ABERFOYLE – While the loss of local news outlets has drawn enough concern to be discussed at the provincial level, Puslinch councillor Matthew Bulmer says the area is fortunate to have a publication like the Wellington Advertiser.
He noted the closure of local media outlets in Canada was one of the first items tackled at the start of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference on Jan. 27.
In his Feb. 6 report Bulmer said he attended the workshop about filling the gap for communities without local newspapers.
“At the risk of complimenting our local newspaper, it became very evident how fortunate we are here to have the Wellington Advertiser,” said Bulmer.
“Operations such as the [Advertiser] still employ qualified, accountable journalists to prepare news.”
He added workshop speakers were clear on the difference between news written by a journalist and information provided by a municipality.
“I don’t know how to put it politely, but they talked about citizen journalists … as much as they try to fill in the gap, they are not as accountable as a professional journalist,” said Bulmer.
He added, “it was interesting to hear from municipalities and communities that do not have [a local paper] – and the challenges they face.”
He said presenters advised municipalities “to resist the temptation to produce their own news … notwithstanding that the province has decided to take that approach with Ontario News Now – it’s not news.”
Bulmer said municipalities were advised not to try selling newsletters as “news” because “the public will see right through it.”