You Can Be The New Media

September 1st, 2017 | J. Hodgson
canadian media

It’s a wonder to me that a site like Poletical still flies under the radar of mainstream dialogue when so often the writing and insights are far superior to whatever the latest Canadian-media bubble is shilling. Don’t get me wrong, Poletical has hundreds of thousands of link hits but, unlike in the United States, the Canadian blogosphere is purposefully ignored by the mainstream media.

Part of Poletical’s niche, however, is that it’s read not by the masses, but by some important readers that we’re trying to reach anyway. So much of our writing is contrary assessments of political landscapes and policy ideas that are outside the box, and while these topics are hopefully interesting for the average reader, it’s getting the attention of people in positions of power that's the fun part. I believe it was William F. Buckley who said something related to circulation numbers of The National Review. They needed to have a readership of a few hundred thousand in order to pay for the magazine, but Buckley said that’s the cost of getting the magazine to the top 300 readers that he really only wanted to reach in the first place. Luckily for Poletical, we exist in the 21st century and don’t need the resources to express our ideas like Buckley did in the 70’s. Nevertheless, getting our ideas out to the top 300 people is still a big part of the goal. That’s why I received some astonished feedback from some people when Brad Wall stepped down as leader of the Saskatchewan Party.

For the record. I am nothing more than a fan of the Saskatchewan Party. The editor/owner of Poletical and I cooperated once-upon-a-time to end the NDP regime in Saskatchewan. This was around 2004 or so. The Saskatchewan Party was the obvious vehicle to replace the NDP and we at Poletical have been very friendly to the Saskatchewan Party over the years. Free advice and ideas have been offered and mostly rejected, but at least we know they’ve had impact. As of last year, I found myself watching and hearing the Saskatchewan Party going off-the-rails and had to interject with "An Open Letter to Brad Wall|. I never heard much about the article, but in March the reaction to Wall’s austerity budget kicked in and I knew I was right. I quickly wrote "Brad Wall's Big Mistake" and advocated for Wall to step down and allow the party to reboot under a new leader. Three months later, that's exactly what happened.

So what’s my point?

#1. The mainstream media in Canada is still functioning like it’s 1995. The news and the news-behind-the-news, as well as editorials and opinions and ideas presented about issues, current events and politics can only really be found on the web. As media dies financially, the coverage of current events and the information they relate is getting worse and worse and less and less valuable. If you only ever read the Regina Leader Post, you’d probably be shocked at Brad Wall stepping down. If you also read Poletical, you would have been more informed. There are a lot of great websites out there that paint a bigger and broader picture. Find them.

#2. Your opinion matters. You don’t need to live in downtown Toronto and have a desk at the Globe & Mail in order to have an interesting story to tell or an opinion to share. Credentialism in matters of journalism are just window dressing. Use the tools of the 21st century to get your work out there. It may feel like you are working in obscurity sometimes, but the web is the great equalizer. Promote your work and be your own gate-keeper. The world’s biggest printing press is at your fingertips and it’s free!

#3. Your audience might not be broad, but the impact can still be massive. If you write about something specific and timely, people will find it and share it. Perhaps my two accurate open letters were just coincidence, but perhaps not. We do know the Saskatchewan Party has a massive communications staff. They find stuff and read it. Many organizations do the same. Your writing gets to people and can have an effect.

In conclusion, Brad Wall was one of the best things to happen to Saskatchewan politics in a generation. His decision was the right one. The party now stands a solid chance of refashioning for the 2020’s. There are many “what-ifs” that could be asked, but in my assessment, Wall has made a humble and legacy-building decision that could extend Saskatchewan Party hegemony for another ten years. Now it’s up to card-carrying members to pick the right leader to move the party forward.

Who will that be? Stay tuned... there will be more at Poletical soon!