From the Editor: Media
Opinions / June 14, 2016
New media should be viewed as critically as old media
For some time, I have been advised to take a closer look at Buzzfeed for their news content. Putting my biases out in the open, I’ve had a very hard time taking them seriously, and scoffing in The Runner office when I’m advised to look past their “gif articles” and clickbait headlines.
To be fair, it was better than I expected, but I still saw “Assisted Suicide Is Now Legal In Canada But These 7 Questions Remain Unanswered” advertised along the side, which to me seems rather click-baity.
Vice has also been getting bigger, and if you had asked me three years ago for my opinion on Vice, I would have given you an instant, “They’re great, they cover what others don’t and with an interesting take.” Today my opinion is much more nuanced. My YouTube subscription feed could yield four well-done, intense docs on gang warfare in Colombia in one week, then “Secret confessions of …” and some sarcastic hipster recommending comic books.
In fairness, the video with Kenny Hotz going around the U.S. and acting like an idiot was pretty funny.
Out of all media companies, I probably have the least amount of respect for Gawker. I put them on the same level as Breitbart and Rebel Media. However, I was listening to Canadaland some time ago, and Jesse Brown made an interesting point about them. He said that he supported Gawker for being the media company that was willing to do the dirty work. For being the organization that didn’t have a reputation to uphold.
Yes, Gawker was involved in breaking the Rob Ford cocaine story with The Toronto Star, and also had a hand in bringing out the leaked Sarah Palin emails. They also publish tons of useless gossip and I still remember the app they had for reporting and mapping celebrity sightings in New York.
I suppose, in some ways, it’s great that we have a variety of media sources producing different types of journalism. There are plenty of stories that the BBC or CBC won’t touch, due to the fact that they must uphold their reputation as serious, well-respected publicly funded broadcasters. When the CBC interviews Trudeau during an election campaign, they’re going to ask him about policy, and Rosie Barton is going to ask some hard questions. So will Vice, but they’ll also ask him what his favourite marijuana strain is, and focus more on what he’ll do in regards to education and LGBTQ rights.
I mean, as a young person, I should—in theory—be consuming more Vice and Buzzfeed, but whenever I wake up in the morning, I still check the CBC and BBC long before I bother with any of the newer media companies. They still get the best access, and they’re still the best of at least making their biases difficult to perceive.
I suppose if news organizations are like food, then the CBC is a consistent sandwich from a chain store in the mall, and Vice is frozen yogurt. Gawker might be cheap beer.