News­pa­pers do mat­ter

Annapolis Valley Register - - NEWS -

It was a typ­i­cal sum­mer night, sit­ting around the camp­fire at the lake. Friends and fam­ily, lots of laugh­ter, toast­ing marsh­mal­lows, par­tak­ing in a few bev­er­ages. “Why is it that I can find out on Face­book who is chang­ing the colour of their hair, what they are serv­ing for sup­per or if the laun­dry has been done that day? But ... I can­not find out why the RCMP gath­ered north of town look­ing for a miss­ing body.”

This, folks, is the plain and sim­ple truth about why jour­nal­ism mat­ters.

Be­cause the facts and the truth are fer­reted out by cred­i­ble jour­nal­ists whose writ­ings fill the pages of com­mu­nity news­pa­pers and na­tional dailies.

No one reads news­pa­pers any­more, you say. Wrong! Nine in 10 Cana­di­ans read con­tent that was orig­i­nally gen­er­ated from a news­pa­per each week. Cana­di­ans turn to news­pa­per in­for­ma­tion on a num­ber of is­sues. It could be the de­tails of a govern­ment pro­gram, or up­dates on NAFTA talks, or what the stock mar­ket is do­ing. In the case of a com­mu­nity news­pa­per, read­ers seek in­for­ma­tion on town coun­cil hap­pen­ings, or school events, or de­light in see­ing a pic­ture of their chil­dren on the front page.

Jour­nal­ists not only gather the news, they also con­firm the sources and dou­ble check the facts. In a world where in­for­ma­tion is in­stan­ta­neous, it is sur­pris­ing that 63 per cent of Cana­di­ans are un­able to dis­tin­guish be­tween le­git­i­mate news web­sites and fake news sto­ries? An­other im­por­tant rea­son why news­pa­per jour­nal­ism mat­ters ... now more than ever.

There is a cost to news­pa­per jour­nal­ism. These news gath­er­ers like to be paid, as does ev­ery­one who works for a liv­ing. The own­ers of the news out­lets, whether a na­tional cor­po­rate or the in­de­pen­dent owner, have bills to pay. One of the largest forms of rev­enue is ad­ver­tis­ing sales.

Un­for­tu­nately, the mis­taken be­lief that ev­ery­one can be reached through so­cial me­dia has caused ad­ver­tis­ers to aban­don news­pa­pers. Many stud­ies find that ads in news­pa­pers are the most trusted of all. News­pa­pers do not share your data, ei­ther.

Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said, “news­pa­pers can­not be de­fined by the sec­ond word—paper. They’ve got to be de­fined by the first word— news.”

News is im­por­tant—at the na­tional level and at the lo­cal level. Jour­nal­ism mat­ters be­cause democ­racy mat­ters. It is what de­fines us as peo­ple who are for­tu­nate to live in a free coun­try. News­pa­pers mat­ter be­cause their cred­i­ble jour­nal­ists pro­vide the facts and the truth that we de­serve.

Na­tional News­pa­per Week will be cel­e­brated the first week of Oc­to­ber with this year’s theme: News­pa­pers Mat­ter: Now

More Than Ever. At this time Cana­di­ans are be­ing asked to show their sup­port for the in­dus­try. Send a mes­sage to gov­ern­ments, to Cana­dian busi­ness, to jour­nal­ists that news­pa­pers mat­ter. Pledge your sup­port at www. news­pa­pers­mat­ter.ca.

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