I went for a walk this morning with my camera, mainly to grab a few photos of the fire site. I hadn’t seen it before this morning, because I was really busy yesterday, and I wanted to avoid the traffic and delays around that area. Considering it’s only a few steps from my home, avoiding it wasn’t easy. Anyway, things have calmed down a bit now. There are still no traffic lights running at that intersection, and there are a lot of police and fire vehicles around. There’s construction equipment tearing down the remaining walls and stuff too. It was kind of humbling to see how fire can so quickly and thoroughly destroy a building.
As a side note to all of this, I’m annoyed that Hamilton doesn’t have adequate local media, especially online. We’re not a small city. Over 500,000 people live here. Yet, our newspaper, the Hamilton Spectator, doesn’t even offer news to the public on its web page. You have to be a subscriber to the print version of the paper to read the web content! Seriously. It’s ass-backwards thinking like this that keeps us from moving forward. To make matters worse, our local TV station, which had been the oldest independent television station in North America (CH TV 11) got bought out a couple years ago by Global. Visiting CH’s website for Hamilton now only delivers Toronto news. In journalism school we studied the dangers of concentration of ownership in media. I didn’t really care much about it back then. But it’s definitely becoming real in Canada. Independent newspapers, radio and television stations are being gobbled up by the big players. Each of them has an editorial staff that has an agenda to promote their own views. Because the corporate ownership is getting more and more powerful, those views are highly skewed towards big business interests rather than the day to day informational needs of real people. Reporters working for these papers have to toe the corporate line, otherwise they risk losing their jobs. The diversity of views in the Canadian media is disappearing. We only have to look to the United States to see examples of what’s coming up. The movie The Insider showed corporate chill in action. And documentaries critical of the American war effort in the Middle East are repressed by the big networks in the US because they’re considered unpalatable and unpatriotic by the top network executives. It’s sad to see the same thing beginning to happen here.
Our balance is the CBC. It’s owned and funded by the government, and operates independently. It may cost us a fortune in tax dollars to run, but it at least makes an attempt to objectively cover the news. Sometimes it skews fairly far to the left. I think it’s worth it so we get some variety of opinion.
Anyway, I got pretty far from talking about the fire. 🙂