We were listening to a report on a private radio station where the reporter was badgering a woman at the Tamil protest on University Avenue to explain why her cause was important enough to reroute traffic. I made some comment about it being annoyingly one-sided.
Then my dad made an interesting point.
He asked if I ever listen to news on private radio - I said no, my radio dial is pretty much permanently stuck on CBC Radio One. He pointed out that more people listen to private radio than the CBC. Sometimes, private radio covers local news-type things better than the CBC.
If I only listen to the CBC, how would I know what competing news other people are listening to, how their reporting measures up, and why a lot of people choose it over Radio One?
This was one of those so obvious I can't believe I missed it moments. We were effectively told in our radio class not to bother with other Canadian radio news - that the CBC is the only source of "serious" radio journalism in Canada. Whether or not that's true, it's a viewpoint that effectively gives the finger to the people who choose to get their news from private radio. It's sort of the snobby journalist equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing "John Jacob Jingelheimer Schmidt" instead of listening to what's going on around you.
No one in this business can afford to do that right now. If somebody's pulling in more listeners/viewers/readers, everyone else had better figure out how and why. That doesn't necessarily mean throwing your standards out the window and copying them, but it does mean making an open minded, informed decision.
Maybe I'll write down the numbers of some local talk stations to flip back and forth. On the hilariously huge and old fashioned walkman I'll be taking to work on the GO train because you can't listen to the radio on an iPod.
Edit after reflection: I guess I should start reading the Sun for the same reason. And watching CityTV. Jeez.