COVID-19: Ag stories will go on

Journalism is underwritten through business endeavors. Ours is no different, even in times of global crisis.

You pay for your subscriptions with the money you earned the hard way, farming, and with the time you choose to spend with your Western Producer. We sell that time to advertisers.

In the case of public broadcasters, tax investments help cover the costs.

Right now, Canadian tax dollars are also flowing to fund reporting in the public interest for many newspapers, not this one, but some within our parent corporation’s ownership circle. It takes money to fuel the pens and pour the ink onto paper, even digital paper, and that investment in local reporting through the Canadian Journalism Fund will likely be paying off across our nation, as many of those reporting jobs landed in smaller communities and financially stressed newsrooms.

The boom of information access through the internet created the shortage of paid-professional reporting jobs and it has hit smaller news organizations the hardest. The boom has created a lack of high-quality information and a glut of filler-and-stuff. In times of public crisis, filler-and-stuff is more than an annoyance, it can be dangerous. So that initiative appears to have been well-timed.

Our communities need professional news coverage by named people, whose job it is to find and tell those stories, including holding public and corporate officials accountable.

The current global disease issue has reached our relatively robust newsroom operations, and editorial staff’s personal lives — yes, we have those too. As a manager of journalism my job is to develop, edit and assign your content, as well as ensure there is valuable content flowing to you.

In agriculture, I believe, we make our own luck. And your Western Producer is lucky enough to have a great team of reporters and editors. Most of us, despite still appearing to be younger than our years aren’t, and fall into the well-experienced demographic, but none of us have seen this sort of situation before.

COVID-19 coverage with your specific needs in mind will be one of our largest focuses over the coming months. From commodity markets and extension agronomy issues, to our Farm Living section, no part of our content, like your lives, will remain untouched by this crisis.

I look forward to your suggestions for coverage, as we will need to learn this one together. You can reach me at 306-221-8931 or at mike.raine@producer.com.

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