Getting hold of US-based news in America is just a click away. Unfortunately for countries like Canada looking to grow their own local news base, it’s just as easy for their citizens as well. This not only affects the news business in the country but also creates a skewed perception of what it means to live in Canada and be a Canadian. As a result, Hedy Fry, Liberal Member of Parliament and heritage committee chair, plans to make a change.
Investigating the Problem
One of the biggest mistakes many organizations face when tackling difficult problems is to assume they already know everything they need to about the problem. Fry takes a brilliant approach to the issue by first launching an investigation into the real problem.
Fry’s study will look into the changing consumer behaviors in Canadians, and whether or not residents get enough Canadian-based news content from the internet. Also, the role of public broadcasters will undergo observation. Fry wants to know where Canadians get their news information, and why.
A Long Time Coming
However, this is not Canada’s first time observing a shift in how Canadians consume news media. Other Canadians have also launched federal studies aimed at understanding the failing state of news media in the country. Fry freely admits this and recognizes that though others did little about the findings in the past, the present calls for actionable solutions.
She stated, “The thing about politics is that the time comes one day when stuff is facing you so hard that you have to do something about it. That time has come.” And not a moment too soon, as only recently, several newsrooms closed down, and even large media outlets face financial struggles.
More than Just a News Problem
Aside from the closure of local businesses, many people may wonder why such an alarm went up over dying local news channels. Surely, if the government subsidizes these more, it should solve the problem. But there is more to the tale than meets the eye. The Canadian government recognizes this dilemma represents and contributes to an even bigger problem: the jeopardizing of a national identity.
No one understands a particular location and its happenings better than the people who live there. All external sources will be reported in context of the current events of that location. So, as news comes primarily from outside sources, Canadians won’t experience their common identity, but will find a skewed though believable national identity to hold – it just won’t be coming from Canadians.
A Strong Commitment to Change
This situation gives the Canadian government a new drive to fix the situations as soon as possible. As Fry stated in a recent interview, “I know that our government has a strong will to deal with this now.”
To this end, the government not only launched the study but is also putting things in place to help news media organizations stay afloat. One such organization is the CBC, though they have not received specifics as to how much or when funding is expected.
Solving this news problem and the effects on a national identity will take plenty of time and perhaps, even more, money. Even so, Canada has already taken one step in the right direction, which shows a far more promising outcome than it did last year.
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