Life is a journey, Enjoy the trip

Category: Politics (page 2 of 14)

David Carr & the future of professional media

David Carr,a media reporter for the New York Times, passed away suddenly in the newsroom of The Gray Lady on Thursday night. His death is a shock to those who were fortunate enough to know him personally as well as many people (like myself) who read his work.

I remember first reading one of David’s columns back in 2009 and always found them very good. I heard more about him when he released a book about himself called “Night of the Gun” in which he describes his battles with drug and alcohol addiction.

In 2011 he was featured in a documentary called Page One: Inside the New York Times. It’s currently on Netflix Canada and is well worth a watch. There is one very memorable scene in the film where David Carr is interviewing executives at a “new” media website. At one point the CEO of Vice throws an inaccurate shot towards the NY Times, David stops him and basically tears him a new one in a very polite but forceful way. This is an example of a journalist who cares about his paper and his craft.

David was first a journalist before anything else. He and many others like him show the value of professional news organizations even in today’s internet society. In the documentary he is filmed working on a story about several problems with the management culture at the Chicago Tribune. You can see how a real news organization gathers information about issues that may not always be the most exciting but are important nevertheless. His co-worker A.O. Scott in his piece today has a great paragraph which sums things up rather well.

“A warrior for the truth.
I can picture his eyebrows shooting upward at that last sentence. A bit much, maybe. But he regarded the newspaper — and all of its digital, televisual and other cognates — as a big, clanking machine for churning out stories. The only rule was that the stories had to be true.”

At the same time that the importance of news organizations has never been more important, the challenges to those very organizations have never been more numerous. The same day that David Carr has passed away, 1/3 of Yahoo Canada’s editorial section were laid off.  In addition Sun News a conservative news network billed as “Fox North” is also shutting down.

Much has been written about the challenges to the traditional media funding model with the rise of the internet. We are able to gather the news quicker and cheaper than ever before, but there is still a need for experienced journalists and news gathering organizations. The need to help analyze these stories and look beyond the ten word soundbyte has never been more apparent. The fact that media organizations that provide a heavily slanted view are running into financial difficulties should not be a surprise to anyone. There is only so much of that sort of “news” an informed public will consume without realizing that there is something missing.

The challenge now is finding a financial model to keep the “true” news organizations around and healthy is more important than ever before.


Post election


I remember four years ago when the municipal election results came in, I was disappointed in some of the results, but I did have hope that as in the past council could work together to service the citizens of the city.

My hopes were dashed a few short months later when we saw the push to 0% on the first budget. Many people noticed that some on council seemed woefully unprepared for meetings. Many seemed to have not even read the reports and agendas that were presented to them. There also seem to be much polarization with a voting block known as the Fontana 8. Party type politics seemed to have arrived in our city.

Compare that to this election night, as the votes started coming in there was a sense that something big was happening. Within a very short time the atmosphere turned electric as people realized that many changes were going to happen.

In the end things turned out better than I hoped. Some races were surprise upsets, some the margin of victory was greater than expected.

Hopefully this new council with many new faces and a new Mayor can start working better together and bring some new ideas that will benefit all in London and area. People have said with so many new faces it will be a steep learning curve and I agree but the city has a good staff who know their stuff. Hopefully this council will listen to them more.

One last thought,  it is still important to keep this level of engagement continuing, not just for us citizens but for those who are serving on council.  Having an idea on what we as citizen’s of this great city are thinking will only help them in the difficult decisions that lie ahead.



2014 City Council Endorsements

Well after a very long and notable campaign, we are finally at the end of it. There have been some positive and negative things in this campaign cycle and hopefully we can all learn from it. Thanks should be given to everyone who put their name forward as well as the countless hours put in by the volunteers in each campaign.

The following is who I would vote for if I lived in every ward.

Ward 1: Michael van Holst
Ward 2: Nancy McSloy
Ward 3: Mo Salih
Ward 4: Jesse Helmer
Ward 5: Kevin Labonte
Ward 6: Mike Bloxam
Ward 7: Josh Morgan
Ward 8: Paul Hubert
Ward 9: Anna Hopkins
Ward 10: Virginia Ridley
Ward 11: Stephen Turner
Ward 12: Peter Ferguson
Ward 13: Tanya Park
Ward 14: Jared Zaifman

And finally for Mayor: Matt Brown

Most importantly, please get out and vote.

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