Three Quickees

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For starters, is it time for editorials on TV news?

In my post of April 17, I remarked on how the media were not being being cowed by criticism from the premier, and compiled a variety of media commentary to make this point.

All of the examples I used were from the local print media despite the fact that I first heard the comments on radio, and then TV.

This got me to thinking: why aren't there editorials on our local TV News?

I'm not talking about video columnists, which were common on Here & Now some years ago. Nor do I mean that Crusty McFart' type of grizzled old journalist who blurts out a few pithy comments near the end of many American newscasts.

What I'd like to see is a carefully considered editorial, anywhere from one to two minutes long, in which a senior person delivers analysis on the issue of the day. The opinion would be that of the program, in the same way that print editorials represent a newspaper's point of view.

Reporters wouldn't be appropriate for this kind of feature; you really need someone behind the scenes. For NTV, the most obvious choice would be Jim Furlong, while Peter Gullage could do the honours at CBC. Peter, in particular, has a caustic wit that would be ideal for this. (Sorry guys I don't mean to put you on the spot or anything. You can use whoever you like!)

As with newspaper editorials, it wouldn't need to be critical all the time. It could applaud a job well done, and offer a humorous take on the news where it fits. But its most important function would be to step back, take a critical look at the day's events, then offer informed analysis, something we don't see a lot on TV news (with the exception of Thursday's political panel on Here & Now).

What do you think? Is it thumbs up or down on the idea of TV editorials?

Who's on first?

I received an email recently from Delores Burton, a regular reader of this blog, who wondered about who actually broke the breast cancer story. First, here's her note:

Like many people in this province, I'm gob smacked at the testimony that is coming out of the Cameron Inquiry this week. No one can say for sure that all 108 women would be alive today, but it's highly likely that some of them would. Scandals and controversies come and go but this involves more than just politicians running amuck with public funds. People have died because mistakes were not identified. And when they were, it seems those responsible were more interested in the act of self-preservation than owning up to their responsibility to the patients affected. Words fail me

Anyway, enough of my rant and on to my point. The dates of July and October 2005 keep coming up over and over, October being when the story broke in the media. But I can't recall which media source that was. I remember seeing Mark Quinn on TV, but I'm sure I remember something in The Independent too, so I thought it might have been Stephanie Porter. This is just an idea, but if you could add a post as a refresher to remind us all which reporter or paper is responsible for breaking this story, that would be great. They deserve to be commended.

Delores had a good question. So I emailed Mark Quinn, the CBC reporter who has actually won awards for his coverage of this story. I asked him who broke the story first. Here's his reply:

It was definitely The Independent (Claire-Marie Gosse, October 2, 2005). The story is on the inquiry's web site as an exhibit.

I won an award for continuing coverage in 2007. The inquiry was called after CBC's stories in May - those stories showed that the total number of flawed tests was three times higher than Eastern Health suggested in December 2006.

Incidentally, since replying to that message, Mark Quinn was selected as a finalist for an Atlantic Journalism Award for this same story, as noted in my previous post.

Missed his calling

Because I write a blog about media, I also receive a number of media releases from various organizations and insititutions. One of them is the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. Usually, their release is a dry though tragically interesting compendium of the previous day's criminal infractions and investigations.

Today's dispatch, however, offers a little more. Inspector Barry Constantine is apparently nursing some hidden literary talent, based on the descriptive phrase with which he concludes the release:

A rather quiet night for Platoon B with only 44 calls for service over the past 10 hours. As the evening fell into the wee hours, a bank of fog enveloped the city like a blanket being placed over a sleeping child. As of 3:30 am all is well.

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