Fraser Institute

For traditional media to avoid irrelevance

Ian Reid is back at his computer station this week and that is good news for blog readers. He wrote a piece at The Real Story last October that is worth reexamination because the subject of defective journalism continues to be an issue at the forefront.

Bloggers have covered stories ignored in the mainstream media in favour of claptrap and drivel. There may be no better example than a Vancouver Sun rewrite of a Fraser Institute press release claiming Gordon Campbell was one of Canada’s finest money-managers. The article was prepared by a Montreal based Postmedia hack who seemingly made no effort to verify any claim made by the widely discredited propagandists. Sun writer Don Cayo presented it in his blog too. Not surprisingly, reader comments (now removed) take opposite views.

Journalists guided by agendas other than honest and objective reporting may enjoy positions too prominent in BC political debates so it is in the public interest to hold media members accountable for their failures and inadequacies. Since mainstream properties won’t allow this conversation on their platforms, the online world becomes the appropriate forum.

Writing for his audience of marketing strategists, blogger Paul Gillen had this interesting comment on new channels:

In order for traditional media to avoid irrelevance, they must face tough questions about the value they bring to the market. You should be pressing the issue.

Traditional media’s value has long been based upon “The Audience,” that mysterious and protected collection of people who have agreed to enter into a trusted relationship with the media company. But today the audience dictates the terms of engagement. You won’t find them on circulation lists anymore. They gather in Google search results, on LinkedIn, special-interest Web sites and anywhere else they choose.


Back to Ian Reid’s contribution of October:

It’s not bloggers vs. newspaper reporters. It’s good journalism vs. bad.

Last Friday Bill Good attacked BC Rail bloggers on his regular round-up of political news “Cutting Edge of the Ledge.” Here’s what Good had to say about the difference between real reporters and bloggers:

There is a lot of curiosity, but what we can’t do and what people in the blogosphere do is they assume a lot that they don’t know. They profess a lot that they don’t know. We’re in the rather awkward position of having to know things before we report them, which is why throughout the prelude to all this I was sitting back, saying, “I want to see what comes out in court.”

One of his guests went on to call bloggers concerned with the BC Rail Trial “wing-nuts”. I guess that makes me a… wingnut.

But here’s the thing. If you’ve got something good then it doesn’t matter whether you’re on the internet or not. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing a blog or dialing it in from the press gallery in Victoria. When you dig, when you find something, it’s the basis for a good story, no matter where it’s distributed.

And then you have news commentators like Good. “I was sitting back saying I want to see what comes out in Court,” is his excuse. Sometimes I think he makes a point of ‘not knowing’ so he’s free to express any view no matter how removed from the facts.

We’re in the rather awkward position of having to know things before we report them,” he says, explaining away how he doesn’t report because he can’t be bothered to try and know things.

The corollary to what Good says, of course, is that you have to be looking for things all the time. You have to dig. Otherwise all you report are the daily gainsburgers the government hands out. And that kind of sums up where I think Bill Good’s career is at: a gainsburger distributor.



11 replies »

  1. “Traditional media's value has long been based upon “The Audience”


    It appears that it is now based on a binary that flips back and forth between advertising dollars and insider-access 'exclusives'.




  2. Regarding the picture on this blog, note the wall banner behind the radio triplets. It reads:

    “The Voice of
    Business in BC”

    Well, they certainly have been in recent debates have they not? Like IPP's, fish farms and HST.


  3. Some of us old timers might remember the term “Investigative Reporter”. I wonder if the NW crew is familiar with the term?


  4. Good is barking up the wrong tree as usual, as he continues his embarrassing tirades against the blogosphere. There are good blogs, like yours and some very clearly wingnut blogs as well. I think most are adult enough to sift through.

    The “Eye” as been all but banned from NW, because Good doesn't like the questions I ask his guests. No I'm not rude or abusive, rather I deal in fact, which some of his guests are loathe to do!

    I am like a poker player, I only bet on a sure thing. If I ask a question, I damn well know the right answer.

    I'm not officially banned but when I was give a caller number, say 3, Good would go caller 2 then 4. 'nough said.

    Fact is I do not listen to 'NW anymore has I find most of the shows puerile and the news dated and stale. Radio 1130 is far more up to date.

    As for the Vancouver Sun, all I can say it is fishwrap and all fishwrap ends in the rubbish pail.


  5. I no longer listen to the morning slot (after 45 years as a regular) because listening to Good just made me angry. One of the mantras he lays out regularly is that he is subject to lawsuits if he says something that isn't true. It doesn't seem to ever dawn on his thick brick that he can't be sued for asking questions. Telling us something that he “knows” is reading the news. Asking questions (i.e. holding feet to the fire as 'NW's misleading advertising says he does) is what he fails at miserably. He either doesn't have the wit to come up with the questions, or is afraid of the answers. Either way, he is a disgrace to journalism and not worth listening to.


  6. Reading the BC newspapers and watching the TV media, is utterly boring. It's always the same old, same old. They are all, BC Liberal butt kissers.

    I don't read newspapers, listen to NW, nor, watch the TV news channels. I read the bloggers. How true it is, the media are a disgrace to their professions. They are pathetically easy to see through.


  7. that “Power Up” rip off of RSA anime/cartoon is incredibly irritating. A slick corporate meme designed to spin our brains at warp speed.

    another brilliant post, Norm. Really drives home how the corporations can't wait to buy what is left of BC at the usual rock-bottom insider rates.

    Look at BC Hydro, BC taxpayers are paying through the nose to sell our rivers forever to big corporations AND ruin our environment.

    So f****** unbelievable.


  8. if it's the reporters job to write a certain thing about something, other than what is their actual opinion, then the point of voicing your opinion is shot. it is understandable that journalists have guidelines to follow, but you can follow guidelines and still get your own point across.


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