Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Reconfiguring the Rupert media scene
The weekly arrival of the Northern View, marks a change to the Prince Rupert media scene since that paper's parent company, Black Press, purchased a number of assets from Glacier Media, including the Daily News and closed the 99 year old Prince Rupert paper.
To that end, Shaun Thomas of the Northern View outlined some thoughts on the passing of the city's daily paper and provided some insight into the future of the print media in the city through the pages of the remaining journal for the city.
A lengthy editorial that outlined some of the history of the Daily News and the impact that the loss of jobs not only has on the community but the industry as well.
Among the notes from the page that stood out is the prospect that the Northern View will be adding on staff to increase its news coverage in the wake of the Daily News closure, a welcome thing for those on the North coast that still seek out information on events in the community through journalists. We're not sure how large a staff they plan on taking on in that cause, but we hope that it results in comprehensive reviews of events and more in depth and inquisitive coverage to those issues that Rupertites need information on.
One thing that seems clear from the editorial is that for the foreseeable future the Weekly will remain just that, a once a week publication, making more use of its website for daily updates on key news items of the day.
While Black Press might suggest that the Northern Connector could help fill the news void with its Friday delivery, the simple fact is that the Connector while an interesting archive of events from Black Press papers from beyond Prince Rupert, is not a substitute for a dedicated look at events in Prince Rupert. It's main purpose it would seem is to provide some entertaining filler for the weekly delivery of flyers prior to the weekend shopping excursions.
In the days leading up to the closure of the Daily, Black Press officials were using the Connector as an indication that their efforts would be published in a twice a week schedule, but in reality, for local news delivered in a newspaper format, there will be but one press run a week.
The editorial does however inform us that the Northern View intends to step up its game, and that's a welcome advisory from the paper.
It should also serve as a challenge to the other members of the media in the community to do likewise, whether it be TV 7 providing increased focus on Prince Rupert news and events, or the Terrace based private radio hubs adding to their information programming to serve this community better, all would be welcome additions to their programming day as well.
Not to be left out is the publicly funded CBC, which seems of late to have gravitated more towards the Prince George end of the dual studio format. While perhaps it's an anomaly this week, but a simple search of the Daybreak website , shows not one Rupert based item featured for the highlights section for the week of July 11 - 17.
Perhaps simply expanding or adding to the format of that particular feature of the station's coverage could provide more in depth items of the north coast. It could help to fill in some of the gaps for Rupertites on stories of interest to them and perhaps the rest of the Daybreak audience.
In Friday's final edition of the Daily News, Mayor Mussallem offered up his concerns as to how he would communicate city plans with taxpayers with the demise of the Daily News, and while furthering the flow of information from the city is no doubt a desired thought from the city's politicians, that shouldn't be the only purpose of the media.
The need for the press to ask questions, investigate issues and represent the people to its elected officials is a vital part of democracy, so in between the press releases and information sheets we would imagine that the need to answer some questions and provide the details we want to know on the issues of the day, could and should be part of the information pact between politicians and the press.
That's where the need for the media to dig deeper comes in, not to be put off by politicians and administrators and to continue to seek out the facts is key, while one conduit for the population has been silenced as of Friday, the news cycles will go on, it's up to those that are left to cover it to as Mr. Thomas put it, step up their game.
The full editorial in Wednesday's weekly, included a tribute to Walter Smith, who passed away last week, you can read the full editorial here.
But for the purpose of our journalism review today, below we feature the instructive portion of the editorial page that examined the changing nature of the press in the city at this time.
Discussing the loss of two Rupert icons...
The Northern View
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Last week marked the end of a media era in Prince Rupert, as The Prince Rupert Daily News printed its final issue on July 16 after 99 years of serving the community. The presses ran for the last time and the office, as of this writing, sits closed.
Before I go any further, I need to make crystal clear that the closure of The Daily News is not something we here at The Northern View have been celebrating or enjoying. The fact is that a number of people lost their jobs as another business in Prince Rupert closes its doors. Any time a person’s life is turned upside down by the loss of employment it’s an unfortunate thing and I wish all the employees there nothing but the best.
Since the announcement of the newspaper’s purchase and subsequent closure by Black Press, owners of The Northern View, I’ve encountered many questions and comments from many in the community. Obviously when an institution such as The Daily News closes, its impact is felt and it creates a sense of uncertainty regarding the distribution of information around the North Coast.
As the editor and acting-publisher of The Northern View, and someone who has been with the paper since the start, I can guarantee you that the staff at the paper and Black Press as a whole are 100 per cent committed to providing Prince Rupert the best and most complete community coverage we can while continuing to offer the same or a better level of service to our advertisers and clients. Resting on our laurels or coasting by as the only newspaper in town is not an option, is not a consideration and is certainly not something I am willing to accept.
That’s a promise.
We need to step up our game as the media marketplace in town shifts, that is something I and others in the chain recognize. We will be looking to grow our staff in the near future to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the community and, as always, welcome any input or feedback from residents about how we can improve. Feel free to e-mail me anytime directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I should also mention that anyone looking to study up on Prince Rupert’s history can do so now more than ever at the Prince Rupert Regional Archives, as Black Press has donated the archives held at the offices of The Prince Rupert Daily News for everyone on the North Coast to enjoy and make use of.
As for any changes in terms of the printing and/or distribution of The Northern View, that is not in the plans at the moment. There are no plans to begin printing the paper on a daily basis or charging a subscription fee for it. The paper has been free since day one and, as a fan of ensuring people have access to information regardless of their financial situation, I see it staying that way. Along with The Northern View on Wednesday, we plan to continue to connect every home in the region - including Terrace, Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Hazelton and more - with The Northern Connector on Friday.
And while the printing of the paper won’t be changing, we also recognize the need to get information out in a timely manner and our growing staff will allow for an increased focus on our website, www.thenorthernview.com, to break the news to the region as it is happening.
As I said at the start, the closure of another business in Prince Rupert and the loss of jobs in the community is not something to be celebrated or to be jovial about. The contributions of The Daily News to Prince Rupert through the paper’s 99 years of existence can not be dismissed or downplayed. Truly Prince Rupert’s history was played out on the pages of The Daily News and a lot of people put a lot of effort into that newspaper.
Likewise the staff at who were most recently at The Daily News have contributed to the community - through such things as taking to the stage for productions or as the drummer in a band at different community events, being a key volunteer with the local arts council, as a member of the auto club and more - and put forth a lot of effort that cannot be understated and, again, I wish them nothing but the best in these trying times.
The closure of The Prince Rupert Daily News is another change in a community that has seen several changes in the past 10 to 15 years, with the closure of the pulp mill and the emergence of the city as a major gateway to the Asia-Pacific among the most significant. And while Prince Rupert has seen more than its fair share of ups and downs in the recent past, there are sure to be more changes coming in the near future as our presence on the international stage continues to grow and new industries begin to look at the North Coast.
As those changes make their presence known and project discussions turn into shovels in the ground, we will be there to provide fair, balanced and accurate coverage.
But projects and industry do not a community make, and I for one look forward to capturing and sharing more of the moments that make Prince Rupert the amazing place it is - whether that is people marching in the Seafest parade or our young athletes and dancers bringing home the prize or our seniors sharing their wisdom or another class of students achieving milestones ranging from high school graduation to science fair ribbons - in the pages of The Northern View.
Thank you for your support over these past four years. I look forward to your feedback and continuing to cover the news and happenings on the North Coast.