Moved from here.
In Canada, we don't have much choice when it comes to national daily newspapers to buy:
1) Globe and Mail
2) National Post
3) Toronto Star
Which, if any, of these papers is the "best" for progressive readers? If you had to choose one to subscribe to, which would it be? Are there regional papers that would be better?
Finally, if progressives put the heads & money together, could they improve the coverage and content of of progressive issues overall by organising to switch their subscription to the most progressive-friendly paper?
Far better to start a new national paper. It would require significant support from labour, for example.
i think we need something like democracy now. (democracynow.org)
a daily real news show about both domestic and international issues from a progressive view. One you can watch or read the transcript!
Yah well how come the whole thread didn't move.
The "progressive " reader should know what is going on nationally and internationally; developments in the business/economic world as well as related politics, and should be able to read between the conservative lines. "Know the enemy" was the motto of an old Berkley grad.
Only the Globe and Mail meets all requirements, and it is the enemy of our PM, which makes it easier to accept the conservative assumptions about how to run a world. It was upgraded by Canada's richest man to do battle with M'lord Black's Post, and control has been retained by the Thomson family, luckily for us all.
Pbbt. Some enemy. That paper endorsed Harper last election. The sad thing is that it probably IS the best option for progressives. to read.
The Toronto Star might be a little to the left of the Globe but it provides worse coverage, and comes off as completely beholden to the Liberal Party.
The National Post is a right-wing rag.
The Sun is right-wing toilet paper.
The thing is though, that in the information age the newspaper is dying. Canada doesn't need a progressive national newspaper, it needs it's own Huffington Post or Daily Kos (like Milo said).
The Globe and Mail edited the published speech of comrade Nelson Mandela when he was released from 28 years of imprisonment by the criminal Apartheid regime in South Africa. All references that Mandela made to the South African Communist Party were deleted, in their entirely, from the published remarks. This was calculated censorship.
It's a good paper to become familiar with Canadian bourgeois views, like the WSJ is for the USA. But it only makes sense in the context of looking at progressive media first, like rabble, to read such shite.
I think the mainstream press has it's place for progressives. More than reading between the lines, you have to read as many sources as you can. Usually if you read several sources you can find info, links, etc. that vary from paper to paper that can reveal a more accurate picture of what's really going on. If you combine that with the indy media like democracynow, rabble, canadian center for policy alternatives, reports like miningwatch you can get the whole picture.
My daily routine is pretty much reading my local paper the winnipeg free press then on the internet i check out: democracynow, alternet, haaretz, NY times, cbc, globe and mail, national post, al jazeera and znet.
I WISH there was a canadian version that was a daily news site that covered national and international news.
The thing i like the most about democracy now is they always have the best guests that have specific knowledge of what they're talking about and they have a full interview as opposed to using a short bit or a few quotes. They really devote the time to understand to each issue.
From the Globe this week....U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissiion are going to require resource companies to disclose how much they are paying out to foreign governments under new anti-corruption rules. Oil and gold producers are all in a tizzy...
The EU is developing stronger scientific evidence on the damaging effects of Tar Patch oil, reducing the possibility that Canada can win breathing space in trade deals by complaining to the WTO. "The commission had initially proposed that oil sands be ascribed a greenhouse gas value of 107 grams per mega-joule of fuel, making it clear to buyers that it had far greater impact than average crude oil at 87.1 grams. The latest EU research, published this month, backs that up."
Canadians should know what shit Steve and Jimmy are peddling on behalf of the Patch.
milo you can also get RSS feeds and then you have a stream of headlines on your desktop and can look at the stories that interest you. It's also about how much time you have.
Fault Lines is back for another season!
Isn't that what rabble.ca is attempting to create?
the Globe is the best quality national paper; balance its slant with 4-5 other sources and you are fine... as for an eventual national paper tilting Left, fine, but remember that most people buy the paper for 6-8 things, including crosswords, sports reports, weather, cartoons, concert reviews, film schedules, etc etc that have little visible ideological content; the paper has to meet its audience outside the op-ed/news pages
also, as an editor, a lifelong periodicals obsessive and a former dues-paying member of the Newspaper Guild, I have long concluded that the newspapers-are-finished stuff is fairly superficial; no doubt most are in decline right now, but I expect their role to be perennial
the great Marshall McLuhan always said that any new media complement, rather than entirely displace, older media: hence movies did not actually kill the theatre, TV did not kill radio, videos/DVD did not kill cinemas, etc etc. In each case, the older media adapt and find a new audience niche/role.
the much-maligned medium of paper, McLuhan noted, is unique for its opacity, sense of stability and authority. I think that readers will abandon it for some niches -- most recent news -- but hold on to it for analyses and in-depth reporting.
-- We will see.
But some fools continue to jump the gun, including I recall, a New Year's Eve National Post column by George Jonas in 2009 saying that 2010 would be "the end of paper". Uh no, George.
The Canadian Pulp and Paper Association reports that the advent of the PC and printer have constantly boosted paper demand; people want to print out and hold things, to reread and store their documents. They do other electronic things -- no question-- but paper remains the most solid media platform for many readers.
This last claim by DaveW is also substantiated by recent studies of the reading behaviour of university students. Apparently, they still "cling" to print. Imagine that.
See article in First Monday - Reading revolutions: Online digital text and implications for reading in academe - Barry W. Cull
Just click on HTML and you'll get the whole article.
A mere ten years ago, many would have scoffed at the idea that people would be shifting away from paper books to digital books. But, about a month ago, Amazon.com announced that it is now selling more digital books than paper books. And, in another ten, twenty, or thirty years, where do you think the relative proportions will be? Paper books will likely continued to be produced in significant (but greatly diminishing) quantities for a few more decades because there will be people around who grew up using only paper books (and some habits die hard). Even after that, I'm sure some people will continue to produce paper books - but the age of mass-produced paper books will be over.
If that will be the trend for paper books (when books have a relatively long "life span"), I suspect that the trend will be even faster for newspapers, which are generally read and tossed in the same day.
As someone who grew up with paper-only books and newspapers, I have really embraced digital media. I only read newspapers and periodicals online (some of which I pay a subscription for). Most of my book reading is now on a Kindle. And, although not related to reading materials, I have been scanning documents and then saving and organizing them on my Mac - and then shredding the documents - in a months'-long process. So far, I've gotten rid of, probably, over 100 pounds of paper that I had previously been filing and storing in a variety of places around the house and garage. To help prevent loss, I have a complete backup at home, another backup copy at work, and a third backup copy in another location. So, now all of my documents, photos (about 6,000 of them), and music are all stored digitally.
When I buy a product that has a user manual, I go to the company website and download a PDF of the manual and save it in a directory of manuals. Paper manual? Recycled.
Paper invoices are scanned and saved. Invoices for online purchases are converted to a PDF and saved. No paper left.
Tax and other financial statements - scanned and filed. Paper gone.
Articles I want to save: If originally in paper: Scanned and filed (paper gone). If originally online: I convert to a PDF and save (no paper to print and file).
It makes recall of any item very easy - no searching through various boxes and files for a particular document.
I have even been scanned, saved, and organized documents that I want to save hardcopies of (old family letters [I have hundreds of them], original citizenship papers of ancestors, my grandmother's diaries from the 1930s and onward, etc.). I'm doing that because (1) it makes retrieval easy, (2) it makes dissemination of family materials to other family members easy, and (3) a permanent record is kept in case of fire.
At work, my group used to ship out a banker's box of documents to file about once every one or two weeks. Now, all documents, emails, etc. are saved digitally. Even my handwritten meeting notes are scanned and filed. And, of course, all of that is backed up.
Digitizing work and personal documents has an added benefit: No stress of having to manage mountains of paper!
Not to mention that advertisers need print, and that is probably the most important driver of the newspaper industry.
And I say that as someone who both spends thousands of advertising dollars a year (print - not digital) and has spent a lot of time hawking ads, building them, and laying them out.
Of course the newspaper industry is in a state of flux, but if it were the end then why are new newspapers starting up, even if many of them are ad rags? I don't think the current upheavals in the music industry will mean the death of music, and this is no different. Ultimately, people will support what they want.
THat said, I think print is a medium where progressive forces need to tread carefully, because it is so costly, and relies so much on either investors or advertisers.
But the mention of university students piques my interest, since the student press is probably one area where it is possible to have a strong political inflience without running into the wall of corporate editorial control.
On the main question, I agree that print is good, but in terms of getting ideas out, you save a lot of potential headaches and risk by sticking with digital. Look at Air America. Good idea, but unfortunately one which failed in part because of the costs of the medium.
Changes in the music industry won't mean the death of music, no more than changes in the news industry will mean the death of news. But, changes in the music industry have definitely changes the media on which music is stored and played. The same thing will happen to news.
On the question of books, I think I am stuck on print. Easier on the eyes, plus my bookshelves actually help insulate my walls.
Also, Harper Collins announced last year that their digital books sold to libraries will self-destruct after 24 readings.
If the digital medium turns into something that you cannot lend or re-sell, I think people will very quickly re-evaluate whether it is truly a revolution for the better.
More of an arm's length from corporate control is probably true for student press. However, a couple of points.
1. neo-liberal admininstrations have a negative effect on the student press;
2. When it comes to student press in Canada the issue of Conservative, Liberal and other right wing attempts to shut down, silence, or starve progressive student papers is a significant issue. I'm not close enough on the details, however.
It's important to distinguish between technological change that is more enduring and marketing propaganda that is ephermeral. An exmaple would be the IT term "the cloud" or "cloud computing". This is a marketing term passed off as something more. caveat emptor.
@ N. Beltov
I do hear what you are saying, and in part I agree.
I learned my trade in the student press, and although I know things are different nowadays, I also know it is a completely different playing field - and more importantly a completely different financial and governance structure - than the straight press.
Plus, people pay more attention to all things to do with academia than they do to "the Coffee News". If there is any place where media could punch far above its weight, with the benefit of informed alternative ideas, and without the corporate limitations that clamp down much of the media, it is in the student press, and student radio.
Try doing that at one of the major dailies? Forget it.
basically, I recognize that the same oppressive forces exist on campus, but if I were a betting man, I think the odds are better there than they are in the straight press.
And when a university newspaper breaks a good story, people DO pay attention.
It's worth saying that just like those little bookstores that are disappearing, so too the student press in Canada is an incubation chamber for making new leftists in Canada. And we don't pay enough attention - the way the conservative movement in the USA and their cousins in Canada - to ensuring that lots of little leftist "chicks" are nourished and hatched.
Here's one thing I think we can probably all agree on:
The market will determine the fate of paper.
If enough people want paper books, then some paper books will continue to be produced. If not, they won't. Same with newspapers.
Market idolatry is just one more plank in of neo-liberal ideology. A society can choose to produce anything its members collectively decide upon.
Are you advocating some type of "collective" decision regarding paper books and paper newspapers?
How, exactly, might that work?
Yes, but for the most part that has only been exercised as public policy in the area of broadcast media.
Subsidizing of print has taken place, but for the most part it has fallen back on market forces - advertising - because there actually is a bottom line for the print advertising market, and because it is a more physical medium, from production to distribution.
Plus there is more incentive for broadcast because it reaches out internationally, where print does not.
Why should the public fund broadcast media? Isn't the CBC publicly-funded? It strikes me as being pretty much MSM, no? Public radio down here is pretty mainstream, too. US public radio stations, according to this piece, receive about 6% of their funding from federal, state, and local government sources. Why should the government contribute any money to public radio? If a member contributes 50 bucks a year, then that member should just kick in an extra 3 bucks (6%).
But, getting the government involved in the type of media that books and newspapers should be produced on (which N.Beltov's post seemed to imply), is even more of a stretch.
I see that Sven has presumed that the collective (no scare quotes by me unlike those that are typical for rw fundys) decisions are presumed to be government decisions. This doesn' t follow. Collective decisions can take a wide variety of forms.
Don't be afraid of specifics.
A family is a collective decision making body. A club is a collective decision making body. a worker coop is a collective decision making body. Any democratic body is a collective decision making body.
you right wingers really have no imagination, do you? lol.
I didn't ask for a definition of "collective". I asked how a collective decision would work to maintain the production of paper books and newspapers.
In other words, if a collective wanted to make sure that paper books and newspapers continue to be produced at current levels, how would that occur?
all that i need to do is point out that your lack of imagination/ideology has blinded you to non-market approaches to social issues.
You don't get it. that's not my problem.
all i have to do is show that there are collectives other than government. if that makes your head explode, then too bad.
Why is it so difficult to give even a single credible example of how "collective decision-making" could possibly maintain the current production of paper books and newspapers?
ETA: The market process, by contrast, is beautifully simple: If enough people want to buy paper books and paper newspapers, then they will be produced. If not, they won't. And, who can legitimately argue with the individual decisions (paper or not) of millions of people?
You can have collectives of every shape and character you can imagine. The question is: If a collective wanted to maintain the current production of paper books and newspapers, how might they actually accomplish that?
ETA: Oh, and simply saying "Well, by collective action (or collective decision-making), of course!" isn't a meaningful answer.
lol. keep digging.
It's like asking, "How are we going to get to the moon?" or "How are we going to solve social problem X?" (or solve any particular problem) and then cherrily responding, "By collective action, of course!!"
That means nothing.
Go ahead and have the last word.
Given the level of crap books, which are the only ones it seems being allowed to be published, or sold, and lack of actual journalism in magazines and newspapers it is quite apparent why no one wants to fucking read the crap and why they are going by the way side.
Having said that, collectives produce their own books and they will and do get around to a larger audience.
On the other hand, there are enough cases, even in the straight press, where journalists manage to hit the nail on the head,
There really is no "on the other hand", as I did not say there was a void, I said there was a lack.
thanks for the support; I should mention that one innovation that did NOT work (as far as I know) was the idea of mixing an academic paper text with online footnotes, references and bibliography, making academic books less weighty;
the 2 cannot be separated, as access to a website could be lost or blocked, making the "book" incomplete for the reader
back to the subject of newspapers; I was recently in Canada and noted the big jump in paper-stock quality used by the Globe and Mail; my conclusion is they want to make newspaper reading a bit more sophisticated-feeling, and avoid a race to the bottom vs online sources for mass-media audiences
I wouldn't say that all the relevant decisions are individual. Take the persistence of vinyl records for an example. People do buy them for individual reasons such as thinking it sounds better or enjoying larger cover art but people also buy them because they happen to be associated with subcultures that use owning vinyl as a kind of marker of group membership. I expect something similar will happen to paper books. Most people won't use them most of the time but some will keep buying them for practical and non-practical reasons.
@ Doug, Sven
I agree with the dynamic of market forces, but with newspapers and magazines it is not simply a question of how many people buy it. Look at any free paper which gets dropped in your mailbox, or it's far more successful form, the free entertainment paper which exists in most cities.
In that case it is a question of how many ADVERTISERS are willing to pay, and in fact the readers - you and I - are the commodity which is being sold to them.
And again, I think it will continue to exist not because it is trendy or part of a subculture, but because the advertising form is specific to the medium. If anything, and I wouldn't say readers have rejected the printed word just yet, I think newspapers have taken a bit hit because classified advertising (as opposed to display ads) is far better suited to things like kijiji or craigslist. But people are still going to want their obits and wedding notices in hard copy. Same thing for business display ads, and until the law changes, you still have to publish things like tenders and legal notices in print.
And I think the jury is out on digital books. There are actually physical reasons why vinyl is better than CD, The sound quality is different, both in the rate, the range, and often in the mixing, and album art plays a much more significant role in the medium.
And of course, to do a true comparison we will have to see how one's CD collection holds up over the next 50 or 60 years.
Same thing for books. I don't own a kindle, but can you mark up passages and make notes? Is the machine going to last a century? Can you buy a used digital story in a second hand store or garage sale or pick one out of a dumpster that someone has thrown out? Do they come in coffetable kindle format? What happens if you drop your kindle off the balcony? For that matter, is this something that everyone can afford to buy? . Can you lend them? I know my eyes feel different after a day of looking at a screen than they do looking at a page.
I'm not saying anyone is wrong here, because I don't know how people will embrace this new technology. But there are real differences, and time will tell whether it is a fad or a real change in technology.
There are many analogies that can be drawn in the paper vs digital conflict. Ultimately, digital is the most efficient and cost-effective medium. Media outlets struggle with the issue of keeping it profitable, but many smaller companies are finding creative ways to stay afloat. Paper is a thing of the past, and I say that as a young person who has seen the demise of the VHS tape, khakis, etc ad infinitum.
The Dominion is a media co-op that is developing into an independent national news service written and maintained by its readership. There are locals in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. It's far from being a daily, but it is promising.
I use the Globe and Star as a springboard for my daily dose of news. Sometimes I only glance at the headlines before doing some research into the issues that interest me. The overwhelming spectre of the status quo is way too strong in the writing to be of any use to me, although I'm glad to see some Rabble contributors with their own columns, like Rick Salutin.
I like Democracy Now!, but they are basically just a progressive talk show. This is great, because I get a full hour of nuanced, articulate discussion. The guests are great, too! I remember an interview a few weeks ago with Manuel Zelaya and his wife Xiomara Castro done by Amy Goodman. That was amazing stuff. It has its limitations though. You can't "experience" the news through Democracy Now! For that I usually tune in to The Real News, and sometimes Al Jazeera or Russia Today.
From our side of the fence I agree with you.
Publishing is very expensive and has a lot of up-front costs. Unless you have those advertisers and investors you don't get anywhere.
On the other hand, a lot of the important jornalism we are talking about - ongoing investigative work, international bureaux, court challenges, and such - is not cheap. How is that going to get paid for in a cheap medium that doesn't generate revenue?
And if you look at the success of a some of the major papers in trying to set up paywalls, the future of digital as a way of supporting expensive journalism doesn't look quite as rosy. I know there are a lot of people willing to do this work for free or on the side, but the fact is journalists should not have to work for free, and ultimately they cannot.
And as well, if the more traditional news gathering sources suddenly disappeared and were not there sitting in press galleries, paying for flights to send journalists out to the middle of nowhere or paying for an investigative piece that might take a year to break, we would see how much we all depend on that system which is still paid for by print and broadcast ads, foundations and public media.
Do I see print and broadcast media changing? Absolutely, I can't think of a time when it was not changing. But do I see it dying out my guess is no. And the way things stand right now, digital may be the best bet for some in the alternative media, but it is far from being a viable alternative to replace the entire industry.
Websites are incredibly profitable. We are in a transitional state where the print media outlets are working to make their online operations more profitable. They'll arrive eventually. Other ventures have already made their fortunes online. Facebook, Yahoo, Google, all depend on advertising revenue. The viewer doesn't even need to click. This is purely anecdotal, but I can tell you that Facebook ads are very very effective. I find myself clicking them on a daily basis simply because of the creativity crammed into a tiny box of a few hundred pixels.
If we ask ourselves why anybody bothers to pick up a newspaper these days, a few thoughts come to mind:
1) romanticism or nostalgia
2) inexpensive nature of the medium vs a digital news reader (cellphone, computer)
3) ease of use; no "searching" for stories
All but the first point can be remedied within a number of years. The current generation will find less of an affinity for the newspaper than their predecessors.
The majority of Canadians now own a cellphone, and in parts of the world, there are on average 1.5 cellphones per person. What more with the advances in smartphone technology? The technology gets less expensive daily, so the technology in my smartphone today will cost a fraction of that in a few years. The dissemination of information online is becoming more streamlined to the point that it will probably be easier to find the stories you want online rather than in a newspaper.
I think the higher revenues generated online will enable more investigative journalism. To use The Real News as an example, they've raised enough money through donations to field reporters in Israel, Libya, and Honduras, among other places.
I'm not saying you are entirely wrong. As I said, I agree wiith you that digital is probably the most practical way to go for alternative media without deep pockets I just think that you are not looking at the complete picture, and I certainly don't see any "transition" as a fait accompli.
In terms of print media, what we are mostly seeing the implosion of is print owned by the big print media chains. And the fact is that in Canada that model is barely 100 years old, and was itself responsible for the death of 40 daily newspapers in Canada between 1914 and 1921 - most of them representing alternative media voices, rather than the "objective" news we receive today.
In short, I don't think there is anything at all wrong with the medium, the problem is concentration of ownership. THings are tough for smaller weeklies, free city papers and magazines, but they are not all imploding in the same way that the chains are.
The bottom line for me is that so long as there is a market for print advertising, there will be newspapers and magazines. And if you go to any newspaper and magazine rack, or pick up some of your local free papers and leaf through to look at the ad ratio, you will see that they are not all hurting.
Ironically, the same computer revolution that brought us the internet also made newspaper production a lot more affordable and accessible in the 1980s and 90s, and made a lot of these smaller magazines and weeklies possible once again.
Google might be good, but it doesn't reach all niche markets, it doesn't reach people who don't tend to get their news online, or who tend to get it on the radio or TV; it doesn't reach a lot of things. A rural business isn;t going to go to google to advertise an auction or other service; it will go to a weekly newspaper. A festival isn;'t going to get google as a media partner; they'll go to radio, TV, and entertainment papers to get coverage and ads. As an advertiser, I have gotten their rate cards and there is really nothing there for me; all the advertising money I spend goes into trade magazines.
So again, you might be right, but my gut feeling is that print and broadcast media will continue to exist in some form.
Good points. I guess time will tell.
If anyone is interested in contributing time or money, the Dominion is always looking. I think it has a lot of potential to become a balanced daily news source.
I'll definitely check it out. It sounds like a great idea, and when it comes to media, the more the merrier, and the more innovative the better as far as I am concerned.
Another timely topic. Does anyone know if "foreign" media is allowed to be run in this country, or rather invested in, in the print form? Harper's moves to open it up could be to our advantage.