There was no reporter from Google at the Delbrook rec centre last Saturday as North Vancouver candidates discussed climate change. Instagram didn’t send a photographer to the West Vancouver United Church for a candidates’ debate, and Twitter neglected to tweet a single North Shore council meeting on Monday.
It’s not just that Facebook and Google hoover up nearly three-quarters of Canada’s online advertising revenue, and it’s not merely that you can’t kill a termite with a rolled up copy of TikTok, it’s the fact that these ever-expanding tech behemoths are simply not here.
As we mark National Newspaper Week, we note both journalism’s importance and its precariousness. According to the Press Freedom Index, 30 journalists have been killed this year. Many more have been jailed. Oftentimes, an assault on the free flow of information coincides with lies radiating through a social media platform that has never employed a fact checker.
That strain of brutality and repression is far removed from our small corner of the world, but we urge you not to take journalism for granted.
We’ve seen fine newspapers wither. We’ve seen great reporters laid off. And in the void of good journalism we’ve charted the rise of influencers, amplifiers and trolls. Because when newspapers spread misinformation, it’s a bug in the machine. For social media companies, the bug is the machine.
But we’re still here. We’re in courthouses, council chambers and on the street. And so, today, we ask for your support. Please consider signing the pledge at newspapersmatter.ca.
We’re in this together. We’re all here.
What are your thoughts? Send us a letter via email by clicking here or post a comment below.