Jan. 26 Bits and Pieces

• New Media, No Money? I spoke to a Globe reporter about this issue yesterday – and said that, while the New Media (aggregators, Facebookians, Twitterers, blogistes) are clearly a threat to the Old Media, can they actually capitalize on it? Can they make a buck doing what they do? Personally – and I speak from personal experience – I don’t really think so. Google AdSense revenue won’t keep the New Media lights on, much less pay for someone to hire a reporter or two. Until someone figures out how to do it differently, the likes of Huffington and the Daily Kos will remain the exception, not the rule.
• The Rogue Proroger: If nothing else, it is my fervent hope that the Reform-Conservatives’ prorogation-induced (and rapid) 15-point-drop in popularity will banish, forever, the punditocracy’s claim that Harper is a Master Strategist. He’s not. He never will be. Unrelated point: the two issues that have most inflamed voters in the past couple years – and which have been preceded by an online populist uprising – both relate to democracy: the coalition stuff, and now the prorogation stuff. As I told a fellow at our Haiti fundraiser on Saturday night, I don’t understand how (on the one hand) voter participation rates continue to slump, while (on the other hand) “pure democracy” issues like coalition and prorogation spur massive interest/anger/emotion. Anyone got a theory?
• The Dangerous Streets: Fourteen people killed on Toronto streets in a month – and the tragic deaths have not been caused by guns or knives. Why is this happening? Listening to media “streeters” over the past few days, you’ll note that pedestrians are tending to blame drivers, and drivers are tending to blame pedestrians. Being both, I’d venture a guess that both are, to some extent, to blame. Both, therefore, need to (a) be more watchful and (b) obey the law. Sounds axiomatic, but – in Toronto this year, at least – maybe not.
• Women and Pay Equity: Overlooked and important. Women continue to deserve much, much better in the workplace. Politicians, of all stripes, will have their rhetoric measured against their deeds, in this regard. And they should be – there’s no standing pat on this one.

I Can Die Now

So here’s SFH tonight at the Bovine, taken by Dan G-Man. I sucked, but the rest of the guys were pretty awesome.

Ritalin Boy, Winkie, Davey Snot, Rayman.

So, afterwards, Cam Carpenter tells me Tommy Stinson – currently of Guns’n’Roses, but formerly of the band that saved my life, the Replacements – was there. And liked us.

Sure, Cam.

And, you know what? It was true. Tommy Friggin’ Stinson was there. And, before he helped me sell SFH T-shirts for Haiti on the Queen West sidewalk, we posed for this shot, taken by his gal.

I can die, now. Tommy Stinson. Holy God.

Me and Tommy Stinson, aglow.

UPDATE: And nearly $1,000 was raised for Red Cross Haiti relief!

Top of the Pops

Great, great LPC event in TeeDot last night. And we need a high-quality version of this one now! It’s a hit!

Get Your Chequebooks, Speechies

“Richard Warman is pleased to announce that he will be discontinuing his libel actions against the National Post and their employees Jonathan Kay and Kelly McParland. Mr. Warman notes that the allegations in question were retracted by the National Post and that subsequent negotiations have led to a satisfactory settlement agreement.”

A satisfactory settlement agreement: whatever will that mean for Ezra and his friends?

The Graveyard of Broken Dreams

A hundred lifetimes ago, I was a cops and courts reporter at the Ottawa Citizen. One day, I had to go in for a performance review. When I got there, I told my editors – Randy and Deb – that I was leaving to practice law.

Randy told me some nice things about what he thought my future would have been like in journalism. It made me feel good, and I even wondered whether I was making the right decision.

The intervening years, I think, tell me that I made the right decision. As this week’s dumb, dumb, dumb layoffs at CITY-TV make clear, the people who run media organizations may be good at many things, but running media organizations isn’t one of them.

Anne Mroczkowski? Farah Nasser? They let go professionals with that much experience? I have been interviewed many times by both women – and by many others at CITY – and a more capable group of journalists you will seldom meet. It is extraordinary to me – it is crazy – that the deservedly-reviled bean counters are eager to kick that kind of experience to the curb. It makes no sense, economically or otherwise.

That’s why I am glad I decided to write books, and stay away from daily journalism. The media mavens have no regard, at all, for their one and only strength – their people. They treat their people like shit, in fact. Fear, paranoia and self-doubt pervade every newsroom, everywhere, because the likes of Anne and Farah are being treated so appallingly so frequently. Newsrooms are, as the cliché goes, the graveyard of broken dreams.

I used to teach journalism and law at Carleton. If I was still there, I’d tell my students to forget about the former and choose a career in the latter. Or basket-weaving. Or whatever.

Any career, in fact, is better than daily journalism.