Thursday, December 17, 2015

Sloppy reporting

Now, to be fair, my criticism is similar to that of an armchair quarterback - from the comforts of my little blogging world, where I have no particular journalism standards to adhere to, no pressure to have ratings (although I get a kick out of people reading my blog), added with the luxury of time, it's quite easy sometimes to criticize the media.

All of that said, I feel as though this recent CTV story about a Winnipeg couple who were slapped with a Neighbourhood Liveability By-Law order to paint their house has some serious holes to it.

The absolute biggest hole is that THEY DIDN'T ASK THE COUPLE IF THEY HAD CALLED THE CITY AND ASKED FOR AN EXTENSION. It seems like that should have been the first question the reporter asked them, although that likely would have killed the "story" as the City is generally quite willing to work with homeowners to resolve by-law issues.

Another glaring hole is that in their rush to get a sensational story about seniors possibly (read: realistically not probable at all. Even a little bit.) going to jail they forgot to contact some of the organizations that might have been able to help these people. You know, the ones that they remember to contact for other North End related sound bites? Had they done so, perhaps this could have been less of a fear mongering story and more of an educational one; North End Community Renewal Corporation in particular could have let these homeowners know about several programs that may be able to help. Add to that these types of organizations often work closely with the City and Rodney and Doris Pearson could have slept well that night.

Oh, and some more sloppy reporting (camera work?) is that when they purport to show the fence in question, they show a section of fence that does not appear to require any sort of work whatsoever, let alone painting. If this is the section of fence in question then that's where the real reporting should have begun - why is a brand new looking section of virgin wood fence in violation of a by-law?!

So, in the name of blogger journalism integrity, I went down to take a look for myself at this fence; easy to do since the news clip provided me with their full address (!). Sure enough, they definitely do have some fence that needs to be painted, not the fence they showed, but it's there.
A fence that has nothing wrong with it (still captured from video)

Also, just to nitpick, as the story is being introduced, the anchor says that they will face the penalties if they don't do the work "within six months" when really they have only been given just under 5 months to complete the work.

A responsible way to cover this story would have been to bring to light the Neighbourhood Liveability By-Law, show these folks as the example as to what can happen when you're in violation, and then educate others on how you can either prevent it from happening (by listing common violations) and who to reach out to for help (if need be) should you get one. Owning a house is a privilege and not a right; just because someone lives in the core area doesn't mean they don't have to maintain their house. The City also cannot choose to not enforce by-law standards for some (such as low income homeowners) but not for others.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Indian tacos aren't what they should be

Sounds like inventive cuisine doesn't it? Who wouldn't love maybe some rice and curry piled high on a piece of naan... oh, wait, what? That's not what Indian tacos are??

A new restaurant called the Feast Cafe Bistro is set to open in the old Ellice Cafe spot at the corner of Ellice and Sherbrook; they will have "modern dishes rooted in traditional First Nation foods..." and  the "big hit, however, is expected to be the Indian tacos" according to a CBC article.

She won't be the first to serve "Indian tacos" - working in the North End I have seen many a flyer for a fundraiser where they would sell the same. Feast Cafe Bistro owner Christa Bruneau-Guenther says that the tacos will be piled "teepee high" on authentic fry bread. Why not call them Teepee tacos then?

I don't feel comfortable saying the word Indian (unless I'm talking about people from India) any more than I feel comfortable saying the "N" word. It has been drilled into my brain for years and years that saying Indian when referring to a First Nations/Indigenous/Aboriginal person (admittedly, I'm not sure which of those terms is best to be using, I always worry that I will inadvertently offend) that I may absolutely not use the word Indian. There is no chance I'm the only one who feels this way.

I know that it is said everyone gets too offended these days, and while I guess I wouldn't go so far as to say this offends me, but it sure makes things murkier when trying to navigate the collective feelings of society. Imagine being a newcomer, trying to fit in here in Canada, not necessarily knowing the history behind a word and needing to figure out that it's perfectly acceptable to call a First Nations inspired taco an Indian taco but don't you dare call a person from that same background an Indian!

Looking forward to checking out the new restaurant, hopefully they understand what I mean when I order a Teepee Taco.