Thinking Out Loud

Recent Posts

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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Remembering former Cobourg Police Chief Dan McDougall

By Robert Washburn

It was with deep sadness the news of the death of former Cobourg Police Chief Dan McDougall arrived this past week. It would be wrong to say I knew him well because I didn’t. But, he and I had lots of contact when I was a reporter at the Cobourg Daily Star. For the all the years I worked as a reporter, the police beat was mine. So, we regularly crossed paths. Continue Reading →

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Tackling the issue of newspaper closures in rural Canada

With the announcement by Sun Media regarding the closure of eight weekly newspapers, J-Source.ca asked if I would try to provide some initial analysis. Sadly, these kinds of stories focus on urban dailies and the business aspects, as well as job losses. For the mainstream media, this is all that matters. But for the people living in these hamlets, villages and towns, it is a great loss. In some cases, these are century-old publications suddenly gone. Continue Reading →

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Boulevard Gardens in Cobourg

The Burd Report started posting pictures of violations of the boulevard maintenance and protection bylaw, following a series of stories about Councillor Miriam Mutton’s run in with the town over her managed meadow. Why should it have all the fun? Here is a gallery of photos of various boulevard gardens throughout Cobourg. Some are lovely and others are not. This is not an indictment of any garden. Continue Reading →

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Returning to my roots by being a practicing journalist once more

By Robert Washburn

Starting July 3, I am returning to the newsroom to practice my craft.  Northumberland Today is giving me a chance to work for the next 10 days. It is voluntary, as I hope to stretch my reporting muscles to ensure I really do understand all those things I teach during the rest of the year. Trust and credibility are not only traits of journalism. These are also key elements of a good teacher. I stand in front of students who want to know I understand what they go through each day in the QNetNews integrated newsroom. Continue Reading →

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Time to tidy mainstreet

By Robert Washburn

It is gravely disappointing to see the lack of attention to smaller things along King Street West. The Burd Report rightly points out some weeds in need of cropping. His point is not quiet the same as mine. He is angry over the inconsistency of town policy regarding the clearing of Councillor Miriam Mutton’s garden, causing a huge controversy over the application of the town’s bylaws. This is a bit less ambitious. Continue Reading →

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Rob Ford story by Toronto Star hurts audience trust, damages credibility

By Robert Washburn

The journalism practices driving the Rob Ford story are deeply disturbing, damaging audience trust and credibility, not just for the Toronto Star but also for anyone wanting to do serious journalism. Globe and Mail columnist Lysiane Gagnon takes a pretty good shot at the heart of this issue in her column yesterday arguing social media is to blame for the actions of journalists. While this is one way to look at why the Toronto Star decided to publish a story about a cellphone video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford allegedly inhaling from what is being described as a crack pipe, there is a more invasive influence at work: celebrity journalism. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Norlock’s comments on Senate scandal leave room for improvement

By Robert Washburn

Parroting the Prime Minister, Northumberland MP Rick Norlock waded into the Senate scandal in an exclusive interview with Cramahe Now editor Bob Owen. Senator Mike Duffy is under fire for improperly claiming $90,000 in living expenses for saying he live in P.E.I, when his primary residence was actually Ottawa. Duffy said he paid back the money, but it was discovered his was given a personal cheque from Harper’s chief of staff Nigel Wright for the full amount. Wright resigned over the weekend. Norlock called Duffy a disappointment and criticized him for bringing disrepute to the Senate. Continue Reading →

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