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PCC's Public Purpose

PCC is both a public project and an academic one. PCC's public service function is to identify and publicize under-reported stories and thereby to act as an informal 'auditor' of Canada's national news media and their implicit claims to be 'watchdogs of society,' informing the public about significant issues. The academic function, described in the next section, is to conduct a systematic 'negative content analysis' of Canada's national news media.

We believe PCC is necessary because of the very real possibility that Canadians are not receiving all the information they need about significant events and issues through Canada's national media. To perform this role as 'auditor' of the news media, and to encourage both journalists and members of the news audience to seek more information about stories that receive little coverage, PCC seeks nominations of under-reported stories from a range of sources, including advocacy groups and associations, journalists, various periodicals and members of the public.

Through seminars conducted in the two participating universities, students research and investigate all nominated stories. Then, synopses are written for each verified story. The annual top ten list of under-reported stories is produced through the work of seminar participants, our panel of judges, co-directors and research assistants. Finally, we produce an annual report, this Yearbook, to acquaint readers with the individual under-reported stories and with PCC. This aspect of PCC exists to increase awareness and stimulate debate about gaps in Canadian news reporting. These tasks are quite labour intensive and approximately 2/3 of the PCC annual budget goes towards the salaries of research assistants.

At this point in PCC's history, the research funding we presently have does not cover the public service aspect of our work. We are still dependent on donations to fulfil our public service role (for instance, the production and distribution of the Yearbook depends on donation). Your contributions allow us to continue the public service aspect of PCC.

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