Ginella Massa is the first Muslim reporter in a hijab to anchor a Canadian newscast.
Ginella Massa made history in January 2015 when she became the first TV news reporter to wear a hijab while doing her job. The hijabi journalist again made waves in mainstream Canadian television when she became a news anchor. The position was in City TV, where she is presently employed as a reporter. With this move, she became Canada's first hijabi to be a news anchor.
Response to Massa's initial segment where she sat in front of the cameras have been mostly positive, with a small number of negative barbs being thrown in. One person tweeted that putting her in front of camera represents an evolutionary regression.
For Massa, such comments do not trouble her. She says, “I need to continue what I’m doing because for some this may be the only interaction they ever have with a Muslim woman in hijab, and maybe it will change their perception about who we are and what we can do.”
— André Picard (@picardonhealth) November 20, 2016
For Massa, challenge is nothing new. She was born in Panama and was subsequently raised in Toronto. Her mother became a Muslim when she was a child and she was raised as a Muslim in a city which has the biggest Muslim population in Canada. Journalism was her first love and she had always dreamed of being the maiden hijabi reporter in the Canadian broadcast media. She admitted that for a long time, it was just a dream as she was afraid that a reporter wearing an Islamic head covering would not be accepted in majority Canadian media.
Massa's misgivings solidified when a colleague told her that women wearing hijab will never be recruited on air as it distracts viewers from the issue at hand. This statement only made her work much harder so she could prove him wrong. She credits her CityNews colleagues for helping her to flourish. Massa said, “I have been treated as an equal by my colleagues and producers who are always eager to hear my story ideas and opinions. They treat me with respect and listen to the perspectives I have to offer.”
Massa hopes she’s helped opened the door other Muslim women, “How you’re dressed shouldn’t define whether or not you can succeed. I’m really excited to be the first hijabi to anchor the news, but I certainly hope I’m not the last.”