Moncton is the biggest metro area in New Brunswick, it’s home to over 126,000 residents and is still growing rapidly. Moncton boasts a population of 100,000 on it’s own while Dieppe and Riverview both have around 18,000 residents each. Moncton has a special relationship with its two neighboring communities, Riverview and Dieppe as they have a strong partnership but still a healthy competition with one another.
I was surprised to learn that local radio may be the next news medium to be in trouble in the age of smartphones and internet.
I was working for XM Satellite Radio when the supposed radio revolution was going on and despite all the hype of satellite, the people I talked to often said they missed the local news they got from FM but didn’t miss the rest of the content.
What I found remarkable about the coverage of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan was how quickly it was being covered. Sure the internet has made almost everything instantaneous but in this instance it was really incredible how fast videos were being uploaded and pictures shared within minutes. I think it’s obvious that the reason is because Japan is very high tech and wired.
You don’t talk about 4chan.
The rules of the internet were set out long long ago on an image board called 4chan. Those who frequent the image board /b/ value anonymity over everything else and it was in this rule that people found the ability to speak freely on just about anything.
I’ve had a twitter account since March 26 2009, I tweeted until April 2009 and then forgot it for a whole year until I rejoined exactly on March 26 2010. Since then I’ve steadily increased my usage and I can pinpoint the events that have led me to be an everyday twitter user. The stuff I’ve learnt about twitter are things I have come across over time but I think they are still relevant:
1. Twitter, it’s stalking but easier
Whether it’s following my favorite celebrity or reading my friends’ strange and random updates, Twitter provides hours of amusement.
During the election I was the communications officer for a party and part of my job was watching what was going on on #nbvote. It was also my job to watch those of our candidates who liked to use twitter. Now I very seldom post on the hashtag but I had no problem watching what was going on. Luckily I rarely had to make a phone call but following the online conversation kept me in the loop.
And speaking about that…
Those of us in the west who are watching the fight for democracy unfold in Egypt have been praising the role of new media like it is a godsend in a new way we protest and start revolutions. What new media does is let us reach out to those in conflict in Egypt and let them know we stand with them in solidarity. But who are we kidding? Just because you tweet it or share stories on Facebook does not make you an equal partner in their fight.
Of course the more people talk about it and educate others the better it is for those outside Egypt to understand their plight but it does not equate the power of physically being there and putting your life on the line.
We know this because during the internet blackout the protests didn’t suddenly stop or become a disorganized mess. As much as it was online, it was still completely offline and strong despite the lack of communication.
Pharmaceuticals are a big business in the States. They are still one of the only jurisdictions that allow for drug advertisements on TV and in those commercials you always hear that soothing friendly voice telling you to ask your doctor about some condition or another and if this blue pill is right for you.
So it’s no surprise that some doctors are taking talking gigs from big pharmaceutical companies to push their new medication. And they’re paying big bucks.
But I doubt the majority of people have any clue that their doctor might have a vested interest in what drugs they prescribe so it was a shocker when I read the stories from Propublica detailing just how closely pharmaceuticals are involved with doctors.
Propublica points out that “Whistleblower lawsuits in recent years have accused the firms of using doctors to push their pills for unapproved uses during dinner talks” which undermines the whole point of testing and studying treatments.
This story is like a narative for why for-profit healthcare is a bad idea and why ‘Obamacare’ is so controversial right now in the States. Your wellbeing shouldn’t be a money maker for the people who provide care for you, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and especially doctors.
But then you get an account from a doctor who says that the media makes a bigger fuss about the conflicts of interest than patients and that if a doctor isn’t tied to a pharmaceutical company they likely aren’t a leader in their field and patients should perhaps look for a new doctor.
It’s the role of news organisations to point out why it’s a bad idea to have companies making a profit off of patients because it leads to the abuse of those who are most vulnerable when they are sick.
I don’t own a TV and although I do read the paper when I go into work, the majority of my news comes from the internet. I have traded newscasts for brief youtube clips or political pundit prime time shows which I watch online from a stream. Most of my news gathering is finding an interesting story and then jumping from one news site to another to get more in depth information. Here is a look at my day:
My first dose of media today was Facebook. I checked for morning updates from Rachel Maddow’s page, see if they have any interesting links. I also checked Media Matters.
Then I checked CBC, I started with local stories, then countrywide, and then I looked at the science and technology news.
Next I checked my youtube subscriptions for new videos from the Young Turks. Often I will find a story that interests me and I will look into it further by checking other news sites. Today however were mostly stories I had already read up on yesterday.
Generally I am monitoring the media throughout the day by quickly visiting websites for headlines. At lunch time visited Fark.com to check out the crazy under the radar stories.
I also checked Huffington Post, NPR and MSNBC to follow up on stories like the Arizona shooting.
When there are developing stories like the shooting I am much more diligent on checking for updates and I will visit the same websites in a loop for a couple hours if I can devote the time to it.
At night I have a general routine, at 9pm I watch Countdown with Keith Olbermann and then Rachel Maddow at 10pm. I watch MSNBC through an online stream and it has a live chat function which gives you a live forum for comments for watchers.
I also have a twitter account which I rarely check for breaking news. I mostly use it to monitor the New Brunswick politics scene through the NBpoli hashtag but as a passive observer.