Recent inactivity at In-Sights may be a prelude to discontinuation.
When I began eleven years ago, neoliberalism had ascended and mainstream public interest journalism had descended. Access to corporate media was carefully controlled by special interests but blogs were a method for individuals to add new voices to the domain of public discourse.
Corporate communicators in British Columbia had partnered unashamedly with right wing political representatives, working to protect vested interests. Postmedia, Glacier Media, Black Press, Bell, Shaw/Global, Rogers and others contributed huge sums to the cause and, more importantly, ensured the majority of reportage reflected private interests.
Industry groups spent millions of dollars to employ individual shills and astroturf groups to protect their financial interests. As one response to sites like this one revealing bothersome financial information, Stewart Muir’s Resource Works was established to protect the interests of corporations that preferred to minimize their contributions to the public purse.
Populist commentators like Rafe Mair had been replaced by compliant media poodles following the style of Bill Good. Political pundits Vaughn Palmer, Keith Baldrey and others earned appearance fees delivering comfortable messages to gatherings of special interests, mostly corporate, while assuring the public that partiality in news delivery was unaffected.
In 2009, Facebook was relatively new. Twitter—described by one founder as “a short burst of inconsequential information”—was an infant. Alternative media was developing but crippled by inadequate financial resources and dependant on generosity of a few dedicated journalists and concerned citizens.
For part of the last decade, blogs were an effective method for individuals to add voices to the domain of public commentary. The audience at In-Sights (nee Northern Insights) grew dramatically in early years and the site offered valuable commentary by thoughtful readers.
In 2020, perhaps Twitter has become the preferred platform for politically oriented conversations. According to Canadaland, it “has no shortage of the virtuous and the reprehensible, of the inspiring and the depressing.”
Are blogs viable in the future?
The effort and expense needed to sustain informed commentary is considerable for one person. Material that takes five minutes to read may have required days of research and considerable payments for information database subscriptions, internet access, website hosting, telephone, computer equipment, software subscriptions, travel, etc.
Expenses are material. Revenue is not.
I’ve had financial assistance from a handful of readers but that has only dealt with part of the direct expense. In the next short while, a number of the website costs, including site hosting, become due for another year, plus my favoured computer requires a $300 repair. I’m not convinced the site is sustainable.
Well into my fixed-income retirement years and bothered by inflation and one or two health issues common to boomers, I am feeling less capable of continuing In-Sights.
If you think this site is worth maintaining, please consider offering support by Interac e-Transfer directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or by
. . . . . . . . PAYPAL . . . . . . . . .
If the support is sufficient, In-Sights will continue in 2020. If it is not, I will return funds that readers offer.
January 22 update:
Thank you to readers who already provided financial support or have promised send it along by methods other than Paypal or Interac e-Transfer.
We have had a modest but satisfactory response so In-Sights will continue in 2020, our 12th year.
The struggle to cover basic expenses continues but I hope that I can fund personal access to Canadian Newsstream, a database of newspapers across the country. It holds content from as far back as the seventies and is particularly useful for understanding the background of issues that remain current today.