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

Thursday, July 29, 2004


Bloggers prove useful?!

I've studiously avoided the DNC bloggers, the much-hyped web diarists who have willingly subjected themselves to days on end of convetioneering, apparently for PayPal donations, recognition, and bragging rights.

Globe Technology editor Jack Kapica has been paying attention, and clues into the bloggers' use: the local angle on the convention, something abandoned by most smaller newspapers and broadcasters after a few mergers and management's "brilliant idea" that it is better to have a handful of reporters feeding dozens of papers (or stations) rather than each one having their reporter in Ottawa (or Washington.) Way down in the article:
What they're all skirting around saying is that Big Media are no longer satisfying the regional needs of the politically active community. With newspapers losing ground to television, people who want to know what's happening must absorb it the way TV news presents it: As a national story, with pundits from the national stage analyzing the events.

If you're from a smaller state, you're stuck with the perspective of the big three networks' Washington-based or New York-based reporters. CNN, which at least offers more news, puts up pundits who have erased almost all regional flavour from their interests and their accents and, asked to represent extreme and opposing viewpoints, think of what they do as balance. And the Fox News network represents an ideology, not a region.
Bloggers are rushing in to fill a void, one that was once held by local newspapers, who sent reporters as representatives of a constituency back home to report on major events in the way that mattered to their communities. Consolidation of ownership in the media has largely done away with that.

When Conrad Black — before his current concerns — controlled the Southam newspaper chain, he couldn't see why each of his 48 newspapers needed a reporter on Parliament Hill. He could save a fortune by having only one, feeding that reporter's stories to all the member papers. Having so many in Ottawa was a "needless duplication of services," he was fond of saying.

His idea was eventually shot down, presumably because publishers of the member newspapers knew something Mr. Black didn't — that communities want to hear about things that matter to them specifically.

The presence of all the bloggers at the two political conventions suggests that there is still a need for the local angle in information, even if it isn't done with much professionalism (at least not yet). And that need suggests that stripping local news out of a newspaper is a better way of killing it than of making it more profitable.
<>Hmm. Imagine that: readers and viewers, when offered only generic reportage aimed at no place in particular, jump to observers, such as they are, who can relate all these promises and rhetoric to their part of the world. CanWest Global, are you paying attention?

Actually, the paying attention department at CanWest was recently eliminated -- it represented a needless duplication of services.

Canada's murder capital

Not gang-riddled Vancouver or the decadent metropolis of Toronto, but God-fearing Abbotsford. Yes, the buckle of British Columbia's bible belt, represented in Ottawa by a vulture who made his career out of others' sufferinganti-crime crusader Randy White, had the highest murder rate of any metropolitan area in Canada, tied with rough-ass Regina.

ADDENDUM, 12:10 AM: Abby mayor Mary Reeves is trying to downplay the news, as you'd expect. Her line: using metropolitan areas is misleading; the lower numbers in Vancouver include stereotypically sterile wealthy bedroom communities, while the stats for her burg include mainly the city of Abbotsford, with the surrounding area being about 25% of the Abbotsford metro area's population:
Reeves says if Abbotsford were examined on its own, and compared to larger neighbours such as Surrey, it would be seen in a more favourable light. "But you see Surrey is included in the Greater Vancouver area which also includes many areas like White Rock and West Van that would have a much lower crime rate,"
Okay, uh, yeah. The Vancouver census metropolitan area had a 2001 population of 1.987-million; West Van (41,421) and White Rock (18,250) together have less than 60,000 people, or 3% of greater Vancouver's population. Factor them out if you please, and watch the greater Vancouver murder rate climb from 2.1/100,000 to 2.2, compared to 5.1 in Abby, as reported in StatsCan's Daily.

Hand it to CNN

Just watching the Democratic national convention on the boob tube -- well, I suppose that John Kerry's speech was, well, okay -- but CNN's audio feed beat all. While the other nets flipped over to the taking heads as the mass of balloons and confetti rained down on the Fleet Center (enema, shurely?!) and Kerry get the requisite hugs 'n kisses from the wife and stepkids, CNN went with the voice of the Democrats' convention organiser:
"Give me more balloons... no confetti... I want more goddamn ballons, where the hell are they? No confetti, damnit! Balloons... I can see 'em up there, I want them all down now!..."
And so on, for three minutes.

Hey, it beats listening to some shrieking hypocrite like the shameless scold Bill Bennett (is a gambling habit a "virtue?) who is no doubt polluting some air. Probably better than less partisan commentators, too.

I love live TV.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Like others, I'm told

That I should update this site once in a while. Okay, fine. I've been taking it easy the last four weeks, having worked myself silly through the federal election campaign. Trust me, it's good for you, and it probably beats the hell out of the month-long temper tantrum that some folks have been throwing simply because Canadian voters didn't agree with them. (Odd, though, how it shook out -- the Grits get slapped down a bit; the Conservatives are told to spend another little while in opposition and decide what sort of party they are, while the NDP doesn't get to control the Grits.)

Stuff added recently to Terminal City:

  • Drink and vote -- the result of doing one's reporting from several barstools on election night. Screw camapign headquarters; you can always phone them.
  • Trouble in VI-Land -- Without Moses Znaimer, the CHUM/City stations are going downhill fast; for more, take a gander at some opinionating from Norman Spector, who was one of the 29 people laid off at CIVI-TV Victoria.  
  • Poll-Axed -- When good voters go bad, and the press gets sucked along for the ride. The CBC came out looking absolutely brilliant for not commissioning voter intention polls during the recent election campaign.
  • Shock Jock Shock -- Okay, shutting down CHOI is chilling; to change it, though, mans reworking the Broadcasting Act. Somehow, I don't think that that's Paul Martin's number one priority, though if it is, it'll be his ninth or tenth number one prority...
And, wouldn't ya know it, the Terminal City server's down for maintenance, and likely will stay that way through Thursday. Scheiße!

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