Although Ginella Massa has been an on-air reporter since 2015, this week marked a significant step forward for her and for women of the Muslim faith everywhere, when she sat in as news anchor for the first time. The stint at the news desk with Toronto’s CityNews station marks a first for her — and for Canada.
— Ginella Massa (@Ginella_M) November 18, 2016
Massa hails from Panama and grew up in Toronto. She has been pursuing her career in news as a journalist and producer since 2010. “It’s pretty exciting to be recognized as the first,”Massa told Yahoo Style. “But it’s also unfortunate that it has taken this long in a country as diverse as Canada.”
“I’m really grateful to work for a station that sees the value in having employees from all walks of life, who actually reflect the diversity of the community we are reporting in,” she continued.
Ginella Massa Reporting for CityNews
Massa recently wrote about her long-standing dream of becoming an on-air journalist on her blog in an article titled “Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done”:
“From a very young age I had dreamt about becoming the first hijabi reporter in Canadian broadcast media, but for a long time it was just that: a dream. I wasn’t sure it could ever be realized — not because of my own abilities, but because I wasn’t sure someone who looked like me would be accepted on Canadian TV.”
With her growing presence as a reporter and anchor on television, Massa joins a club with just a few members, most notably Noor Tagouri, an on-air reporter for Newsy, and Fatima Manji, a reporter for Channel 4 in the U.K.
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Fatima Manji on Channel 4
As for other Muslim women in the media, the website Hijabtrendzs takes note of a number of other firsts for hijabi in North America in 2016, including Rahaf Khatib on the cover of Runner’s World and Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American elected to office in the U.S.
Now that her own goals have come to fruition, Massa reflects on the future: “It feels really amazing to be the first hijabi reporter in Canada, but I certainly hope I’m not the last.”