Volume 92, Issue 32

Friday, October 30, 1998

big money


Real news

With the structure of the newspaper industry changing almost daily and the dominance of large media conglomerates ever so apparent, it is nice to know there is one Canadian media organization out there which is free from negative influence.

Canadian Press, the wire service which has been the anonymous source of information for Canadians across the country for most of this century, is one of the most reputable pillars of journalism in this country. It shows up day in, day out, in newspapers around Canada, usually without bylines, but with large, important headlines.

Unlike corporate conglomerates Sun Media Corp. or Conrad Black's Southam Inc. and Hollinger Inc., the Canadian Press does not exist to generate a profit. It does not have advertisers, only members who keep it alive with their financial and content contributions.

Since 1917, it has served Canadian newspapers and in turn, served the public – never asking for any more recognition than the "CP" which appears before a story and often misunderstood or just not known. With membership including 96 of the 105 daily newspapers in Canada, this vital Canadian service now finds itself on the endangered species list.

Sun Media has its own wire service. Southam does too. With the recent announcement of the takeover bid by Torstar Corp. of Sun Media, only a handful of major Canadian newspapers could be left who don't have access to an alternative wire service.

So where does that leave CP? It is left in the uncomfortable position that it is becoming obsolete. It is no longer the vital resource for Canadian journalists it was once and it is no longer essential for a major newspaper to have this wire coming into the newsroom. Southam even recently almost pulled out as a member.

The dissolution of Canadian Press would not be terrible for Canadian newspapers – it would be terrible for the Canadian public.

Some might not notice its absence, but media coverage around the nation would take a serious hit. CP enjoys a state of journalistic free-reign, where money does not play as significant a factor in editorial decisions and an editor never has to be concerned with what advertisers, publishers or corporate bosses will think of an article.

CP is coverage for the sake of coverage –reporting the facts in a clear, unbiased manner. It is a part of Canadian history and should continue to play an important role well into the next century.

Big business is in danger of enveloping integrity, morals and the public's right to know. Don't let it happen.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazette.editor@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998