Thinking Out Loud

Recent Posts

Hudak chooses another questionable photo-op location during Cobourg visit

By Robert Washburn

[Update: The irony keeps dripping. It turns out Horizons Plastics received a $2 million provincial grant from the Liberals in 2011 for new technology and jobs. If that is not enough, I found out from a reliable source up to 30 people were laid off from the plant yesterday. Not able to confirm]

It was so very nice of Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak to drop by Cobourg Wednesday to support local candidate Rob Milligan with a photo op at Horizons Plastics. To see Hudak and Milligan standing on the shop floor with the Million Jobs sign behind them was visually pleasing. Continue Reading →

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Chronicle Herald tries hyperlocal news with launch of new Cape Breton paper

By Robert Washburn

Mark Lever gets it. The Chronicle Herald also gets it. The 43-year old businessman is leading the charge to introduce a new newspaper to Cape Brenton, a free weekly, in Nova Scotia starting May 1, according to a Globe and Mail article last week. It is a bold stroke in a time when many community newspapers are closing. Many would say it does not make sense. Continue Reading →

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Thanks, Rowden! – A response to a column in the local newspaper

By Robert Washburn

I would like to thank Councillor Forrest Rowden for his response to my column, in which the relevant excerpt is publish on Consider This. Mr. Rowden deserves equal time and space on this website in all fairness and for balance. Sadly, I made a really dumbass error. I called his fellow councillor Jay Sherwin instead of Larry Sherwin. Jay was on council with Rowden in Hamilton Township back in the 1990s. Continue Reading →

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A radical proposal for municipal planning

By Robert Washburn

Here is a radical idea: Make developers pay the complete cost of getting municipal approval for their projects. It will never happen. But, it should be considered. Right now, public tax dollars are spent maintaining planning departments. Certainly, there are aspects of planning that are in the general public interest – official plans, secondary plans, bylaws, policies, etc. Continue Reading →

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Community journalism critical to rural Canada’s survival

With the closure of a number of community newspaper, the search for a sustainable model is elusive. While most academics frame the debate over these closure in terms of the impact on local democracy or the failure of an economic model, there may be another way to view the issue – through the lens of rural sustainability. Here are three articles I recent wrote for J-Source indicating some thoughts on this important aspect of journalism. Here is the introduction I wrote for the three-part series:

“When a community newspaper closes, it is a great loss. Still, publishers will argue it is the economic reality of the times. Continue Reading →

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Municipal politicians, bureaucrats miss mark on ice storm response

By Robert Washburn

It appears Cobourg council  gets a massive FAIL when it comes to providing information during the recent ice storm. Once again, the Burd Report doesn’t miss a trick as it recorded the delayed reaction by politicians and the communications department at town hall. Sarcasm aside, it points out a blatant lack of use of social media to reach out to residents and keep them informed about what was going on. Meanwhile, crews with the roads department, the local hydro and police were trying to deal with the ensuing mayhem created by the storm. Cobourg police did a reasonable job trying to push information to the public across its Twitter account. Continue Reading →

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Burd Report demystifies objections to Legion proposal

By Robert Washburn

The Burd Report for the fantastic job it did analyzing the comments for the planning report for the new Legion building proposed for Orr and Hibernia streets. Creating a chart, the Burd Report breaks down key words in letters submitted to the town to identify specific objections, including no specific objection. It deflates the argument made by supporters that a form letter was used. It also provides clear patterns pertaining to the objections. As the Burd Report notes, the majority support a four-storey building. Continue Reading →

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Small Town radio provides a welcomed addition to local news media

By Robert Washburn

The live, on-air launch of Small Town Radio 89.7 FM this week in West Northumberland is an important addition to the local media. This non-profit, volunteer driven station will provide many welcomed programs; its contribution to the area’s news media is vital. As someone interested in hyperlocal news, community journalism and its impact on rural Canada, the arrival of a new sources of news is encouraging in a time when so many other news sources are being closed or under stress to survive. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Dealilng with layoffs

There is a lot being said about young people and employment these days thanks to the Centre for Policy Alternatives. Using Statistics Canada data, it says young people between 16 to 24 years old face unemployment rates of up to 17 per cent. In Ontario, the rate jumps to half of young people cannot find a job. CTV, The Toronto Star, and CBC among a long list of other media have excellent coverage. I received an interesting email from Kimberly Green, of OnlineColleges.net with an article on surviving layoffs. Continue Reading →

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