“A newspaper is the center of a community, it’s one of the tent poles of the community, and that’s not going to be replaced by web sites and blogs.”– Michael Connelly, American bestselling author
I like the cut of your jib, Mr. Connelly.
Unfortunately, the news world in the last decade or so has taken more than a few hits to its clear-cut, black-and-white, these-quotes-and-these-facts image to the point where media as a whole in our Western society has become this murky shade of grey.
It seems that for every news article put out there to the world, complete with facts, research and quotes, there’s someone at the ready to sit behind their anonymous screen and make that ever-popular proclamation, “FAKE NEWS!”
It takes merely two seconds and eight letters to discredit something that an honest reporter may have worked days or even weeks on, and a significant portion of the online world just rejects it and swallows it up into the collective ether, with more articles taking its place that speak more to one group’s narrative.
It’s things such as this that highlight why newspapers and Canadian journalism matter, now more than ever.
And it matters at every level of news, whether it’s at the very top in the form of a national daily paper, all the way to the very pages of this 100+ year old newspaper that you’re holding.
(or in the case of our web site, the online link you’ve clicked to read this particular column)
I know, I’ve heard the same old tired song and dance routine before.
“Nobody reads the newspaper anymore, it’s all online!”
That simply ain’t the case, buddy.
Nine out of ten Canadians read and absorb content that was originally generated from a newspaper every week. We turn to information that started in the pages of a paper on any number of issues; stock market data, updates from Ottawa or Washington, and the biggest headlines from the world of sports and entertainment.
When it comes to your trusted weekly newspaper such as yours truly, we’re not some adware-infested blog or annoying web site advertised on Facebook bringing you headlines such as “Ten Things You Never Knew About That Show You Watched 30 Years Ago” or making an empty promise about revealing something breaking that is only designed to get you to click a link for the web traffic.
No, we’re not a ‘PAID CONTENT’ paper or web site, and unlike social media and popular search engines, we also don’t share the data of our advertisers, either.
We’re a NEWSpaper and NEWS web site. This is YOUR community, we are YOUR community newspaper, and we report the news happening in YOUR community because it’s our job and YOU deserve to know what’s happening in your own backyard, whether it’s the latest from town council, local events, school news, the latest in sports, and even those interesting little ‘slices of life’ stories that hopefully make you smile and be glad you invested the time to read what we have to offer.
Reporters and journalists not only gather news, but we also confirm sources, record quotes and double check our facts. More often than not, you don’t get that kind of work ethic online, where virtually anyone can claim to be a reporter if they’ve simply copy-and-pasted someone else’s hard work. Sadly, because this happens online, it’s getting harder and harder for people to distinguish what’s legitimate news and what’s fake news. (there’s that term again)
It’s said that 63% of Canadians have trouble making that distinction. We want to change that. We want to help inform people that newspapers such as us at The Outlook can be trusted, as can the laundry list of credible newspapers and services across the country. To paraphrase the film ‘Network’, we also aim to tell our federal government, who has all but abandoned newspapers across the country, that we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take this anymore!
In the end, and in a world increasingly-filled with questions about the information you’re taking in, I can promise you, dear reader, that we’re still the ‘news you can use’, and you can count on that always being the case.
If you feel as strongly about local newspapers and Canadian journalism as I do, I hope you might take the time to show your support. This week happens to be National Newspaper Week, and news rooms across the country are asking for your help and your support for the industry. We’re trying to send the message to governments, businesses, and our bread-and-butter advertisers that true, factual journalism is far from a dying breed and that newspapers still have a bright future.
You can go online to newspapersmatter.ca and pledge your support. Thanks in advance!
Tell ‘em the “award-winning Ruttle Report” sent ya.
For this week, that’s been the Ruttle Report.