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COMMENTARY · 4th December 2012
Merv Ritchie
This issued raised its ugly head during a confrontation last evening when a local radio personality interrupted a private conversation I was engaged in. He stated, we at the Terrace Daily do not report. During a previous encounter he referred to the Terrace Daily as a blog in an attempt to discredit our work. We have refrained from insulting the radio station he works for as I believe every medium has its place, providing a service to different audiences. None need to insult another. To expose one for claiming to be a producer of unbiased “News” when they simply reproduce propaganda provided by government and industry however is fair game, and a part of real reporting.

Journalism on the other hand is not reporting, it is the masterful art of word manipulation. Journalists are taught how to compose writings to meet a specific word count ie. to fill a space requirement. They use words to paint a picture and impart an idea, a concept, which might be complex, and present it in easy to understand terms.

Reporting can be divided into two categories; basic reporting and investigative reporting.

A reporter attends meetings, events and gatherings to report on the activities he or she observes.

An Investigative Reporter digs for information not readily available. He or she might take a news release and combine it with rumours and tips provided by insiders to discover the details of situations governments and industry do not want the general public to be made aware of.

The media present today, in the town of Terrace, consists mostly of propaganda organs. Very seldom do they perform any investigative work. The majority do not even attend meetings they claim to be reporting on.

It is not the reporters fault as the companies they work for do not pay them to do anything other than to accept and rewrite news releases provided to them by local organizations such as Northern Health, the School Board, Native Bands, Industrial Development Organizations and the local, provincial and federal governments. The media organizations in Terrace do not provide a budget for investigative reporting.

The primary role of the media in Terrace is to secure as much advertising revenue as possible. The content of their news services are arguably the least import function of their medium.

And this is the role of the guy who wished to insult the Terrace Daily by calling it a blog stating we do not report. His role is to secure advertising revenue. The less investigative work his reporters do, the less expose’, the more money he and his company makes. Businesses and corporations are known to pull ads if the news medium publishes unfavourable stories.

It is therefore a bit rich for a sales person who is with one of these organizations that has forbidden their reporters to expose; the problems with industrial developments, the problems with Treaty Societies or problems within the business community, to suggest we do not report.

Each one of these examples were provided by reporters by each of the other three major media outlets in Terrace. A reporter from CFNR advised they could write about Ali Howard swimming the Skeena River but could not write about her effort to expose the Shell Coalbed Methane fracking plans in the Klappan, the entire foundation of her swim. The editor of the local Black Press Paper, the Standard, informed a contract employee of the Kitsumkalum research team he had orders from head office they could not print anything negative about the treaty process. And a reporter from Astral Media called and asked if we could cover the Union busting tactics at the two major Hotels in Terrace as they couldn’t because they were a major advertiser.

In fact we may be the only news service in the region that is prepared to take on every one of these issues to allow the public to have a taste of all perspectives. It is true, we also print news releases, but we do not take them, rewrite them, and then pretend we did investigative work. We reprint them word for word and clearly mark them as news releases and from where they came. And we are much more than news, we are a community website offering numerous absolutely free services, including free links to these other mediums who complain about us. Interesting eh?

If we can expose this manipulation of the news here in this small community it demonstrates a larger issue.

It is a major problem with Canada and most of the Western World today; the amalgamation and joint ownership of all the major media; radio, television and newsprint, into a monopoly ownership state with; Industry, manufacturing, petrol-chemical and entertainment conglomerates. This unfortunate alliance has the entire news industry acting just like this gentleman acts, believing any expose’ to be something other than news.

The exposure, reporting of facts, doing real investigative work might impact the bottom line, the amount of revenue they might earn.

Over the past thirty years and longer, more than an entire generation, the everyday man and woman has suffered from a lack of real reporting. Today when one reads an article comprised of serious investigative work they immediately consider it radical and use labels such as conspiratorial. Terrace is just a small example demonstrating the problems we face as a civilized society today.

Investigative reporters are now referred to as dissidents, those who do not follow the "Party" line. It is not far past this juncture when the public will hear nothing even close to the truth. In many countries they jail those who actually report, China being the most notorious. Is this the road we should travel down?
More and more Kafka canada
Comment by Terry on 6th December 2012
Peter Kent .
Thank you
Comment by Catherine on 6th December 2012
Thank you for saying what everyone's afraid to admit!

I truly believe that the root of all of these "evils" (media shilling for governments and corporations) is capitalism itself.
Comment by Jupiter on 5th December 2012
It is unfortunate that more people don't do their own investigative questioning and research into topics and ideas.
Thanks for doing some of it for us!
It would appear..
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 5th December 2012
..that whoever made those comments is logging in to the Terrace Daily. Why would he do that? Tells you something doesn't it.

I do recall that after I felt the tremors of the earthquake off Haida Gwaii, I checked the radio, TV and Terrace Daily and CBC websites. You had the first information on about 5 minutes after the tremors stopped. I guess that isn't news.

You only swat at mosquitoes when they are buzzing around you.
and pessimistic
Comment by skeptics on 5th December 2012
We agree totally with your article on the state of the local-national & international media and view all they say with skepticism .--We are lifelong Canadians and 40 yr. plus local residence AND this site is a refreshing and uplifting part of our day. Cudo's to you. Keep up the good work.
Thank you
Comment by Karen Dedosenco on 5th December 2012
You are absolutely correct. It is a real challenge these days trying to find news that doesn't aim to manipulate, distort the truth and leave out pertinent facts. We are only fed what is in the best interest of those who control the political and corporate agenda.

Although I graze through numerous mainstream media papers I feel I am better informed by some of the more prominent bloggers.