by Nelson Daily staff on May 13 2013
by Adrian Barnes on May 13 2013
Advanced polling turn-out mirrors 2009 numbers in Kootenay West/ Kootenay East boasts better numbersby Kyra Hoggan on May 13 2013
by Nelson Daily Sports on May 13 2013
Slocan Valley Vendettas knock off Salmo to register inaugural victory; Rossland/Trail too hot to handle for Castlegar Dam Cityby Nelson Daily Sports on May 13 2013
by John King on Thursday May 16 2013
by Kyra Hoggan on Wednesday May 15 2013
by Andre Carrel on Tuesday May 14 2013
by Charles Jeanes on Tuesday May 14 2013
by Adrian Barnes on Monday May 13 2013
OP/ED: Small town media as janitor
Here’s a maxim to live by: always keep a close eye on politicians who A) object to open debate or B) have their feelings easily bruised by scrutiny or criticism. Not ‘liking’ it when others disagree with us is a natural human feeling, but in public life it's a feeling that must be both guarded against and risen above.
Open debate generally leads--though sometimes painfully--to the truth. Those who think they possess the truth and believe that those who oppose them are automatically wrong-headed or ill-intentioned have no place in our democratic institutions.
So buck up, Rossland council--and do what you were elected to do. You're not rulers, you’re ordinary people who were elected to debate and decide under the umbrella of documents like the Community Charter and Official Community Plan. It's a thankless and poorly-paid job, Lord knows, but you chose to do it.
The situation of council is similar to that of the local newspaper. The work is similarly thankless and definitely poorly-paid. A newspaper must do two things to properly perform its function: report news of public interest and question those in power. (that and run the occasional sasquatch story...)
A world in which politicians make their decisions as they see fit and everybody else just shuts up and grins may seem, in the daydreams of persecuted pols, a wonderful ideal; however, the reality is that such a state of affairs would resemble Soviet Russia or modern China more closely than the Rossland we all know and love.
To the extent that local politicians believe in democracy at all, they should be actively grateful for a local news outlet that does more than editorialize on the changing of the seasons, the desirability of a local sports team winning the big game, or the necessity of taking time to smell the roses (not that we disagree with such fine civic sentiments!).
There are likely some on council who look at a column by Laurie Charlton or a comment piece by Andrew Bennett and think, ‘Why do they have to be so negative? Do they hate us? Are they out to get us? Why can’t they focus on the many good things we do and the personal sacrifices we make?’ Well, the answer is pretty obvious: editorials and columns praising political leaders have no value. Good decisions speak for themselves and we report on their outcomes when we cover the move toward broadband or the work being done on Columbia Ave.
Does that suck if you’re a politician? Sure does.
The proper job of media is that of janitor. What can look like ‘muck raking’ is often actually just a concerted effort to mop up a big puddle of...mud. We wallow in the muck of details, miscommunication, and interpretation, and do our best to clean things up.
To some extent media and council are in natural opposition, but--and this is key--it’s a healthy opposition. At the end of the day, we’re all people who love and care about the place in which we live--all of us working, in our own ways, to make the Mountain Kingdom a better place.