By Lauren Strapagiel
As a damp, windy morning dawned on Toronto’s financial district last Saturday, there were nearly as many Occupy Toronto protesters as members of the media.
It’s a pretty typical scene for a city as media-saturated as Toronto. And those journalists came hungry, hunting for the essence of what has become a global event. But what they got was a mish-mash of messages, and with nothing further to report, they reported on that.
The widely-published criticism of the Occupy Canada protests is that they lack a singular message. Here in Canada we survived the worst of the real estate bubble collapse. Our more robust banking regulations and fairer taxation compared to the United States gives us less to rally against.
However, the only reason we have no singular message is that there is no singular problem. The trials and tribulations of a global economic system that favours the few and shits on the many is too complicated to condense into a concise war cry. Unfortunately that doesn’t make a compelling front page story.
By Sunday some protesters had turned on the media, decrying their fat-cat corporatism. But here’s a heads-up to you would-be revolutionaries. Politicians and financial tycoons aren’t going to meet you on the street to discuss the finer points of securities and bailouts. They’re going to pick up the paper and, like it or not, that’s where the message must come through.
Perhaps I’m an idealist, but journalism exists for the 99 per cent. Those many media members showed up on Saturday to find, publish and make available your message. So let them have it.
Engage with the media. Tell them your stories. Tell them how with a degree and a mountain of debt, you can’t find a job. Our personal stories of struggle are the closest thing to a consolidated message Occupy Canada is going to get — and it’s a good one.
And remember, journalism isn’t exactly a hotbed of profitability anymore. We’ve been fired, furloughed and outsourced too.
We’re with you. Give us something to print.