OPINION: Newspapers Matter

A column written by the publisher of the Biggar Independant for National Newspaper week

It was a typical summer night, sitting around the campfire at the lake. Friends and family, lots of laughter, toasting marshmallows, partaking in a few beverages.

“Why is it that I can find out on Facebook who is changing the colour of their hair, what they are serving for supper or if the laundry has been done that day? But … I cannot find out why the RCMP gathered north of town looking for a missing body.”

This, folks is the plain and simple truth about why journalism matters.

Because the facts and the truth are ferreted out by credible journalists whose writings fill the pages of community newspapers and national dailies.

No one reads newspapers anymore, you say. Wrong! Nine in 10 Canadians read content that was originally generated from a newspaper each week. Canadians turn to newspaper information on a number of issues. It could be the details of a government program, or updates on NAFTA talks, or what the stock market is doing. In the case of a community newspaper, readers seek out information on town council happenings, or school events, or delight in seeing a picture of their children on the front page.

Journalists not only gather the news, they also confirm the sources and double check the facts. In a world where information is instantaneous, it is surprising that 63 per cent of Canadians are unable to distinguish between legitimate news websites and fake news stories. Another important reason why newspaper journalism matters … now more than ever.

There is a cost to newspaper journalism. These news gatherers like to be paid, as does everyone who works for a living. The owners of the news outlets, whether a national corporate or the independent owner, have bills to pay. One of the largest forms of revenue is advertising sales.

Unfortunately, the mistaken belief that everyone can be reached through social media has caused advertisers to abandon newspapers. Many studies find that ads in newspapers are the most trusted of all. Newspapers do not share your data, either.

Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said, “Newspapers cannot be defined by the second word—paper. They’ve got to be defined by the first word—news.”

News is important—at the national level and at the local level. Journalism matters because democracy matters. It is what defines us as people who are fortunate to live in a free country. Newspapers matter because their credible journalists provide the facts and the truth that we deserve.

National Newspaper Week will be celebrated the first week of October with this year’s theme: Newspapers Matter: Now More Than Ever. At this time Canadians are being asked to show their support for the industry. Send a message to governments, to Canadian business, to journalists that newspapers matter. Pledge your support at www.newspapersmatter.ca.

Margaret Hasein is the published of the Biggar Independant out of Biggar, Sask.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

330 km walk for charity stopping in Sylvan Lake

Chris Sadleir, 45, is walking from Calgary to Edmonton to raise money for the Lung Association

School curriculum to focus on basics, says LaGrange

Minister Adriana LaGrange, MLA for Red Deer South, said it will ‘unleash student potential’

1 in 7 Albertans have been tested for COVID-19

56 additional cases Thursday, 1,107 active cases remain in the province

Sylvan Lake man’s documentary getting limited run in Alberta theatres

Scott McDermott’s documentary will be in 14 theatres, including Sylvan Lake and Wetaskiwin

Masks now mandatory in schools for Grades 4-12, staff

Students, teachers and staff will be provided with two reusable masks to be worn in schools

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gather in Wetaskiwin

Protestors gathered along 56 St Wetaskiwin, Alta. August 4, 2020 for Indigenous Lives Matter.

Maskwacis teen charged in 10-year-old boy’s death

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 14-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

‘Caught up in the frenzy:’ Oilers 50/50 draw breaking ticket sale records

Previous record was held by Toronto Raptors fans when a 50/50 raffle reached $2 million

Alberta jury trials to resume next month at offsite locations due to COVID-19

About 12 locations across Alberta may host the trials in halls, hotels and community centres

Alberta school curriculum to focus on basics, keep out political bias: minister

NDP education critic says the kindergarten to Grade 4 changes should have been implemented a year ago

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada plans $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. in aluminium dispute

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Walmart to make face masks mandatory for customers across Canada

Requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 12 across Canada

Canada ‘profoundly concerned’ over China death sentence for citizen in drug case

Police later confiscated more than 120 kilograms of the drug from Xu Weihong’s home

Most Read