As you can see in this week’s For The Record clip I was incensed at the attempt by the Mayor’s office to limit local media access. It’s not the goal of increased decorum or message control I oppose, but rather the flawed logic at the heart of it.
I respect the media credentials of both Mayor Bratina and Peggy Chapman, who got her journalistic bona fides in the formal media setting of Queen’s Park. They are traditional media experts but they seem to be missing the fact that new media means things have changed – in Hamilton and around the world.
The comment by Peggy on the Bill Kelly show is what best illustrates this – she said media “have to have a boss I can complain to”.
Social media does have a boss. Every blogger has a boss. Every online publication has a boss.
It’s not some exec in an office down the hall who can take calls of complaint from the Mayor’s office and apologize and / or broadcast a retraction and / or fire the mistaken journalist.
It’s a much more powerful and responsive boss than that. It’s called the PUBLIC.
Not every person with a Facebook page is an independent journalist.
You have to have an audience – a following that trusts you to relay the news and inform them. And if you become lazy, inaccurate, overly biased (I am not talking opinion pieces here, I’m talking legitimate fact finding and interviews) than they stop following.
Recently an indy journalist in Hamilton wrote something that the Mayor complained about and the complaint was presented and analyzed at length for the public to evaluate. And if the public, that powerful boss, thinks the journalist screwed up than they will stop following them. Once their audience is gone, so is their journalistic platform. That’s how it works.
So, Peggy, with all due respect NO independent journalist in Hamilton who has a regular online presence and following of the public is without a boss. That is the flaw in your logic and that is why they should all get media access to the information their boss wants.