Year Born: 1945
Member of CAB Hall of Fame
Deverell, Rita (1945- )
Rita Deverell got her start in television in 1972 when she helped to create a very successful children’s program called All In a Tube. Since then, she’s been an on-air journalist, a producer, a university professor, a social activist, a mentor and a visionary television pioneer.
In 1974, she gained a position with the CBC, eventually becoming a producer/host of CBC Access (1978-82). In 1983, Rita joined the University of Regina’s School of Journalism and Communications – leaving in 1988 to become one of the founders of the world’s first multi-faith and multicultural broadcaster — Vision TV. Programs she produced for Vision TV have won or have been nominated for many awards.
In support of diversity, Rita Deverell helped to advance the careers of visible minorities and Aboriginal people. She can also be credited with influencing positively the portrayal of women onscreen, ensuring that at Vision TV viewers would see women of all ages discussing a wide range of vital subjects.
From 2002 to 2005, Rita was Director of News and Current Affairs at APTN, where she mentored her Aboriginal successor.
Rita Deverell was known as an active volunteer in many areas – among them, working on racial and cultural diversity through the Joint Societal Issues Committee of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, serving as a board member of the Obsidian Theatre and as a member of a number of advisory councils.
In 1993, Rita Deverell was named in Maclean’s Honour Roll of Outstanding Canadians. As well, she was the recipient of such honours as the Canadian Black Achievement Award and Media Watch’s Dodi Robb Award. In 2001-2002, Rita was Reader’s Digest Visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of Western Ontario.
In 2002, Rita Deverell was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame. In 2005, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2007, she returned to Western to become the University’s first CanWest Global Fellow in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS), and in 2009 began a two-year term as Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.
Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies was established in the mid-1980s. Endowed by well-known Toronto-based feminist and philanthropist Nancy Ruth, the Chair was established to raise awareness of women’s issues by bringing to campus distinguished scholars in women’s studies and activists who have contributed to the advancement of women.
In March 2018, Rita Deverell was named “Woman of the Year” by the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA).
Written by Pip Wedge – November, 2009