A Review of Local News

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Cobourg News Blog – This site.  Reporting is by amateur John Draper (I’m in my third career). Covers council meetings plus other news.
  4. 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

Other sites include Cobourg Now, Northumberland 89.7 News (Cecilia Nasmith) and Cobourg Media (Graham Beer) – plus Northumberland County Breaking News Feed (Austin Brettell).

Direct sources of News

Emails

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

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.

Feedback

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

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.

Links

Links to previous related News Items

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Ken Strauss
28 February 2021 8:55 am

Andrew Coyne, newspaper and TV commentator, pointed out the interesting inconsistency: newspapers complain that Facebook and others are “stealing” their revenue. However, most online media including our own Northumberland News have icons on every story to make it easy to post links on Facebook, Twitter and to email to friends.

ben burd
27 February 2021 8:08 am

A day or so after this post was put up we are into a facebook feud between two local “N’Land News” websites. One has written an editorial about the other’s way of reporting the news and has accused the other about sensationalising his reporting ‘creating unneeded panic’ with his readers. It also cautions the ‘new guy’ about not relying on Police Scanners for his tips although the ‘Veteran’ is a profligate user of the same Police Scanners

I will leave the readers of this site to do their own digging but when the motherlode is found it makes interesting reading.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  ben burd
27 February 2021 9:47 am

Wow! Generated lots of commentary on the Finkbook site.

Lyle
26 February 2021 9:53 am

Thanks John, always appreciate the very informative news as usual, I’m thinking that one of the reasons the print media is in trouble today is that readers of the seemingly on sided view of the news print were tired of being told on a 24 hour news cycle how bad the orange monster was in the US & giving a pass to our Federal Government antics.
Gone are the days when the readers could never tell what the news reporters political leanings were.

ben burd
Reply to  Lyle
27 February 2021 8:09 am

And the other half sick to the point of nausea with the 24hour reporting from the other side.

Steve Wilkes, Local Business Owner
26 February 2021 9:22 am

The vast majority of people have adopted digital solutions to consume the content they find interesting and relevant. Digital is a participatory layer of all media, that allows people to self select their own experiences. If local businesses want to advertise they need a digital solution. Just having a website is not enough anymore, It is really expensive for Google Ad Words and Search Engine Optimization in the effort to attract peoples attention to get to your website. Local businesses are spending ad dollars on Facebook, even the Calvary Church here in Cobourg is sponsoring ads. Our local Governments buy Facebook & Google ads. People need to consider that the revenues spent with Google and Facebook don’t stay in our community! Spending local is a two way street. People are being asked to support local, and local businesses should be supporting each other locally, and not Google and Facebook! If local businesses spend advertising only with other local businesses, all of these businesses contribute to a healthy, vibrant community!

Just Wondering
Reply to  Steve Wilkes, Local Business Owner
26 February 2021 10:24 pm

An advantage or disadvantage of digital ads, depending upon which side of the coin you are on, is they can be blocked with ad blockers.

ben burd
Reply to  Steve Wilkes, Local Business Owner
27 February 2021 7:45 am

Digital solutions are all very well but only half the battle. I have attempted many times to access a portal that shows local businesses and their websites but to no avail. The DBIA site is a collection of unindexed sites and is painful to use. When I asked the a prominent member of the DBIA where is the portal he told me that that the answer was an expensive one that they didn’t want to spend the money on.

The Provincial support paid for businesses to get on line but as usual failed to look at the big picture – hence no portal.

So until the local businesses get it together and create a portal
they will continue to waste their money on Google and Facebook and the majority of local consumers will just surf their way around!

Last edited 1 month ago by Ben
Are_n
26 February 2021 8:21 am

Thanks for that synopsis John. Very helpful. And thanks for all you do to keep us abreast of things.

Karen
26 February 2021 8:21 am

Very Informative. Thank you John for this list.