Monday, 2 July 2012


So. Is/was yesterday's online protest, #DenounceHarper newsworthy?

Not according to the Nothing-to-See-Move-Along Crowd. (This screen-shot was taken at 11:05 a.m. Monday, July 2/12.)

Thousands and thousands of people used that hashtag all day yesterday, Canada Day, (and it is continuing today) to remind ourselves of the many, many bad things this government has done to our beloved Canada.

Some were funny, but most were not. Most were pissed off. Many had links to relevant news stories.

The sources of outrage ranged from gutting environmental protections to muzzling scientists to Harper and Co's utter disdain for democracy. Some were quite specific, others more generally disgusted.

But here's the newsworthy bit.
#DenounceHarper began trending on Twitter early in the day, and was second only to #HappyCanadaDay across the country.

This tweep just said that it was even bigger than that.

I asked for a source and got this (top and bottom of screenshot of worldwide trends):

It did get some half-assed coverage from the NatPo and somebody at CTV who couldn't be bothered to find out who started it.
While it’s unclear where the trend started, a Facebook group called #DenounceHarper: Your Stories had 320 members as of Sunday afternoon. The group stressed that it was non-partisan and encouraged participants to share their concerns about Canada’s future.
(Pro-tip: I asked on Twitter and got the answer in less than five minutes. It was Brandon Laraby, with a clarification here.)

Yahoo News characterized it as 'anti-conservatives use Canada Day for on-line protest'.

But the thing is -- it wasn't just anti-conservatives. My feed, being full of leftards, was brimming with it of course, but at the hashtag itself, there were zillions of different people. NOT just the usual suspects.

In fact, the whole exercise was quite joyous. Look at the top tweet, retweeted 402 times.

People utterly dismayed at where Harper is taking and has taken this country were finding solidarity and -- most important -- that they were faaaaar from alone.

The media saw fit to cover #TellVicEverything, which admittedly was much funnier, but while it made a lot of noise in the Canadian Tweetosphere, it did not trend. (Scroll down for the graphic. I may be wrong about trending, will correct if necessary.)

But thousands and thousands of pissed-off Canadians expressing love for their country and distress at its government is ^NOT newsworthy.

A topic trending second (and at times first) nationwide for hours and hours and hours.






Is ^NOT news.

Okey-dokey then.

We've already figured out that we have to be our own Opposition.

It's clear we have to be our own media too.


Kev said...

According to Brandon "In one day we managed to inspire over 5000 people to take part, our combined 'impressions' (how many people saw us, but not necessarily took part) clocked in at around 14.5 million."
Not bad for not being newsworthy

Laurel L. Russwurm said...

Although most people in the world don't realize it, today's mainstream "news media" is no longer in the news business, but the entertainment industry. Journalism prof Jay Rosen said it best: "The watchdog Press Is Dead."

These corporate interests only report news they don't like when we make it impossible for them to ignore or appear as foolish/venal as they really are. I am quite sure there are still plenty of good reporters, but they don't get to decide what goes to press or how it should be spun, any more than Harper Conservative MPs are allowed to decide how to cast their votes.

This is, of course, why wave after wave of legislation seeks to censor the Internet.

Anonymous said...

Not Newsworthy? Then we should #ignore@kady I Really get annoyed at the SmugJournoClub on twitter. They are on a gatekeeper power trip. The tweets to non-journos are usually so condescending. When it comes to Maher/MacGregor...I appreciate their work the thing is though...everyone is going gaga over something that should have been business as usual. Kind of going gaga over the baker for actually baking. Barb

JimBobby said...

The gatekeepers don't seem to like it when the plebes get uppity. If it's news, Kady'll let us know. GlobalNational & saw fit to report on #DenounceHarper. FFS! It was trending at #8 worldwide yesterday. If it had been the brainchild of an Ottawa journo, they'd be fawning. Sad, Kady. Very sad.

Anonymous said...

You no longer have reporters, you have repeaters.

The new game began in Canada on Aug. 27, 1980. “Black Wednesday”, as it became known, was the day newspaper corporations across the country colluded to swap properties and kill competition. The Ottawa Journal and the Winnipeg Tribune folded, and Vancouver Province's owner, Southam, bought the Vancouver Sun. The two had been in bed together since 1950s via a press-and-profit-sharing agreement at Pacific Press that killed the third paper and defended against upstarts.

Suddenly competition for readers was no longer necessary; these publicly traded corporations now focused on advertiser-pleasing copy as the technique for pulling more ads.

At least Postmedia has an understandable reason for changing standards: they're legally obligated to maximize profits. But the fact that the commercial-free public broadcaster also ignores the public good suggests that there is a new definition of journalism.

Brandon Laraby said...

Funny story that no other Journalist bothered to look up: I also started #KevinPage page day (with original idea from @Fansen)

Both did rather well, I'd say.

fern hill said...

Hi, Brandon. When I asked who started #denounce on Twitter today, it was a test. I knew it was you. I just wanted to see how fast someone would provide an answer. As I said, 5 mins.

Yesterday, it probably would have been faster. ;-)

Keep up the good work.

Brandon Laraby said...

The key thing that citizen and independent journalists have is exactly that: their independence. They aren't beholden to advertisers to live and work.

I mean I see Post Media selling their headquarters for $24 million ( and that small reptile part of my brain goes 'huh, is that where all the Robofraud coverage disappeared to'?

Maybe, maybe not. But it makes you wonder - and appreciate the place of people willing to ask tough questions on their own.

Brandon Laraby said...

Thanks for asking the question. This is a great post.

Kim Hunter / Indigo said...

Canadian media's oath to Harper gags reporting on the biggest twitterstorm in Canadian history?
#DenounceHarper was top trending sharing top spot with #CanadaDay for the longest sustained twitter trend in Canada. :D
Left / Right didn't even enter the fray, other than a few devoted Harper minions.
Canadians Rock!

Anonymous said...

And where was the coverage of Harper being booed at the ball game?

Beijing York said...

I'm not on twitter but it sure does sound impressive to me. Congrats for your incredible outreach, Brandon.

It was way too hot to hang out outdoors for too long yesterday but during my walk to the Italian strip, through the Osborne Village festival, to see the final match between Spain and Italy - I saw a red square pin on an older man and a "Stop Harper" t-shirt on a middle aged man. There might have been more stuff out there but the two examples I saw kind of represented the Conservative's target audience and that made me smile.

Anonymous said...

"today's mainstream "news media" is no longer in the news business, but the entertainment industry."

Yep. We get less and less "news", and more and more "stories".

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