The problem with news is not that Google and Facebook are stealing it (they just link to headlines of what’s already there) but that there is not enough money in the online advertising by media companies to compensate for the lower revenue from print advertising. Although major (and minor) newspapers have an online presence that uses material gathered by professional journalists, and Google etc. simply point to this, these sites don’t generate enough revenue to replace what they used to get from print advertising. Governments – notably Australia, France and Canada – are trying to force Google and Facebook to share some of their revenue but meanwhile the shift in where to get news is happening anyway. The practical result is that traditional news media do not provide all the news that we want to know – we need to change where we get news from. This is especially true for local news.
It used to be that we would subscribe to a local daily newspaper and it would tell us all we need (or want) to know. But now there are multiple ways to get news online: multiple web sites and multiple mailing lists. Google is not a primary source: it doesn’t have journalists or reporters, they simply point to existing web sites. It is not a news source as such. Facebook and Twitter users do originate some stories but only accounts belonging to media companies or government agencies are truly credible (and even then we can’t be sure).
So let me list the ways you can get credible news in Cobourg (including this site!)
Major News sites
- Today’s Northumberland. Primary reporter Pete Fisher – long time local reporter. There are also other contributions from professionals like Cecilia Nasmith. It’s the best source of local police news.
- Northumberland News. Online version of weekly print newspaper and owned by Metroland Media, a division of Torstar who also own the Toronto Star. Reporting is by professionals like Dominik Wisniewski and Sarah Hyatt. Coverage includes Brighton and Port Hope.
- Cobourg News Blog – This site. Reporting is by amateur John Draper (I’m in my third career). Covers council meetings plus other news.
- Go Northumberland – Names of Reporters are not provided. Operated by MBC – My Broadcasting Corp. which operates radio stations FM 93.3 and FM 107.9
Direct sources of News
- Town of Cobourg News page
- Cobourg Police News page
- Northumberland County News Page – few entries
- HKPR DHU News page – Health News
Many people seem to be reluctant to go to web sites unless they are in a link in a newsletter. Except for Today’s Northumberland, news sources listed above provide this service. Here are the signup links:
You can also get news emails (or Twitter feeds) directly from organizations providing News
- Town of Cobourg – emails signup
- Town of Cobourg Twitter
- Cobourg Police Twitter
- Northumberland County News
Other News Sources
- Google News – Effectively a portal pointing to multiple stories
- Cogeco – YourTV – features regular interviews of local politicians – Or if you have Cogeco Cable, go to channel 700.
- Radio Stations – Northumberland 89.7 FM, 93.3 FM and 107.9 FM – tune in your radio
In 2018, a local group created a portal for local news (Northumberland Hub) – and it included a mailing list. However, it closed after a year because of lack of interest/usage by citizens – details here.
One advantage of online news is that input from citizens is possible although some print news media do provide “letters to the editor” which accept unsolicited comments by readers
- Cobourg News Blog – comments on posts
- Cobourg News Blog – Letters to the Editor
- Town of Cobourg – Surveys
- Northumberland County – Surveys
Some other local online media sites also accept comments but actual comments are rare.
So instead of a single daily newspaper for news, we must use a multitude of online news sources. Google, Facebook and Twitter try to provide a single place to access several sources but that means they are deciding what you should see. It seems to me it’s best to bookmark multiple sites and also sign up to multiple newsletters. This applies not only to local news but also to news about Ontario, Canada and the world. Whether we like it or not, the world of News has changed.
- BBC news re Australian News Law
- Canada will work with Australia
- Local News sources list
- Consider This – a blog by Robert Washburn about local Journalism
Links to previous related News Items