Hugo Hugo Hugo – Freeholder Editor & CAJ Director Kvetches About Corus Cornwall News Room Shut Down by Jamie Gilcig

Hugo Hugo Hugo – Freeholder Editor & CAJ Director Kvetches About Corus Cornwall News Room Shut Down by Jamie Gilcig

jg2CORNWALL Ontario –  For a new comer Hugo Rodrigues, editor of the Standard Freeholder and poobah at the Canadian Association of Journalists is upset.  He’s mad.  He’s talking radio licenses.   He’s not happy that Corus radio shut down their newsroom in Cornwall terminating three jobs.

I agree with him.  Local news is suffering in many ways, but it in fact has been suffering because of the very company he works for and the very agency is presides over.

There really is one locally owned news media in Cornwall, and that’s this very online newspaper  The Cornwall Free News.

Since we entered the fray back in 2009 local news has never been the same.   Back in 2009 there was very little local news which is a key reason I started CFN.

Since then the “big three” in Cornwall, The Freeholder, Seaway News, and Corus had to adjust because frankly; since 2011 we’ve had the most viewers.  (61,928 Unique Visitors and counting for June as of press time) Even since we’ve opened South Stormont News we’ve seen a huge upswing in stories and coverage by other media about stories emanating from South Stormont.  That’s a great thing.  Competition is great until it gets sleazy and Kilgeresque.

The Freeholder to Hugo’s credit has improved since his arrival.  He’s a very smart and shrewd gentleman.   I’ve enjoyed jousting with himself and his team so far for stories.   He’s also shown some initiative tackling in the mildest forms some of the grittiest issues Cornwall is facing and that is the corruption at City Hall under Mayor Bob Kilger.

But the Freeholder also refused last year to compare numbers with CFN when they published a full page ad boasting their “rankings” but not their numbers.   CFN is the only media in Cornwall to lay those numbers out there.  The Freeholder, Seaway News, and Corus refuse.   The humble Seeker Chicks have essentially been caught “gaming” Alexa which is used to measure stats via an Amazon Algorithm.  (Does anyone believe that a mass of actual viewers spends 20:48 per day viewing the limp offerings by the paper and website?  Or that they have 11.9 pages viewed per visitor compared to the areas of the Freeholder (3:18 and 2PPV) or CFN’s (4:30 and 2.5PPF)and CFN )

Hugo gnashes his teeth and renders his garments;

 

In an increasingly fractured media landscape, not everyone gets the local news and information they value from the same source. Few get it from a single source.

The loss of this newsroom, with its associated website, means one less source of news and information. One less source means the diversity of perspectives, opinions and content will only decrease.

It’s tough times across our industry – no one is immune from these sorts of decisions – but to completely abandon any commitment to local news? Shame on Corus for abandoning this market.

It’s a business.   People were upset when Corus shut down the AM station.   It’s not like they put it up for sale.  As for diversity, part of that comes from people in an industry playing fair dinkum.

It was only since Hugo’s arrival that the Freeholder seemed to acknowledge that CFN is actually media as opposed to the Mayor, , Councilor Grant, Rick Shaver, Kevin Hargreaves, and Claude McIntosh’s bizarre tarring us as a “Blog” even though blogs themselves are in fact media as well?   They sure thought we were an online newspaper before the 2011 boycott of us?

We regularly scooped all the media on stories like the closing of No Frills.  During the big fire at the Cotton Mill lofts Corus was locked out of their studios and as it was a Sunday night had no apparent way of linking up externally.  Seaway Radio ran all night.  It was incredible.

Would Hugo grieve if CFN shut down too?  Is he upset that we had to shelve Seaway TV which would have employed four and had a daily local newscast online?

We have offered a diversity rarely seen in media.  The majority of those that write for CFN are in fact women; something very rare, and it’s happened organically; not by corporate decree.

 

In Cornwall, Corus committed in 2012 to 90 minutes a week of local news on CFLG-FM (Variety 104.5) and 77.5 minutes a week of same on CJSS-FM (101.9). Additional commitments were made for weather updates, sports updates and business news.

Without stealing material from its local competitors – a tried but hated practice known as the “rip and read,” Corus is going to have a tough time meeting their own promises. That would be something to take note of in the months ahead, with an eye to mentioning it to the CRTC the next time Corus seeks a licence renewal for these two frequencies.

Well even while Corus had a news room they ripped and read.   I called John Bolton once in studio as he literally read our scoop on a story that was a CFN exclusive.   He roared with laughter, admittedly I did too, when I called him in studio.    Sometimes media even share or assist.  I know I’ve allowed content to go to Montreal and other cities.  It’s called professional courtesy which is usually returned when asked for.

Corus at the end of the day is a big corporation that may in fact chop both stations or sell them. 104.5 Morning host Sue Stewart has already got her back up gig selling Real Estate for Remax, and it would be truly sad to see Cornwall lose its only stations,especially after we had to stop running Seaway Radio.

As for the Seaway News, well they and the Freeholder, as well as Corus have given some very big free passes to City Hall over the Whistle Blowing scandals.       Omission of the truth is considered lying in most places.  Looking away from major stories surely would be considered by reasonable people to be an omission.  I remember back up until 2010 people would question some of our stories as not possibly being true because the other media hadn’t covered them only to see the story appear as long as two weeks later.

When I was taken out of Council by 7 of our finest because our mayor didn’t like my shirt it was David Akin on Sun news tweeting about it; not the Freeholder (owned by Sun News) reporter.  The CAJ didn’t btw, do anything over the t shirt incident when we contacted them back in February.  Not even an email response.

As for quality and integrity all you have to do is see how Todd Lihou and the Seaway News is handling  my candidacy for mayor.   Both the daily and the Freeholder have refused to interview me when I wanted to talk issues recently (as well as continued comments from Claude McIntosh whose last column in the Freeholder was an attack on myself which triggered an unsettled lawsuit again the Freeholder)

So Hugo I agree with you.  It’s darned sad that Corus made the decision they did; but frankly the state of media in this city is darn sad too.   I’m glad that you’re attempting to make it better, and hope that we can all help improve media in this city; but some media people need to step it up and some need to start to be more professional and show more respect to the community and that includes all media outlets, even ones that they are behind of.

And one final note Hugo, how about fixing up your comments section?  It’s beyond insane what is allowed to be posted.  It’s hostile, ugly, full of personal attacks and even profanity at times.   Post moderation has that impact.  Surely there are solutions while you guys still have three editors?

Getting gang attacked by pseudonyms is not professional, productive, or entertaining and has been proven to scare people from posting.   Also, not allowing comments is equally weak, or cutting off contentious subjects which clearly the community cares about.

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)

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18 Comments on "Hugo Hugo Hugo – Freeholder Editor & CAJ Director Kvetches About Corus Cornwall News Room Shut Down by Jamie Gilcig"

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gimme-a-break
Guest

“Also, not allowing comments is equally weak”
That is rich!

jules
Guest
The big corporate medias are going down and do you know why folks because most of what those corporate news come out with comes from the same source and gives nothing but a bunch of lies to the people and when they repeat the same words over and over again like a parrot to penetrate into the brains of the sheeple then the sheeple begin to believe it – that is known as propaganda. To propagate the news. You don’t get that from Jamie’s CFN news – you get the truth about what is going on in Cornwall and the… Read more »
Hugger1
Guest

I agree to a certain point. I find the news nowadays so generalized and sanitized that it’s hard to follow.

Ian Sharp
Member
Jamie, even when they had a full time news department, the most you got was typical ‘happytalk’ news format, with local colour thrown in just to say they were fulfilling their mandate. I actually think that Corus missed a golden opportunity to turn their AM station into a newstalk format.Along with the typical syndicated shows slugged into the feed, they could have really brought up the local flavour by giving you actual in depth coverage of local events, perhaps even hiring certain ‘Personalities’ to host shows that would no doubt be edgy, to say the least :)…however, let’s not kid… Read more »
Hugger1
Guest

Corus missed the boat on two occasions….one shutting down the AM station and two shuttering The Cornwall Daily. What’s next?

jules
Guest
Journalism is a very shaky field to be in nowadays and it is going down hill especially in the US. Well not just the US when I think of CBC which has been going downhill for many long years. When we were first in Ottawa 40 years ago CBC on Bronson Avenue vacated a nice building right where Taxation is located. I don’t know how many jobs were lost back then and today the lay offs are continuing the cycle. Mainstream “lamestream” media is going out because they don’t tell the people the real truth of what is going on… Read more »
Hugger1
Guest

Journalism is an ever changing field. But some are in it for the money. It doesn’t bode well for the consumer.

jules
Guest
Remember Robert Fisher on Global TV well that is Carl Fisher’s son. Cornwall had very good people back then and I mean every word I say but today the vast majority of the good have left town. If Cornwall had vision back then can you imagine what Cornwall would be like today. It would outstrip many cities and towns if there was good administration. Today I speak from my heart when I say that I never saw anything more crooked and corrupt than what is in Cornwall’s administration today. I remember so many good people and they are planted in… Read more »
Furtz
Member

Hugger, Most people in any profession expect to make a living from doing what they do. Should journalists be forced to live on the streets and beg for their food?

Hugger1
Guest

Clarification…..I was referring to corporations. Yes, they have a right to make a profit. But does it have to come by ripping a community apart by killing a radio station and news department?

jules
Guest
What is happening in Cornwall is that the toilet papers of record – SF and Seaway News feel very inferior to Jamie because they have nothing but crap in those papers. Honestly my parents didn’t want the Seaway News delivered to their home and it wasn’t until I occupied that house did the papers return. I used it for other things but not for reading back then. I never once took the main toilet paper of record – SF – not once and never looked at it. I used to laugh at the price that they charged for such garbage.… Read more »
Hugger1
Guest

I agree with Admin. I don’t understand how you can complain about the CSF and CSN if you never read them. That’s like a movie reviewer writing a review on a movie they’ve never seen.

Hugger1
Guest

How can movie reviewers review movies without watching them? I thought this was settled a few years ago when some were caught doing this?

jules
Guest
I think that I only looked at Seaway News once or twice or so and I remember hearing about Dr. Ralph Randlett (my parents doctor) son killed on his motorcycle in Cornwall and I went there to see the story. The son was married to Dr. Mary Jane Randlett. We knew the Randlett family since he came to Cornwall in the early 1950’s so can you imagine how long ago that was and mom would pick wild strawberries and make jam and the Dr. wanted mom’s homemade strawberry jam back in those days when we had to pay for a… Read more »
jules
Guest
Jamie the toilet papers of record cannot stand competition and your paper tells the truth and keeps people informed and I guarantee you and all which is the whole truth that I don’t look at other papers. The only time I look at Ottawa’s papers is when a crime is committed in my area and want to find out about it. Believe me shootings have happened (not where I live but nearby) but otherwise I never look at any. Here in my building and elsewhere selling a newspaper to someone is mighty hard. We get calls from everywhere including the… Read more »
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