Another Newspaper Bites the Dust
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I will mourn the death of the printed Chronicle Herald (mists of time-2022) for some time. Oh, I know it is not dead yet, but suspect its days are numbered. It will not, at first, actually die but be transformed, to continue in the ether in a form not available or readable for many.
The great leaders of Saltwire Network, who like to call their subscribers 'members' (I suppose to indicate a warm and fuzzy relationship with the publishers) did not have the courtesy to warn their valued 'members' in advance that their printed newspapers would no longer appear in their mailboxes. Instead, renewal notices continued to be sent out and paid.
Subscribers in my community received a mailed notice on November 20 of a change coming on November 28 (there are no issues printed for November 27 or 28). What exactly that change entailed was not clearly stated. The notice at first seemed to be merely a missive extolling a new digital copy of the Chronicle Herald available to us for $14 a month. But wait....hadn't we been able to access Saltwire online for quite some time? Then there was the ominous word "only" in the first paragraph to raise suspicions. Trying to contact Saltwire for clarification was not easy. Member service representatives said to be 'standing by to assist' at a listed phone number were not standing by. Contact by e-mail with the Chronicle Herald brought a polite reply that lead to the belief, as first thought, the paper was being discontinued. It was later explained that the paper would still be printed but not delivered. The result would be the same to me and others like me.
The Chronicle Herald has been bringing Nova Scotia news to subscribers all over the province for, it seems, time immemorial. The dissemination of factual and honest news is necessary to maintain our existence as a province, as a country. As a society we have come to rely on newspapers and other media to supply us with that service. It is the responsibility of the publishers to get their product to subscribers in a form suitable for them. Subscribers will pay the publishing company.
I am aware that the newspaper industry has been experiencing hard times and they have my sympathy and what support I can give. But newspapers are more than a business that must make a certain profit to survive. They are an essential service.
Services are not based on obtaining lucrative profit, but on providing something people need to prosper and to exist as a civilization. Services support community, communities support democracy and democracy has given us a peaceful and secure nation in which to lead our lives.
In my lifetime I have watched our once commonplace services erode. I have watched while the common denominator for life in Nova Scotia became dollars and cents rather than people and community.
Certain sectors of our society have been deemed unworthy of attention or support: the poor, the elderly and people who dwell in rural areas.
Our province fell for the 'bigger is better' mindset that appeared in the 60s. Our government started amalgamating the administration of services such as education and health care, increasingly eliminating the participation of the ordinary citizen and putting everything under the direction of 'professionals'. The results have not been edifying.
People of all walks of life who live in all types of communities, large or small, need to participate in the maintenance of our province/country. It is our responsibility if we wish to continue living the style of life we now enjoy.
Having the Chronicle Herald denied to some people is just another step down the 'slippery slope'. Observing how certain members of our society are treated by big businesses and - I am sorry to say, by our government - moves me to act.
I am not rich. I hold no powerful position. I am not young. I feel it my duty to object to the path our society is on. The only method by which I can do this is through writing to various media outlets and government officials.
I hope it will annoy some people enough to make them stop and think.
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