Al Hogan – Take comfort in this story

I usually don’t scrape content from other blogs but Paul Wells has an interesting post:

World o’ Depressing News – By Paul Wells

Big new U.S. study confirms all your hunches (you’ll need to sign up):

• There is more news to consume than ever, but it consists of more thousands of iterations of the same six or eight stories than ever.

• Original reporting is the resource taking the biggest hit from short-sighted newsroom managers.

• The blogosphere is seriously not picking up the slack.

• If you think every newspaper looks the same, you’re right.

His point two confirms my suspicions about the Times and Transcript here in Moncton. They slightly modify government press releases when covering a government initiative. They, in many cases, copy word for word, sections of these press releases. Then they salt in a quote from the Minister (whomever) and call it original reporting.

I’d like to see more stories about how provinces/states/countries have tackled the issues that face New Brunswick today – obesity, lack of exercise, low literacy, chronically underperforming economy, population decline, low levels of post secondary education, crumbling infrastructure, lack of vision, etc. etc. etc.

Some of this content is out there. I bump into it during my work day – and I post a bit of it here ocassionally.

How does transcribed government press releases and endless stories about ‘Brad’ and ‘Angelina’ add to the public discourse around the province’s future? Maybe we all want to live in a haze but if the T&T would start to slip in the ocassional story that stimulates real discussion about these critically important issues, we would start (collectively) to get the message.

My bent is economy but the same applies to literacy, obesity, poor health, etc. Have you seen the Tim Horton advertisment where the RAV4 is ‘stalking’ the guy drinking coffee? That, to me, should be the role of the media in New Brunswick. They should stalk us about these issues. Slip them in weekly. Daily if necessary. Keep weaving them into the fabric of the publication until slowly but surely we are all taking them seriously.

Maybe that’s just manipulation, I dunno. Maybe that’s propaganda, I dunno.

Maybe daily stories about Brad and Angelina doesn’t represent subliminal suggestion. Maybe all the pulp we read every day is ‘hard news’. Maybe we can sleep well at night knowing that we have Edward R. Murrow-level investigative journalism over at the local paper.

Maybe I am wrong and the media has no role whatsoever to play in transforming New Brunswick into a vibrant, growing economy where people move to and not from.


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0 Responses to Al Hogan – Take comfort in this story

  1. Anonymous says:

    For resources on ‘problem solving’ the first place I usually check is online, typically at government sites, and typically at countries like Switzerland, which is a small decentralized country.

    For social issues they are good for several reasons. First, they are extremely wealthy so its hard to knock them economy wise. Second, their government structure is an extremely loose federation, which means that social programs meant to deal with specific issues like you mention will get ‘tested out’ on a smaller level to see whether they are effective or not.

    Because of the frequent swiss use of referenda, groups dealing with issues will often have a potential solution which they can simply put to a communal vote. So typically, by the time something becomes national policy, it’s soundness is well established. The one I looked at most recently was their methadone treatment facilities.

    Unfortunately, as you guessed, there is literally no reason to cover such issues in New Brunswick because people have no power to implement them. So for forestry, for example, we saw dozens of groups making recommendations, while corporations were only one. The result was, you guessed, virtually everyone else was ignored. Some token initiatives were accepted, until the current ‘forestry crisis’ so called (even though capital fixed costs in the forestry industry have been going down the last few years, New Brunswick has had a huge advantage in lumber trading, and energy costs have not increased yet).

    So its easy to see why people simply stay at home and become apolitical. About three years ago I started getting interested in politics and political economy, and let me tell you, if you think those news stories are bad, try reading the hansard’s or house committee reports!