News­pa­pers mat­ter now more than ever

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - View Points - BY BOB COX, PUB­LISHER Win­nipeg Free Press, and Chair of the Board of News Me­dia Canada

It is com­mon these days to find news out­lets that run fea­tures un­der head­lines like: “A look at what didn’t hap­pen this week.” Jour­nal­ism never used to worry about what didn’t hap­pen. Air­planes that landed safely—and didn’t crash—never made the news. But we live in the age of Fake News, with the re­al­ity that false in­for­ma­tion spreads quickly around the world, caus­ing dam­age that ranges from dis­rupt­ing demo­cratic elec­tions to tar­nish­ing the rep­u­ta­tions of count­less in­no­cent in­di­vid­u­als. It has re­minded us that in-depth, cred­i­ble, in­de­pen­dent re­port­ing done by trusted news sources is more im­por­tant than ever. We have a job to do. A small part of that job is fight­ing Fake News by re­veal­ing the truth. No, Justin Tim­ber­lake did not say pe­dophiles con­trol the music in­dus­try and no, Canada does not im­pose a 35% tar­iff on vac­uum clean­ers from the United States, as some sup­port­ers of U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump have claimed. The big­gest part of the job is to be your trusted source, to work ev­ery day to bring you real news, which is as vi­tal to democ­racy as clean air, safe streets, good schools and pub­lic health. It isn’t get­ting any eas­ier. To mis­quote Mark Twain, re­ports of the death of news­pa­pers are greatly ex­ag­ger­ated. But the busi­ness of bring­ing you the news—in print, on your phone, your tablet or your desk­top com­puter—is chal­lenged as it has never been be­fore. In the dig­i­tal age, our au­di­ences are larger than ever. There is a steady de­sire for news and in­for­ma­tion. But pay­ing for it— main­tain­ing the strong news­rooms that tell the sto­ries of our com­mu­ni­ties—is harder and harder. Ad­ver­tis­ers have shifted much of their money to global giants that don’t spend money on re­port­ing, whether it’s what hap­pens on Par­lia­ment Hill or at City Hall. We are seek­ing new busi­ness mod­els that can con­tinue to do the hard work of in­de­pen­dent jour­nal­ism across Canada—and ask­ing for your help to se­cure a fu­ture in which real news re­mains strong. Dur­ing Na­tional News­pa­per Week 2018, we’re ask­ing you to show your sup­port for the Cana­dian news me­dia in­dus­try. Let’s send a mes­sage—to busi­nesses, to gov­ern­ment, to jour­nal­ists across Canada—that news­pa­pers mat­ter. Now more than ever. Pledge your sup­port at www.news­pa­pers­mat­ter.ca.

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