Monday, December 01, 2014

ELECTION COVERAGE - LOCAL MEDIA



MAINSTREAM OR LAMESTREAM??
GOOD POLICY OR EXCUSE FOR POOR REPORTING?

While attending the opening of the Hamperville warehouse a member of the local media took issue with my 'unfair' comments about the local media during this past election.

He went on to explain that with so many candidates it made fair coverage simply too difficult (I think that is what he said), so rather than covering the 'front runners' which would disadvantage the rest, the choice to do nothing seems the best option. Really?? In all fairness I can't swear that is what he meant, but it seemed to me that is what he meant.

Before the campaign got underway I did ask the editor at a local publication what type of issue could be considered newsworthy of being covered as a news story during the election campaign. He pretty much said what this other media person did and then made the comment that candidates could say whatever they want in an advertisement.

I repeated that quote to the media person at Hamperville, and his comment was that they were in the business of making money. Hmmmmm. Interesting rationale coming from the fifth estate these days. It's that type of thinking that gives weight to a favoured word of mine these days: presstitutes. We will print whatever you are willing to pay for.

EXCUSE FOR JUST BEING LAZY??

During this past election there were several legitimate issues that could have been asked of those running for the Mayor's chair. A couple that come to mind are Colliery Dam, Port Theatre expansion, Linley Valley purchase, continuing subsidy for the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, parkland involved with the property deal at Georgia Park and the SSS Manhou hotel deal, to name just a few. Of course out of control wages and benefits at city hall and those golden handshakes might be considered 'issues' worthy of some genuine reporting.

This argument that the candidates at the back of the pack are disadvantaged if coverage is given to some candidates is a pretty lame excuse for simply not doing your job as a working reporter. The community is being extremely poorly served when the only message candidates can get out is what they can afford to pay for. If the reason for not giving any candidates 'ink' but allowing the ad department to profit from whatever message a candidate can afford is to keep the playing field level, I think someone in the news room need to give their head a shake.

The candidate at the back of the pack, with the least name recognition, no money for signs or ads, just may be the best of the bunch with the best qualifications and innovative ideas to propel Nanaimo forward. Sadly, the local reporters won't be telling us the candidate's story because they are waiting for the latest press release to do their job?

In all fairness a local reporter would have to be aware of what the issues in the community are before they should be expected to address those issues during an election.


allvoices

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