Monday, February 7, 2011

Feb. 7: The Moncton Blah

Today's issue of The Moncton Times was just boring. The major story was all of two and a half pages of text and fifteen pictures of a weekend of pond hockey. The pictures were nothing more than snapshots of whatever was there to snap a shot of. It you enjoy looking at nondescript family photo albums of strangers, you'll love this.

There were also photos of partying through the Super Bowl game at the casino. Another free ad. (The Packers' win also made front page, which was surely a waste since anybody who cared knew all about it before the paper went to press.)

Then there was a flash that some celebrity named Garth Hunt is 68 today; and a tittilating headling that "Pregnancy and running can go hand in hand." Alas; there were no photos.

Only two items stood out.

One was the (deservedly) front page story of the collapse of the roof at Moncton Headstart. The other was the usual waste of paper on the editorial. Again, the editorial writer was making suggestions about education -  though it is by now obvious that nobody at the Moncton Times and Transcript knows anything about the subject. It was also about provincial budgeting, a subject over which a similar ignorance seems to reign.

We now have had at least two editorials insisting the District Education Councils should take over the whole responsibility for maintenance of safe school buildings. (This would include the DEC for district two, which earlier editorials had accused of being incompetent.)

A DEC is an elected group, voluntarily giving up an evening once a month for a meeting, and giving up many hours a month of  their own time to keep up on its work. Most members also have jobs and families. The idea that they should give up even more time to do a job for which most are not qualified is absurd.

As well, and this may come as a suprise at the Moncton TandT, the DECs have no power to spend money on anything unless Fredericton says it can. How can a a DEC be responsible for maintenance which it has no power to set the budget for maintenance?

Maybe what's really needed is for The Moncton Times to rethink what a small city newspaper is and what an editor does in this age of radio and TV and newspaper and web news from all over the world. As it is, it's hard to see any need for a paper like The Moncton Times except to provide propaganda and free ads.

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