On the last Twitter fight I will ever engage in (until the next one)

by Adam Kovac

Timing is a funny thing.

Sometimes it works for you. Sometimes it’s against you. Most of the time, it seems neutral. As a wise man once said “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains.”

So it goes that just a few days after (stupidly) engaging in a Twitter war about the role that the mainstream press and campus media that isn’t CUTV has played in covering the student strikes here in Montreal, it was announced that Postmedia would be cutting a substantial amount of reporting and editorial positions, including 23 at The Montreal Gazette, a newspaper that I have freelanced for.

I admire a lot of people at The Gazette. Peggy Curran, a longtime writer, was nothing but kind and encouraging to a terrified Current Affairs editor at The Link last year, tweeting support (in case some of my readers are a bit slow, that Current Affairs editor was me). Michelle Richardson and Basem Boshra, both editors I’ve written for, have helped me become a better writer and reporter, and just the fact that they bought stories based on ideas I came up with convinced me that I would be able to at least survive as a freelancer, and thus gave up on my hobo aspirations. I’d like to believe the riding-the-rails industry’s loss was journalism’s gain, and if it is, those two are a big reason why.

When I got into journalism, one of my dreams was to write for The Gazette, and maybe work there one day as full-time reporter. While one goal is accomplished, it looks more and more unlikely that the second will ever happen.

This is basically a long-winded way of saying that I’m dreading to find out who will no longer be working there. Contrary to what some people believe, I think The Gazette is a quality newspaper, and as the sole Anglophone daily newspaper in Montreal, operates in an environment that not many people take the time to appreciate.

I guess what I just took 345 words to say can be summed much more succinctly in a mere two:

This sucks.

In any case, I’d like to clarify something for the kind of people out there who would criticize student journalists for wanting to work in the mainstream media. I never thought I’d have to make an argument about “indie” vs “mainstream” that didn’t somehow involve Sonic Youth, but here we go.

The so-called mainstream is where most people get their news. Places like the Montreal Media Co-op and The Dominion do absolutely amazing work. I have nothing but respect for them, and I hope to one day pitch stories their way (quite frankly, the standard of excellence at both those outlets can be intimidating, and is part of the reason I have never pitched to them before). But they are by their very design niche newspapers. And there is nothing wrong with that. The media landscape is big enough for both. And freelancers should not be swayed that working for either is wrong or immoral, or that one is better than the other.

There are other points I would like to make about some of the criticism I’ve received, but quite frankly, mama told me that if I didn’t have something nice to say, I should shut the hell up. So that’s what I’m going to do.

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