Apparently jealous of Toronto’s nighttime propane-based fires, some intrepid young Montrealers heroically rescued some propane canisters from a local hardware shop and set them ablaze last night.
On a slightly more serious note, an analysis of Toronto media coverage of its susprise breaking news. Toronto media were caught especially off-guard because the incident happened in the middle of the night on a weekend, when few (if any) people are on the job.
Montreal’s media got lucky, in that the riots started before midnight, before newspapers were put to bed and everyone went home for the night. In addition, the top story was about the police shooting that prompted the riot, so newspapers (like mine) could combine the two together and not have to rip apart their front pages.
La Presse has the best roundup of the action (including a column by Patrick Lagacé, who was on the scene and has some stories to tell about it), as well as the best photos from photographer David Boily. LCN was on the scene live with its helicopter coverage, and though suffering from the usual breaking-news confusion saying-stuff-off-the-top-of-your-ass time-filler, was enough to keep us journalists glued to the set. (LCN/TVA reporters, meanwhile, repeatedly ignored police demands to retreat to a safe area once shots had been fired, making the anchor’s half-transparent “are you ok?” clichés seem almost silly.)
The best anglo coverage came, of course, from Canadian Press, whose reporter Andy Blatchford (a former classmate of mine) had a story filled with quotes.
Unfortunately, most of the other media are playing catch-up today, and you’ll see more photos of day-after busted up businesses than the riots themselves.
As for blog and “new media” coverage, it was pretty well nonexistent. Some posts with “this is bad” comments, but no citizen journalists stepping up and doing a proper reporting job.
Would you care to speculate on the implications of that last sentence? I have a few thoughts…
1) Citizen journalists are less-informed than media hounds (see: lack of police scanners, source tiplines, etc.) Rebuttal: anyone in the neighbourhood could function as a citizen journalist, word-of-mouth travels pretty darn fast
2) Citizen journalists know better than to mess with (literal) fire. Reporting on planned, controlled protests is safer than running into crowds of angry destructive youths.
Rebuttal: some people get their kicks from taunting the angries with obnoxious camera flashes. You can’t lump ’em all as peaceniks.
3) Citizen journalists protest the MSM’s emphasis on crime by posting kittiefest pictures instead and peacefully debating Kant in the comments thread.
Rebuttal: this might be it, actually
But I’m more interested in what you think!
Boily’s pictures are amazing.
As for your lofty expectations of citizen journalism, come the f on. Get real dude. The web 2.0 concept hasn’t taken root in Quebec. Most bloggers there blog about this and that, but not many are “involved” so your criticism falls short. The real grassroots citizen journalism goes on in the US and then some.
The simple concept of participatory community is foreign in Québec (other than Facebook). Except for the grasping-at-straws-nerds its just not happening. Leechers more than seeders. Most techies I worked with in Qc didn’t even understand the concept of a Blog, much less citizen journalism, and they are techies.
Mainstream journalists are PAID to get up at midnight and rush to the scene of a story. They have the support and resources to rush somewhere in the middle of the night and get the story No one is paying a blogger to be on top of every breaking new story. Unless they happen to live in the neighbourhood, they aren’t gonna be there.
Re: anglo coverage
I tuned into CJAD and they had a reporter on the scene all night describing play-by-play of what was going on, like the propane tanks on fire and the smashing and looting of stores and the riot police arriving – pretty hairy stuff.