Federal budget 2018: cautious optimism for journalists

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) is cautiously optimistic of the promised investment in local journalism outlined in the 2018 federal budget.

A $10-million investment per year over five years is earmarked to “one or more independent non-governmental organizations that will support local journalism in under-served communities.” The announcement is consistent with some of the measures the association has been requesting for the past several years.

In the fall of 2016, CAJ testified before the House of Commons Heritage Committee on the question of expanding non-profit media and making it easier for charitable foundations — or those who could become charitable organizations — to financially underpin good journalism. At the time, CAJ highlighted a small number of Canadian success stories and encouraged government to make it easier for non-profit journalism to thrive.

“We’re pleased the government chose to adopt one of the recommendations CAJ and other media organizations had suggested that could help improve the quantity and quality of local news in Canada,” said Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ president. “We’ll be monitoring the rollout of this promise though, given this government’s track record on promising the moon and falling substantially shorter on delivery.”

It’s also but a ripple in the ongoing current trend that sees Canadian businesses and governments moving their advertising dollars from Canadian-owned media directly to Google and Facebook. CAJ continues to encourage federal and provincial governments to consider taxation and other changes that would entice Canadian businesses to invest here by placing their advertising through Canadian-owned media.

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