Thursday, February 17, 2011

Feb. 17: Better than usual day for the Moncton Times&Transcript

For a change, the front page was headed by a real news story. Moncton High School, closed amid controversy about its health risks, will be temporarily repaired to reopen for next school year, with a new school to be built within two years.

But that raises the problem of all newspapers. Just about every reader knew the story yesterday when it was on radio and TV. Somehow, newspapers are going to have to learn to supplement other news media - not just repeat the same news a day later. It shouldn't be hard. Both radio and TV; leave gaps because they are so oriented to being fast-paced and show biz.

Unfortunately, the second biggest story was that a giant rock concert to be held in Moncton and outdoors with a top-name group (U2) will be offering temporary jobs to set up and clean up. Gee! Who would have guessed? And that non-story took up a whole page.

The national and world news page has the same problem. It's all news that was on radio and TV yesterday - even imitating the general gush about Prince William and Kate  coming to visit Canada for a week. It really would be far more useful to use that space for something radio and TV do not do. It could be used, for example, to give us samples of stories carried in other countries. We badly need to learn that not everybody sees the world the way our Canadian news media do.

The one solid part of the paper, again, is the two-page spread of editorial page and op ed. (It always astonishes me that such a trivial and boring newpaper can have so many good columnists.)

Alec Bruce offers a change of his usuall pace with a whimsical and quite delightful story of mid-winter. Marilyn MacCormack of  N.B. Coalition for pay equity takes a tough line against the notion of a two-tier minimum wage. It's a sound analysis, well and clearly put. And it serves as a caution to me never to get into an argument with Marilyn MacCormack.

Rod Allen offers his own take on winter; and it's one of those columns that keeps getting better as it goes, and ends on a high note.  Elsie Hambrook, always solid, has a sobering reminder that women still have some way to go to win equality in Canada, particularly in the basic areas of rights and freedoms.

I don't know what that paper would do without its columnists.

Oh, it missed a national story of particular importance to New Brunswickers. Canadian shipbuilders have complained that they suspect the Canadian government of considering buying a new fleet of warships from Britain. Now, there's a story with a lot of angles, a lot of hypocrisy, a lot of corporate welfare state thinking; and one that has special meaning for us in N.B.

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