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April 11, 2007

Recipe for Media Monotony -- and a Lack of Voices: Media Consolidation

The Canadian Association of Journalists has deep concerns over the loss of local content, and thus local voices after a recent Sun Media Corp. move dictating that its newspapers run national editorials and mandatory chain-wide opinion columns. More

My personal opinion? There are few things more annoying than opening your hometown newspaper and noting that the obligatory summer safety tips (or some similar generic story) isn't local at all. It was picked up off the wire service and features interviews with people you'll never met. It's no wonder more Canadians are turning to the alternative press or the Internet for slice-of-life, grassroots stories of what's really going on in their communities. They can't count on the big chain media outlets to deliver on a consistent basis -- even though those chains (via the hometown daily) are happy to cash advertising cheques from local businesses.

And as for diversity of voices -- I don't have time to do the soap box justice on this topic today, but I will say this. When a handful of people own most of the publications in a particular city, province, or country, they exercise undue influence over what issues do and don't get covered. The political and social consequences can be considerable.

Media Ownership: Who Owns What in the Canadian Media?
Rogers buying TV stations from CTVglobemedia
CanWest, Goldman Sachs buy Alliance Atlantis for $2.3B
CRTC to review 'diversity of voices' in broadcasting


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