Home Editorial What a free press means to everyone

What a free press means to everyone

Megan Kanerahtenha:wi Whyte The Eastern Door

Where do you get your news? How do you know it’s accurate, or done with good intentions? Do you care?

We ask those questions because, increasingly, people are falling for websites made solely to disseminate propaganda, or, are watching talking heads on YouTube who don’t know what they’re talking about, and also listening to such slanted “news” sites that don’t deliver the news.

That’s where The Eastern Door comes in. This past Wednesday, January 31, was our 32nd birthday. That’s a long time for any media, but in a community as saturated with media as ours? Well, it’s a downright miracle!

You see, people will always read the salacious gossip, the crazy, ridiculous, and outlandish, but when it comes to real news, done by journalists who care, who are just trying to tell as much of the real story as possible, well, that can be too boring for some.

But it’s more important than who has bigger boobs in Hollywood and the man with 10-foot-long fingernails – you know, clickbait.

Because who really cares about those things? It is just mindless entertainment. You read it, laugh, and maybe move on to the latest Taylor Swift saga and then go to bed, only to repeat the next day.

But intelligent readers of newspapers like ours that dig for the truth beyond the surface know what they are getting. And it’s real news that matters to you. If you don’t believe that, well we have a piece of waterfront land to sell you in Nebraska….

Some may not admit it, but you need The Eastern Door and the pieces we produce – about your uncle, your kids, your health, financial well-being, and our collective future – because it’s tangible news that is all around you. It’s ABOUT you and you may not even realize that; we’re talking to you, random guy at a local school who recently said, to excited students who had just been interviewed by us, that he boycotts The Eastern Door.

He said it loud and proud like a badge. Imagine that. What is he teaching, exactly? That it’s okay to be ignorant? That his choice not to read the paper is smart, and he needed to share it with teenagers?

That says more about him than it does about us, but we’re used to people like him, you know the same ones who turn to us when they’re in trouble because deep down, they know the kind of work we do.

And sometimes this thing called journalism isn’t pretty, but it’s all true and it’s all relevant to every single person in every one of our communities. A free press is a must, not something you should take for granted.

Journalism is a calling; one we answered long ago and one we take immense pride in. We report on “anything that’s fit to print” and we do it with delicate gloves, a caring, guiding hand, and an ear that’s here to ensure what you say is reported on, accurately and with a good mind. And an audio recorder.

And if you don’t believe that, well, you know the drill. There’s clickbait waiting somewhere out there to steal your time and maybe your password and identity – and some prime land in Florida to buy.

So, the next time you pick up this newspaper and read it, well niá:wen from the bottom of our hearts because you’re fighting ignorance.

And the next time we see that braggart in person, we’ll be sure to direct him to this editorial, so he knows his words matter, and we expect better of him, just like you expect the best out of us.

This editorial was originally published in print on February 2, in issue 33.05 of The Eastern Door.

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Eastern Door Editor/Publisher Steve Bonspiel started his journalism career in January 2003 with The Nation magazine, a newspaper serving the Cree of northern Quebec.
Since that time, he has won numerous regional and national awards for his in-depth, impassioned writing on a wide variety of subjects, including investigative pieces, features, editorials, columns, sports, human interest and hard news.
He has freelanced for the Montreal Gazette, Toronto Star, Windspeaker, Nunatsiaq News, Calgary Herald, Native Peoples Magazine, and other publications.
Among Steve's many awards is the Paul Dumont-Frenette Award for journalist of the year with the Quebec Community Newspapers Association in 2015, and a back-to-back win in 2010/11 in the Canadian Association of Journalists' community category - one of which also garnered TED a short-list selection of the prestigious Michener award.
He was also Quebec Community Newspapers Association president from 2012 to 2019, and continues to strive to build bridges between Native and non-Native communities for a better understanding of each other.

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Eastern Door Editor/Publisher Steve Bonspiel started his journalism career in January 2003 with The Nation magazine, a newspaper serving the Cree of northern Quebec. Since that time, he has won numerous regional and national awards for his in-depth, impassioned writing on a wide variety of subjects, including investigative pieces, features, editorials, columns, sports, human interest and hard news. He has freelanced for the Montreal Gazette, Toronto Star, Windspeaker, Nunatsiaq News, Calgary Herald, Native Peoples Magazine, and other publications. Among Steve's many awards is the Paul Dumont-Frenette Award for journalist of the year with the Quebec Community Newspapers Association in 2015, and a back-to-back win in 2010/11 in the Canadian Association of Journalists' community category - one of which also garnered TED a short-list selection of the prestigious Michener award. He was also Quebec Community Newspapers Association president from 2012 to 2019, and continues to strive to build bridges between Native and non-Native communities for a better understanding of each other.