Local news key to reliable information
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/04/2022 (408 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
At the time of this writing, Manitobans were bracing for what was being called an “historical event” in the form of a “once in a generation storm.”
Meanwhile, inflation is at its highest rate in a generation, and there are warnings about the possibility of a “worst-ever affordability” crisis. It is of course thanks in large part to a once in a lifetime pandemic that may or may not be far from over, and a military conflict that might also lead to nuclear fallout and the start World War III.
With so much to worry about, we should be working together. But we’re also being told that this is the most divided we’ve ever been in our history.
Reading headlines these days, one might suspect we’re dealing with horrors the likes of which we’ve never seen all at once.
But reading headlines alone doesn’t offer a whole lot of context.
Yes, inflation is very high, but not historically so – at least not really if you look at how high it normally was a generation ago. The death toll after two years of COVID-19 running rampant through communities is staggering, and the affect it’s had on the economy and society painful, but measures were taken to blunt what could have been an even worse crisis.
None of this is meant to downplay the large-scale human suffering currently being experienced, or the potential for it to get worse.
And sure, working more closely together would be to all of our benefit, but Canada has historically been divided along certain lines — east/west, urban/rural, French speaking/English speaking — and looking through history it’s hard to believe this is the most divided we have ever been.
Sensational headlines and broad, dramatic predictions drive emotional responses, which in turn drive engagement on social media platforms. In the current media landscape, it means organizations often rely on “clickbait” headlines to compete for revenue.
It is important that we heed the legitimate warnings of experts in fields relevant to whatever issues we are confronting. But it can be hard to tell which ones to take seriously in this environment.
Maybe recently tabled legislation that would require digital platforms to fairly compensate local news organizations will be key to supporting or even saving local publications. They offer more nuanced journalism that does a better job of giving context into how the biggest news stories will affect particular communities.
Because maybe everyone should have stocked up on supplies before an historic weather event.
Or maybe we’re just digging ourselves out after a late spring blizzard. Unpleasant and annoying, sure — especially after a long, cold winter — but not at all unheard of in the prairies.
South Osborne community correspondent
Andrew Braga is a community correspondent for South Osborne.