Today's discussion:

The (one hundred) million dollar question: What is a journalist?

Whether the entrenched players like it or not, surely a journalist is anyone with the capability and inclination to uncover and honestly distribute the news, information, and stories the public has a right to know.

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Comments (31)

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The Hub Staff

Thank you for contributing to Hub Forum. If you are interested in other Future of News analysis from Peter Menzies, check out his piece on the news industry’s need to adapt: https://thehub.ca/2023-11-22/peter-menzies-its-the-end-of-an-era-for-news-the-sooner-we-accept-that-the-easier-the-transition-will-be/

24th January 2024 at 1:10 pm
Marinus Enden

given the treatment people like Mr. Menzies receives from the police and their political bosses, his slightly abrasive style is easy to understand. At least he is challenging the official narratives in a clear manner.

24th January 2024 at 8:29 am
Karen Quinton

If one looks at the video, the approach of Mr. Menzies to Chrystia Freeland seems rude and a little scary, and this account for some of the reaction. However I would think this goes with the territory as she may not be otherwise available to him. Perhaps the latter is the main question: to what extent do publications with opposing viewpoints have access to government policy -makers in Canada? From what I am hearing and reading lately, Canadians’ freedom of speech seems to be increasingly in jeopardy, both on social media, and otherwise.

24th January 2024 at 7:43 am
Deborah Ketchabaw

David Mensie is qualified he has the accreditation from education. The government paid journalists aren’t worth their salt they just do the government’s bidding

24th January 2024 at 7:42 am
Donna Ford

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck…

Of course David Menzies is a journalist! And he does a damn good job of asking what other journalists won’t ask and treading where other timid (or unduly constrained) journalists won’t tread.

God protect us from a Canada filled with only CBC-style “journalists.”

24th January 2024 at 7:31 am
JIM MACLEAN

If a person can “identify” as whatever race or sex they choose, it must follow that they can also “identify” as a journalist. If they choose to identify and attempt to practice as a doctor, lawyer, nurse, electrician, plumber (or any other recognized profession or trade that requires certain standards to be met) they may face sanction if caught practising or using a protected title without qualifications. But practising journalism does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, qualifications or intelligence. And I say that based on personal experience as a past member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery and the Legislative Press Gallery in Ontario.

24th January 2024 at 7:16 am
Hugh Nicholson

After spending 35 years in the newspaper and publishing industry across Canada, the US and LATAM, I would say that the mainstream media would do well to borrow a page from David Menzies playbook.
He covers issues that people should be aware of, and he is fearless in asking tough questions.
As a publisher, that’s what I expected editors to look for in a good journalist.
The intimidation tactics of Freeland’s RCMP goon squad and the local police, should have resulted in protest and demands for action across the industry. Today they come for Menzies, tomorrow they come for you.

24th January 2024 at 9:14 am
RJKWells

There were some in the media in denial, trying to distance themselves from one of their own who found himself arrested while trying to ask minister Chrystia Freeland questions. (Whether or not they want to accept it, the “Menzoid” really is one of theirs.)

Then there was the feigned indignation last fall by the same bunch, rising to the defense of the editor of the Times Chronicle newspaper who had the misfortune of setting his sights on Pierre Poilievre in an apple orchard, only to find that the hunter had quickly become the hunted.

Both incidents might make for an excellent study in contrast at some school of journalism – that is, if they were interested in pursuing that angle.

If anyone was in dire need of police intervention, it had to be the latter journalist – the cops saving him from himself.

24th January 2024 at 8:58 am
Stephen Peszel

Menzies has a journalism degree. He works as a journalist. He was on the street mostly as the media operating out of the House will not allow him to be accredited (not in this instance). He is abrasive and aggressive, not much different from some Global reporters and others wanting a soundbite. Most media today offers Opinion as News. We used to have an Opinion page, now it is headline, as if it were news. If the media accepts government money it de facto works for or is beholden to the government. Objectivity is then out the window. Mainstream media often through softball questions to politicians. Not all of course, there are some good ones. Where arebthe investigative journalists? A dying breed? Or have they mostly fled to the alternative media?

24th January 2024 at 8:54 am
Hugh Nicholson

When I published the Prince George Citizen and the Nanaimo Daily News, we did in depth, award winning investigative pieces on issues of vital importance and interest to our readers. In both cases our paid circulation grew, our web traffic took off, and we won awards.
The secret sauce for the salvation of the industry is not secret. Listen to your audience, have a discussion with them not a lecture, and talk about what they think is important, not what your colleagues or the special interest groups and non profits that clog up your in box focus on.

24th January 2024 at 9:22 am
Kim

What is a journalist? In a nutshell, the opposite of a CBC employee. That is one that reports the facts, not reproducing a government press release and passing it off as fact. It should be near impossible to tell a journalist’s political agenda from a news article. That is best left to the editorial pages.

24th January 2024 at 8:42 am
robert lawson

most of the legacy media arent journalists at all just marxist liberals pretending to be journalists…the freedom convoy a good example .all the so called journalists so called did was to repeat marxist liberal talking points…and the emergency act was unconstitional…

24th January 2024 at 10:28 am
Paul Attics

You could likely make a more effective argument if you replaced labels such “marxist liberal” with specifics.

24th January 2024 at 10:34 am
Paul Attics

In a healthy and democratic society, the market for effective journalism would likely also be healthy. Sure, disingenuous agenda journalists and attention mongers would ply their trade but their audience would be commensurately small.

However, in a society in which many fellow citizens feel unheard, scared, disrespected, and ultimately angry, the market for journalism will be unhealthy as people with this chronic state-of-mind are more likely to want what panders to these feelings. This quickly becomes a flywheel of negativity, distrust, and falsehood as agenda journalists are rewarded with more and more attention by their tribe. This, of course, becomes an opportunity for disingenuous attention-mongers to also ply their trade successfully to bigger and bigger audiences. Their goal is only attention for monetary gain and personal power reasons. Even worse, there are those whose real goal is to disrupt society. These folks are trying to bring it all down.

Our society is unhealthy, despite all our riches of peace and prosperity, and our citizenry is increasingly spending attention on bad actors. We are all the worse for it. In the USA, it could be the end of their suboptimal democracy.

In short, recognize what you are supporting…
Journalists – uncover and share information in the pubic interest in good faith, whatever that information happens to be.
Agenda Journalists – uncover and share only the information that supports their cause(s).
Attention Mongers – under the veneer of “news”, use negative emotion to make money and/or develop a celebrity following.
Disruptors – under the veneer of “news”, use negative emotion to spread chaos and discord in a society.

24th January 2024 at 9:41 am
Paul H.

I think readers are missing the point. The primary focus should not be on the journalist but on the bully that roughed him up.

24th January 2024 at 12:40 pm
Paul Attics

“Whether the entrenched players like it or not, surely a journalist is anyone with the capability and inclination to uncover and honestly distribute the news, information, and stories the public has a right to know.”

Would the Rebel News’s David Menzies qualify under this definition?

24th January 2024 at 9:37 am
A. Chezzi

““We’re going to stop arresting journalists,” PP made no such comment when Lastman was harassed by this same man. PP is getting wearisome with all his whining, finger pointing, and rhetoric. It is time he started putting some concrete policies forward.
As I listen and watch the Con, I think it is much like the Republican party dominated by the Freedom Caucus. The social conservatives in the party have no interest in dialogue and they will be the influencers in the government if PP is PM. PP is one of them although veiled in his attempt to win power. In the end, the Con party will become like the GOP, divided, unable to govern and clinging to power by subterfuge.
PP is a champion of freedom of speech as long as it is his words that are parroted. In the Harper government no opinion other than Harper’s was allowed and Jeni Byrne was the enforcer. Poilievre, a Harper acolyte, is no different and Jeni Byrne is there to make sure there is no freedom of speech.

24th January 2024 at 8:02 am
Sandra

On the contrary, the Conservative leader, Pierre Poilievre, has been very specific about policies such as immigration, housing, taking steps, specific steps, to get rid of bureaucracy in industry development, supporting Canada’s energy sector and foreign policy. When asked questions by journalists he actually gives an answer (and specifically said he will stop arresting them when he is PM). In my view his polling is showing he is striking a chord with Canadians which does not make him a populist but rather a formidable challenger in the next election. Vague, negative emotional language is an attempt to remove the opponent without reason, logic or facts. If you are interested, you can find Poilievre delivering his promises in-person anytime on YouTube or anytime he speaks personally with Canadians.

Rebel News is just as valid media as CBC. Just because you don’t like what they report does not mean one has the right to eliminate their voice. Seriously.

24th January 2024 at 12:54 pm
Solange

I agree. Poilièvre is a populist.

Strategically, Conservatives would have done way better with O’Toole at the next election. They probably would’ve won the largest majority ever. LIberals can no longer stand Trudeau, many would have gone for centrist O’Toole. Poilièvre is a step too far.

But to the topic at hand : Rebel News is in no way an exemplar of good journalism, and Menzies is only known to a small, far right group of Canadians. The Hub can do better than waste its ideological bias and credibility on a Rebel News journalist who displays rude and aggressive behavior.

I would’ve liked your reaction to same with Poilièvre dealing with a far left journalist. (Or maybe we know: he just stops doing news conferences )

24th January 2024 at 11:04 am
Mike Kenney

Media/journalism has changed dramatically over the past few years, and the main stream media, and politicians that prefer to get soft ball questions haven’t changed with the times. You might disagree with how Mr. Menzies practices journalism, but the questions he asks are pertinent and aren’t being answered by the federal government. The way he was treated and how our speech rights are continually being restricted is appalling.

24th January 2024 at 3:25 pm
Paul Attics

How are your speech rights being restricted again?

24th January 2024 at 6:46 pm
Lauraine

Levant long has held that Rebel does not employ journalists; therefore they are exempt from the code of conduct expected of journalists. So where is this salient fact among these discussions?

24th January 2024 at 1:11 pm
Sandra

From the Rebel News web page https://www.rebelnews.com/journalists. It appears they employ journalists.

24th January 2024 at 1:40 pm
Xiaoming Guo

A journalist is to tell the public what happens in the world, not to select the facts to build a case convincing the public what they want the public to believe. The mainstream media betrays journalism and becomes a propaganda machine manipulating public opinion to mislead our government in policy decisions. The mainstream media today is part of the Deep State. This is undemocratic. The mainstream media becomes the dominant power in our government by being a part of the Deep State.

24th January 2024 at 11:38 am
Paul Attics

Are you using the term “deep state” in a rhetorical and vague sense like the term “boogeyman”?
If not, please define the deep state in a Canadian context and share the journalism sources that you relied on to come to this conclusion…

24th January 2024 at 11:47 am
Joan Tucker

This article saddens me. The point of it all is an important statement by the deputy PM. This point was sideswiped by a whole “ woke” discussion about what is anything. Does a pencil have a gender?

This sucks. It is correct to ask a government representative how she defines a terrorist organization. To derail and discredit the messenger is a waste of precious journalistic space.

24th January 2024 at 7:32 am
Mino Vivaldi

I no longer read the legacy media. There is a fountain of information via the net for the things that interest me. I listen to individuals that have earned my respect by their integrity and ethical stances.

24th January 2024 at 7:38 pm
Paul Attics

One has to wonder if this result is actually the desired optimal outcome for Rebel News’s David Menzies?
Would he really have been more satisfied if he received the typical politician non-answer(s) from Minister Freeland?…

24th January 2024 at 11:37 am
Michael F

Of course it was, that’s a vital part of their game to keep fostering the victim mentality.

24th January 2024 at 2:09 pm
DPalmer

Give someone a tape recorder and a silly hat and they are a journalist. Asking “tough” questions is not the issue, but asking them in rude, provocative ways is! The more insulting, the more popular. Journalism has become a ill-reputed profession with an ambiguous definition; Sadly journalists these days are about as revered as an injury award lawyers.

24th January 2024 at 11:36 am
Richard Courtemanche

What type? Independent or politically coerced!

24th January 2024 at 9:41 pm