For anyone who thinks that the people who own newspapers actually read what their journalists write, the last provincial election may have been an eyeopener.
While pertinacious reporters had covered the inadequacies of the Christy Clark regime in excruciating detail, for some reason the Vancouver Sun, the Province and the Globe and Mail all suggested that their readers vote Liberal. It’s like facts didn’t matter, but keeping the pinkos out did.
Because of this, I have heard — mostly drunken and ill-informed — comments that maybe what we want is another, better, daily paper. One that respects the reader and reflects the real values of British Columbians, not those of rich nimrods.
Ownership in the public interest isn’t just the purview of Vancouver Island hemp collectives or East End pachouli co-ops. Actual newspapers that you have likely heard of are owned that way.
Probably the most famous example is Britain’s Guardian. It started out as a rich guy-owned publication, but when his family was threatened with losing control in order to pay death taxes, it was transformed into a trust. Maybe the idea was for the family to retain control through the trust, or maybe not, but 80 years on the Guardian remains free to report and editorialize without a traditional owner. A member of the Scott family, however, remains on the board.