Sunday, April 05, 2009

Local news, but for which locality?

"A good newspaper should be a reflection of the community that it serves, and the reality is we live in an incredible city, filled with people who are doing some pretty amazing things.

Most of what happens here is great stuff, and our paper needs to reflect that reality, not the reality of some broker on Wall Street."--
The positioning statement for the Daily News from an editorial on February 26, 2009.

It was with that declaration that the era of a new more community involved Daily News was launched back in February, a change in perceptions it seemed away from the prospect of a litany of the negative and a turn towards the more positive, the uplifting features of our community.

While that turn hasn't proven to be everyone's cup of tea (as seen in letters to the editor and on the local message board of htmf) it was what it is, a decision from the local paper to accentuate the positive.

So it was with a little bit of wonder that we reflected on, after we browsed through Friday's edition of the paper. An edition which while featuring a couple of items of local interest, the BC Winter Games of 2010, a new rescue boat for Lax Kw'alaams and an adventurer from Pitt Meadows returning by canoe to the north coast, but also provided for two strangely placed wire story items from the northeast portion of the province.

A page fifteen story about the review of statistics regarding the number of northeast children suffering abuse and a page three story about a Fort St. John physician who recently received a leadership award for his dedication to improving primary health care for the benefit of his patients.

It's the placement of the latter of those two as a page three item that caught our eye, especially considering the missed opportunity to acknowledge a local doctor.

Fort St. John's Doctor Paul Mackey, was one of 62 BC physicians who was awarded the accolades of the General Practice Services Committee, and while we're sure he is a more than deserving recipient of that award, we are a little puzzled as to how the local Daily News seems to have missed the announcement that Prince Rupert's own Dr. Herman Greeff was also named among those 62 physicians for his dedication to health care.

To our knowledge thus far, we have not seen the announcement appear in the local papers, something which strikes us a little odd considering the oft stated goal of accentuating the positives around here.

We would hazard a wager that of our some 11,000 local residents, maybe a few might have come across Dr. Mackey's work over their time, transplants being transplants or visitors from the northeast and such arriving in our town.

But a good number more probably have had health care provided from Dr. Greeff, you don't have to be a Dean of Journalism to try and figure out which one might be of more interest to the North coast.
Local news is local news, only if it reflects the community it is situated in, after that the items placed in print or put on the air merely become filler. Some of the front page stories of late, featuring out of town happenings with a tentative tie to this community seem a little far reaching in the quest of local relevance.

If the Daily News plans on living up to their credo at the top of this item from that February editorial, a little more thought into their idea as to what might be a "local" story might be helpful.

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