Your guide to media coverage of the 1998 ice storm anniversary

The floodgates opened this morning on ice storm anniversary stories. Every major local media outlet has something, and many have a lot.

Part of that is because there isn’t much news on the 5th of January. Part is because they’ve had 10 years (with constant electricity) to prepare. And part is because it had such a profound impact on everyone’s lives for two weeks to a month.

This is perhaps the first big project among local media relying on reader-generated content. It’s easy to see why: Everyone remembers the ice storm. The supply of stories is practically infinite.

The problem is that everyone’s story sounds about the same. We were without power. The roads were hard to drive. We had to leave our home and move in with a family member who had power. We communicated with our neighbours for the first time ever. We helped people in need. We were happy to see electricians from the U.S. who came to help. There was a lot of snow and ice.

That’s the problem with user-generated content. It can produce some stunning gems, but most of it is boring filler not worth our time to read.

The archives are fun to look at (particularly the audio/video from the CBC and the PDF pages from The Gazette), to see how different the media and the world was just 10 years ago (67 cents/litre for gas was considered gouging).

Here’s what I’ve found so far (some links via mtlweblog), recommended reading highlighted in bold:

The Gazette

La Presse

Journal de Montréal

Le Devoir






Global Quebec

  • Basically abdicates its responsibility here to The Gazette. The Gazette’s special section in turn takes video clips from Global’s archives.

Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa Sun

The Toronto National Post

  • As far as I can tell, this newspaper hasn’t even mentioned the ice storm’s anniversary beyond this CanWest News Service story, preferring to concentrate on American politics.

The Toronto Globe and Mail

  • No apparent original coverage either. They seem to be relying on Canadian Press for stories.

Canadian Press

Transcontinental community weeklies

Environment Canada

Other media




My comments

Wow, there’s a lot of stuff out there, especially from unexpected sources like Environment Canada and Maine newspapers. And there’s just going to be more added as the anniversary goes on.

The most impressive special sections come from The Gazette and the Ottawa Citizen. Both rely heavily on reader-generated content. CBC/Radio-Canada, who have the advantage of existing archive sections, come out disappointing.

The Journal de Montréal stands out, because they have lots of stories written by journalists. Le Devoir also tries to look at interesting issues beyond “OMG we were out of power.”

Did I miss anything? Post it in the comments.

5 thoughts on “Your guide to media coverage of the 1998 ice storm anniversary

  1. DAVE ID

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Enough already not you to man. Damn I can’t take it anymore. There’s no content and now they repeat the same damn reports over and over again…

  2. Fagstein Post author

    I’m already starting to get tired of it and it’s just begun.

    I think they’ll quickly realize that people are going to be overloaded with the same stuff and quickly bore with it.

  3. DAVE ID

    No argument here. A quick segment, that was enough, then it on instant re-play for ever on every channel. I lived through, I know what happened. Okie Dokie. Been there done that got the T-shirt (really) so could we move on. Makes me look forward to Britney in the psych ward stories.

  4. Pingback: The Ice Storm 1998 « Walking Turcot Yards

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