Reading Brett Popplewell’s investigation into the struggles of the Toronto Star (“Final Edition,” June), it occurs to me that an important part of what might save the news-media industry can be found in the article itself: the work of true professionals such as Daniel Dale at the Star. The success of the New York Times, which has expanded its coverage in Australia and Canada, suggests that the future of media lies in quality work and professionalism. In an internet age when every amateur claims to be a pro but isn’t, the truth still means something, and the likes of dedicated reporters are there to prove that point.
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Charlotte Gray (“The Future of Biography,” June) suggests that the narrative biographical podcast is an emerging genre that could replace printed memoirs and oral histories. This might be true in some cases, but as a coach on memoir writing who works in retirement communities, I’ve met many people who prefer expressing their world views and personal accounts in print rather than the scattered-to-the-winds feel of speech. I also see the printed memoir as a form of resistance to the process described by Brett Popplewell in “Final Edition”: newspapers using analytics software to determine what themes and attitudes will engage users. The bias toward popular as opposed to non-conforming attitudes was also alluded to by Gray: “Expect tomorrow’s biographers to increasingly insert contemporary preoccupations into their reconstructions of past lives.” Indeed. Selective historical amnesia is an ingredient of today’s social climate; those who live long enough to write their own biographies might escape it. Sandra Barbara Julian Victoria, BC get out Admirable as his intent is, David Suzuki (“The Future of Nature,” June) is wrong to conclude that city-dwelling Canadians “no longer feel connected to nature” and are therefore ecologically unthinking and favour money over planet. Rural economies are commonly built around industries that degrade and destroy nature, and living in an urban environment can actually make one appreciate the beauty and fragility of the natural environment and the increasing rareness of space not damaged by human activity. David M. Bastoli Mississauga, ON While there was much to admire in the fifteenth-anniversary issue of The Walrus (June), the magazine left something out: Canada’s rural perspective. It’s not surprising, as most of your writers are probably living in major Canadian cities. We have been at a point for years where more people are living in cities than in the country. This in itself should raise concerns about how we see our future unfolding. It’s easy for a city dweller to forget that they import raw materials, food, fuel, and other vital products. Where do urbanites think these products come from? But even this question succumbs to a stereotype about rural communities: that we’re all little more than cutters of wood, farmers of grain, and miners of coal. Many rural communities have had to move with the times as resources are exhausted and diversify economies to include not only tourism but also a strong arts sector. Add to this the potential for skilled professionals— including writers—to work from home and you have a whole other vibrant component of rural economies. It’s a natural human tendency to see the world through the blinkered vision of our clique: we see what’s around us and project it onto the world. So it’s essential that publications like The Walrus help us to widen our view to include all Canadians, urban and rural. Arthur Joyce New Denver, BC “The time has come,” The Walrus said, “to talk of many things.” Send us a letter, email (email@example.com), or tweet, or post on our website or Facebook page. Comments may be published in any medium and edited for length, clarity, and accuracy. 411 Richmond Street East, Suite B15 Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5A 3S5