The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “journalism

Community Amnesia – Part 2

Posted on December 12, 2017

In our previous post the subject concerned what transpires in communities when news sources – traditional or online – are wiped out by corporate fiat. Journalists lose their livelihood, citizens lose their context, and communities are cut loose from their recorded history. But there’s more, and it’s devastating. It’s not just about losing the stories that others won’t cover – social club luncheons, the doings of smaller community organizations, neighbourhood developments – but the lack of momentum for causes that are as equally important to society than any other big story. Take poverty for instance. Sure there are the important stories currently gaining attention, like pilot projects for a Basic Income Guarantee, federal housing money for the next decade, a special benefit for children…

Community Amnesia – Part 1

Posted on December 8, 2017

Today I lunch with a good friend and committed journalist trying to come to terms with the loss of his job because of the recent Postmedia-TorStar deal that closed a good number of local newspapers across Canada, including London. He is one of those people who is his writing; it’s how he chronicles his aspirations and struggles, his belief in community and his own place within it. There are many like him now wondering how to navigate their future. The communities are still here, but many of their dedicated storytellers are gone. Such thoughts abounded when I came across CBC London’s Kate Dubinsky’s piece on what happens to the archives of such publications when they close down. You can read it here. She rightfully…

Serious Elegance

Posted on June 2, 2016

You can read this post on National Newswatch here EVERYONE IN THE ROOM SENSED THAT PAUL MARTIN would be prime minister soon enough. There was an excitement in the air as my wife and I attended a London, Ontario event where Martin, as finance minister, was scheduled to speak on healthcare. His arrival was met with enthusiasm and he quickly warmed to his audience. Partway into his address a door closed at the rear of the hall and someone quietly entered. People whispered to one another, “It’s Jeffrey Simpson.” While the audience might have appreciated that one of the country’s best-known journalists would attend their event, the effect on Paul Martin was immediate. The finance minister is known as an engaging speaker, but his…

An Empty Spot On the Bench

Posted on January 13, 2015

WHEN EFFECTIVE ADVOCATES FOR DEMOCRACY ultimately leave the stage through retirement or death, it’s not always true that their absence is noted. Lose a Mandela, Vaclav Havel, or a Maya Angelou and almost immediately the tributes and stories flood the airwaves. Yet every year we lose many of democracy’s greatest champions without even knowing it, often not even recognizing their names. A candle goes out and we merely transfer our interests to another. The voice of Bill Moyers finally went silent on PBS news stations a few weeks ago, leaving a significant vacancy in our overall struggle for a fairer and more equitable society. Moyers was sage, highly knowledgable, and intensely courageous for those things he devoutly espoused. Some regarded him as a throwback…

Off in the Wrong Direction

Posted on June 18, 2013

In his 1999 biography, famed anchorman Walter Cronkite writes of being on assignment on D-Day in 1944 and, encountering the “redoubtable” Canadian journalist Charles Lynch.  Journalists like Cronkite had to wait to file their stories by radio or wire later in the day, but Lynch opted to do it the old-fashioned way by using three homing pigeons.  He typed out his first dispatch on the special light paper provided by his employers, Reuters News Service, and tucked it into the special capsule affixed to pigeon number one.  He went through the same routine for the remaining two birds.  The pigeons lifted into the air, circled twice, and then flew off, not in the direction of England, but Berlin.  Flustered, Lynch labeled them “feathered turncoats”.…

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