Earl Gale is leaving the Daily News. Voluntarily? If one reads the implied message in his Friday article, there is reluctance there, and that is something we ought to be talking about. More on that in a second.
First, in my humble opinion, Mr. Gale has endeavoured to approach the work of editor with balance, fairness, and respect for the truth. Labour voices have shared equal time with conservative voices. Bill Belsey submitted letters. Gary Coons submitted letters. We, the readers, got to assess the alternative messages. On election day, we rendered our judgement. Mr. Gale should be justifiably proud of that balance. That is the appropriate role for a small community newspaper to play. That is the role the Daily News should continue to play.
So, why would a genial, generally well regarded, and intentionally unbiased editor choose (or not choose?) to leave? Why now, in the run-up to a very important provincial election? I can’t answer that, but I can ask it.
Let me play a “what if?” game. What if the ownership (Glacier Press…or some name like that) decided to take a more active role in partisanship?
What if they did so by pressuring their local newspaper editors (there are about 10 scattered throughout the interior, including the Daily News), to adopt a more partisan role in presenting the news and views of community members?
What if that change appeared to the public to be overwhelmingly “one way”, rather than “the other way”?
What if that meant that business friendly stories dominated, and labour friendly, or social issues stories were underemphasized? Or vice versa?
What if the public, which knows that the news isn’t all good, and social issues are real and important, picked up on that change, and responded by cancelling subscriptions in all those communities?
Alternatively, what if that worked to affect the outcome of an election? 10 ridings will more than make the difference.
What if all that happened?
Well, I don’t really know if any of that has any substance. I’m just wandering in the part of my evening where I have time to kill and thoughts to share. But I do wonder why an affable and balanced editor has “chosen” to be unemployed in the middle of the worst recession since the 1930’s.
In his editorial last Friday he wrote "…and thank you for all the fish"
Yes, something is fishy about his departure from the Daily News.
I know for a fact that he just bought a new house for his family and hasn’t put the old one on the market yet.
Earle is one of the most affable people I know, and I’m sorry to see him go. I wish him and his wonderful family all the best in their future endeavours. While I haven’t talked to him yet, his “thanks for all the fish” remark infers he will be leaving PR and we will be losing one of our best lights.
Well I suspect they must be replacing him, as they at the moment don’t have a publisher nor now an editor, somebody has to run the kool aid stand you know…
If they don’t plan on having either then I wouldn’t want to be banking on getting a newspaper for much longer.
There has been more than a bit of turmoil there over the last year, most of which seemed to start when Leanne Ritchie mysteriously disappeared from the pulpy mass that is delivered daily.
Maybe the new publisher (if one is to arrive) wants to hire his/her own editor.
As for “thanks for all the fish”, maybe it’s a sci fi reference, maybe it’s some kind of newspaper code for this thing stinks…
Then again perhaps it’s just that his neighbours and friends kept him in ample supply of fish, this being a fishing town and all that. Sorry for stating th obvious and not dwelling on the more conspirational of thoughts…
I have absolutely no inside knowledge - didn’t know Mr. Gale at all. Don’t know if there is any underlying reason for his leaving or whether there is some kind of conspiracy. But I have always wondered about some of the letters to the editor.
I always read the letters to the editor. Sometimes it might be the only section of the paper that I actually read carefully. I enjoy reading what others in our community have to say. (Kinda like HTMF)
I have noticed that some of the letters are from people outside of Prince Rupert with general topics that have nothing to do with Prince Rupert specifically. I have nothing in front of me to back this up, but I have wondered why a particular letter would be included. Who was making the decision to include a letter critical of -say- a particular political party that was not necessarily sent to this newspaper or written by someone from this town?
I may be way off base here, but it would be interesting to check the letters to the editor over the past couple of months to see if there is in fact out of town letters and whether there is a bias to those letters. Then we might ask if someone was pushing our editor (who seems by all accounts to be a fair and reasonable guy) to include those letters.
Bubba is absolutely right. We should not be speculating without cause.
However, while he was posting his response, I was at the library looking at the Daily News since Christmas. (Being retired, allows me that luxury.)
In those five weeks, there were a variety of letters, most of them from in town. Some out of town letters were responding to Daily News articles - e.g. a company spokesman wanting to set the record straight about a proposed pipeline and its environmental impact. To me, that seems reasonable. One was from PETA telling us that fish can feel pain. Given our fishing culture that seems reasonable.
There were three that I am not sure about. On Jan 8, a person from Victoria was critical of the NDP. On Feb 2, someone from Prince George criticized Gary Coons. And on Feb. 3 another member of that Prince George family praised George Bush. I have no problem with Bill Belsey or Herb Pond or any of their supporters writing letters praising the Liberals or knocking the NDP. And if Gary Coons and his supporters want to write back starting a letter war that would be great.
But I wonder why we need to know how somebody in Victoria feels about the NDP and how somebody in Prince George feels about Gary Coons and George Bush. And who decides what we get to read?
In the Assault on Reason, Al Gore spent a couple of chapters on the value of internet blogs and how getting information out to the masses is much more democratic now. We can comment all we want here and it costs us nothing. We have very little control over what goes in the newspaper and even less what goes on TV and radio.
I am not suggesting that anything conspiratorial went on at the Daily News, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to wonder about media control.
Maybe it was to get a response from someone (anyone) in our community. Maybe the editor was trying to stir the pot, get the local juices flowing. Did anyone reply to these out of town letters? If so, he probably did his job. Taking offence to an out of towner’s letter to the editor is like lambasting the HTMF moderators for letting anyone with an out of town IP address express their opinions on this blog. Seriously.
I was under the impression that some people sent letters to many different papers
(probably an incorrect assumption)–usually the ones that get printed from out of town are very well thought out and well written.
I can’t remember what the trend was… were they randomly printed, or might the crew at the Daily News have fished for good letters from out of town if their own opinion well had run dry?
Is it not possible that the Daily News is suffering from the same economic crisis that we are all finding ourselves in and are having to downsize a little. Sad as it is that Earl is leaving for whatever reasons, he is a very nice man, others have left too in the past year, Leanne and Ann Ferguson also. There has always seemed to have been some “in house” trouble at the paper. Maybe it is going defunked like a great deal of other services and businesses in this town but then again do not want to add to the rumour mill as I have no idea either, sad though…
This is exactly my point, and I admit I didn’t express myself clearly. The moderators of this site do not distinguish at all. Everybody is free to express themselves and hear back from the people who read them. A dialog ensues.
With a newspaper, the editor with pressure perhaps from a publisher who may be pressured by an owner makes a decision about what is printed.
To clarify, I actually do care what people in other places might think, but when I read a letter from somebody in Victoria or Prince George in the Daily News, my antennae start wiggling. Why have they written to the Daily News when they have their own hometown papers? Are they hacks,for whatever political party, trying to get their message out as far as possible? Do they actually read the papers they write to? Were these letters written to the Daily News or are they taken off the publisher’s wire service for when, as eccentric put it, the well runs dry. And how is it decided what gets printed and what isn’t and under what pressure.
This is exactly my point, and I admit I didn’t express myself clearly. The moderators of this site do not distinguish at all. Everybody is free to express themselves and hear back from the people who read them. A dialog ensues.[/quote]
We actively block all Terrace IP addresses. We don’t want their kind in here.