Steve Proulx, who is the media columnist and blogger at Voir, is changing his focus to be more generalist, and asking people for suggestions on what he should call his new column.
Although I’m sure this is a good move for Proulx, it’s a bit sad for the world of media criticism. The move reminds me of when Antonia Zerbisias got taken off the media criticism beat at the Toronto Star.
Proulx says he’ll still talk about media (and there’s certainly lots to talk about these days), but when you’re not focused on one subject, you lose some detail.
Media criticism is hard in this environment, because to do it properly you need to be employed as a journalist, but most of the companies who employ journalists are part of giant conglomerates that control dozens of media outlets. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone working full-time as a journalist who isn’t employed by Canwest, Quebecor, CBC, CTVglobemedia, Gesca, Transcontinental, Astral, Corus or Rogers.
There are exceptions. The Toronto Star is one, though TorStar owns part of CTVglobemedia. The Suburban is another, and it has Mike Cohen who writes about anglo Quebec media. Voir, which also owns Hour and Ottawa Xpress, allowed Proulx the freedom to write what he wished without running the risk of pissing off his employer.
And then there’s Le Devoir, where Paul Cauchon will write more about Quebec media than you’ll get anywhere else. But one journalist at Canada’s only remaining independent daily newspaper is hardly enough to cover the giant media landscape.
Let’s hope Proulx doesn’t let the media stories pass him by as he’s focusing on his expanded portfolio. Especially those stories about my employer that I can’t write without getting into trouble.
UPDATE: Proulx says he’s still editing Trente magazine, so he definitely can’t ignore media issues there.