When I lived in England (many years ago) I looked forward to reading the Sunday papers, The Times and The Telegraph were the weapons of choice. A big cup of coffee, a comfy chair, and I was all set. The Sunday’s tended to have not breaking news, but in-depth and well researched articles about recent news events.

When I first moved to the US, I took to the New York Times, while it was not quite the ‘London Times’ it was well put together, and followed the same format. I also really enjoyed the crossword! Sundays were a tranquil time, good reading material, and the opportunity to be the ‘couch quarterback’ on world events.

For the past 5 years or so I have been living in Alberta, Canada. It is a nice city, the people are friendly, and considering the population has now topped the million mark, it is a city with relatively little violence (the 4 block area where I work being the exception).

I was not enamored 5 years ago by the choice of Sunday papers, and I had also discovered that better options were available online. In fact it took almost no time at all to completely avoid the local ‘rags’. We have the ‘Broadsheet’ Calgary Herald, and the tabloid ‘The Sun’. Neither of which seemed to provide the larger look at the worlds news.

Today, I had the misfortune to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and was given a complementary copy of the Sunday edition of The Calgary Herald. It was fat, and it was heavy! That’s a good start, I thought, maybe they have fixed their evil ways!

I got home and cracked the paper. Well more than half of the weight came from the flyers included, you name the company we have a 16 page flyer from them! As to the news content, that is relegated to about 25% of each page!

There was not one engaging story in the whole miserable rag. The lead story is about a charitable event to raise money for the David Foster Foundation. While this a laudable act, I cannot believe that this is the most important story. The second lead involves a lot of ‘Huff And Puff’ about the beginning of construction of a new hospital. One wonders where these journalists get their ideas?

Actually it is not the journalists that deserve the beating, it is the MSM (Main Stream Media), we as consumers now live in a world where many local markets (News, TV, Radio) are all owned by the same conglomerates. There is little effort anymore to report the news, they just regurgitate what everyone else is doing.

Here in Calgary they don’t even bother doing that! They just print whatever head office tells them!

I could not resist the looking at the Alexa stats (Alexa are the Neilsons of the internet world).

One would think that if you have a million possible readers, and your paper is available in every convenience store, Supermarket, and vending machine  on every street corner, they could do better than these Alexa stats.

Jan and I played with the stats, and you know what? They all looked bad. Where have we gone bad? The simple answer is ‘We have not’.

MSM like to dictate what we see, what we watch, and what we hear. I am a fan of making my own decisions, and so should you! The Blue line is BNN, and the flatline in brown is The Calgary Herald. Clearly we are way ahead of this ‘Hick’, though syndicated rag.

My advice is, if it is in print, it likely is not sourced from local folks. The Calgary Herald is a harmless operation, alas it has no teeth, other than the occasional op-ed piece on page 5, it just provides a mouthpiece for whoever has the cash!

Simon Barrett


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