would help the newspaper to build on two of its key strengths and address opportunities for improvement. “By funding the engagement of a bilingual reporter to cover francophone youth and arts, we get to leverage the already-excellent Arts coverage of the paper developed by Arts Editor, Tanis Browning-Shelp, and also utilize the superb French language translation talent of our
volunteer, Jocelyne Caloz,” Abugov said.

“But we haven’t done as much as we need to do in terms of covering our local schools and students, and our youth generally, nor have we had consistent French-language content in the paper to meet the needs of the francophone population of Old Ottawa East. With this grant, we have an opportunity to better meet these challenges.”

The timing of the grant was also viewed as a big plus for The Mainstreeter by Browning-Shelp. “As Arts Editor, I am thrilled that a bilingual reporter will be writing about francophone arts and culture projects and highlighting the vibrancy of our francophone community! Plus, it is perfect timing for the new reporter to be celebrating the artistic and cultural achievements of young francophones in Old Ottawa East with the new French-language elementary school opening soon at the Deschâtelets Building. What a fantastic addition to the Art Beat!”

The Bilingual Ottawa micro-grant program was created following the official recognition of the City of Ottawa’s bilingual character in 2017, after years of citizen and organisational engagement.

The Mainstreeter announced that it hopes to engage a francophone reporter for the six-month term project within the next few weeks. Interested candidates are asked to send an email with resumé attached to editor@mainstreeter.com by August 30, 2021.

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