Message to society: good journalism isn’t free

News Aug 28, 2009 Ancaster News

I decided very early in my teen years to pursue a career in journalism.

Ironically, I was drawn to the media through a bizarre love-hate relationship.

The power of the press both amazed me and sickened me. On one hand, newspapers act as defenders of democracy, purveyors of important information and contributors to our growth and understanding as a society.

But in my rebellious teen years, I also despised the media for sensationalizing news and for being lazy and complicit with ineffective governments. I saw it as an abuse of power.

I should mention that in my high school days I was a wanna-be anarchist who loved The Sex Pistols and The Clash and despised authority of any kind. Just to put things into perspective.

So it’s no surprise that I had my suspicions about the media.

While age has helped me overcome my early naiveté, I have managed to remain an idealist.

When it came to choosing a career path, there was no doubt in my mind that the best way to change something was from the inside.

So I went to university and four years later, walked away with my degree in journalism.

When I started my first job in 1991, I was fully aware I’d never get rich in the newspaper business. But, I never thought I’d see a day when newspapers across the world were printing their last issues and closing their doors.

Almost 20 years after I typed out my first story in the Seaforth Huron Expositor, the future of the media, especially print media, is in serious financial turmoil.

I’m proud to say the community newspaper industry in Canada continues to grow. The recession has certainly affected advertising revenues, but overall, community newspapers like your Ancaster News, Dundas Star News, Hamilton Mountain News or Stoney Creek News, are part of a growing sector within the newspaper industry.

In fact, many daily newspapers across North America are scaling back to less issues per week, some once a week in print with updated daily content on the internet.

And that brings me to the web –a place where journalists are being told our future lies.

We have all invested increased effort in our online presence. While you read this weekly package of content, you can always keep up-to-date with ongoing news via our hamiltonnews.com websites. Our talented editorial team write and post stories every day to our websites, and in many ways, our weekly news product has been transformed into a daily source for information.

Before the web, weekly community newspapers were handcuffed by a once-a-week printing date, while daily newspapers, radio and television had the fortune of a constant venue to provide news.

With the web, we are on par in the game of news dissemination, and it’s interesting to note that some local media now use us as a source for information.

However, the question is -how do you make money on the web to pay for the professional writers that gather news the public demands, and who serve to protect our democracy?

We are trained that information on the web is free (aside from the monthly charge for internet service). Yet we are a culture that illegally downloads music and movies.

Good journalism isn’t free. If you hire a lawyer you have to pay for their services. Want your hair styled, it’ll cost you $20 or more. If you want your politicians held accountable, it comes at a price.

There are tons of bloggers and internet “journalists” out there, but none have any accountability for what they write, and few have the credentials or education.

I’ve gone from someone who hated the media in my youth, to someone frightened for the future of journalism.

Maybe I should have gone into the insurance business like my father wanted.

Message to society: good journalism isn’t free

News Aug 28, 2009 Ancaster News

I decided very early in my teen years to pursue a career in journalism.

Ironically, I was drawn to the media through a bizarre love-hate relationship.

The power of the press both amazed me and sickened me. On one hand, newspapers act as defenders of democracy, purveyors of important information and contributors to our growth and understanding as a society.

But in my rebellious teen years, I also despised the media for sensationalizing news and for being lazy and complicit with ineffective governments. I saw it as an abuse of power.

I should mention that in my high school days I was a wanna-be anarchist who loved The Sex Pistols and The Clash and despised authority of any kind. Just to put things into perspective.

So it’s no surprise that I had my suspicions about the media.

While age has helped me overcome my early naiveté, I have managed to remain an idealist.

When it came to choosing a career path, there was no doubt in my mind that the best way to change something was from the inside.

So I went to university and four years later, walked away with my degree in journalism.

When I started my first job in 1991, I was fully aware I’d never get rich in the newspaper business. But, I never thought I’d see a day when newspapers across the world were printing their last issues and closing their doors.

Almost 20 years after I typed out my first story in the Seaforth Huron Expositor, the future of the media, especially print media, is in serious financial turmoil.

I’m proud to say the community newspaper industry in Canada continues to grow. The recession has certainly affected advertising revenues, but overall, community newspapers like your Ancaster News, Dundas Star News, Hamilton Mountain News or Stoney Creek News, are part of a growing sector within the newspaper industry.

In fact, many daily newspapers across North America are scaling back to less issues per week, some once a week in print with updated daily content on the internet.

And that brings me to the web –a place where journalists are being told our future lies.

We have all invested increased effort in our online presence. While you read this weekly package of content, you can always keep up-to-date with ongoing news via our hamiltonnews.com websites. Our talented editorial team write and post stories every day to our websites, and in many ways, our weekly news product has been transformed into a daily source for information.

Before the web, weekly community newspapers were handcuffed by a once-a-week printing date, while daily newspapers, radio and television had the fortune of a constant venue to provide news.

With the web, we are on par in the game of news dissemination, and it’s interesting to note that some local media now use us as a source for information.

However, the question is -how do you make money on the web to pay for the professional writers that gather news the public demands, and who serve to protect our democracy?

We are trained that information on the web is free (aside from the monthly charge for internet service). Yet we are a culture that illegally downloads music and movies.

Good journalism isn’t free. If you hire a lawyer you have to pay for their services. Want your hair styled, it’ll cost you $20 or more. If you want your politicians held accountable, it comes at a price.

There are tons of bloggers and internet “journalists” out there, but none have any accountability for what they write, and few have the credentials or education.

I’ve gone from someone who hated the media in my youth, to someone frightened for the future of journalism.

Maybe I should have gone into the insurance business like my father wanted.

Message to society: good journalism isn’t free

News Aug 28, 2009 Ancaster News

I decided very early in my teen years to pursue a career in journalism.

Ironically, I was drawn to the media through a bizarre love-hate relationship.

The power of the press both amazed me and sickened me. On one hand, newspapers act as defenders of democracy, purveyors of important information and contributors to our growth and understanding as a society.

But in my rebellious teen years, I also despised the media for sensationalizing news and for being lazy and complicit with ineffective governments. I saw it as an abuse of power.

I should mention that in my high school days I was a wanna-be anarchist who loved The Sex Pistols and The Clash and despised authority of any kind. Just to put things into perspective.

So it’s no surprise that I had my suspicions about the media.

While age has helped me overcome my early naiveté, I have managed to remain an idealist.

When it came to choosing a career path, there was no doubt in my mind that the best way to change something was from the inside.

So I went to university and four years later, walked away with my degree in journalism.

When I started my first job in 1991, I was fully aware I’d never get rich in the newspaper business. But, I never thought I’d see a day when newspapers across the world were printing their last issues and closing their doors.

Almost 20 years after I typed out my first story in the Seaforth Huron Expositor, the future of the media, especially print media, is in serious financial turmoil.

I’m proud to say the community newspaper industry in Canada continues to grow. The recession has certainly affected advertising revenues, but overall, community newspapers like your Ancaster News, Dundas Star News, Hamilton Mountain News or Stoney Creek News, are part of a growing sector within the newspaper industry.

In fact, many daily newspapers across North America are scaling back to less issues per week, some once a week in print with updated daily content on the internet.

And that brings me to the web –a place where journalists are being told our future lies.

We have all invested increased effort in our online presence. While you read this weekly package of content, you can always keep up-to-date with ongoing news via our hamiltonnews.com websites. Our talented editorial team write and post stories every day to our websites, and in many ways, our weekly news product has been transformed into a daily source for information.

Before the web, weekly community newspapers were handcuffed by a once-a-week printing date, while daily newspapers, radio and television had the fortune of a constant venue to provide news.

With the web, we are on par in the game of news dissemination, and it’s interesting to note that some local media now use us as a source for information.

However, the question is -how do you make money on the web to pay for the professional writers that gather news the public demands, and who serve to protect our democracy?

We are trained that information on the web is free (aside from the monthly charge for internet service). Yet we are a culture that illegally downloads music and movies.

Good journalism isn’t free. If you hire a lawyer you have to pay for their services. Want your hair styled, it’ll cost you $20 or more. If you want your politicians held accountable, it comes at a price.

There are tons of bloggers and internet “journalists” out there, but none have any accountability for what they write, and few have the credentials or education.

I’ve gone from someone who hated the media in my youth, to someone frightened for the future of journalism.

Maybe I should have gone into the insurance business like my father wanted.