Creative media discussion positive, but well of ideas drying up

Two & Out
By James Peters
January 12, 2018 - 4:34pm

KAMLOOPS — Councillor Arjun Singh weighed in on the state of local media in Kamloops This Week this week, and of course, like everyone, we're more than happy to hear ideas on how we can do our jobs better.

In all seriousness, we do enough telling people how to do their jobs, it's only fair we accept it once in a while.

Singh laments that fewer journalists are attending council meetings in person, instead choosing to watch the city's live stream from their offices.

It's a necessary evil for some of us in a changing media world where we serve several different platforms.

And the criticism is a little surprising coming from the councillor who prides himself most on adapting to the changing world of technology.

In fact, Singh himself recently expressed the desire to "attend" council meetings remotely through video call-in.

The difference between Singh's proposal and the change in media attendance is slim to none.

In his column, Singh also bemoans that jounalism is conducted by businesses who have as their primary interest the turning of a profit.

He wonders aloud what revenue model would support good journalism in the local market.

Believe me, my friend Arjun, that has been an all-consuming conundrum for the entire industry for more than a decade.

The subscription model he proposed has been tried for online content by several outlets on a national level, with limited success.

Locally, the prospect of paid subscriptions for content is hard to envision as successful.

Everyday Kamloopsians already pay too much for home internet, cellular data and television service.

Would anyone pony up even more for local news coverage, or would they still expect an advertiser-supported model?

We love creativity in our industry, and certainly have been as creative as possible in trying to keep our media outlets around for the benefit of the public they serve.

But they are, at the end of every day, quarter and fiscal year, businesses.

That doesn't change in the face of anyone's idealism.

These are good conversations to have, and it's positive that Singh is bringing them forward.

And not to be pessimistic, but I'll be very surprised if there are any successful media models out there that haven't already been fully considered by the entire industry.