Jamie Orchard takes the bus

Global Quebec likes to run the occasional 5-second ad for anchor Jamie Orchard’s blog. I find this odd, because she updates it about once a month, which hardly makes it qualify as a blog, much less make it advertising-worthy.

Today, she added her first new post since Dec. 4, complaining about bus service on the island. It’s an example of what not to do with blogs.

Let me explain:

  1. It’s a subject that anyone can write about. In fact, as evidenced by two letters she cuts-and-pastes into the blog post, anyone has written about it. Orchard’s experience having buses show up late and not wanting to bike in the winter are not unique and she provides no unique insight into them. Journalists’ blogs should provide new information if not personal insight. They shouldn’t repeat what everyone else is saying.
  2. It’s blowhardism instead of journalism. Instead of explaining that delays are a result of a bus shortage, she rants about how “Montreal must do more” for public transit. Such comments make us feel good but are completely devoid of meaning.

There are other minor things like the horrible formatting, but those two are the most important.

Mainstream media outlets are clueless about this blog thing and are just throwing stuff out there to see what sticks. Unfortunately, that leaves us with a lot of junk. I don’t want my journalists to sound just like those uninformed idiots on MySpace. I want something new and interesting. The faster journalist-bloggers (and the media companies who don’t want to pay them a cent to do this extra work) understand that, the faster we’ll see blogs that are worth our attention.

And while I sympathize with people whose buses arrive late, I don’t think exaggeration is warranted here. This isn’t some third-world country. The vast majority of buses do arrive on time and take people to their destination without incident.

I lived for five years in the West Island taking a bus every day downtown to study. Up to three hours of transit time each day. Sometimes buses wouldn’t show up, and I’d be left out in the cold for up to an hour. But even when I got frustrated, I never condemned the entire system like others have. I moved closer to the city, next to a metro station where I don’t have to worry about catching a bus to get downtown.

Yes, Montreal (and Quebec, and the unions, and STM management and everyone else) should do more to ensure quality public transit. But Montrealers need to be a bit more tolerant toward small disruptions in service. Montreal’s transit network is among the most reliable in the world, and I think we’ve taken that for granted.

3 thoughts on “Jamie Orchard takes the bus

  1. blork

    Alas, but you are wrong about one thing. You said “Mainstream media outlets are clueless about this blog thing and are just throwing stuff out there to see what sticks.” I would argue that they’re just throwing things out there. I don’t think they’re even bothering to see what sticks.

    Reply
  2. DAVE ID

    This blogpost has been brought to you by the letters S, T and M.

    More tolerant? Tell that to my boss. He’s not very tolerant of my tardiness due to the fact that my bus which should pass at 7h14, 7h22, 7h43 and 7h52 only gets around to my corner around 8 when I’ve been on the corner since 7h and this happens 3 days out of 5.

    More tolerant? Tell that to my client who complains to my boss. He’s not more tolerant of my tardiness either due to the fact that my bus which should pass at 7h14, 7h22, 7h43 and 7h52 only gets around to my corner around 8 when I’ve been on the corner since 7h and this happens 3 days out of 5.

    Then I look at the poster in the bus telling the users that the STM is having difficulty getting all the buses out and that this is not the bus drivers fault and that the STM is working hard to resolve this issue quickly… the poster has been up for over a year.

    When I time people by a calendar instead of a watch, it’s taking to long.

    And your solution to fixing the STMs inadequacies is for the users to move closer to their destinations? WTF?

    Also, the 3rd-world-country defense is tired and over-used just like the Nazi-defense. Just because other countries have it worse (and there will always be other countries that have it worse) doesn’t mean that our problems aren’t worthy of being addressed. It’s all these little problems that add up that make a persons life stressful and sometimes very hard to manage.

    Like Daniel Pinard said of the way culture treats the poor; We feed our poor people, like we feed pigs. Well mass transit does the same. It’s treats it’s users like it would pigs. It’s disgraceful. It keeps publicizing how it’s investing close to 400 million dollars in renovating its services and yet it keeps getting worse and worse. Oh but the guys working in the little cabins got bigger cabins to work in. WEEEEEEEEE! We Have new turnstiles which will charge you more than in peak hours. WEEEEEEEE. But we are still packed like sardines be causes there’s not enough buses and trains.

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