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Rafe Mair–So Long Ed Murrow and Hard-Hitting Mainstream Journalism

Hubhat35-e1359589900170You can hardly pick up a paper these days without hearing of another local paper or indeed chain of papers folding up, laying hundreds off and leaving the community without a local paper, or with only one. We certainly have seen that right here in the Cowichan Valley.

Newspaper mogul David Black’s callous disregard was well orchestrated when he bought the Cowichan Citizen during the time when the Cowichan News-Leader staff was out on the picket line.

Did he bargain in good faith as the labour code demands? Of course not, he simply shut the paper down and now controls the news coverage and advertising market virtually unchallenged, for now.

The Cowichan Citizen staff are challenged to barely cover the events of community concern and interest.  They are spread too thin. The community suffers as a result. The Black Press approach is to starve the newsroom and just focus on grabbing the advertising revenue which is then shipped out of the valley to their corporate offices.

Our experience is now being felt in Nanaimo where the ‘Black Press’ owned  140 year old Nanaimo Daily News was shutdown throwing their staff out of work and reducing the news coverage to whatever the Nanaimo Bulletin can manage.

Award-winning broadcaster Rafe Mair, never one to pull punches as a open line broadcaster, writer, or blogger bemoans the death of so much of the print media and so should we.

This piece was originally posted in the Common Sense Canadian


The late, great Edward R. Murrow – father of hard-hitting, mainstream journalism


By Rafe Mair

It’s fascinating to watch the print media in its death throes. In a way, I feel like dancing on Postmedia’s grave but somehow that doesn’t seem appropriate. I devoutly wish it hadn’t happened but, slow and painful though it may have been, it has.

Newspapers have been with us, for better or worse, for too long to be tossed aside like, well, yesterday’s newspaper. One can wade in with praise or vitriol, depending on one’s own obituary preferences, but to what end? The eminent journalist, Paul Willcocks, in a recent Tyee article, advised that it’s time to sit back, take a look around, and start making some decisions. Right, but first we must know what we want and what our choices are.

Lingering advantage



Newspapers bring many things, much of which is irrelevant except to those to whom it isn’t. If you’re in the market for a house or a car, those sections are invaluable; if not, you skip scores of pages to get to the Comics or Sports Pages. I’m going to assume that like me, it’s Public Affairs you’re interested in.

Since the arrival of radio in the 1920s, the papers have been on a slide when it comes to reporting news. They’re just too slow, their lingering advantage being the ability of the consumer to consider matters at leisure. To me, that “lingering advantage” has been important – TV and radio needs more. They try and sometimes succeed with talking heads, but it’s not the same as the Sunday Papers by the fire. The sad truth is, there just aren’t enough “Sunday by the fire” folks to make it pay.

Part of that “lingering advantage” is, or rather was, the opinion columns. Again, the talking heads are OK but just can’t match the ability to get you to sit back, in a place of comfort or perhaps need, relax and read a provocative article on something that interests you, cast it aside for a moment if the phone rings then pick it up again when you wish. This, I daresay, is why, along with sheer habit, most of you buy the newspaper.

Newspapers gave up what they did best


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1 comment to Rafe Mair–So Long Ed Murrow and Hard-Hitting Mainstream Journalism

  • Pamela Mac Neil

    There are very few mainstream jounalists I read and when I do I read them online.The MSM media for most part really has nothing to say. They gave Harper a pass for 9 and half years, never once challenging his Neoliberal/authoritarian agenda. There are excellent journalists online on sites like ICH, iPolitics, Axis of logic,, etc. The corporate media is touting the tune of their corporate masters and for the most part they are completely biased especially the network news by the CBC. The real analysis and thinking is found on the internet by journalists who genuinely investigate. I say thank GAWD for the internet or we would be stuck with the MSM saying nothing.

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