As a minor party in Canada, life is tough, we have limited funds and resources and have to nearly exclusively rely on word of mouth. To help raise awareness of our party, and to help spread the message of what we do, we send out press releases to about 500 different papers and journalists across Canada.
Most of the time, these go unanswered and unreported on. It happens, we are a minor party and these papers have topics that will appeal to the mainstream more and sell more papers. Many of the independent papers are great, and we have great relationships with them like the Georgia Straight and Rabble.ca. We never fault a paper for not carrying our releases, we just keep pushing them out and hoping one catches a reporters eye.
Today, however, we got a letter back from an editor (regarding our DRM HTML press release) that I thought was important to share:
Your concept of property rights is flawed. Grossly flawed. Please
remove this email address from your spam list.
Vern Faulkner, Editor
Saint Croix Courier/Courier Weekend
Phone: (506) 466-3220 ext. 1307
fax: (506) 466-9950
cell: (506) 467-5203
Also, check out our FACEBOOK site!
I replied back within minutes of recieving this email, assuming that the editor thought that we were just another group of people spamming every email they can find to support their ideology (in my pirate inbox I get about 4 a week like this). I wrote back, trying to show that our press release didn’t really cover intellectual property and trying to show how DRM inside HTML hurts web openness and makes web browsing for people using browsers with accessibility options more difficult. However, his reply ignored everything and simply demanded we not send him another press release.
Having one less email in our mailing list is fine just opens one more free spot on mailchimp for another editor who might be interested in what we have to say. However, in a functioning democracy I believe it is important to hear all opinions. We approve comments on our blog which are negative, but we open that door for discussion because we want to hear from you, and moreover we want to reply to the concerns.
It seems like the people of the Saint Croix region in New Brunswick don’t get that chance, the opinions they get to read are whatever Mr Faulkner decide fits his own agenda. I don’t think this is what Democracy looks like.
2 comments for Show Me What Democracy Looks Like
SPAM is unrequested email. [email protected] request email for content in their newspapers. It’s why [email protected] is the first email published on their Contant page (with their business director, three advertising coordinators, and their three reporters).
Editors are in charge of a content-based business; any change to “intellectual property rights” could theoretically harm their business. That said, this Courier paper is tiny, and judging from their website, they publish <1 article per day. Not a big Pirate loss, and in a small paper an editor can easily base content on his or her own political viewpoint, so its better be nowhere in their paper.
Keep raising awareness =)
I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over this; your argument is flawed, but it wasn’t in what you sent him it was in your expections: “the opinions they get to read are whatever Mr Faulkner decide fits his own agenda” is not a new phenomenon by any stretch, it is what newspapers were designed to do right from their inception. Each has an agenda, typically with candidates or a party attached, and each then sets out to influence local opinion to get their agenda to the fore. That’s what newspapers do.
True there are some newspapers who claim impartiality, who proclaim themselves fair and balanced, but try to find one that gives much more than lip service to alternate views, most often just so they can ridicule them, as the Toronto Sun Editorial Page used to do (still does? I don’t know, I stopped reading newspapers in 1988)
Television and Radio are no better: they have substantial bills to pay to sustain their enterprise, and that means they have to answer to someone big. Viewers/subscribers barely cover the cost of the media delivery, the real money comes from those who have a vested interest in the agenda the media represents.
Newspapers are a dying business model; the people of St. Croix all have Internet — reach them by the way we know best, reach them through where their people are, reach them through their young people too, but don’t waste time on people who think DRM is the best thing since sliced toast because you’re not dealing with a rational human being. It’s as me Ma would always say, “You can always tell a Marine, you just can’t tell ’em much” (and Dad would add, “and you can’t tell a dill pickle nuthin'”)
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