Friday, February 06, 2009

Why your newspaper sucks

From 1981 until 1994, I was paid, first by the Globe and Mail, then by the Toronto Star, to cover news in central Ontario. In those days, neither of these papers would have missed a story about an unarmed mentally handicapped man being shot dead by cops in front of his adoptive mother. If they had, the editors would have kicked serious ass. They actually cared about getting news. Well, all the Toronto papers missed this story, as did all other papers except the local rags in Midland, Barrie and Orillia. CBC missed it. So did CTV, Canwest and the other media survivors.
Either they missed it or cops shooting unarmed mentally handicapped aboriginal people is no longer news. Somehow, even an old hound like me can't be so far out of mainstream culture to have missed the day when the media stopped considering cop shootings of handicapped aboriginal people in group homes to be news.
(BTW, the Midland Free Press had five reporters on its award-winning staff in 1985. Now it has a full-time staff of one. And, for some mysterious reason, far fewer people buy it. How 'bout that?)

UPDATE:
Yup. The Star did have a tiny story on their web site. They re-wrote the police press release, thereby missing all of the interesting details. Nothing about the guy being unarmed, mentally handicapped, and aboriginal.
This is the state of Canadian journalism.

Don't tell me newspapers are dying. Newspapers are killing themselves. They are literally becoming news anorexics.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

It was his adoptive mother's home which is even worse. Can't believe none of the national media have run with it.

http://www.midlandfreepress.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1420328

Anonymous said...

And to be honest, the Star ran a story on the night of the shooting but never followed up and missed the important details.

http://www.thestar.com/News/Ontario/article/581920

Anonymous said...

Why do at least 4 cops have to appear in something little more than a domestic situation. You either have 4 cops ganging up on a scared immigrant like the Vancouver Airport incident or 4 cops together presenting themselves as easy targets to a known psycho such as James Roszko.