News­pa­pers con­tinue to be the tried and true place for facts

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - View Points - BY SARAH HOLMES, Pub­lisher/Owner, Gabri­ola Sounder, Gabri­ola, BC

The in­ter­net isn't in­ter­ested in get­ting it right, or cor­rect­ing er­rors, or in telling a story that rec­og­nizes the im­por­tance in the mun­dane of com­mu­nity liv­ing. The in­ter­net is a thing. So­cial me­dia thrives on sen­sa­tion­al­ism, pulling us into the bot­tom­less pit of scrolling through in­for­ma­tion. As well, so­cial me­dia pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to mag­nify each in­di­vid­ual voice, or fake bot, to the point of deaf­en­ing noise. With all of that, the user now has the tire­some duty to be wary of ev­ery­thing that is pro­vided to them through a power cord. News­pa­pers, by their printed na­ture, cre­ate a juried space built on facts, where in­for­ma­tion is pre­sented for con­sid­er­a­tion along with the re­spon­si­bil­ity of be­ing ac­count­able to the reader. Per­haps it is time for jour­nal­ists to pack it in. Let gov­ern­ments op­er­ate with­out li­a­bil­ity; for po­lice and ju­di­cial pro­ceed­ings to carry on with no rep­re­sen­ta­tion to the pub­lic; for tele­vi­sion, ra­dio, and blog­gers to bear the weight of in­ves­tiga­tive re­port­ing. Let art, sports, travel, and literary works re­main undis­cov­ered, save for the lucky few who stum­bled upon them. Opin­ions will no longer have an equal voice. This im­age of a de­featist fear­some fu­ture is what keeps jour­nal­ists and news or­ga­ni­za­tions striv­ing for a bal­anced busi­ness model. Be re­minded that newsprint won't re­port how long it took you to fin­ish the crossword, or that you turn to the Au­to­mo­tive sec­tion be­fore World or Opin­ion. It won’t lis­ten in on your con­ver­sa­tions, match­ing key­words to fur­ther com­mod­ify you, nor will it snoop through your cook­ies, book­shelves, and clos­ets to col­lect more data about you to re­port back to the data mas­ters. All that pri­vacy re­mains yours with print. It is up to hu­man­ity to take back our re­quire­ment for truth from those who would de­light in our in­abil­ity to rec­og­nize fact from fic­tion. (A re­cent Ip­sos-Reid poll, 63% of Cana­di­ans were un­able to dis­tin­guish be­tween real news sites and fake news sto­ries.) To rec­og­nize jour­nal­ism as a key­stone species to our democ­racy and rep­re­sent­ing our com­mu­ni­ties. We, as an in­dus­try, have been slow to ask for your sup­port. We are now ask­ing read­ers who value news­pa­pers to con­trib­ute to re­build­ing dis­in­te­grat­ing news­rooms through news stand sales, sub­scrip­tions, and vol­un­tary sub­scrip­tions (do­na­tions). This has been met with re­sis­tance; read­ers have had the priv­i­lege of re­ceiv­ing free news for so long it has be­come an as­sumed right. An­other way for read­ers to sup­port news­pa­pers is by supporting our ad­ver­tis­ers and ac­tively tell them the ad in the news­pa­per worked - which di­rectly af­firms the busi­ness’ choice to spend valu­able mar­ket­ing dol­lars to com­mu­ni­cate with the read­ers in the news­pa­per. A win for the reader, a win for the busi­ness and a win for news­pa­pers - and a win for the gov­ern­ment; com­pet­ing on­line ad plat­forms based out­side of Canada (Google, and Face­book in par­tic­u­lar) do not pay taxes. This year, dur­ing Na­tional News­pa­per Week we are ask­ing you to pledge your sup­port in a sim­ple way at www.news­pa­pers­mat­ter.ca. Like any­thing mal­nour­ished, it will take time to re­build to full strength, though with re­newed reader com­mit­ments and re­li­able ad­ver­tis­ing, our news­rooms can be­come vi­brant again. It’s time to re-eval­u­ate the de­sire for flash with the need for truth.

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