How Does What is “National” news become National?


EditorialTHUNDER BAY – Contrasts. The world is filled with contrasts.

Perhaps one of the contrasts that makes little sense are the contrasts between how quickly some news stories make the national news, and how some take weeks, if ever, to be noticed.

Take the case of a missing three year old in Quebec. (

The national news coverage of this young boy has taken mere days to be reported across Canada by the national media. That is a positive step.

Help find JordanYet, in Thunder Bay, a missing youth, Jordan Wabasse who went missing on February 7th finally garnered coverage by CBC’s Fifth Estate just last week. Not to demean the efforts to report on the issue of missing youth by the iconic CBC television show, but one could almost question the depth of coverage about missing persons in Northern Ontario.

The local coverage in the Thunder Bay media has been solid. The information supplied by the Thunder Bay Police Service in this case has been fairly constant. Yet outside of a news story in the Guelph Mercury newspaper, and coverage on APTN, outside Thunder Bay no information has seemingly left the city.

The information has been shared with the major newspapers in Southern Ontario. Yet none appear to have decided that it mattered enough to share with their readers.

The national media are missing a story of how across Northern Ontario, communities have come together in the search. The national media have missed the amazing connections between First Nations communities across the North. They are missing a really heart-wrenching story of how the friends, family and supporters are all working together without giving up to search for Jordan Wabasse.

Likely today, with social networking, and especially with Facebook (, the friends and family may be learning a lesson that the national media just doesn’t invest the time in stories about the fate of Northern Aboriginal youth? It is perhaps a message that will echo far longer than the networks, and newspapers think it can.

In many cases, across the north there are people who feel disconnected from the rest of Ontario. When stories like a missing youth are left uncovered by the major media, the message sent is one of “so what?” It doesn’t matter if that is the case, or not, it is the perception.

Across the North, the growth of the Internet, especially in Northwestern Ontario are making a giant difference. Likely that too will be missed down south.

One almost wonders if a solid movement started to have Northwestern Ontario form its own territory or province, if First Nations across the region would join in too?

James Murray

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