Tag Archives: local journalism

FPJQ: Next time do a push poll

Transcript of a completely fictional meeting at the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec:

Hey guys, I have an idea. We should commission a survey of Quebecers and ask them about how they feel local news has eroded over the past few years. Then we’ll release it and maybe convince some companies to stop gutting local journalism.

Great! I’ll get on it right away.

Make sure to get it done before our big conference in December.


So what did you find out?

It’s not good.


Well, it seems 80% of Quebecers think they’re getting good local journalism.



Dude, WTF?

We checked it twice. These are the numbers.

But that doesn’t make any sense.

I know.

Well what about the regions? I mean, with the Montrealization of the media, the numbers must be better for us there.

Actually, they’re worse. People in the regions are more likely to be satisfied with local news than people in Montreal.

What? What the hell is wrong with people? Don’t they know what’s going on?

I don’t know, man. It’s all backwards.

OK, ok. We paid a truckload of money for this. What are we going to do?

We can’t bury it.

No, we’ll have to release it. We’ll say we were surprised by the results.

No kidding.

Maybe someone at the conference can explain to us how this makes sense.

People hunger for local journalism

This week in Quebec City, unions for various media outlets met to denounce the “Montrealization” of French-language media in Quebec. Much like the Torontoization of English media in Canada, it’s all about big media companies reducing “redundancy” and centralizing similar services in one location.

The problem, of course, is that eventually the disconnect between this remotely-produced journalism and the local environment becomes apparent. We start seeing “regional” newscasts instead of local ones, to save money. A story about a province-wide issue is covered by a single journalist out of a big city and then copied to regional news outlets with no local spin added.

Newspapers are being split into two categories:

  1. Major dailies, which rely mostly on wire service stories, syndicated features like comics and crosswords, and a few columnists and police report rewriters.
  2. Community papers, which produce mostly fluff from its grossly underpaid journalists

The problems of local journalism are having a backlash effect though: Former Minneapolis Star-Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer-Press employees are producing a local news website called MinnPost, which is filling the gap created when the big papers failed in their commitment to local news (via).

The site has just launched, so it’s hard to say if it’s financial model is going to work (it probably won’t), but it’s still good to see things like this. One thing I’ve learned writing this blog and covering local issues is that people are very interested in what’s going on around them.

The problem is that local journalism will never make you rich. And big media is obsessed with making itself rich. But fortunately some journalists have a higher calling.