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Publishers Letter - Sources 42

By Barrie Zwicker

Barrie Zwicker

Change is in the air, outside and inside the media. This edition of Sources reflects some of that change.

In spite of continuing merger mania, the number of organizations listed in this edition again is more than in the last. Newly-merged companies must make their new identities and mandates known. And a host of small but important organizations - in the fields of education, environment, faith, health, politics, social services, sports, technology and more - must make their voices heard to and through the media. The sheer variety of their worthy causes never ceases to amaze me.

Underlying shifts continue. The structural reinforcement of women's greater role is suggested in this edition by the inclusion of the Ontario Women's Directorate, Canadian Women in Communication and Canadian Federal of Business and Professional Women. The growing role of aboriginal Canadians is suggested in the Aboriginal Business Association, Indian Claims Commission and First Nations Breast Cancer Association. The redrawing of municipal boundaries and structures is suggested by the inclusion of the cities of London, Thompson and Toronto (as well as Toronto's Economic Development Commission).

Attending an international media conference in Athens reminded me of the fact that Sources is, in fact, outstanding in the world. Representatives from Egypt, Israel, South Africa, Turkey, Germany, Yugoslavia, Haiti and Finland rubbed shoulders with others from the USA, Greece, India and the Netherlands. Journalists in most of those countries do not enjoy an equivalent of Sources.

The respect earned by this publication at age 21 is reflected in part in the renewal rate: within decimal points of 80 per cent. These renewers do not include dozens of organizations formerly listed who have returned to these pages and to our Internet site (www.sources.com).

Behind the scenes, Sources staff members have their hands full updating and maintaining our distribution lists. Another flock of specialty cable companies is on the horizon, radio and TV outlets are planning new programs, a new national daily in the works and significant changes are taking place at many of the larger and some of the smaller dailies. The magazine field, too, is in transition. Everywhere is change.

Change is the stuff of news. So in a sense journalists have a vested interest in change. But it seems to me the job of journalists is not to glorify change for the sake of a good story, nor buy into the mantra that all change is inevitable and resistance is futile. It seems to me the job of journalists is to anticipate changes earlier, understand them better, explain them more. The question "Who benefits?" needs to be asked repeatedly.

Some changes deserve encouragement, others resistance. The people in the organizations listed in Sources can help journalists anticipate and understand changes from the laboratory to the farm to the boardroom.

May the changes you personally encounter be challenging, fruitful and not all at once.


Published in Sources, Number 42, Summer 1998.

See also:

Sources 10th anniversary
The Sources Select Online Story
You, Sources, and Getting the Most Out of the Internet: Including Six Internet Fictions to Consider
Sources Publisher Barrie Zwicker looks back -- and ahead
Sources: A Quick History to 1997


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