Editor’s Blog By Bill Phillips
What a drag it is getting old NDP leader John Horgan, making a point about health care in Prince George yesterday, quipped about having eye surgery. The result is he can see a bumblebee a kilometre away but cannot see his fingertips. We hear ya … #wishingmyarmwaslongersoIcouldreadthe menu. From Facebook to Deadbook? Happy birthday to me. Yes, it is my birthday today and it is nice to know that even after I head off to the great beyond, I can still post to Facebook. I share a birthday, July 7, with Ringo Starr. So I probably should not have been surprised this morning when I checked out my Facebook feed that none other than John Lennon, from his Facebook page, was wishing his old bandmate a happy birthay. It seems Facebook has linked up to Deadbook, the hereafter equivalent, so we can keep posting. I wonder if Lennon has his location services turned on? Could UK go from EU to CU? Could the Brexit exit spell opportunity for some Commonwealth countries. A group called Commonwealth Freedom of Movement Organization thinks so. It has started an online petition calling for the formation of an EU-like affiliation between the U.K., Canada, Austrialia, and New Zealand. “We believe in the citizens of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand benefiting from a freedom of movement initiative, advancing the ever growing cultural, historical, economical and political connections that we already share through our Commonwealth ties,” states the organization. You can sign the petition here. No good for the goose Good column this morning from the Vancouver Sun’s Vaughn Palmer on the Liberal government’s continuing practice of siphoning off ICBC profits for the government coffers. It’s been going on for years. One thing that strikes me is the Liberals constantly bleat on about how reducing taxes puts money in the pockets of ordinary British Columbians and that’s good thing. It’s true, so fair enough. So, why then is it not a good thing for ICBC to use its huge profits to reduce rates for ordinary British Columbians? Wouldn’t that also put money in the pockets of ordinary British Columbians? Wouldn’t that be a good thing? Writing about writing Over the past month or so, I have felt like I have not been accomplishing much. Too many lattes etc. But then it occurred to me, in the past month or so I wrote a 6,000-word business plan for a program I am taking at Community Futures plus I wrote an other 6,000 words on the 1986 IWA strike for a history I am writing of the local Steelworkers union. Guess I got something done last month. Otway 60K OK Not sure who at city hall made the decision, but it was a good one. Last week city crews were out installing 60 kilometre per hour signs along Otway Drive. About three years ago, just before the Canada Winter Games, the folks at city hall decided to lower the speed limit on Otway from 70k to 50k. Not sure of the rationale, but for those of us Miworth residents who drive that road daily, moving the speed limit on an otherwise country road, down to 50k was agonizing. Then, out of the blue last week, it was increased. It likely had something to do with the industrial traffic on the road (two asphalt plants, two gravel pits, a grain silo, and a waste bin storage place as crawling back and forth had to hurt their bottom line. At any rate. The increase is very welcome. Tragedy sells One of the beauties of a website is that you can track, immediately, what stores are of interest to readers. Newspapers have, for generations, fought against publishers and sales managers who would prefer that we put “happy positive” stories in the newspaper. It’s what advertisers tell them they want to see, so they think that’s what readers want. We crusty editor types have a different view. Happy, positive stories have their place, but people want to know what’s really going on, even more. When the internet came along and we could track readership, we had some fodder for our argument. We may not like it and perhaps it is a sad comment on society, but a story about a fatal accident or major fire will result in web traffic spikes … often three to four times the norm. The Cody Legebokoff trial saw consistent spikes in the Free Press’ internet numbers. What I wasn’t prepared for, though, was a recent story that set the record for web traffic. Over the weekend our web traffic to about 12 times its normal numbers. The story? Northland Dodge’s Brent Marshall running afoul of the Motor Vehicle Safety Authority of B.C. and parting ways with the Northland Auto Group. It’s a story people are definitely interested in. As they say in the business, “the story has legs.”