Talking about the newspaper industry, its successes, losses and challenges can feel self-defeating to those of us who are closest to it.
The conversation will inevitably bring out the types who claim that print is dead and offer colourful bon mots about our perceived shortcomings.Those poorly spelled comments will set off the usual round of hand-wringing and discussions about what we are posed to lose as a society, let alone a community, if a once-trusted model of news buckles under the pressure.
It’s a vicious cycle that goes nowhere, but how do we make things right? How do we ensure that a valuable member of the fourth estate functions as it should—holding power to account—with changing financial realities and cultural mores.
Related: Hodge: Dark day for the local media industry
Some say it’s, in part, on the government.
In June, the House of Commons heritage committee issued recommendations on how to save the industry, including a five-year tax credit to compensate print outlets for a portion of their digital investments.
But in September, Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, released a cultural strategy that lacked measures to boost newspapers across Canada.
At the time, Joly said Ottawa wasn’t going to bail out industry models that are no longer viable, and would instead focus on supporting innovation, experimentation and the transition to digital platforms.
Perhaps, however, there could be some reexamination on that front given the current realities.
Perhaps there could also be a shift in education. It’s become abundantly clear through the onset of social media, the proliferation of actual fake news and the swell of dissent regarding once trusted news organizations, that a lot of people don’t know what news is.
We recently came under fire for an advertisement running in the paper. While we understand there is a clear line between ads and news, we took charges of bias on the chin nonetheless.
We stayed quiet because we don’t take sides. We are here for you, no matter what cause you support or issue you are against.
The men and women who are out there gathering news for you every day aren’t doing so with an agenda. We, as humans may have a bias, but not an agenda. It’s our role to share the news. You can decide what you think.
Perhaps it’s time for us in the industry and you to start singing our praises and rooting for the home team. Because we are your home team.
The head of an airline recently came into our office and said that’s what he was going to ask of Kelowna: To support them so their company could take flight.
He plainly said not many get the privilege to have their own airline and there was no bashfulness or self doubt in the comment.
It was kind of refreshing.
Keeping that in mind we’d like to say that as well. Not every community has dedicated men and women working in multiple mediums supporting community events, activities and people.
So, support us. Because we are your voice in the community. In print, and online.
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