UCW news media scholar pens new critiques of the industry
Like an impassioned journalist who loses sleep over corruption, University Canada West’s (UCW’s) Marc Edge is burning the midnight oil once again to pump out publications about the fate of Canada’s compromised news media.
The News We Deserve: The Transformation of Canada’s Media Landscape and Can Canada’s Media be Fixed? are the latest products of the media and communication professor’s longstanding angst over Canadian news media’s unravelling.
In The News We Deserve, the award-winning former journalist coalesces a collection of articles he has researched and generated over several decades as a scholar. They trace the convergence of Canada’s news media, the collusion behind it, and how those two factors combined with digital media’s emergence have eroded impartial and ethical journalism across the country.
The new book also documents how Edge’s relentless chronicling and criticism of government and corporate mutilation of news media have prompted a federal government exploration of the industry’s health. Edge’s fifth book to be published by Vancouver-based New Star Books since 2001 will be released this October.
“If you read the Acrimony and Outrage, the first chapter of my new book, you will sense my outrage that despite researching this subject for close to fifteen years it has gone from bad to worse to disaster,” says Edge.
One of the most prolific critical scholars of news media and one of the few journalism educators to speak out against increased media ownership concentration in Canada, Edge reveals: “I decided to take matters into my own hands. I visited Hedy Fry, Liberal MP for Vancouver Centre, at the beginning of this year. That prompted the ongoing hearings into News and Local Communities, which will tour Canada this fall.”
New Star Book aptly serves up the contents of The News We Deserve by summarizing that the book “documents the most under–reported story in Canadian news: the behind–the–scenes takeovers, mergers, share swaps, regulatory maneuvers, and private ambitions that have reshaped the content and business models of today's print and online newspapers to privilege corporate profits and political influence over the goal of informing citizens.”
In Can Canada’s Media be Fixed?, the cover story in the July/August 2016 issue of the Monitor, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative’s (CCPA’s) national magazine, Edge presents concrete suggestions for resuscitating Canada’s news media.
“I endorse the idea from French economist Julia Cagé for Non-profit Media Organizations (NMOs), which are eligible to accept tax-deductible donations similar to what media south of the border can do under Sec. 501(c)(3) of the U.S. tax code,” explains Edge. “This is not possible under Canada’s charitable tax laws, which badly need updating.”
Edge also recommends in the cover story: “Another possible alternative might be a national network of government-funded digital mojos (mobile journalists) covering local communities. Hyper-local mojos could feed into the national network via the CBC website and also provide basic audio and video for radio and TV. Once a more diverse and democratic news ecosystem is thriving, all that would be left for government to do is police the worst excesses of what passes for journalism these days.”
The Richmond sailor, who lives aboard his boat, just might be able to put down his pen and sleep better if Canada’s news media get on an even keel. “The former Conservative government refused to enforce competition and foreign ownership laws,” says Edge. “The current Liberal government thus needs to do something to foster diversity and competition among news media.”
Edge co-edited this latest issue of the Monitor, which he had pitched successfully to the magazine’s editors as a special issue dedicated to discussion of media.
UCW is part of the Global University Systems (GUS) international network of higher education institutions headquartered in the Netherlands. With institutions and affiliates across the UK, Canada, Germany and Singapore, the group educates more than 50,000 students from 160 different nationalities.
UCW delivers programs that provide students with the applied and theoretical basis for success in the workplace and future academic endeavours. Established in 2004 by former University of Victoria president David Strong, UCW offers quality education with courses that transfer broadly into the public education system. Courses are offered at UCW’s downtown Vancouver campus and online. For more information visit www.ucanwest.ca.
Carol Thorbes, Communications/Media Relations
Marc Edge, UCW media and communication professor
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