Awaking the beast

Poor old journalists have likely been the target of the majority of my consternation over the 2.5 years I have penned this blog and the 15 years I have been dusting off the old soap box on a daily basis.

I have labeled them disinterested, superficial and even flippant when it comes to the serious state of the New Brunswick economy. I used terms such as ‘government press release transribers’ to characterize a lot of stories dealing with economic matters.

Maybe there’s a bit of a detente coming between the NB press core and myself.

First, you’ve got columnists such as Alec Bruce in the T&T several times a week pushing for a pause, rewind and slowly play back the issue and think through its implications (consider his piece this week on the Conference Board and their obsession with big cities).

Now we have the TJ’s David Shipley who seems to be in a bit of a holy discontent over the state of things. He’s got a piece this morning entitled “Lessons from fall and rise of Lunenburg” which reads as a feel good story about a small community taking control of its economic development, attracting industry (EADS subsidiary) and fostering a quality of life that encourages talented young people to stay (animation firm HB Studios).

Of course, my positive opinion towards Shipley has something to do with him quoting a few of my table stakes positions on economic development (NB needs to spend 5% of its budget on economic development for one).

But the point remains. Shipley and the TJ could have ran another story on traffic congestion or the onerous toll on the bridge in Saint John or some other point that admittedly has some newsworthiness but at the same time ignores the 800 pound gorilla in the room – the seriousness of economic decline in New Brunswick.

And, as I have always said, the media has a critical role to play. The people won’t know if someone doesn’t tell them. It’s not always obvious when you are in a slow burn that you are burning. Remember the frog. Put him in a beaker of hot water and he will jump out. Put him in a beaker of cold water and then warm it up to boiling and he will stay into until his demise.

New Brunswick is the frog in the beaker and the temperature is well on the plus side of comfortable.

So to Shipley, Morrison, Poitras, Bruce, et. al. keep reminding us of this fact and maybe, just maybe, we’ll decide to jump out of the beaker.