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Back in the saddle: reflections on my recent stint at Northumberland Today

By Robert Washburn

It is incredibly important to keep active in journalism both as an educator and as a professional journalist. It is great  having a bi-weekly column. Still, grabbing a notepad, dialling a phone, doing interviews and so forth, it is vital to remain relevant and credible in front of students. It is truly amazing the number of times there is pause for thought on the way newsrooms are changing. It is not nostalgia causing the hesitation, but a sense of how journalism practice, ethics, management, and community are transforming. Continue Reading →

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A moment for MacMillan

By Robert Washburn

There are some people in a community who are so important, yet they never hold an elected office or head some big company or become the executive director of an organization. These people rise to prominence because of their character – because of who they are and what they contribute. Tom MacMillan was one of those people. MacMillan died last night. He was 78. Continue Reading →

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Politicians need better ways to consult public, less theatre

By Robert Washburn

Northumberland MP Rick Norlock was pretty busy last week racing around meeting with interest groups and residents around the upcoming federal budget as part of a series of public consultations in Campbellford and Cobourg. However, the federal government is not the only one asking the public for its input on budgets. Municipal councils throughout Northumberland will be hunkering down over stacks of reports and spreadsheets working with sharp pencils trying to figure out how much they will need to collect for 2013. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Can’t miss opportunity to rate Northumberland Hills Hospital

By Robert Washburn

The CBC is doing some first-rate journalism around health care in Canada right now. One feature sticks out as an unbeatable opportunity for residents of the county to give some candid feedback on Northumberland Hills Hospital. The crazy part is nobody has done this. As part of its investigation, a Rate My Hospital feature is located on the CBC News website, allowing anyone to comment on how they were treated. Things like respect, communication, timeliness, cleanliness and whether or not you would recommend the hospital are measured. Continue Reading →

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Dusting ourselves off to make a point

In light of a recent proposal by Deputy Mayor Stan Frost to change Cobourg council’s meeting time to 4 p.m., rather than leaving it at 7 p.m., Consider This is inspired to take action. Citizen journalist Scott Lamberton is generously donating his time for the next few Monday nights to live blog council meetings once again. He was a central contributor during the hyperlocal project in 2010 – 2011. There are several reasons for this. First, it is the job of journalism to be a watchdog. Continue Reading →

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Bullying needs to be criminalized

By Robert Washburn

The sad story of the bullying Stephanie and her younger sister, Dawn, face at Port Hope High School drives home an important point regarding the struggle parents, educators and governments face. Since last February, the girls have received ongoing harassment, which peaked a few weeks ago when a large group of 15 teenagers followed the kids home and camped out on the front lawn of their house, according to the children’s mother, Kim Crane. She is now considering changing schools in the fall. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Social assistance advocates air concerns at roundtable

By Robert Washburn

The roundtable seeking public input on the social assistance review by the provincial government held in Cobourg recently gave activists and officials an opportunity to reinforce their message to increase payments to recipients in order to given them sufficient funds to live. While many residents are not interested, proposed changes could leave municipal taxpayers feeling the pain, as well. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Income security once and for all

By Deborah O’Connor

For Frances Lankin and Dr. Munir Sheikh, co-chairs of the Social Assistance Review Commission, the task of making final recommendations for the reform of Ontario’s welfare system has to be one of the hardest they’ve ever faced. With a generation of reports behind them from both in and outside government and a variety of ancillary programs that aren’t part of welfare but support welfare recipients, just absorbing all the information involved is a monumental job in itself. By next summer, they’re expected to come up with a road map for reform that will please Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, recipients and advocates alike; most especially the finance minister, who will have to find the money to make real change happen. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Violence against women remembered this time of year

July 8, 2009

A 41 year-old Cobourg man allegedly punched his partner several times in the face inside their Havelock Street residence in Cobourg last Friday. The woman intervened in an argument between the man and his son. She was pushed into some furniture, at first. Then, the couple went downstairs, where he is alleged to have punched her in the face several times and then pushed her to the floor. She suffered a swollen upper lip and a bloody nose. Continue Reading →

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