Monday, April 29, 2019

Why I stopped subscribing to my local newspater.

The Edmonton Journa didn’t publish my letter but I have a blog:

My wife and I cancelled our subscription to the Edmonton Journal.

Since moving to Edmonton in 1992, we have subscribed to your paper.  I remember it as an excellent paper with balanced coverage of local, national and international news and issues.  The large Saturday and Sunday editions were a true joy to read,  taking several hours.

Over the last few years, the quality of the paper has declined, there is no longer a Sunday edition and the size of the paper has decreased to the point where the flyers deposited in our mailbox along with the paper are often  larger in size.  In addition the national and international news and opinion section has been outsourced to the National Post.  

Worse was the behaviour of the Journal during the election and in the run up to the election.  On at least two occasions the UCP was allowed to buy full page ads on the front page of the journal giving the impression that this was news not advertising.   During the election various PACs were allowed to buy full page ads in the news section of the paper.  In addition the Journal endorsed the UCP which is really not surprising although disappointing.

I realize that papers depend on ad revenue to survive and am not naive enough to expect that advertisers and owners of newspapers will always agree with me.  I realize that their coverage of news of their editorial opinions will always subtly reflect the bias of the owners and advertisers.  I have always enjoyed reading the other point of view if only to mentally rebut it (and occasionally agree with it).  The Journal in the past has always presented a diversity of opinions and tried to present both sides of the story.  It is clear however that the promotion of a single agenda is now being blatantly pushed not only in editorial content but also in the way that news is being presented.  This is reflected in the Journal ignoring certain stories and by presenting opinion as news.

For the past few years, I have noticed that the Globe and Mail’s coverage of Alberta and Edmonton issues is more thorough and balanced than that of the Journal.  The Journal has now become a newspaper which features the worst aspects of the Edmonton Sun and National Post. Quite frankly most days, now I find myself going straight to the comic section which is actually still quite good.

I have read newspapers since shortly after learning to read.  As I mentioned above, I still find the Globe and Mail to be a high quality source of information and entertainment.  Recently while visiting Victoria, I read the Times-Colonist and was thoroughly impressed with quality of the journalism.

Newspapers have been observed to be under siege with competition from the internet and other platforms.  I have always preferred to read a paper and I suspect that a significant number of people do not read newspapers any more not because of the internet but because the content in newspapers has become so awful.  

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