A word of praise for local journalism
These are tough days for journalists all over, and New Brunswick is no exception. From the cutbacks at CBC to the dismissal of photographers at Brunswick News and increased demands on their reporters, journalism isn’t the satisfying vocation it once was. And there is nothing to suggest it is going to get better any time soon.
There is no denying the changing media landscape has had a negative effect on the product overall. But this said, there is still some good journalism going on out there.
I get a first hand look at the best our journalists have to offer each year, as part of the judging panel for one of the broadcast categories for the Atlantic Journalism Awards. And each year it strikes me that the quality of the journalism is pretty dam good. Mind you, what judges see is the best of the best, but still, they are shining examples of solid reporting.
Whether it is coverage of the horrific police shootings in Moncton, including that shot of the killer mid-rampage by one of the photographers the Irving media has decided it no longer wants to pay, or any of the other winning entries that effectively captured humanity at its best, or worst, or served to hold our politicians and institutions to account, these are works that serve to remind us of the value of journalism done right.
I congratulate them all, but I do want to signal one out, and full disclosure here, the subject matter of the stories focused on a client of ours, the Paramedic Association of New Brunswick. I want to mention it specifically because it is as excellent example of the role of journalism in shining a light on an intolerable situation and in so doing informing the public, which in turn forced the government of the day to respond.
So not only congratulations but also a sincere thank you to Adam Bowie of the Daily Gleaner for his series on how how paramedics in New Brunswick are not allowed to help patients to the full extent of their skills. His stories told of how the result often ranges from more damage and longer recuperation times from heart attacks and other health conditions than should have been the case, to patients suffering needlessly from more pain than necessary. His stories told of the impossible dilemma and terrible frustration this put Advanced Care Paramedics in, knowing they had the skills and training to help, but at the same time weren’t allowed to because New Brunswick is the only province in the country that doesn’t recognize Advanced Care Paramedics.
Adam’s digging brought this story to the surface, and that helped procure a promise from the government of the day that it would remedy this. Now, we have a different government and one that also promised to fix it, but has so far done little. That’s unfortunate, but that is an issue for another day.
I can be as critical as the next guy about the state of journalism in this province, but today, on the heels of the Atlantic Journalism Awards, I am more appreciative than critical.
My point is that good journalism makes a difference. Good journalism makes us more aware of the world around us, and the best journalism serves to make that world a better place. It’s heartening to see that despite the job getting tougher in many respects, we still have journalists who strive for, and hit this ideal.
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