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journalism    Our Canadian media is taking a beating as of late.  Neil Macdonald opines:

“Consider Postmedia, the biggest newspaper chain in the country.

It is largely owned by an American hedge fund, which regularly drains the member newspapers’ dwindling profits at a handsome interest rate as their newsrooms are merged and hollowed out to cut costs, and editorial direction is dictated from corporate headquarters.

No one knows where it will end, but end-stage asset stripping is probably a safe bet.”

My very own Edmonton Journal has been gutted in the latest round of cuts to the editorial board.  Where do people think ‘news’ comes from?   Primary sources – professional journalists – are the ones reporting and writing the stories that provide the grist for the mill for carrion feeders (bloggers like myself and the rest of the internet) possible.  We should be very concerned that our eyes and ears to the world are slowly being hacked to death by corporations that prioritize everything but the actual process of Journalism.

“Baron, now executive editor of the Washington Post, acknowledged the economic forces ripping the business to shreds.

It is so on target that I’m going to quote its most salient passage:

“The greatest danger to a vigorous press today,” he begins, “comes from ourselves.

“The press is routinely belittled, badgered, harassed, disparaged, demonized, and subjected to acts of intimidation from all corners — including boycotts, threats of cancellations (or defunding, in the case of public broadcasting) …   

“Our independence — simply posing legitimate questions — is seen as an obstacle to what our critics consider a righteous moral, ideological, political, or business agenda.

“In this environment, too many news organizations are holding back, out of fear — fear that we will be saddled with an uncomfortable political label, fear that we will be accused of bias, fear that we will be portrayed as negative, fear that we will lose customers, fear that advertisers will run from us, fear that we will be assailed as anti-this or anti-that, fear that we will offend someone, anyone.

“Fear, in short, that our weakened financial condition will be made weaker because we did something strong and right, because we simply told the truth and told it straight.”

   Yeah.  The facts of matter might be offensive, but they still are the facts of the matter.  We seem to have lost sight of this salient feature in much of society.  The problem, of course, is that our press depends on advertising and therefore behest to many sorts of of influences that detracts from the reporting of the facts. 

I hope we as a society get back on track and start supporting our journalists and the crucial role they play in society.  Being able to comment and critique in a contextually appropriator manner is founded on having access to the facts of any particular situation.

“But the original information, before it is aggregated and re-aggregated a thousand times, has to come from someone with the experience, brains and training to uncover it in the first place.

That is usually the work of credentialed journalism. It’s what Baron did in Boston. The alternative is usually just spin and corporatist fantasy, and let us all hope the latter does not overwhelm the former.”




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February 2016


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