Grass Roots in the Media

  • Lilian H. Smith Library 239 College Street Toronto, ON, M5T 1R5 Canada

If you and your grassroots group are ready to reach out to more people and grow our grassroots organization, what better way to advertise than reaching out to the media?

The media plays a significant role in influencing the general public. They occasionally feature small scale community projects, allowing different passions and voices to be known. Besides, who doesn't like hearing about the folks who make the world a better place?

Grassroots in the Media, will explore the different ways grassroots movements are represented in traditional media networks. The panel explore how to engage in these networks, often without professional media training and/or communications staff, as well as the challenges that come with that territory.



  • Jonathan Goldsbie, Canadaland & former political reporter for Now Magazine
  • Luke Simcoe, Urban+Digital & former Urban Affairs reporter at Metro News
  • Farah Mawani, Founder: Building Roads Together, Farahway Global

Moderated by Claire McWatt, former Chair of the Toronto Youth Cabinet and Project Coordinator at Volunteer Toronto (Grassroots Growth)

Register now on Eventbrite.

More information about the panelists:

Jonathan Goldsbie, Canadaland

Jonathan Goldsbie is the news editor of Canadaland, helping guide the country's premier media watchdog in its examinations of the intersections of power and the press. Before that, he spent four years as a staff writer at NOW Magazine, covering City Hall, the police, courts, and other institutions from a proudly left-wing point of view. He is also a devourer of information, investigator of mysteries, and caller of bullshit — skills he puts to use fighting fascism through journalism.



Luke Simcoe, Urban+Digital

Luke is a communications and journalism professional with 5+ years of experience in the media. He is currently the Communication Lead at Urban+Digital and co-host of Metropolis Cast. Prior to this role, he worked as a digital specialist reporter and data journalist for Urban Affairs in Metro News.

He’s relatively new to the grassroots world but often interfaced with grassroots groups in his role as a journalist. He has been involved with grassroots organizations such as Civic Tech Toronto.


Farah Mawani, Free the Hikers & Farahway Global

Farah has over 20 years of experience in global, national, and local community-based research, teaching, advocacy, policy, and program development at the nexus of human rights and mental health.

She co-founded Free the Hikers, a grassroots global campaign to free her friends Josh Fattal, Shane Bauer, and Sarah Shourd, held hostage by the Iranian regime for 2 years and 2 months. After their release in 2011, she founded Farahway Global to create and advise human rights campaigns, including the Harper Call Egypt campaign for Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy, wrongfully imprisoned in Egypt for almost two years.

She developed Building Roads Together, a community-based peer walking/rolling group program to promote inclusion and reduce mental health inequities, based on her experience of trauma and recovery. She received the 2015 City of Toronto Access Award, to recognize her leadership.

She received a Centre for Social Innovation Agent of Change: City Builder award, and Healthier Cities and Communities Hub Seed Grant (consortium of Toronto Public Health, Wellesley Institute, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto) to evaluate, enhance, and expand Building Roads Together.