If you aren’t up on the grassroots plan to “Save CHCH News”, the Toronto Star has a piece on a bold plan to reinvent the Hamilton station as a community television outlet again before it can be shut down.
There’s definite public support with Facebook groups and petitions to keep the station local, but the big question is whether ratings will drive enough local advertising to offset the costs of keeping such a station running. Local news, even when it’s popular, is almost always a loss leader, costing more in expenses than advertising surrounding it brings in. Making a station’s entire programming grid local content might be a recipe for quick bankruptcy.
Or it might be the most brilliant idea ever conceived.
Needless to say, the dual-blind taste tests (which involved flying bagels from one city to the other to maintain freshness) ended in Montreal’s favour, and the city is now 3-0 in Gazette bagel taste tests. Hamilton is licking its wounds, or at least it will be once its Chamber of Commerce CEO realizes that coming in second in a two-man race isn’t “like getting the silver medal in the Olympics.”
Of course, I might point out that this had nothing to do with taste and everything to do with naming. But trademark lawyer battles aren’t as interesting as blind taste tests I guess.
So now you can sleep tight, confident in the fact that the best place to get a Montreal-style bagel is Montreal.
Oh, and if you’re captivated by pointless newspaper gimmicks like I am, be sure to check out the most boring video ever made, featuring the Hamilton Spectator’s taste test and some bad pronunciations of “assuage” and “St. Viateur”.
Everyone’s gotten into a tiff over Hamilton (a small Ontario town, I think Sheila Copps came from there) selling what they call a “Montreal-style bagel.” Problem is it’s not a Montreal-style bagel. It’s got an icing sugar coating, which Montreal bagels don’t have.
We’ve been through this before. A year ago, The Gazette and the Toronto National Post had a blind taste test of bagels by their staffers. Montreal won, and the Post ate crow. Why do we need to repeat this experiment with a lesser city?
The entire point of the controversy was not, as in the Toronto case, that the other city claimed their bagels were better than ours. The problem is that they’re labelling something a “Montreal-style bagel” when it’s not. Call it a “Hamilton-style bagel” and the controversy is over. Everyone will accept its inferiority.
How do you do a blind taste test for this? One is coated with sugar, the other is not. Even the most undeveloped tastebuds will quickly tell the difference and be able to detect which group the bagel belongs to. And if the Hamilton bagels are stripped of their sugar coating, then we forget the fact that the sugar icing is the point of the controversy in the first place.
Bagels are meant to be served fresh. There’s simply no logical way to do blind taste tests of fresh bagels from two different cities simultaneously. The best they could do is set themselves up in Toronto or Kingston and have bagels rushed down on trains or planes. They’d still be a few hours old at that point. Of course, they’re not going to go that far for a friendly experiment like this, so either one set of bagels is going to be fresher than the other, or everyone is going to be eating stale bagels.
Why are we wasting the time of so many journalists repeating something we’ve already done, that has no journalistic value and above all doesn’t make any sense?
UPDATE: On Sunday, the paper prints this article, which is a cut-and-paste (typos and all) of this discussion forum, complete with thoughtless opinion from whoever had a minute of free time that day and wanted to rant.