Are journalists increasingly laying down for the law? (Photography by

Are journalists increasingly laying down for the law? (Photography by

• Newsrooms cutbacks aren’t just affecting investigative coverage of what happens in Canada’s legislative chambers. Those cuts are also affecting coverage of what happens in the country’s judicial chambers. In an article published in The Lawyers Weekly, Jeremy Hainsworth quotes media lawyer Dan Burnett as saying, “In the good old days, the media would fight anything that infringes freedom of the press.” But nowadays, sealing orders and closed courts are challenged “less and less.”

• Four years ago, an article published in the Canadian Parliament Review encouraged political parties and universities to develop a “proactive strategy” to encourage scientists and engineers to participate in parliamentary life. But, in a post written for Democratic Audit UK, the University of Cambridge’s Mark Goodwin points out “parliamentarians [in the United Kingdom] with scientific backgrounds don’t tend to vote any differently from their non-elected counterparts, suggesting that either efforts to improve the number of scientists in the House are either pointless, or that they make their expert contributions in other, less visible, ways.”

• It looks like journalism, it smells like journalism but it isn’t journalism. It’s advertising. That’s brand journalism in a nutshell. And, as reported by freelance journalist David Ball, it’s a public relations technique that’s now being used by the BC Liberal Party. In a story for Vancouver 24 hrs, Ball quoted me as saying that technique is “meant to create the appearance of objectivity where there is none.”

• Last week, I speculated that increasing job insecurity within the news industry may affect reporters’ willingness to produce investigative journalism. After all, it’s not uncommon for reporters to end up working for the officials and institutions they once covered. So how willing will those officials and institutions be to hire someone who makes rather than just follows the news? Will those journalists be seen as prizes or troublemakers? And how many journalists are asking themselves the same question? But, in a series of twitter postings, Sun Media’s David Akin questioned just how much news media downsizing is really happening…at least on Parliament Hill:

Have a news tip about about the state of democracy, openness and accountability in Canada? You can email me at this address.

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