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COMMENTARY · 2nd May 2012
Merv Ritchie
A story posted today on the Terrace Standard website, owned and controlled by a Victoria based media conglomerate ‘Black Press’, took me on personally without so much as an email or phone call asking me my position on the matter. The Terrace City Administrator, Don Ramsey, had at least that much decency. To write a story about someone without contacting them first for their opinion is the lowest form of journalism.

The story is based on my run for the mayor’s job during the last municipal election and my neglect to file my expenses for that bid. The only benefit of this for the Terrace Standard was for them to include my accounting in their stories. The printed various accounts of who spent what, who helped or donated to who, who was the most frugal, who was the most environmentally friendly, etc etc. I did not contribute to their trivia.

During the campaign, this biased, one sided, right wing media publication, published a statement on how I refused to participate in a media interview with them, which was a blatant bold faced lie. I asked for their questions in advance and offered to participate freely. They delivered other candidates running in the municipal election questions in advance but refused this to me. Hence it was them who refused to participate appropriately. I eventually found the time to sit down with their reporter and they produced a small account of that interview.

Also during the campaign they wrote a story about Jennifer Lewis and her conflict with Dave Pernarowski and the Terrace Tourism Society. They once again included myself in their story without contacting me.

After that story was published I emailed and phoned Rod Link, their Terrace based editor, and informed him the slander was libellous and they could be sued for such statements and their lack of journalistic standards.

Had they taken the time to call me they would have heard a completely different story; all five Mayoral candidates in the last election were closely connected. Through work and media we all had our acrimonious interactions. For the Standard to make up a story mentioning others without contacting them fails the first basic test.

And then the election itself.

One might ask why I ran and if I would run again.

I explained this clearly to the Terrace CAO; at least he called to talk about it.

I have been writing and publishing in the Terrace region since May 2006 and there have been numerous elections during this time; Municipal, Provincial and Federal. The Terrace Standard and the Chamber of Commerce have been running all the candidate forums for these elections. The Terrace Standard has excluded our media, the Terrace Daily, at every occasion. All other media have been invited to pose questions to the candidates except the Terrace Daily. It has been a constant effort by the Standard and others to discredit us as we freely allow all points of view. We give space to those who cannot get space in the pages of the right wing papers controlled by Victoria's Black Press; the Terrace Standard, Northern Connector, Northern View, Northern Daily, Kitimat Sentinel, and in Smithers the Interior News. They print numerous articles and editorials for Enbridge but fail to offer equal space to those opposed.

It got so bad that during the previous Provincial election we hosted our own forum at the Kitsumkalum Hall and invited the other media to attend.

For this last municipal election, I once again knew the Black Press boys and girls would exclude the Terrace Daily. I considered what the Standard would do if I ran for Mayor? Would they exclude me then? Not bloody likely I thought. So I put my name in the ring to be able to raise the issues I did, which weren’t put to the current mayor by the other media; the First Nations inclusion in the Heritage Park, the TEDA fiasco of not listening to their own consultants, taking money from Enbridge, the list was long.

I explained this to the Terrace CAO, Ramsey. He explained there was no reason to file these expense papers if I didn’t wish to run again

And that is the point. I made my point. And the Terrace Standard is allowing me to make it yet again. They and the Chamber are an exclusive lot of ne’er do wells who forbid alternative points of view to see the light of day. And they have no journalistic integrity, nothing what the public should expect from their local media.

I will not change my appearance, nor will I conform to the narrow right wing mind set required to secure the votes of the Chamber and their ilk. I am not interested in being Mayor of Terrace. What I am interested in is exposing the unwillingness of the local media to do their job responsibly and appropriately.

It has been embarrassing to watch the Standard and their exclusionary antics of the past 6 years. Investigative reporting and exposing the dirt, no matter where it is, is something Black Press forbids. As we recently reported regarding the treaty negotiations, they are forbidden to publish anything opposed to treaty.

And this is why I did not file the financial disclosure papers, had anyone at the Standard bothered to ask.

And for those who care to know? I beat everyone at every level. My 4 x 4 signs were made from a purchase at Rona of four 4 x 8 sheets of press board, which disintegrates in the weather. Although very biodegradable (quickly) I saved them to reuse as sheeting for a wall. The lettering was applied by fluorescent paint (three spray cans) using stencils purchased from Creative Zone. I bought 4 twenty foot lengths of 3/8th rebar from Terrace Redi-mix and cut each into 4 for sixteen posts, which I drove into the ground with my sledge hammer. Drilling holes through the press board at the rebar, I tie strapped (zap straps I already had) the spray painted signs to them. Viola, 8 large signs strategically placed in Terrace for under a hundred bucks. I guess I could add ‘in kind’ donations from my own photo copier and an ad I placed on the Terrace Daily too. And maybe the ‘environmentally friendliness was challenged by my using three cans of spray paint?

But today, the Terrace Sub-Standard News quotes Brian Downie (a life time ‘Club Member’), City Staff Heather Nunn and Councillor Bruce Bidgood. Now just who was missing to complete journalistic ethics?
strike the root
Comment by Catherine on 3rd May 2012
Good for you for sticking up for journalistic integrity. I, for one, despise MSM so much that I've cancelled my satellite tv subscription - I am sick and tired of BC global and ctv news ignoring the real issues and rather than reporting news they want to show me how to put bloody make up on!

There are many branches of evil and corruption - I believe that Merv strikes the root of these rather than the branches.

From Norman Farrells blog in March, "The corporate media folks pretend they have a monopoly on determining news and they claim ability to direct the agenda. The public disagrees because, while traditional media properties lose audience members, readership of blogs like Northern Insight, Alex Tsakumis' Rebel with a Clause, Ian Reid's The Real Story, Harv Oberfeld's Keeping It Real, RossK's The Gazetteer, Laila Yuile's This Is How I See It and others steadily gain readers.

Folks this is where the real news is, not in the MSM!
User-Agent Strings
Comment by R1chard Jenn1ss on 2nd May 2012
Ethics are entirely up to you on tracking users.
It can be done.

Every web browser has a unique identifier called a User-Agent string.

This string of characters, or online finger print can narrow down the anonymity as the behavior patterns can be compared through server logs, online collaborative means.

However such practice, ethically speaking, should be mentioned in a "privacy policy" that is posted on the website itself. But who reads those privacy policies and usage agreements anyway?
...Comes around
Comment by Karma on 2nd May 2012
Seems like you dont like it when people talk about you... Im sure the people you talk about dont like it either, but thats journalism isnt it? Dont do it if you cant take it.

Ed Note: Look folks, another anonymous commenter, wants to spout but is too timid to post his/her name. In response, we thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to demonstrate how our local media, isn't. We will not be bullied into silence. We are not here to make friends, we are here to do the job others refuse to do, or are afraid to lose money doing. Oh and journalism?, it isn't practiced much anymore.
Terrace Daily Communication Impact:
Comment by Reader on 2nd May 2012
Thank you for standing up in Mayor Election Process.

You said no to Enbridge. If you were elected Mayor you would say no to Enbridge.

What happens. We get a new council. People voted and have new council. Then they voted no to Enbridge.

So not all is bad.

You helped a lot of people.

Thank you,
hmmm well ... what goes around...
Comment by Maureen on 2nd May 2012
Seems to me you have done as much on several ocassions. I remember a certain story where you included personal information about the former college president, don't recall seeing you contacted her. I think this is heavy weather and just a little to subjective to take your comments too seriously.

Ed Note: If you truly recall accurately, the Terrace Daily did not mention names in the article (or the college president) to which you refer. It was about bigotry and intolerance of the city of terrace, not a specific person. You defend the indefensible.
There is a" malaise in Terrace Town"
Comment by blocky bear on 2nd May 2012
Anytime thirty plus people gather to discuss issues that impact the health and well being of the area populace it is pretty much guaranteed to garner a report by the local newspaper,at least in most small towns. Not so in Terrace. A meeting was held in the Rich McDaniel Room of the Terrace Sportsplex in November 2011. The meeting was billed as the Hotsprings Action Committee ,the purpose was to discuss the current deplorable state of the pools and what the future might hold. The meeting room was filled to capacity and included owners of company that presently owns the facility. The editor of the Terrace Standard was invited to attend and declined stating he did not attend evening/overtime meetings. There was absolutely no mention of this meeting in subsequent editions of the Terrace Standard. My opinion is this matter is intentionally suppressed by this press. It begs the question what else are they saying or not saying? d.b.