Learning from PBS

I just saw a program on Maine PBS that’s called something like “Local Economies” which is a weekly show that rotates around Maine looking at economic development issues. This week it was about how small rural towns are trying to develop the ‘creative economy’.

Imagine any TV outlet in New Brunswick producing such a show. The only thing close to that is CBC’s Venture – a national program and I think in Ontario and the West they have weekly shows about the agriculture/farming industry.

But that’s what I mean about engaging the media. The writers and broadcasters immerse themselves in the news of the day – crime, social justice even community development in a narrow sense can be heard every day – day in day out.

But how about stories of successful entrepreneurs? How about stories of innovation? How about companies that have moved here and love it? Better yet, how about stories – a bit like the Poitras piece on India – that challenge us to look at new models – at new ideas?

Someone might say there’s no market for that stuff. Who cares.

But, again, is the media only about money? If so, why not just run in the newspaper pictures of women in bathing suits – that’ll fly of the stands. And radio? Just do comedy all the time. That’ll get you more listeners.

But some media see it as their mandate to report more broadly on the issues that affect our daily lives in communities all across the province.

And to those I ask politely to dig deeper on economic matters. To run stories of hope that rural communities can survive. To run stories that help people think of new ways to breathe life into their communities. Stories that empower community leaders with ideas they can use to move things forward. Mostly, to raise awareness of the challenges facing our province, about the potential solutions and that our governmetnt – as our collective – should act and act aggressively.

Would you pay $10 bucks a week, if you knew it would secure your economic future? Ten measily bucks?

Well, $10 bucks per taxpayer per week amounts to $200 million a year in New Brunswick.

The amount I’m asking our politicians to put towards securing the province’s economic future.

Ten measily bucks.