A tale of two newspapers

Interestingly, both the Times & Transcript and the Telegraph-Journal ran stories and commentary on the 2006 Census. Both articles agreed on one thing: the Moncton CMA is likely to pass the Saint John CMA as the largest urban community in New Brunswick when the first Census results are published in early 2007.

But after that, they deviated.

The Times & Transcript went off on another (now familiar) theme – poking fun at and belittling Saint John. It went into detail about how Moncton’s population has been rising while Saint John’s has been stagnant for years. You could just sense Al Hogan and his journalist pumping their chests with bravado.

The Telegraph-Journal, on the other hand offered up a more thoughtful and nuanced view. It agrees that Moncton will likely surpass SJ as the largest urban area but it also makes a few good points about the good things that are happening in the port city. Then it launches in to an important discussion with Saint Johners about not being insular, about learning from Moncton, about moving ahead.

Now, consider this.

The readers of the T&T article will have a few responses to Al Hogan’s continuing attempts to drive a wedge between our two communities. One, they will agree with him and take a spiteful posture. That’s the Fox News crowd. Whip up a frenzy. Pit one group against another and watch the ratings rise. The other group read with distaste these attempts by the T&T to boost Moncton’s fragile ego by dumping on the misfortunes of others.

The readers of the TJ, on the other hand, will react differently. One group will be offended that the editor of the TJ will admit that Moncton has done some things right. That the success of Moncton is not just about political clout but rather about hard work and vision. The other group will ponder this thoughtful article and take from it some key learnings. The people of Saint John, on the whole, get in this TJ article, a positive message that could help the community move forward.

Unfortunately, in Moncton, we get nah nah nah school yard antics from our only English language newspaper.

And if the media can influence attitude, and more and more Monctonians start adopting the T&T’s juvenile and destructive attitude we will be the worse off for it somewhere soon down the road.

Don’t forget Moncton’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed past Saint John just in the last year. Don’t forget, that community is doing some very innovative things (Propel SJ, for one).

It may not be very long until the editor of the TJ will have the opportunity to make fun of Moncton once again.

Pitting Moncton against Saint John just to titillate readers is shameful.