As journalists, one of our most important jobs is to follow trends in media, see what messages are being conveyed to the public and, just as importantly, how those messages are reaching the masses.
Many, like myself, accomplish this task by tirelessly and heroically scrolling through Twitter all day, “liking” cat videos and posting soulful tributes to whichever famous person died that hour.
The media landscape is more fractured than ever as we enter the year 2019. Gone are the days of the Big Three networks and a handful of major daily newspapers controlling the flow of information. Young people are cutting the cord on cable television, celebrities are using Instagram to bring their cleavage straight to the masses, and Facebook would sell its own soul if it wasn’t already owned by the devil.
But maybe this new year will bring the start of something fresh, something pure and truthful. Where will the major media companies take their followers this year? It’s hard to keep track of all the various media strains so, as a dedicated keyboard cowboy, I’ve taken the liberty of hunting down and faithfully reproducing the New Year’s proclamations and declarations that some of the largest media players in the world have released to the public over the past fortnight. I’ll let these major players tell their 2019 stories in their own words, and let you decided what kind of year it will be. Here we go:
Facebook: Happy New Year all! We look forward to a great 2019, where we promise that at least 25 per cent of the political posts in your feed will be written by people who are not Macedonian teenagers! Also, we are not going to be snooping through all your data and selling it to the highest bidder. That includes you, Mr. Thomas Hargrove of 143 Willow St., Bozeman, Mont. Your secrets are safe with us. Also, your girlfriend is pregnant. It’s a boy! Don’t worry – we’ve already alerted your wife.
Twitter: We’ll try to keep this to 140 characters, LOL. Good news for you outspoken people of colour, women, members of the LGBTQ community and other minorities: we’re making drastic changes this year. We take your safety and well-being very seriously. Now with every 1,000 death threats you receive, you’ll get a free handgun! OK, it’s an air rifle. OK, it’s a water gun. OK, a water gun emoji. OK, it’s a frowny face. Hey, stop complaining about all the threats, OK?! Did you just call that skinhead with a swastika in his Twitter handle a Nazi? You’re suspended!
Fox News: This is the greatest period of American history ever with the greatest leader the country has ever seen, Vladimir Putin. Err... Donald Trump. We will continue to report on the forces that truly threaten our great country such as people who kneel down during songs, Barack Obama, and Mexicans who walk within 300 miles of the American border. We promise to update this list every time the president tweets.
Netflix: Hey, have you told at least one joke in your entire life? Yes? Boom, you’ve got your own Netflix comedy special!
Kanye West, Inc.: Huhhhh! What if y’all are the ones that are crazy, fam? #MAGA! Make Alligator Gumbo Again!
Google: Are we listening to you at all times? Yes. What the hell are you going to do about it – search for things on Yahoo? On Bing!?
Bing: Fair point.
CBC: We have a big new comedy website! How about this one: why did the moose eat its new phone? Because the salesman told him it was a Blackberry! Get it? The joke part? Jim Carrey is from Canada!
North Shore News: Happy New Year to every North Shore man, woman, child, dog, tree and bear. We’ll keep writing about you if you keep reading about you. Especially you, dog that knows how to read. Have a great 2019!
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Speaking of “soulful tributes to whichever famous person died,” the media lost one of its sharpest gems on Monday with the passing of wildly popular and hilariously entertaining sports columnist Jim Taylor. Taylor lived for many years in West Vancouver, and wrote for both the Vancouver Sun and Province during his long and illustrious career.
Early in my writing career I had the audacity to write a review of one of his post-retirement books. I (lovingly) called him a “dinosaur,” and wondered how he managed to type with such short arms. He thought it was funny, thank God, and invited me to come visit him. He couldn’t have been more gracious and welcoming and supportive every time I met him. And I know that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of journalists around the province and across Canada who had similar experiences with the writing titan who somehow always had time for the little guy. Such a funny and kind man.
Farewell to the best I ever met.
Andy Prest is the sports editor for the North Shore News and writes a biweekly humour/lifestyle column. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.