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Joe Fiorito of The Toronto Star January 31, 2011

Posted by huymix in News, Politics.
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Joe Fiorito

I’m sorry but I had all but abandoned this blog. From now on, this blog might only post when I have particularly strong feelings, one way or another, towards something. Even then, it would have to overcome my innate laziness. I will try to keep the posts short, again due to laziness, but I won’t have a particular devotion to the previous 3 bullet point format.

So when I post something, you gotta know, that the topic that I’m posting about has gotten to me.

Today’s topic: The Toronto Star columnist: Joe Fiorito

I think what has really turned me against Mr. Fiorito has been his more recent coverage of the TTC service cuts. I’ll invite you to check out a couple of his recent articles:

The Toronto Star: Cuts threaten bus service to Toronto’s deaf-blind community

The Toronto Star: Hiding in the back of the bus

You might be asking what is your beef with these articles? Well, I have a few points to make:

  • His short, conversation style is fine except that he will take it too far to the point that it can feel childish. For example: “In. The. Entire. Country.” when he already wrote that it was for the entire country. Maybe it was written for emphasis, but I think he has already made his point before that and writing that does not add to the point.
  • He’s essentially written the same talking points over and over again. TTC cuts means some people, including less capable people in some ways, will not have service. Almost by definition, a service cut to anything means some people will not have service.  In each article, he’s written that same point just using different examples. I’m sorry for those people that do get service cut, but this point is hardly surprising and certainly does not warrant so much coverage.
  • The bias runs a bit too deep. He is writing a column and not the straight news and thus he is allowed his personal bias to show more. However, his articles do not have a hint of consideration for an alternative perspective and puts his credibility at stake. I think that his writing makes him seem like he is completely unwilling to listen to a different perspective and that can mean people will be less likely to believe what he is saying is based on sound and reasonable judgment. There are probably good reasons why those service cuts are being made and in his writing, none of those reasons feel like they have been explored.

Nothing I am saying is meant to criticize Joe Fiorito the person. I do not pretend to know him or know anything about what he believes. I’m only looking at it from the perspective of a Star reader. Maybe he isn’t everything I think his writing makes him out to be. Maybe, but I certainly cannot tell from his writing.

Conclusion: He needs to work out whether he has already made his point and move on.



Toronto Pedestrian Death News February 2, 2010

Posted by huymix in News, Television.
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Before I get into the news coverage, I just wanted to say that the Toronto Star Logo is only there because this post is about the coverage in Toronto and they are the largest news paper in town. With the month of January finally over, there have been very few noteworthy stories coming out of Toronto. Aside from the TTC sleeping on the job story, the seeming rash of deaths to pedestrians also dominated Toronto news. While these deaths are unfortunate, the news certainly did its part to screw things up by:

  • Overreacting. Ok, so there were a couple of days where a couple of people were killed by traffic injuries. But what was the actual toll for January? 14. In 2007 for the US, they had 4,654 pedestrian deaths nationally. Now obviously, that is a national number but even scaling down for Canada (1/10th the size) we’re still at 465 annual deaths. While sad and avoidable, pedestrian deaths are certainly not unexpected and certainly not news.
  • Causing the police to do something not worth their time. Normally, Toronto police do not write tickets in Toronto for jaywalking. The news reaction to the deaths pressured the police to have a blitz on jaywalking. The police did not previously write tickets for jaywalking simply because they have better things to do.
  • Rational reporting is on the backburner. Even the Star put out an article that put January’s pedestrian deaths into context. Unfortunately, this article was written well after they had drummed up unnecessary noise and after the news moved on to the next story.

I think that there is a systemic bias in the media to get attention rather than be accurate and provide appropriate information. The problem with the bias is when there is a slow news month such as January, stories like pedestrian deaths get full blown coverage and they end up making it a much bigger deal than it really is. The rest of this mini-rant will have to wait for an upcoming Monthly Thinkering. Just remember that just because it’s on the news does not make it news it makes it what an editor thought would be the most attention-getting.