That's Life - October 3, 2018

It’s National Newspaper Week in Canada and, as independent owners of The Capital, we are proud members of this industry. An industry that strongly supports this year’s theme, “Newspapers Matter: now more than ever”.

The history of the Community Newspaper is as old as the communities they serve. The Capital first printed in December of 1915 and here we are, 103 years later. We have survived the threat of the coming of radios, television and the internet. The closure of a number of community newspapers, over the last 10 years, can, in many cases, be the result of newspaper chains growing too rapidly and eliminating the smaller publications or, quite simply, reflecting the general economic health of the community or region that it serves.

In my years as a Board Member of the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association, I have had the pleasure of meeting numerous people in the industry. One of those people is Steve Nixon, Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association. He wrote this editorial comment and I would like to share it with you:

“I am very concerned. You should be, too.

Recently, I read some statistics on how Canadians are navigating their way through the whole “Fake News” issue. Apparently, 69 per cent of us cannot tell the difference between which news is real and which isn’t. I am alarmed. We all need to be.

Today, it seems that the real news is being drowned out by an avalanche of so-called “fake” news that is nothing more than opinion pieces and marketing strategies to get us to buy a product, vote a certain way or achieve some other nefarious motive.

When I read my newspaper, either online or in print, I can at least trust the journalism. I certainly don’t like all that I see, but at least I have some recourse if I feel strongly about something that has been written. In essence, I know where they live. Their shingle is above the door. They have a mailing address and a phone number.

Now I am concerned about the “real” part of the news. Much of it originates from newspapers, and whether we all love, or hate, the news that is being reported, I am scared that it may go away, leaving us with only opinions and marketing sales tactics. I, for one, will not stand for this. You should not, either.

We need to voice our concern about maintaining access to the news that is important to us. I need my elected officials to continue to be held accountable for the decisions they make and the tax money we provide. I want them to know that my “real” news is important to me; locally, provincially, nationally and internationally. The journalism that newspapers provide is vital to the health of my community. I just do not see anyone else doing the job they do.

Advertisers, governments and decision-makers need to know that people like you and I care about the health of Canadian journalism. I am going to www.newspapersmatter.ca to pledge my support. You should, too.”

That’s Life.