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The Columbia Journal
P.O. Box 2633 MPO,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
Phone: 604-266-6552
Fax: 604-267-3342

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  • Volume Eight, Number Eight: December 2003

    Becoming Media:

    Tyee New On-Line News

    Rowan Lipkovits

    As a storehouse and dispensary of information, news, knowledge and wisdom to  the general public, the Vancouver Public Library was an apt site for this year's Media Democracy Day.  The two day event was capped by the launch of Tyee,  a new daily online news venture by ex-Vancouver Sun reporter and former senior editor of Mother Jones, David Beers.

    The new e-zine  responded to the question posed by the fair's keynote panel on "the hollowing of mainstream journalism and what might fill the vacuum". Samples from the first edition of this web and e-mail-based media source, the Tyee (angling for the feisty -- if jeopardized -- independence of its namesake), are now available at http://www.thetyee.ca

    From blogs to street-postering, from IndyMedia, Antithesis -  the 'zine of SFU's Public  Interest Research Group, to CO-OP radio and Independent Community TeleVision, to the Columbia Journal,  the media fair, workshops, panels and forums proposed all flavours of direct and indirect alternatives to the present media arrangement that serves us all so poorly, targeting not only existing journalism professionals but the conscious outsiders taking a more active role in the fair representation of their world. 

    A generation of disillusioned writers, photographers and journalists are realizing that actions speak  louder than punk rock lyrics.  Following the advice of ex-Dead Kennedys frontman and US Green Party candidate Jello Biafra: "Don't hate the media -- BECOME the media!"  without addressing  fundamental shifts in the way the news industry is run ultimately directs bright-eyed idealists to become the very thing they  hate.

    Ongoing concentration of  media ownership has left Vancouver's mediascape with the fewest owners and narrowest variety of editorial interests represented than any other countries in the G7. Approximately 85% of all daily newspapers in British Columbia are owned by a single media company, one that also owns Internet news sites, radio and television stations (except for CBC and CITY TV)  as well as one of Canada's two daily national newspapers.  To increase profits, consolidation of newsrooms across these converged mediums has left hungry journalists competing for fewer nibbles of a pie that increasingly imparts only the empty flavours of  CanWest Global,  a filling tainted with preservatives to endure the long trip from remote Winnipeg.

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