Because we need more democracy not less, journalism needs to meet citizens at their doorstep
Wiki Commons/Viking Press

Because we need more democracy not less, journalism needs to meet citizens at their doorstep

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. came roaring into existence. In the 244 years since, through western expansion, a civil and numerous foreign wars, racial strife, economic depressions, 9/11, two pandemics (one still raging), and local, state and federal elections, two political parties arose (Republican and Democratic) that intermittently shared power.

This transfer of authority was handed off like a quarterback tucking a football into the arms of a running back.

Post-election, Donald Trump tried to keep the ball and take it home. This felled another norm, and tens of millions of Trumpsters believe the vote was a hoax, and he, not Joe Biden, won.

Mark Twain, the witty and cantankerous writer who used unrefined vernacular to craft his all-American classic Huckleberry Finn, once quipped, “A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth puts on its boots.” His words resonate today. Twitter admitted that fake news spreads six times faster across its platform than the truth.

No wonder its most ardent user is Trump, who has literally disunited the States during his four years as the super-divider. Like the cancer in the office who tells two colleagues the mean and dispiriting tales each whispers about the other, serial connivers like Trump use the oldest treachery. Once enemies are created and his world is torn apart, he rises as the hero to save the day.

The split between what is real and unreal often seems irrevocable, and some worry that Trump has spread the poisoned seeds for a second Civil War. No doubt spreading hate, racism, misogyny and xenophobia while conjuring wildly dangerous conspiracy theories are endemic to the cult of power, and Facebook, Instagram, Google, Twitter, YouTube, Et al. are social media’s top platforms in this complicity. But we have long known Trump is a bully-boy/narcissist, and schoolyard taunter. Social media never claimed to hold people like him accountable. Any preoccupation with these private enterprises is akin to blaming Coca-Cola for using sugar instead of medicine. It was only ever supposed to taste good, not be good for you.

While Trump refers to CNN, The New York Times and other legacy journalism platforms as “fake news”, the “lamestream media” and/or “the enemy of the people”, he is attacking the institution meant to protect the people. It is not separate. It is not to be controlled by profit. It does not function to promote the ambitions of a particular party.

Journalism, as the root of the word suggests, is a simple process. It comes from the French, jour or day, which derives from the late Latin word ‘diurnalis’ meaning, belonging to a day. Journalism is the expression of the world in which people live. It is theirs. Their story.

But journalism, in much of its practice, stopped being the story of the people a long time ago, except in its purist forms.

One of those was the type of work performed at the local level. The word also comes from the late Latin, locus, meaning place.

The daily story of a place stopped being told, in many places, over the last 40 years. The first erasure of local journalism began when large newspaper chains mistook the great power of publishing for a revenue model that had little interest in preserving that power.

Papers that did not focus on national and international content during their century-long relationship with their places, were slowly folded into larger profit-generating centres within these large corporate operations.

While the gilded advertising pages in one-paper communities racked up huge return on investment for the parent companies, they slowly identified ways to expand the intoxicating returns. Would the local car dealership or cinema care if their advertisements no longer appeared next to stories about the schools attended by the children of these business owners? Would readers in their place care if stories about someone else’s place were suddenly pushing out the journalism from City Hall and the local courthouse or the chronically over-crowded hospital and the underfunded schools?

Would they notice if the very stories about their lives disappeared?

Of course they would.

But the decision to replace or scale down local coverage for wire stories on events half-way around the world, and editorials on the performance of stock markets, or must-read Hollywood scoops by the chain’s marquee entertainment columnist or dispatches from a crack political team in Washington who filled every paper, big and small, with the antics of a spectacle occupying the White House, was not made by journalists.

No, the idea to erode journalism’s most fundamental and basic function, came from the same people tasked with delivering dizzying returns to shareholders. The bobble-heads around the board table couldn’t wipe the grin from their face, like a Vegas bag lady ringing up three dollar signs after a pull on a one-armed bandit.

Their betrayal of the institution would come back to haunt them. The giant chains that had abandoned local journalism were too happy with themselves and the ridiculous profits to realize readers were starting to move on. What passed as coverage in their communities was often sub-standard and all the filler content propping up the high-priced ads started to morph into the same coverage available across a constantly expanding news universe.

Even if subscriber revenue started to show signs of decline, advertising fuelled by the societal shift to hyper-consumerism continued to drive handsome quarterly returns for shareholders, including the members of the board and all the senior executives who made the “business” decisions.      

Then, just as fast as DVDs killed VHS and almost as fast as streaming swallowed everything before it, Facebook and Google wiped out as much as 80 percent of newspaper advertising revenue.

The chains started the demise of local journalism and technology platforms sent it to its grave.

The impact of this loss, like taking a child’s diary before they even learn how to write, is hard to contemplate. What happens when the stories of our place, of us, are no longer told?

One of the consequences is a “leader” like Trump.

Recognizing the lack of trust people across large chunks of America had in what was left of journalism, he famously said, “What you're seeing is not what's happening... Don't believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news...”

Why had Trump been given carte blanche to say anything, like injecting bleach into the bloodstream can kill the virus that causes COVID-19, or a secret supercomputer switched millions of votes in a sham U.S. presidential election?

More than 74 million Americans, 47 percent of all voters, supported Trump and most of them continue to believe him.  

The Pinocchio of politics told over 20,000 nose-stretchers during his time in office, according to the Washington Post, and that total came by mid-summer of 2020, long before he revved up his alt-facts engine and peeled more rubber with a few thousand more lies during his ill-fated run for re-election.

Barack Obama understood, like all the presidents who did the same before him, that handing off the football when Trump won the 2016 election was the height of democracy.

Unlike oppressors who rule through fear, the Putins and Modis and Kim Jong-Uns of the world, people who live in places where they come first are protected by an entirely opposite set of values.

But why did so many believe in a man with such obvious disdain for their best interest?

Obama recently used the term “truth decay” in an interview with 60 Minutes.

He worked hard to get Trump unelected this year, and two weeks ago brought out Volume 1 of his much-anticipated memoir, A Promised Land. The book is an instant bestseller. Another stop on his promotional tour was at The Atlantic magazine, and in a Q&A with its editor-in-chief Jeff Goldberg, they had one of the most telling conversations during this political season.


Obama focused on the local media and why its loss of power and influence has, in many ways, cut the cord between politicians and the public. His observations were unremarkable, but surprising for one reason, in particular. Millions who function at the local level are painfully aware of what has happened to political discourse since one of the most profound connections between people and their places was cut. Few who focus on state/provincial and national and international matters pay attention. It’s another illustration of the connectedness of the man, a real leader, who understands that all news starts and ends at the local level. It’s about people and the places they call home.

In a post-election virtual Senate committee meeting recently with Jack Dorsey (CEO of Twitter) and Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook), they were asked about their responsibility to the public. Both men took little ownership of the handling of their sites during the election, and both questioned whether they were “media” outlets at all. After all, they don’t make decisions on what does and does not get covered and why two thirds of the U.S. population does not see itself reflected in the large media platforms, they don’t have reporters scrutinizing the major players, or take an editorial stance. They are landing pads for users, and generators of huge profits through advertising sales. They reject the notion they are active partners in this giant democratic experiment. Theirs is a more passive role. And free enterprise is an economic pursuit that can thrive under numerous forms of governance, or none at all.

Obama, unlike hand-wringing senators, reserves much of his concern for the traditional players – those he was once somewhat naïve about. That quickly changed shortly after he became president.

“What I hadn’t anticipated was the media’s reaction to Trump’s sudden embrace of birtherism — the degree to which the line between news and entertainment had become so blurred,” he writes in the book, “and the competition for ratings so fierce that outlets eagerly lined up to offer a platform for a baseless claim.”

Obama, rightly, points out the media’s role in creating Trump.

In a numbing line, he relates his deepest concern over the media’s irresponsible, profit-driven stupor. He and his wife, Michelle, were not threatened by the “symbiotic” relationship between Trump and the media because of any strategic political consideration, but for the risk to the “safety of our family.”

While the disconnected national media and the big chains are singled out as culprits in the corrupting of democracy, Obama has put forward an unexpected defence of local journalism.     

“I think we’re going to have to work with the media and with the tech companies to find ways to inform the public better about the issues and to bolster the standards that ensure we can separate truth from fiction,” he told 60 Minutes.

“I think that we have to work at a local level. When you start getting to the local level, mayors, county commissioners, etcetera, they’ve actually got to make real decisions, it’s not abstractions, it’s like, ‘we need to fix this road, we need to get this snow plowed, we need to make sure our kids have a safe playground to play in'.”

What he was talking about was journalism, telling the stories of the daily life of the places in which people live. Their homes. And all the things there that matter most to us.

“That’s where we have to start, in terms of rebuilding the social trust we need for democracy to work.”

What’s most striking about his comments, for a man who operated on the global stage for eight years, often performing high wire acts during trade wars and the real ones, is his own connection to the people he was entrusted to lead, to their stories, not, as he said, the “abstractions” which so much of the big media seems so lost in these days.

Obama is most concerned with the fraying of democracy caused by the confusion so many are experiencing.

Their stories and struggles are no longer being highlighted. They are being forgotten. Their trust has been lost.

Men like Trump and the journalism that elevates him, even unwittingly, have replaced the “symbiotic” relationship between people and the truth. The condition in which democracy thrives demands its participants be properly informed and Obama thinks this starts at the local level.

No wonder he said during the Trump era, America was suffering a severe case of “truth decay.” Then added, “democracy doesn’t work if we don’t have an informed electorate.”

Which focuses the spotlight’s glare on his talk with Goldberg. Smaller cities are fast becoming news deserts because, after the chains scooped up newspapers then quickly stripped out quality coverage, social media drained them of their traditional advertising revenues. That has led to thousands of reporters losing their jobs, the outright closure of TV and radio stations, and newspapers.

Social media might, perhaps rightfully, not take responsibility, but its effect has broad consequences. It is free, addictive (especially to our young) and has few rules and regulations. It’s protected from legal challenges by various laws. They serve as get-out-of-jail-free cards and could lead the eventual ruination of “legacy media” sites.

Even the New York Times, held up as the gold standard of legacy success in the digital age, acknowledges it is an outlier and that most print media, especially local journalism, is in tatters.

Torstar (owners of Canada’s largest newspaper) which once traded for more than $30 a share, dropped to 25 cents (not a typo) before it was sold off earlier this year to a pair with no publishing experience, who recently launched a courier delivery service, using the newspaper chain’s distribution network, in the hope of finding revenues to salvage the journalism.

It might be a genius stroke, but it shows just how rapidly the industry has declined. For thousands of smaller publications, they lack the assets and infrastructure to remain viable.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Communications Decency Act of 1996, the bedrock law that allowed for the evolution of the digital world we have today, included a section that states: "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

The infamous Section 230 of the Act is a legal shelter for internet service providers, social media platforms and search engines to function as aggregators and intermediaries of content but they are not liable for that content if action is taken to remove or deny access to problematic material.

Joe Biden has promised to look at the law and change it, but getting political consensus in a Senate that could remain divided, after Georgia’s January 5 run-off, and with Congress dominated by tech-lobbyists poised to slant the proceedings, is like getting Trump to release his tax returns before he leaves office.

These efforts, in the U.S., and recent moves by rapidly diminishing legacy media platforms in Canada now lobbying government desperately to balance the scales, likely won’t offer much help to local journalism. Even with any success, it’s unlikely larger platforms that already abandoned fundamental journalism for click bait, infotainment and eye-catching aimless Trump coverage, would suddenly find religion.

The Liberal government’s investment in local journalism has been a welcome development, and The Pointer currently has two reporters whose salaries are being covered by federal income taxpayers. But outlets relying on this money without a plan to become self-sustaining, are just putting off the inevitable.

Constitutions intended to create safe harbour for democratic principles make freedom of speech and the protection of the press a fundamental right.

These freedoms are now divided and applied unequally. Obama said in The Atlantic that during his 2008 run for the presidency, he was able to visit rural localities in downstate Illinois and Iowa, for example, and successfully campaign because there were minimal negative filters. "I could go into culturally conservative, rural or small-town, disproportionately white working-class communities and I could make a connection, and I could win those votes," he said. "The reason I could is that I didn't have a filter between me and them."

He has also acknowledged that local editors and reporters at the small-town, rural papers issued their verdicts based on the promise of his policies and how they would impact the communities those same journalists were inextricably linked to.

This journalism is tangled in the threads that make their communities, and trust, like the bond between a mother and child, doesn’t even need to be earned.

Obama said local media once played a role in how national candidates were perceived, especially when he competed in Republican-leaning states. "Even as late as 2008, typically when I went into a small town, there's a small-town newspaper, and the owner or editor is a conservative guy with a crew cut, maybe, and a bow tie, and he's been a Republican for years," he said. "He doesn't have a lot of patience for tax-and-spend liberals, but he'll take a meeting with me, and he'll write an editorial that says, 'He's a liberal Chicago lawyer but he seems like a decent enough guy, had some good ideas' — and the local TV station will cover me straight. But you go into those communities today and the newspapers are gone."

Obama is now lamenting the loss. In the vacuum, social media operates like a wrecking ball while the big media players have failed miserably and continue to neglect most of the U.S., and Canada.

Reporters are parachuted into places like Brampton when there’s some wild news in an ethnic community (almost always misrepresented by platforms with no bearing in the complex landscape) or when the COVID-19 crisis can no longer be ignored, but, as the former U.S. president has pointed out, this superficial coverage only serves to further destroy the public’s trust in journalism.

Local media battlefields in Mississauga and Brampton have been shredded, and a word to describe their futures is dismal. The 6th largest city in Canada once had two weekly newspapers, The News and The Times. The latter folded into the former, but there was no daily paper, commercial TV station, or radio stations. By comparison, London (400,000 residents compared to Mississauga’s 750,000-plus) has all of the above – the London Free Press (daily) the CFPL TV station (a CTV affiliate) a large number of weekly newspapers and magazines, and of course, the University of Western Ontario’s Master of Media and Journalism and Communication program.

Even Brandon, Manitoba (population 58,000) features an award-winning daily paper (Brandon Sun) which is known for its dynamic local coverage. The Brampton Daily Times is long gone, and The Guardian, now a weekly, is the most circulated community paper there. There are plenty of ethnic media publications, sites, TV and radio stations that offer a sliver of Brampton/Mississauga content, but they largely focus on happenings in the old country. The local Rogers TV channels that once offered some community news, are long gone.

The Pointer (subscription-based and heavily dedicated to serve Brampton and Mississauga taxpayers and other residents) is part of the digital start-up ecosystem. But the number of reporters covering council, Peel Region, police, school board, courts, healthcare and the business community, has been cut to the bone, then the marrow.

How Toronto-centric, and irrelevant, is the coverage in Peel? In 2014’s seminal election in Mississauga, the first after the 36-year rule of urban icon Hazel McCallion, two popular politicians – Steve Mahoney and Bonnie Crombie – jousted to replace the legend. Crombie won, but the turnout was abysmal (27 percent, to the provincial average of 43), and the campaign took a farcical turn.

A polling company took a sneak peek at the campaign and issued results from 834 people surveyed. It mischievously inserted the three major Toronto mayoralty candidates – John Tory, Olivia Chow and Doug Ford – into the survey. The result proved the media bombardment from Toronto bled through municipal borders and impacted Mississauga voters. The interactive voice response showed Chow got 14 percent support for Mississauga mayor, Ford 23 and Tory 21. A ton of those surveyed thought McCallion was still on the ballot.

Research into recent dynamics of the press sector in the UK and other countries including Canada, found the decline of local newspapers resulted in a reduced “scrutiny of democratic functions.”

In response, Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors said while the value of the local news media had always been recognized by audiences, the report highlighted the urgent need for further support for local and regional titles. He noted: “While we have always recognized the positive and significant effect of local newspapers to their communities, the report’s finding that there is a direct correlation between newspaper circulation and democratic participation highlights the immense value of local news brands to our society.”

The loss of this “value” is what Obama now laments.

Murray then added: “The public’s appetite for accurate news and information remains strong and yet advertising revenues continue to plummet. Without urgent support, the long-term sustainability and future of these trusted and important regional and local titles remain under threat.”

An apocalyptic headline announcing results of the report exclaimed: Absence of journalism in some areas potentially catastrophic.

The report agreed that democracies can only function effectively where the public has access to enough information to make informed decisions in civic life. Therefore, the presence of journalism in civil society is vital. The impact on communities by the removal or reduction of local newspaper coverage can be profound.

Obama saw just how quickly the sun had set. He bore witness to its warming effect, and the shadows it soon cast. From 2008 to what he witnessed while campaigning for Biden in 2020, the damage was done.

This damage dittoes what is happening in Canada, and around the world. The Canadian newspaper market is decentralized, bearing more resemblance to that in the U.S. or UK. Canada claims two national newspapers, The Globe and Mail and the National Post, while the whole country is locally driven.

When these papers covered the recent NAFTA 2.0 negotiations, under dire threats by Trump which, if acted upon, would have had profoundly damaging impacts on communities reliant on auto manufacturing and steel production and dairy and a range of agricultural production, those same communities were curiously absent from the reporting.

The “abstractions” Obama mentioned, the breathless coverage of high-level trade talks that repeated the same storylines fed to them everyday, might have served a few in the investor class, but the real stories, the ones Obama highlighted and linked to the “real decisions”, were left to the local media. Many of these outlets simply didn't have the resources or the know-how to provide this coverage and most of the stories were never told. 

None of the big players thought to ask the assembly line workers at Brampton’s Fiat-Chrysler plant, what Trump’s threats were doing to them and how a bad deal could ruin the futures of thousands of families in the city.

A feature by The Pointer revealed that it was not so much the actions of high-officials in Ottawa and Washington dictating the outcome, it was the heroic work of state and provincial and local trade groups, and leaders and advocates representing companies and employees on both sides of the border who worked quietly behind the scenes to rescue negotiations from the grip of a megalomaniac.  

Daniel Bernhard, executive director of Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, spoke before Ottawa’s finance committee recently. “Canadian journalism is in a death spiral,” and COVID-19 has only accelerated that spiral, said Bernhard.

The cause has found another champion in Jerry Dias, the head of the giant Unifor union, which also represents media employees. He spoke up in early October of this year. He said a long fight for fairness targeted Facebook, Google and Netflix which, he said, had seriously damaged Canada’s media sector. He said fixes were frustratingly slow, but the recent Speech from the Throne, finally got a commitment from Ottawa to make sure these companies pay their share to support Canada’s media sector. In that speech, Governor General Julie Payette said: “The government will act to ensure their revenue is shared more fairly with our creators and media, and will also require them to contribute to the creation, production, and distribution of our stories, on screen, in lyrics, in music, and in writing.”

As of July 2019, there were 1,026 community newspaper titles in Canada, 467 were corporately owned by 1 of 10 major groups, including Metroland Media Group, a division of Torstar, which had 78, including the Brampton Guardian and Mississauga News.

Actions to scratch back lost revenue are taking place in numerous jurisdictions.

This isn’t about trolling social media for money, said William Davies in a long story written last year in the UK Guardian. “Technology encourages us to believe we can all have first-hand access to the ‘real’ facts – and now we can’t stop fighting about it,” he said.

The question, is whether all this jockeying of truth and untruths is doing us any good, or simply doing us in. Notes Davies: “One effect of this is that facts no longer seem to matter. But the crisis of democracy and of truth are one and the same: individuals are increasingly suspicious of the ‘official’ stories they are being told, and expect to witness things for themselves.”

Only journalism on the street, where they live, can do this.

Social media’s hold, and ability to change minds or reinforce them, is powerful, and growing by gradations. The 2017 report called “Shattered Mirror” by the Public Policy Forum, said the drain of dollars from legacy media to social media in Canada, has seen “no commitment to public journalism.”

Since 2008 (also the time of the economic recession, which hit traditional media outlets hard), 341 local news outlets (TV, radio and newspapers) closed, including some due to mergers. This impacted 240 communities, according to the Local News Map, and the number of people participating in civic elections, in 2018, was only 38.3 percent in Ontario, which worried the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). It believes the very tenets of democracy are at stake.

This shape-shifting of the landscape, especially at the local level, has been taking place over a relatively short time, less than a generation. The speeding up of social media and the diminishing impact of legacy models, has meant the shedding of local coverage. What we are witnessing “is a collision between two conflicting ideals of truth: one that depends on trusted intermediaries (journalists and experts), and another that promises the illusion of direct access to reality itself,” said Davies.

His key point is that the elites in the government and media have lost their monopoly over the provision of information, but some still retain their status in the public eye. As George Orwell once said, “In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

The impact this is having on malleable minds, and our body politic is not fully understood, but the thinning of newspapers, and now darkened TV stations, means social media continues to spread like lichen.

While social media is often blamed for killing the local markets, it feeds from a powerful tool (the smartphone) to help create what some now call “media porn”, a straight by-product of “citizen journalism”. The antecedents tumble back to a bygone era before the internet was founded in 1983.

A man named Abraham Zapruder went to Dallas on a sunshiny late November day in 1963 to watch the well-advertised drive past involving the young and popular president, John F. Kennedy and his telegenic wife Jackie. He was holding a high-end Model 414 PD Bell & Howell Zoomatic Director Series Camera, and for 26.6 seconds he pointed it at their limo, exposing 486 frames of standard 8mm Kodachrome film. It was later key evidence used by the Warren Commission to decipher who assassinated JFK. Their conclusion: a single shooter, Lee Harvey Oswald. Instead of Zapruder’s film being conclusive evidence, it launched the greatest conspiracy theory ever foisted upon the public.

Can the smartphone overcome all the challenges facing local journalism?

Earlier this summer, a 17-year-old Minneapolis teen named Darnella Frazier, pointed her cellphone at a Black man in distress as a police officer named Derek Chauvin placed his knee on his neck for 8 ½ minutes until he killed him. George Floyd’s death aroused the social conscience of a nation, and the smartphone video ran in an endless loop on social media.

We’ve seen other videos, and police reform is very much focused on the wearing of body cameras. Does this new media tool replace what is being lost by the drenching effect of social media, and a slow death by drowning of our traditional media platforms?

These constantly proliferating clips satisfy the wants of voyeurs who flock to social media sites, but does it do anything to add to our intelligent discussion of issues, or simply traumatize and confuse a younger generation who has open access to a limitless universe of media?

Journalism, when its craft is properly applied, is supposed to provide the filter. But it sold out and lost the trust the public once placed in the palm of the journalist’s hand.

The cutbacks in reporters covering council, regional government or school boards, is creating a vacuum for other hybrid media sites, and even blogs manned by veteran journalists who lost their jobs in the media purges of the past decade.

The movement to make digital giants devote a small percentage of their annual revenue to a fund supporting the struggling field of accountability journalism is now happening in Australia. Ottawa announced its intent, too, and it’s unclear how this will end – perhaps with our local media sites being revived… or disappearing altogether and emerging in some other form.

In a 2017 feature in The Atlantic magazine, Obama was touted as being the “first social-media president,” which was partially true but also misleading. His was the first presidency to make use of Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, just as they were entering their global reach.

While his usage was measured, Trump’s was fevered, and untethered. He changed the social media landscape forever, poisoning the pool.

Obama told Goldberg: “Now you have a situation in which large swaths of the country genuinely believe that the Democratic Party is a front for a pedophile ring. This stuff takes root. The fact is that there is still a large portion of the country that was taken in by a carnival barker.”

Obama views Trump as a creature that rose out of the lagoon. He understands no one is going to kill the internet, or regulate Facebook – not yet, anyway. People will continue to pick political preferences, and the pandemic won’t disappear because a QAnon cult thinks it’s a hoax.

Will social media sites keep the world in a constant state of anxiety, and riddled with misinformation?

Said Obama: “The degree to which these companies are insisting that they are more like a phone company than they are like The Atlantic, I do not think is tenable. The First Amendment doesn’t require private companies to provide a platform for any view that is out there. At the end of the day, we’re going to have to find a combination of government regulations and corporate practices that address this, because it’s going to get worse. If you can perpetrate crazy lies and conspiracy theories just with texts, imagine what you can do when you can make it look like you and me saying something on video. We’re pretty close to that now.”

We’re already there.

The worry that Trump is unwilling to hand the political football to Biden is a sad change for a country with a 244-year history of democracy and the peaceful passing of power.

The battle currently raging on social media and legacy media, shows much of the world is still hungry for true information.

Now that Trump is headed for the political scrapheap, will his leaving reignite in all of us a need for truth, and a revitalization of the traditional media models that used to be lauded for providing it?

The good news is a world of information is right in the palm of our hands. Filtering it, like grist, so only the truth gets through is the role of journalism.

It’s good to know that Obama’s wise words on the power of local media, are just a click away.

Journalism told from the places where those stories happen, should also be just a click away.


COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you.

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