Jody Vance: We spend far too much attention on news from afar, and not nearly enough on the stories that actually affect our day-to-day lives. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Here we are, poised to wave goodbye to a decade that has seen great change on countless fronts. Think about where you were in December 2010 as opposed to December 2019.
Isn’t it mind boggling how many conversations are sparked by happenings in US Politics or Boris Johnson and Brexit — and how few are rooted in where we live, or local politics beyond a very expensive spinning chandelier.
If you are a British Columbian reading this on Facebook or Twitter, I have a favour to ask for 2020: engage with local issues.
I’m not much for resolutions. But as we head into 2020, here’s some food for thought: how about we collectively make a concerted effort to unhook our wagons from things we have no control over and focus on educating ourselves on local issues?
We are all consumed by global issues – political unrest, climate crisis, the world economy and more. But we in BC have rather unique challenges of our own. Issues that have lingered far too long and deserve our attention.
Sadly, you can choose your local struggle from a fat list: money laundering impacts on housing, dumpster fire car insurance, childcare, unrest with unions such as public school teachers, student debt or access issues, ever growing taxes…and on and on. This list doesn’t even touch on struggles with regard to mental health issues, addiction, and homelessness.
My Middle this week is a request to go deeper than my column at TheOrca.ca, take some time to swim around in some exceptionally thoughtful local content. There is much to be learned at The Orca (and other sites), not only from our extraordinary (and opinionated) contributors but also from highlighted articles by fellow journalists at other local news organizations.
Start by signing up for the brilliantly curated weekday direct to inbox email The Fin. Trust me, it’s a one stop resource to know what needs your attention — and your email is never used for anything but delivery. It’s the digital version of the newspaper at your front door.
Found in The Fin is laser focus on what taxpayers need to know, so that we can hold leaders to account. Politicians count on us being distracted. Exhibit A is last week’s hurried passing of the City of Vancouver’s 2020 budget that slid under the radar. At best, the bloated budget is tone deaf with its 7% property tax increase. Buried by the busyness of the timing — any backlash is muted when it could/would have been loud.
It’s on us to be informed. We need to re-engage on local news, not just your Apple News feed or what’s trending on Twitter but actual local journalism. The awful rhetoric calling journalists the enemy of the people is designed by those who’d have you turn a blind eye to their self-serving loophole jumping or corruption. Supporting outlets, yes like The Orca, by reading and listening to the content, will help you stay informed and engaged on what you can influence.
So begin closer to home — a perusal of TheOrca.ca, with a weekly stop at UnSpun Podcast that George Affleck and I do weekly.
It might smack of self promotion, but our reason for doing UnSpun is to educate and inform by cutting through the noise and PR spin. George and I focus on municipal, provincial and federal politics in a fast paced way. You can download it for free anywhere you get your favourite podcasts.
Whether you start with us, or other local media – how about it? Let’s commit to being hyper local in 2020.
Jody Vance is a born and raised Vancouverite who’s spent 30 years in both local and national media. The first woman in the history of Canadian TV to host her own sports show in primetime, since 2011 she’s been working in both TV and radio covering news and current affairs.