Thursday, June 20, 2013

On The Demise Of Local News

The Midland Free Press closed its doors yesterday.  Nothing much has been made of it.  Another paper going under is not news these days.  However, Kate Harris of AWARE Simcoe  has a nice obit for the paper, and a few words of warning:

I was happy to be in the fine tradition of two centuries of local newspapers when there was a reporter sitting at every council meeting to write up the proceedings. The public was informed. Democracy was served. Now, many councils meet without any media in attendance. The P.R. machine substitutes for a free press. And it’s not free. On your tax dollar, Springwater Township - for instance - and Simcoe County each have a communications department whose job it is to write ‘news’ that makes the elected politicians look good. And the newspapers that survive print these ‘news’ releases without identifying them as P.R. hackery. After all, who can afford a reporter?

These items look just like news articles – and people respond to them as if they are the genuine article. 

But they’re partisan and paid for – by the politicians, who they serve but ultimately, by you, the people, who have the most to lose when another newspaper bites the dust.


deb said...

this situation is soo bad...we need the smaller independent papers but I guess those days are long gone. I remember when Lord Black was buying up the papers and Canada was allowing him this control over large swathes of the media. Never a good idea to have media giants ruling the communications of an entire country.ON the note of one partisan owned media, I guess harper will support the CBC once he can control the press releases and the P&P.
I know one day I will flick on the TV looking for Evan and find Michelle Rempel running the show:(
sorry I know this comment has veered off topic;)

Without Gun said...

Conrad Black wasn't that bad for journalism. He didn't micromanage his chain, he didn't do mass layoffs and he bought papers to make money from them, not to shut them down to cut costs. I was a newsroom manager at two papers in the Southam chain, and believe me, if you hit your profit targets, head office didn't care if editors came to work naked and ate raw dog for lunch. You didn't worry about your job and you were given the resources to do it. But it does feel weird to look back at Black as some sort of golden age of Canadian newspapers.