Postmedia’s recent announcement of merging newsrooms in four cities and cutting 90 staff in Alberta has sent shock waves across Canadian media landscape, signalling the deep financial trouble of media industry. While media layoffs have almost become a new norm, Postmedia’s decision has sparked widespread concerns among Canadians over losing distinct voices and the reduced power of journalism.
But the news seems to have met with little reactions in the Chinese community. The story on Chinese media website has elicited little comments. And there is no discussion thread about it on WeChat – the most vibrant social media platform in the community.
Amid rising power of internet and social media, print media seems to have lost its steam. Journalist job has been taken over by ordinary citizens who hold a cellphone and social media account. The most appealing and catchy stories on WeChat recently are about the skyrocketing food prices in Canada. As the picture of sticker price of hotbed chives -- $21.21 /Kg has spread across WeChat groups, furious comments and waves of expletives have flooded in.
“WeChat provides a platform for us to relieve anger and frustrations,” a community member says. “I feel more relieved and satisfied after posting comments here… It also provides readers with more updated news than any other news media platform.”
In fact there are a lot more than the sticker price in hotbed chives story. What has caused the price to soar? Is the falling Canadian dollar the only culprit to bear the blame? Why did the federal government fail to take preventive measures – such as providing a national food policy to strengthen a local agriculture -- so that the food prices would not be so vulnerable to the fall of Canadian dollar?
Without a powerful journalism and strong print media, consumers can never get these questions answered. Neither would they be able to find out what risks they are facing when cargo trains carrying dangerous materials are transporting across their community. Or why, all of sudden, there are so many homeless youths appear on Spadina Street.
When news media is struck with a blow, everyone suffers. After Postmedia announcement, Nick Taylor-Vaisey, president of the Canadian Association of Journalists, said that thousands of stories of interest to the local communities would be lost because there are not enough resources to cover them.
Taylor-Vaisey同时指出，新闻的多面性正在加国不断消失， 而这种不同声音正是 使新闻媒体保持活力，并有助于促进健全的民主政治的重要因素。
He also points out that Canada is losing the diverse voices that have kept the media landscape interesting and helped bolster a healthy democracy.
"No matter who you lose in a newsroom, you are sending a bad message to journalists," he told CBC News.
The Chinese community’s callous reaction to Postmedia announcement is hardly surprising. For many Chinese immigrants, journalism is new concept that had hardly ever existed in their home country. Unlike the strong and powerful role the media has played in the Western countries – from acting as government watchdogs to exposing wrongdoings of those in power, Chinese media is largely controlled by the government. Different voices or political opinions are destroyed before they are allowed to see the light of the day.
But Chinese immigrants who strive to live a healthy and rich life in Canada need much more information than the sticker price of hotbed chives. Without a strong and powerful journalism, they cannot enjoy much more democracy and political freedom than their counterpart in the home country.
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