Struggling print journalists won another concession from the federal government this week when it agreed to change Canada’s criminal code making it illegal to hold press conferences without offering free coffee and donuts.
“Journalism is a serious business and our time is valuable,” explained Guelph Sun editor A.P. Reelfuel. “We can’t have our journalists going to press conferences, especially early in the morning, and showing up to find there are no donuts, croissants or even crackers on a table for them to chew on.”
Reelfuel said he expects the move to be the first in a series of measures to regulate how journalists are treated during press conferences, eventually expanding into a full journalist’s bill of rights. Other rights that would be enshrined through changes to the criminal code or less severe regulatory changes would include free parking, a minimum amount of high-resolution (HD or better) B-roll, and always having little placards in front of people showing the proper spelling of their name and title.
“We expect to see most of these new rules in place within the next year,” Reelfuel said. “In the meantime we’re counting on voluntary early compliance among all the companies and institutions we do business with.”