A quick look at this top 10 shows some blogs about the clear newsmaker of the year in Alberta, Premier Danielle Smith. However, the widest-read blog and three of the top four were about the declining role of traditional media.
This is handy. This was last week’s blog, so if you missed it last week here it is.
This one looked at the awkward interview the President of CBC gave on the day it laid off hundreds of employees. Despite canning 10% of the mothercorp’s workforce, Catherine Tait still refused to rule out millions of dollars in bonus payments to CBC execs and others. I explained why she took that position.
As summer was turning to fall, there was a massive E. coli outbreak in Calgary. The government of Premier Smith and Alberta Health Services said very little about the outbreak until they had no choice but to do a news conference and provide a few details. Unfortunately for the relatively new Chief Medical Officer of Health, he made a mistake in answering a question from a reporter about why we hadn’t heard from him until then. Come to think of it, we haven’t seen him much in the media since.
The spring gave us the full political comeback of Danielle Smith when she won the provincial election, leading the UCP to a somewhat surprisingly easy victory. However, almost as soon as she was sworn in, she started making controversial comments, followed by admissions that her words were “imprecise”. Premier Smith was quickly finding out what she said as Premier was judged far differently from the days she was in opposition, or on the radio as a talk show host.
Last month, what was supposed to have been a private direct message conversation between Edmonton sportswriter Mark Spector and former NHL referee Tim Peel went public when Peel put it on X (Twitter). I criticized Peel for doing what he did, but it also served as a good reminder that anything you put in printed form can come back to haunt you.
Another Edmonton-based sports one, but this one was from earlier in the year. TSN reporter Ryan Rishaug put a video on X that appeared to show Oilers superstar Connor McDavid in pain during practice. The speculation was he was playing hurt as the Oilers tied to advance in the playoffs. Reaction was swift as fans criticized Rishaug for uploading the video, saying it was giving the opposition an advantage and suggesting he shouldn’t have made the video public because it hurts the team’s chances. I explained he’s in the media and he’s not a fan or a cheerleader.
I was glad to see this blog do so well with views. For the last few years I’ve been struck how far too many people use extra words in normal conversation. These are words people use, apparently to drive home the point they’re trying to make. The reality is, they’re useless words that actually hurt what they’re trying to say. Start listening to what others say and you’ll realize how often they use words and phrases that are redundant. By the way, many of these bad habits come from sports broadcasters, who also can't understand the difference between "amount" and "number."
Decades ago, the phrase “Newspaper of record” was coined. It basically meant in every city or community there was a newspaper that served as a record of stories, developments and changes. If it was important enough to be in the newspaper, then it served as a lasting record. Over the last few years though, my newspaper of record, The Edmonton Journal, has become a shadow of its former self. Cutbacks in reporters and other editorial staff mean it no longer can be relied on to serve as a newspaper of record.
This one is much the same as the blog just above, but it’s for local television sports. Years ago, most local TV stations in Canada had a full complement of sports anchors and reporters. They brought you the latest news and highlights on local teams, along with other sports news. Today many markets in Canada have virtually no local sports people on television. Edmonton is one example. Over the years cutbacks took out familiar names and eventually sports departments were shut down.
This blog goes back to mid-April, weeks before the provincial election that saw Danielle Smith’s UCP party retain power. Relations between Smith and her party and the mainstream media were not good. On the front page of the Edmonton Journal was perhaps the most famous political photo of the year in Alberta. It showed a health care worker apparently discreetly giving the middle finger to Smith during a news conference.
A Wednesday in the middle of June brought what was believed to have been the biggest day of job cuts in Canadian broadcast history. Bell laid off 1,300 employees, closed six radio stations and announced three more would be sold. People were shocked when radio stations like Edmonton’s TSN 1260 closed and well-known reporters like CTV’s Tom Walters and Paul Workman were given pink slips. I wasn’t shocked and said so. We’ve seen moves like this for 30-years.
This is the last blog of mine for 2023. I hope you have a great holiday season.
Thanks for reading and commenting on my blogs over the past year. I’ll be back in the new year to write about developments in the media.