Checking-In: Drone journalism, Homo-Economicus & an unlikely treatment for alcoholism

Portland Hotel Society created the Drinkers Lounge program to help extreme alcoholics in the Downtown East Side because they felt this population would otherwise be drinking toxic substances like rubbing alcohol and hair spray. Paco CT

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A new program on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside is teaching so-called Extreme Alcoholics to make their own wine as a way to stop drinking stuff that's far worse. This story and more as we check-in on stories of the week with Friday guest host Jeffrey Kofman.


jeffrey-kofman-thumbnail.jpgTo help wade through your tweets, posts, and emails, our Friday host Jeffrey Kofman joined Anna Maria in studio. He's an award winning journalist who has reported from around the globe over the past 30 years ... covering the Chilean mine disaster, the BP oil spill, and reporting from almost every country in Latin America.

Longtime CBC listeners and viewers may remember Jeffrey from his work here at the CBC. Among other things, he was a correspondent and backup anchor for The National, hosted a weekly current affairs television program called Monitor, and you might have also heard him fill in for Peter Gzowski on Morningside.



drones-news-thumbnail.jpgDrone Journalism: Could that be the future sound of journalism? On Tuesday we talked about the ethics and safety concerns involved when drones are used to cover the news. From the flooding in the Philippines, to the protests in Thailand, drones are becoming a new tool for reporters.

Our listeners had many ethical questions about Canadian broadcasters and flying cameras. Michael Mullan from Stittsville, Ontario writes:

"This really bothers me. Journalist ethics appears to be an oxymoron. The conduct of the press is frequently controversial as it is based on intruding into people's affairs, private as well as public. The use of drones would compound this intrusion. Enough is enough."

Phyllis Argyle from Halfmoon Bay, B.C. also has concerns:

"Your coverage did not address loss of privacy. What will the next step be? To hover at windows, no matter how high, or over the back yards of public figures who struggle to have a private life? Will they start to cruise at random, looking for stories?"

Hoary Harold from B.C. is still undecided. He posted this on Facebook:

"I guess it matters which side of the tape you're standing on. Intrusive if you're a government agency -- Progressive if you're a news-a-holic."

And one last thing ... In the drone story we said The College of the North Atlantic in Stephenville, Newfoundland, was the first in Canada to introduce drones in Journalism school. A few of you tweeted to let us know that Langara College in Vancouver launched a similar program at the same time.



beer-alcholics-thumbnail.jpgHarm Reduction vs. Abstinence: Back in January, we covered the debate brewing over harm reduction vs. abstinence when it comes to treating alcoholics. In Canada, some chronic alcoholics are eligible to take part in "managed-alcohol programs" -- known as MAPs --- in which they are served wine, beer or spirits as part of their treatment.

Another Canadian program is gaining attention for its harm reduction strategy. An agency that works with people living on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside aims to help so-called extreme alcoholics. The program teaches people how to make their own beer and wine as one way to curb the consumption of rubbing alcohol and other alcohol substitutes. Mark Townsend is the executive director of the Portland Hotel Society and he was in Vancouver.



Pancreatic-Cancer-Ad-thumbnail.jpgCancer Treatment: On February 17, we covered the controversy over a British pancreatic cancer awareness campaign that critics say pits one type of cancer against another.

After receiving more than 100 complaints over the ad, a UK Advertising Standards Authority must decide whether to begin an investigation into whether the campaign broke ad regulations for causing public harm and offense.

And sadly, the young woman who was one of the faces of that ad, 24-year-old Kerry Harvey died on the weekend.



roscoe-thumbnail2.jpgI Spend Therefore I Am: On Tuesday we spoke with Former financial journalist Philip Roscoe about his book, I Spend Therefore I Am: How Economics Has Changed the Way We Think and Feel.

He argues the science of economics threatens our humanity because it assumes that absolutely everything is for sale.

After hearing the interview, Andrew Gullen from Toronto added this to the conversation:

"We can't even discuss a music festival, or a sports event, without first and foremost mentioning how many jobs we expect, how much money it will bring into the city, province, or country. What are the alternatives? To do things for love: of people, nature, music, art ... For joy. For fun. Whatever. Managing economic activity is important, of course. The problem occurs when making a living displaces living."

Larry Shetzer of Salt spring Island in B.C, sent us this response:

"And what is the rational response to the thesis that the entirety of our existence has been reduced to economics? Naturally, it is: BUY THE BOOK!!"


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This segment was produced by The Current's Josh Bloch.

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