The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Friday, December 13, 2002

Addendum at the Front.

Seems that a Scrum reader was a bit concerned about my characterization of Vancouver Sun editor-in-chief Neil Reynolds as a "cranky libertarian." Well, he's certainly a libertarian. He's also a unique character. Some have called him "iconoclastic." Not long after he was appointed Sun editor-in-chief, he gave a presentation to some UBC journalism students about what e thought that a newspaper was, and should be. It was pretty interesting. How many people would think of a daily paper as a chaos-loving journal of moral conduct? Or, for that matter, that former Southam News overlord Conrad Black, known for his propensity for cutting editorial staff, saved journalism in Canada?

Anyway, here was my brief response to the concerned reader:

I'm certainly not the first person to ever call Neil Reynolds cranky. A few other media critics have said the same, so has Frank Magazine (actually, they called him a loony.) He's not all bad, though. I've met the guy; it's true that the initial impression that he gives is that of a man in a stupor, but beneath that facade lies quite the intellect. While you certainly did have to be of the libertarian-right persuasion to be an editor in the Conrad Black era at Southam News (and truth be told, the Izzy Asper era), you couldn't be unintelligent and expect to hold your job for too long.

(of course, in the Izzy Asper era, you might do well to follow Head Office's lead on editorial policy.)

Reynolds actually the leader of the Libertarian Party of Canada in 1982-1983, in between stints editing the Kingston Whig-Standard. Reynolds did run in a 1982 by-election in the eastern Ontario riding of Leeds-Grenville, where he polled third, with a respectable 14% of the vote -- not bad for a "fringe party." Both he and Marc Emery of Hemp BC and Marijuana Party fame were quite active in the party's Ontario wing: Reynolds, in places like Kingston, while Emery organized for the party in London. The old brothers-in-arms (or whatever it is that fellow libertarians call themselves) did lock horns in the 2002 municipal elections. Emery complained to anyone who would listen that Reynolds was not giving his old pal the coverage that Emery thought that he deserved. Reynolds made no secret, though, that his paper and its coverage would focus mainly on what were thought to be the three main contenders for the mayor's chair.

In the end, Reynolds was more or less vindicated. In the final results, Emery finished in fifth place, behind newcomer and relative unknown Raymond Chang. Emery only got 2014 votes, despite his fairly high name recognition and sizable-for-an-independent campaign budget. Does coverage make a candate a contender, or do contenders command the coverage? Well, I'll tell you this much: unless you've got an unusual editorial slant, or you've been assigned to report on the fringers, you tend to spend most of your time on those that you think have a decent shot at winning. That's politics.
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