The industry undeniably preys on those who are desperate for a way in, and capitalizes on their insecurity with unpaid internships. But the demand doesn't justify the exploitation. The fact that it's a standard practice doesn't mean people have to accept it. Future journalists can, and should, fight back against this standard. This is why I am genuinely pleased by the government's crackdown. It will not solve all of the problems facing prospective journalists like myself, but it is a great way to eliminate one.
If the CBC should soon establish a new policy to clarify if and when its journalists can make speeches to -- and be paid by -- outside organizations, if it sticks to its word. Quite bluntly, taking money from any outside organization regardless of the content of any speech, demeans the idea of journalism at the CBC as an essential independent voice in a healthy democracy.
Unfortunately, good intentions and unwavering ethics alone do not suffice, for, if more and more journalists churn out such uninformed work, more and more consumers of it will be deluded into thinking that traditionally accepted research has been proven wrong or that they need not consider the evidence that runs against their views when thinking about policy.
It's not the Jon Stewart show, Gawker parties, and book deals. With the circulation of most newspapers in freefell and ad revenues shrinking daily, its outsourcing, lay-offs, cutbacks -- a race to the bottom. And it's proving yourself; working all hours to get the story. It's standing in the cold waiting for the story. Staying late to cover the budget. Getting hate mail, and being sworn at by angry readers (and your news editor). It's also about getting lucky, getting a break, being in the right place at the right time and digging deep like a dog with a bone.
More and more often, we are reading in the news about the federal government and various intelligence and law enforcement agencies allegedly "spying" on aboriginals and pipeline opponents. I am both of those things. I have no idea whether strangers are picking up shards of information from my emails and text messages. I have no idea what kind of beautiful stained-glass mosaics their imaginations might create.
George Whitely wore a plastic hat and spoke very deliberately. Each day, he would put on his hat and his rumpled old raincoat and leave our offices at 309 Tranquille Road. I seldom knew where he was going but a few hours later he'd be back with a half-dozen good stories. I really liked that guy. A lot of good people passed through here -- it was an interesting place.
Do people quoted in newspapers review the stories before they run? Can advertisers legally lie? Are PR people the biggest liars of all? How much does it cost to get a story into The Globe and Mail or the Toronto Star? Who do you pay? Once you start reading, why does the headline have nothing to do with the story?
We journalists have done a lousy job of explaining how we do our jobs, how we practice our craft, to the people we serve. I'm of the opinion that our low ranking in public opinion polls is because we don't even try to tell the people who we are, what we believe in, what we do and why we do it. So allow me to try.
Is suicide really contagious? Along with celebrity suicides, research has linked copycat deaths to news stories describing specific locations and/or methods of committing suicide that increases the likelihood of vulnerable people killing themselves in the same way. However, looking at the data on a per-country basis reveals a different story about how suicide is reported, and why.
You may have noticed variations of the term "online trolling" creeping their way into the style guides of your favourite news outlets over the past year. What the Internet need not attempt is to expunge trolls. Instead, the digital class must work towards a renegotiation of its idioms. A key part of this process will be coaxing more nuance from terms like trolls and trolling, insisting on new ways of delineating the undesirable from the criminal: the process from the by-product. Resist the rush to concede the perch of the troll; it's all many of us have left.
In school, students are taught how to "write" by memorizing or borrowing material then regurgitating it in order to impress a teacher. That's not what this is about. This is about words, in the professional sense, that must be used sparingly and for an economic purpose, whether it's to communicate with colleagues, customers, partners, investors, society, voters or organizations.
When the Pride Society, one of the most influential activist organizations in Vancouver's prosperous and politically active gay community, comes knocking, Vision Vancouver, the current rulers at city hall, and the NPA, the loyal opposition, bow down. And when a trumped up "report" goes to council claiming attendance figures so outrageous they deserve their own float in the parade, nobody bats an eye. If a parade eclipses the 400,000 attendee threshold, it qualifies for the maximum amount of money available to civic parades. The Sikhs and the Chinese didn't come close. But according to the Dobrovolny report, the Pride Parade attracts "crowds close to half a million people." Cha-ching.
Several large media organizations won't publish articles if a travel writer received assistance from a tourism board, or they will put a disclosure at the end of the article saying the trip was sponsored. This is a blatant double standard, and it stands to hurt and limit the importance of travel journalism.
In Afghanistan, the key to personal security is to stay a moving and elusive target: never stick to a routine, move quickly and unobtrusively. This was not only for our safety, but the safety of those we met. Fraternizing with Westerners can draw the wrath of local Taliban -- members recently beheaded two children in Kandahar province to warn citizens of the danger of collaborating with the Afghanistan government.