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The Vancouver Sun: last month's news today

24 Nov 2010
Posted by Shannon

The Vancouver Sun has long been in the biz of delivering yesterday’s news tomorrow, but this is a new benchmark: September’s news in November.

Today’s front page story reports a Supreme Court of Canada decision – delivered September 23 – that rules a contractor’s insurance company is liable for the cost of faulty work done by subcontractors.

That’s big news in the land o’leaky condos. Alas, there’s no hint in the copy as to why they decided to sit on this one for two months. 

But their news judgment has been endorsed by CBC radio news Vancouver. They led their noon newscast with the story. 

Apparently there are no more reporters, just repeaters. 


Media disappointment

To top that, take a look at the Sun's lead editorial on the same day ("Alberta's oilsands beckon B.C. workers: Resource to fuel Canada for centuries").

One could accuse the Sun's editorial board of providing blatant propaganda for the oil industry, but it would be hard to imagine even an oil-industry executive making such a one-sided argument that is entirely dismissive of climate change.

Why is Vancouver so poorly served by its news media?

I'd argue it's because we

I'd argue it's because we have the most concentrated ownership of any media market in the western world. Once the Vancouver Sun and the Province merged after Black Wednesday in 1980 they killed competition. That killed the financial incentive to do journalism. If you're not competing for readers you can use cheap generic wire copy or -- better -- advertiser-driven copy.

Marc Edge's  Pacific Press: The Unauthorized History offers a detailed history -- and it's a good read too. It's an academic book, but before he was Prof. Edge he was a Province reporter. Marc's an engaging writer who knows how to tell a tale.

He argues that the beginning of the end came in the mid-50s when Pacpress formed a joint-operating press-sharing agreement designed to kill competition from a third newspapes. Technically,  the papers had separate owners.