Ol’ Annie has decided to go waaaaay out on a limb and analyze what we’re getting from our three journals. I’m in uncharted territory because of the unwritten law in journalism; you NEVER criticize the competition, except in rare cases like the Washington Post over its coverage of the Watergate scandal. (In the end they were right though) Local newspapers in small towns just don’t do that. Nobody really knows why. It isn’t against any laws. It just isn’t done.
So, being a freelancer I will attempt to be as impartial as possible even though I do, SORT OF, work for The Current. You must remember there is no total objectivity in reporting or editorializing. The minute you use the adjective, “terrible” to describe an accident on the No. 1 Highway you’re telling someone else how to think.
Here’s the way this creaky old hag sees it starting with the original rag (a term of semi-endearment in the news game), the Revelstoke Review. Publishing 3 or 4 new stories at the end of the week just doesn’t cut it anymore. News is a perishable item with a very short sell-by date and available 24/7 on your smart phone. It still prints hard copies. I have to wonder how much longer that will last.
The TR seems to put out the greatest number of hard news stories. It has a good political cartoonist (a luxury for a small paper) but sometimes I feel Rob Buchnan is too uncontroversial. Good classified ads section, appeals to an older demographic, relatively good at attempting to get both sides of the story, could improve on pursuit questioning of council, city hall bureaucrats and the police. Make ’em earn their keep.
This old standby paper is the best, in town, for provincial and national stories because of its affiliation with Black Press but for provincial and national stories I read provincial and national papers. They are so accessible these days. Its website is the second easiest to use.
The TR starts more campfires and lines more bird cages than any other.
The Current; (good name for a business on a fast flowing river) has served Revelstoke for almost seven years and seems more aggressive in its reporting, more editorial in its stories, tends to annoy readers who don’t agree with its stance, probably gets more comments like,” I don’t read that… thing.” Really? Then why are you so upset? Are you judging by what somebody said was published?
Its owner/publisher/editor seems fearless, even thrives on controversy, for instance the infamous, Fractured Fairy Tale story over the Palmer-Mason issue, probably was the most-read local column of the year.
The Current relies heavily on news release handouts from the cops, City Hall and local organizations as do most small papers. It is the king for LOCAL involvement projects, school events, sports and fundraisers. Who doesn’t like to see their kid’s pictures in the paper, with names. I’ll tell you who, nobody but their parents and grandparents… But… it’s important to the kids. They desperately need validation at that age.
The Current runs more local videos than the others put together… needs a better microphone system. It is very prolific in its output with so many stories spread out over the entire week, and it’s a one-pony show. Its owner must be busier than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest.
Its website is also the easiest to use. Good with comments and letters to the editor… encourages them.
I still can’t determine whether it’s a newspaper or a magazine. Trying to be all things to all people doesn’t usually work but in this case?
The junior journal on the block is The Mountaineer, flashy, great high definition pictures, demographics appear to be skiers, boarders and entertainment seekers 30 years or under who eat and drink at the Village Idiot. Does some good columns on areas of interests such as real estate and legal matters but I’m not totally comfortable with advertisers doing info. pieces. It’s like walking into a restaurant and asking the manager if this is a good place to eat. It’s done almost everywhere now but it triggers my suspicion gene, and, I don’t like ads being inserted into the middle of a story.
I would prefer that its creative director were not a City Councillor but he has given no indication of taking advantage of his situation… nothing wrong with that, I’m just not crazy about the optics.
If you want news from The Mountaineer in the first three or four days of the week, good luck.
I find the website a touch more difficult to use than the other two. Editorially, quite neutral.
A few pundits around here thought it wouldn’t last this long. Hang in there. You’re off to a good start against some daunting odds.
So what have we got? We have weeklies that are right-of-centre, left-of-centre, and youth-focused. That is more than many communities ten times our size will ever have. I find it amazing how they all survive but boy, are we served well by lots of choice.
So, don’t bitch about what you call crappy local news, just read another source. Better yet, write a letter to the editor. They’re all relatively good at taking criticism. Secretly, they love it, boosts readership. It also gives a good opportunity to get bitingly editorial in their replies.
Personal note: I actually wanted to find more dirt but without going into rumours, tittle-tattle, hearsay, personal grudges and the fact that many citizens are not very well informed about civic issues, unless it affects their immediate situation, all the juicy stuff will have to remain in the realm of fiction.
Yours in social sarcasm
Ms. Anne Throap
Pet Peeve of the Month: people who park on both sides of our narrow residential streets cutting the traffic flow to one lane. Try parking all on one side. There usually are enough spaces. Horrors, that you should have to walk an extra 10 steps to your front door.
Oh, silly me. I must be assuming that the average driver is even slightly considerate of other drivers.