It's Valentine's Day. Let's be positive. How could The Moncton Times be made into a half-decent paper?
1. On the front page and in section A, get rid of the free ads disguised as news; (for a start, keep the Wildcats in the Sports section.) Drop the boosterism. It makes us look like Moosejaw about 1920. No more stories about the casino or motorcyle shows or visitng acts.
That A section is for municipal and provincial news. We need to know far more about city council (and not just when a couple of parents of about 2000 silent ones ask a questioin about Moncton High.) We need to know why this city allows such dangerous snow banks to accumulate. We need to to know far more than we do about planning the city for fifty years from now, about massive spending projects like a hockey stadium, about what public bodies like the Distrct Educationi Councils are doing, When a civic planning agency is hired, we need to know more about it. Does it have any possible connection with vested interests in New Brunswick?
We don't need lies about how the general public is clamouring for a new hockey rink and a CFL team. We need realistic figutres about what a team costs. We don't need to be kept in complete ignorance of what other kinds of priorities this city has. You would be amazed how many cities in this world are recgonized and admired - but don't have a hockey stadium or a football team. They do, though, have well-supplied and very active libraries. They have activities that put citizens in touch with a broader worlds than hockey teams fighting for hokey trophies.
It's nice that the city does so much for business. But there are also people who live here, quite intelligent people. And they need more than the daily pap they get in the name of local and provincial news.
Lose the national and international news pages. Anyonewho cares heard it on radio or TV a day ago. What might be useful would be a page of news from sources most people can't get. It would also be wakeup call that the view of the world from Canadian and American news sources is often pretty twisted. That's praticularly true in war reporting, where correspondents of most news media have a long history of lies, misinformation and propaganda.
Instead of getting news from a third rate source like Postmedia, The Times could try out The Manchester Guardian and The Independent from Britain, El Harretz from Israel, and Al Jazeera, the latter a news service far superior to most North American services. Let's find out how the rest of the world feels about us and itself.
Rethink the business page. It's way too short and too trivial to waste time on.
Keep the columns on the editorial and op ed pages.They are the best parts of the paper. But identify the sources clearly. To call outfits like AIMS and The Fraser Institute think tanks or research institutions is simply lying. They pump out propaganda for big business. Have the jouranlistic integrity to let your readers know that.
This is the only daily paper I have seen that rarely has a book review in it. And this from a newspaper that constantly complains about about low literacy levels - and blames the schools. A weekly page about books would be a boost for literacy.
And skip the editorials.
1. The editorial is usually used to indicate a newspaper opinion. That, inevitably leads to bias throughout the paper. I an not interested in the opinions of The Editors.. They certainly have influenced some pretty bad reporting - especially on education and urban development.
2. Most editorials are ill-informed, illogical, ranting -and often inane.
3. If you must keep them, have the writer sign them. At least, that would identify the flop-eared idiots in the editorial ranks.
Of course, to do any of this, there would probably be a need to change ownership. As it is, the role of The Moncton Times and Tribune is, like the games of Ancient Romes, to keep people diverted, focussed on trivialities, uninormed about how they are being manipulated. It there is any counter-educational force running loose in Moncton, any creator of ignorance and triviality, it's the Times and Tribune. I do the editors the courtesy of assuming this does not come just from them. Thus the need for a change of ownership.