The Quebec student strike of 2012, also known as the Maple Spring, generated global headlinesand led to the cancellation of large tuition increases. The sometimes violent protests also raised questions about how the media covers student-led movements. In the Quebec case, many students gave the coverage a failing grade.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, the most visible leader of the Quebec movement, says that at one point bodyguards accompanied some journalists covering the protests, because students were so angry about coverage they saw as shallow or biased, that reporters worried for their safety.
“After 20 weeks, people were very angry,” recalled Nadeau-Dubois, who served as the chief spokesperson of the student group CLASSE. “They were being beaten by the cops and they were not being listened to by the government,” he added, “so they turned against the journalists.”
Nadeau-Dubois made the comments during a panel discussion about how the media depicts student and civil society movements, like Occupy, in Quebec, the U.S. and the U.K. It was part of the Worldviews Conference on Media and Higher Education held at the University of Toronto this week.