Arrow Heads Aimed At Narrow Eds
Special Editorial Section
by Barrie Zwicker
MONTREAL — If there's one news executive more than any other
whose job obliges him to face the realities of regionalism and its
effect on news judgment, it is Canadian
Press general manager John Dauphinee.
Dauphinee told the national seminar on the press
and the confederation debate that he's noticed a "narrowing of
interest" among editors. He hears continual complaints from the West
that there's too much news from the East, from the East that there's
too much Western news and from everywhere except Ontario that there's
too much Ontario news.
A number of statements at the seminar underlined
obstacles to inter-regional understanding in Canada. ''Newspapers
aren't commodities that travel very much," said Le Jour editor
Evelyn Dumas. She noted her native Gaspé, for instance, is pretty well
ignored by the Montreal dailies. When Le Jour was a
daily, a continuing question at editorial
this was written (Nov. 6), disc jockey Bill Edwards of CFTR Toronto,
bellowed cutely: ''Today Rene Levesque returns to Canada. To which we
all say 'Who cares.'"
directors who value the credibility of their operations should push
their station managements to ride herd on DJ's with a sub-child
understanding of public issues and how to deal with them. Listeners do
not always distinguish between emanations from the newsroom and those
of planer spinners.
was whether it should be a Montreal or a regional paper, she said.
Conservative Robert Stanfield, in a thoughtful
speech prepared for the seminar participants, wrote: "I just don't
think you can do the job that has to be done — presenting in
a systematic and sustained way the national point of view —
and stay alive. To stay alive dailies generally — there may
be one or two exceptions — have to reflect the aspirations,
and to some extent the prejudices of your readers."
Halifax freelance writer Lyndon Watkins appeared
to have the full attention of his audience when he outlined the
desperate economic situation of the Atlantic region, its tragically
high personal price, and the poor track record of newspapers in
covering Atlantic Canada. "I can only be totally critical ... I was the
first of the Toronto-based 'foreign correspondents' (two years for The Globe and Mail in
Atlantic Canada). The Globe's been in complete limbo for 18 months. The
gave up. Southam
(News Services) gave up also."
Stanfield's opinion is that the national view will
be presented by "gifted individuals — orators, writers and
artists. There will be periodicals whose constituency is the nation.
There will be our political leaders."
But Dauphinee never wavered in his assumption that
the nation's newspapers and CP
could and should play an important role.
Pulling no punches he said: "My guess is that all sorts of significant
stories are being ditched ... at the whim of editors fed up personally
or who are convinced their readers are fed up.
"Maybe they're right. Our job is to make them
wrong, so stories will be ... read, so right decisions will be made, no
matter which side of the fence you happen to be on."
Published in Content's SOURCES December 1977
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