Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Readings: Haddon on Allen on Canadian Press

In the Literary Review of Canada online, Beth Haddon's review of Making National News, the history of Canadian Press, "one of the most overlooked institutions in Canadian life," by journalist, historian, filmmaker Gene Allen:
CP member newspaper editors sent local stories from their papers to central CP “filing editors.” The filing editor would read the dozens of stories and many thousands of words that came in from across the country, and would assess the newsworthiness and suitability of each for the various papers he (it was always a he) was responsible for. In what must have been a frenzy of journalistic productivity, he would then rewrite, shorten and send the stories out, bearing in mind wire capacity and different deadlines in different time zones. The member newspaper editors would choose which stories to run in their local papers. That way a Toronto newspaper could report on a Calgary news story without having a correspondent in Calgary. And all would have the benefit of a correspondent in Ottawa where CP hired its own reporters. The editorial decision making that went into determining which stories to select and send out effectively determined what Canadians knew about their government in Ottawa and about the far-flung regions of the country.
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