The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “Media

Closing the Distance

Posted on March 22, 2018

Speaking to an American university graduating class two years before he died, former playwright and Czech president Vaclav Havel said something that caused the auditorium to do some serious thinking: “The deeper the experience of an absence of meaning – in other words, of absurdity – the more energetically meaning is sought.” He knew his audience.  America’s youth, like those in most nations then and today, was fed up with the kind of politics that got increasingly ugly the more it grew ineffective.  Yet the final six words of his quote lit a fire – “the more energetically meaning is sought.”  It was true of those students, as it is of us.  We want more than a politics that just can’t inspire. Perhaps the…

17 Minutes That Could Change Democracy

Posted on March 20, 2018

True, the raw emotion of it has worn off somewhat, but not its memory – never the memory.  The sight of fearful students rushing out of Parkland Douglas school in Florida was, in truth, all too familiar an image on our screens – we’d seen it all before.  Problem was that all that collective angst, the outpouring of emotion and support, sympathetic news coverage that occurred in other states in other times had come to the same end – nothing.  It’s likely millions watching it all unfold thought the Parkland shooting would be little different.  It seemed like nothing could shake lukewarm or belligerent politicians, a cold and immovable organized gun lobby, or a media that diligently covered the story until they didn’t and…

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…

Is Our News Ripping Us Apart?

Posted on March 1, 2017

My wife and I spent some time in Ottawa last week testifying before the Human Rights Committee concerning the deteriorating situation in South Sudan. I noted a number of changes in Parliament since my sojourn there as a Member of Parliament ended six years ago, chief of which was the collective sense of tentativeness among the elected officials. That’s because the world has suddenly become far more complex, and at times threatening. Politicians are getting their information from all sides, both pro and con, and in doses that would challenge anyone. That’s mostly opposite to the challenges citizens are facing regarding how they get their information. According to a recent Abacus Data survey, Canadians are becoming increasingly addicted to social media as their preferred…

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