Readers need solid information during pandemic

Nunatsiaq News’ new editor ponders journalism during COVID-19

Nunatsiaq News welcomed Corey Larocque as its new managing editor in November. He is replacing Patricia Lightfoot, who is moving on after three years at the helm of the paper of record for Nunavut and Nunavik. (File photo)

By Corey Larocque

What a time to become the editor of Nunatsiaq News!

During one of the most serious public health crises Nunavut and Nunavik — and, indeed, all of Canada — have faced.

Corey Larocque became the new managing editor of Nunatsiaq News in November. (file photo)

Usually, when someone new takes the helm at a newspaper, he or she is afforded a few column inches to introduce himself or herself to readers.

After spending approximately 15 years as a reporter and editor in newsrooms in Ottawa, Niagara Falls and Kingston, it is an honour to have the opportunity to lead this newsroom — especially now. For any community to thrive, it’s always essential to have an informed public. Throughout history, good journalism has been at the very heart of that. Right now, it matters more than ever. Being informed is literally a matter of life and death.

I was struck by the comments Premier Joe Savikataaq made on Nov. 18, the first day of the territory-wide lockdown.

“This is it, folks. It’s time to stand and fight against COVID-19,” the premier said during a press conference.

His call to action is a reminder of how important individual actions are. Everyone needs to do the right thing for the right reasons.

During a crisis, strong leadership is important. It appears Nunavut is fortunate to have that in the premier and in Dr. Michael Patterson, the territory’s chief public health officer.

But as important as leadership at the top is during a crisis, success is going to come from people — from the Nunavummiut and Nunavimmiut this paper serves.

Defeating COVID-19 is going to be done by ordinary people who don’t hold public office. Your friends. Your family. Your neighbours. You. All doing the right thing. All doing what needs to be done, even though it’s difficult.

Nunatsiaq News owes a debt of gratitude to outgoing editor Patricia Lightfoot, who is moving on after three years running this show.

Under her leadership, Nunatsiaq News benefited from a team of capable, determined and dedicated journalists who want to give our readers the news they need to make informed decisions for themselves, their families, their businesses and their communities.

Not just during a pandemic, but in what we now think of as “normal” times.

The news business is a challenging one at the best of times. Across Canada, economic conditions have resulted in fewer journalists delivering news about an increasingly complex world. Nunatsiaq News continues to deliver in this difficult time. The goal is to give our readers what they need to know to stay safe and healthy while preserving the economy during the pandemic.

As you answer the premier’s call “to stand and fight,” we will be with you — as a good news source should be. As we tell the stories of Nunavut and Nunavik, we hope you will also be with us.

Corey Larocque is the new managing editor of Nunatsiaq News.

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(11) Comments:

  1. Posted by Suggestions on

    Welcome to the new editor. I would suggest that news articles need to step back from using sensational words such as “slam” or “slammed” particularly when referring to legal decisions. So-and-so judge/lawyer “slammed” the system etc. As someone who is neither a judge or a lawyer, I find these words both offensive and grating. Likewise, sometimes when reporting any such legal decisions, it simply adds nothing to embellish descriptions of witnesses – so and so was wearing a purple striped top. What does this have to do with good reporting? Nothing, and such information adds nothing to the story. Please encourage your reporters to report the facts only and not add their own “interpretations” in such sensational manners.

  2. Posted by Rhetoric and sensationalism on

    Welcome and good luck to you. I unfortunately have little good to say about much reporting in this paper and hope change is on the horizon. Many journalists are pushing personal agendas and favoritism for community friends rather than the truth and I hope you, dear editor, will do better and keep the rogues in check.

  3. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    Welcome to what I am sure will be a challenging job. Many people in Nunavut and Nunavik, along with those who have moved away depend on Nunatsiaq News to keep up on what is happening in the territory and the different regions.
    I think that you will quickly see what it is that captures the public’s interest, items that are either controversial or complex, or just those that allow readers to air their complaints. Issues such as the many layers of politics interwoven with government, and the societal issues that affect most of Nunavut/Nunavik (housing, transportation, food security, social issues, etc.).
    Personally I would like to see Nunatsiaq News reporters be more aggressive when questioning government or NGO officials. Don’t just report what the official says, question them as to why, when, where, how, and who pays for it. Just in the latest Covid-19 crisis a substantial interview with the Premier, and another with Dr. Patterson would be appreciated.
    For example, why was it chosen to go with quarantine hubs in the south, what are the advantages/disadvantages, what happens if they don’t work, what alternatives were discussed and dismissed or accepted. Who pays, and how much? How long after vaccines are delivered will quarantine hubs need to be in place? Who gets vaccinated, first, second, third? What vaccination target will Nunavut need to start dismantling hubs. What lessons have been learned thus far? Where are there rapid tests?
    That is only for the Covid-19 crisis. There are many other immediate and long term issues which Nunatsiaq News could highlight.
    Where is our MP? When is she expected to return back to work? Did the NDP assign a fellow member to take over her responsibilities? What files is she working on, and what has been her progress?
    Covid-19 also highlights the housing crisis. Solutions are needed. What is the government doing to solve this issue? Should the government be responsible or is it up to individual people. What do other areas of the world do for housing, or is multi-generational housing the norm in most countries?
    Covid-19 has highlighted food insecurity and the transportation system. Who really is responsible and what can be done?
    Last, and perhaps most important, why does the line feed which is typed in a comment not transfer across when the comment is published. Using a “.” has pretty much become the standard for most posters but we would really like to just post normally.
    Welcome and I hope you enjoy being part of Nunavut.

    • Posted by Suggestions on

      Following on my comments above about ‘sensational’ wording by your reporters, I absolutely agree with Old Trapper that some hard questions need to be asked by your reporters, particularly when it comes to the pandemic. As one who went through the isolation hub in the south (Ottawa) as I had to be in Ottawa for medical reasons – why not have us all arrive in Iqaluit, take a bus to the Frobisher in Iqaluit, then isolate at the Frob and have the local industry ‘benefit’ from the costs of self-isolating for two weeks, rather than be paying out much $$ to hotels in the south for this same service. Hire local folks to do the catering and the security to keep us all safe, rather than be spending hundreds (thousands) to the hotels in the south. This , to me, is only one area that we in NU need answers to, as to why things are being done the way they are.

      • Posted by Northern Guy on

        If you think that the $$ shelled out for a southern hub are extremely imagine what it would be for an Iqaluit-based operation that regularly charges 2x the price!?! What is wrong with people isolating in their homes with regular follow- up from public health officials to ensure they are complying with the terms of their isolation. Far cheaper to the taxpayer, with far fewer mental health issues.

        • Posted by Sugggestions on

          Northern Guy, good points. Other jurisdictions allow people to isolate at home. I guess the issue with self-isolating at home in Nunavut is that people can’t be ‘trusted’ to self-isolate in their own homes. And over-crowding in many houses is a reality, so how could a person isolate in a home that they share with many others? But I agree that this should be considered. We can’t continue isolating people down south – it’s already been close to nine months of the pandemic and these practices.

        • Posted by Bert Rose on

          Nothing wrong with at home isolation at all except people won’t do it

  4. Posted by Not exactly on

    “During one of the most serious public health crises Nunavut and Nunavik — and, indeed, all of Canada — have faced.”
    Not quite. The effects of tuberculosis and the Spanish Flu in the past had a much more severe impact on places like Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, Nunavut than covid has had. Hopefully, the new editor of a northern paper learns more about our past in the North. Covid is incomparable to those past health crises so far.

  5. Posted by Bill Bumford on

    Now, how about some proper coverage of the current NTI election campaign?

  6. Posted by iThink on

    Welcome, Corey! And best of luck.
    I want to echo the sentiments above. It would be nice if our local journalists could bring themselves to ask a few tough, or even good, questions when speaking with government and other leaders. Though I get the discomfort some might feel given the cultural gap and lack of fluency in different worldviews which would be difficult to navigate knowing that one is effectively a foreigner and guest here. Nonetheless, I don’t think anyone is satisfied with reporters always repeating a news release or statement without so much as one insightful thought.
    Personally, I await the day when a heretical young Inuk takes up reporting for Nunatsiaq, and not being satisfied to reinforce the calcified gripes and narratives of those who rely on them for their own standing and ease, takes them completely to task. What a triumph that will be.
    You weren’t here then, but I would encourage you to look back at the sycophantic fawning that peaked last new year with an article about our “Silver tongued sources;” an anodyne and mostly boring list of trite homilies by our political class. It was totally barf worthy. I hope, going forward, we can at least pretend we aren’t completely star struck with our ‘leaders’ in hopes of ingratiating ourselves for an early tid-bit or two.
    An Alternative to this grotesque display would be a short list of zingers and thoughtful insights from the comments section over the year. There’s a lot of goofiness here, but at times there are some interesting thoughts too.
    All the best

  7. Posted by Avid Reader on

    I miss the rousing editorials we used to see in this publication, by Mr. Bell. Most were interesting and often sparked great discussions. I know he still writes one from time to time, it seems like they are fewer and fewer though.

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