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Loyalist holds community conversation about the future of local news


Professor Andy Clarke and third-year journalist student Leah Den Hartogh prepare for another busy year in the QNet News newsroom. Photo by: Alana Pickrell 

By Alana Pickrell [2] 

BELLEVILLE – Loyalist College’s journalism program is giving Quinte residents a chance to shape the way local news is covered in the region next Monday.

Faculty and students are opening its doors to the public and sparking a conversation that is long overdue on September 18th at 7 p.m. at the gym. Representatives from local news outlets, along with QNetNews, are attending.

“There are questions and concerns about the future of local news,” said Andy Clarke, a journalism professor at the college.

It is no surprise to anyone that news industry is constantly changing. The way people consume it, the way it is covered and some news outlets that exist are constantly shifting, he said. The difference is, this time the journalism students are taking a new approach at trying to improve the local news coverage by asking the community members for help, he said.

Nicole Kleinsteuber, a local journalist in the Quinte Region, is excited for the change that will hopefully come from Monday evening.

“It is long overdue and I am very proud to be asked to be a part of this,” she said.

This is the first time that Loyalist College is holding a public forum and asking the community to raise their voices and help make a difference.

“We are here to serve our audience and we can’t do that without our community,” said Kleinsteuber

The goal of the public forum is to start a conversation about local news in the Quinte Region. The moderator, Tony Grace, the anchor of CTV Barrie evening newscast, will highlight several topics around local news, including:

Listed above are just a few ideas of what will be discussed, but the topics around this subject are endless, and everyone’s opinion is welcomed.

QNetNews took to the streets to find out what people think.

Ken MacPherson, a local blackjack dealer, said the local news is important.

“You need to know what is going on in your own backyard. We can talk about (American President Donald) Trump and global warming all we want, but when it comes down to it, we want to know when the buses are going to run and what stores are open tomorrow. Without the local input, we don’t know what’s going on in our own town.”

Similarly, Barb Soules, a child and youth work student at Loyalist College, shared MacPherson’s point of view.

“It is more impacting to know what is going on in your own community than to know what is going on worldwide,” she said.

Consequently, there are also community members that don’t think twice about local news or the coverage that happens in the region.

“Belleville’s not interesting. There are more important or more interesting things going on in the world than what is going on around here,” said Corrie Isenor, from Picton Ontario.

Additionally, Isenor admitted she does not trust any type of news outlet in the world today.

“I don’t find that media portrays an appropriate, truthful face,” she said.

QNet News spoke to a lot of members of the community, but the conversation is far from being over.

“If you scratch the surface of a lot of people, they have something to say about how local news matters to a community. The good local news is part of a vibrant community,” said Clarke.

The gym is in the Kente building, near the main entrance of the building and the parking at the college is free for those who attend.

– With files from Lindsey Harren, Leah Den Hartogh and Cody Starr