The180·The 180

Canadian Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Watson welcomes newsroom closures and layoffs

From Postmedia merging newsrooms to layoffs at Rogers Communications and the closures of The Guelph Mercury and Nanaimo Daily News, media watchers worry Canadians are losing a crucial element of democracy. But journalist Paul Watson says a little Darwinism in the media landscape isn't a bad thing.
Postmedia Network Canada Corp. owns major daily newspaper across Canada, and recently laid off 90 people and merged newsrooms in four cities. (CBC)

Veteran journalist Paul Watson says Canadian media could be better off now that newspapers are disappearing and newsrooms in Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Vancouver are merging.

Watson says Canada's big media companies have become "old, slow, and lazy" and now answer to special interests and corporate friends like advertisers. 

He argues that instead of holding their own industry to account, journalists have focused on the changing media landscape solely as a technology issue. 

"Journalists are very good at putting the heat on other people...but they're very bad at turning the heat on themselves," Watson says.

He says the trend away from mass media leaves opportunity for Canadian journalists to think differently about how to survive. 

"There's no reason why Canada can't have a Pro Publica, or why Canadian media can't collaborate with them," says Watson, referring to the non-profit newsroom that describes itself as producing investigative journalism in the public interest.

Watson won the Pulitzer prize in 1994 for a photograph of American soldiers being pulled through the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia.

Click the blue button above to hear the full interview. 


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