The Toronto Star’s John Honderich is at it again, using a news product to lobby the government to give the dead profession free money with this noxious column:
Where is Ottawa’s help for Canada’s newspapers?
Where is Ottawa’s help? Memo to John Honderich: they don’t owe you any money. If you are unable to connect with people, that is your problem. We have homeless youth littering the streets of Toronto, and the federal government owes those children salvation.
You blowhards are adults who had a million chances to get yourselves up to code. You didn’t, and now you want someone else to enable your delusions with cash. Forget it.
This passage is interesting:
Yet in the past decade, at least 137 community and local newspapers have folded or ceased publication. This, in turn, has led to the creation of “news deserts” where some communities are left with no news outlet at all. Many others are struggling desperately to stay afloat.
Give me a break. This is such a distortion of facts that it isn’t funny.
I worked for newspapers here in Canada, the first being the Burlington Post. The stories in those local newspapers were happy, happy soft news junk. It is not as if local papers were in the habit of uncovering real items. They covered photo ops of local corrupt politicians. They never bothered pointing out the open affairs they were having and how they rewarded their mistresses with patronage appointments, for instance. There is a casting couch in politics, and one I had witnessed as a j-school student, no less. Reporters gossiped in the corridors of City Hall about a “Council Bunny”, but none of them actually reported on it or named names.
Social media wasn’t around back then, but even in the mid-1990s, you couldn’t give local papers away for free. People were not going to spring for happy advertorials and soft news.
Social media came along and supplanted that dreck, and people informed themselves, making those newspapers useless and they shut down because that “news poverty” and “news dessert” was happening long before social media. The difference is that local businesses had no other venues to advertise, and funded those empty shells. Once those same businesses could crowdfund and advertise on Facebook and Instagram as well as Google, Trip Advisor, and Yelp, they finally had an out. Classifieds were replaced by Kijiji, and an antiquated system was dropped for something far more effective.
It is a Darwinian world. Survival of the fittest, and newspapers weren’t fit. It is a natural law, and dura lex sed lex still applies. Journalism’s de haut en bas attitude blinded the profession from seeing the obvious, and now they are paying the price.
The government is already bailing out countless anemic industries in this country; they don’t need to bail you out as well. Journalism is replaceable, and no government should fund it because the government is the most powerful and corrupt of all our institutionalized monsters, and we don’r need their meddling in it.
The alternative cannot be dependent on the government or beholden to it. Canada has always had difficulty taking actual risks without a safety net. The alternative must be done by bootstrapping alone: using whatever resources you have to make it happen.
In the US, many successful people who broke out that way advocate it, and bootstrapping is a concept that would serve journalism’s alternative well: when you owe no favours, it is that much easier to get rid of our filters and speak the truth unedited...