You 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
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.
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