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LETTER: Thankful for local media who hold elected officials accountable

"I don’t think it is a stretch to assume The Gazette is not particularly popular with our elected officials over their commitment to keep the MEC and its predecessor, the municipal utility corporation, in the spotlight. Too bad. That is the job of a free press and what makes it so valuable."
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I, too, would like to acknowledge John Farlinger and Bruce MacPherson for their investment of both time and money to help St. Albertans understand the issues associated with the City of St. Albert’s municipal energy corporation plan.

It’s equally important not to overlook the great work done by The Gazette in providing residents of St. Albert with such thorough reporting on this project right from day one. Without the work of The Gazette, we can only guess (and shudder) at how far down the road we might have been with the MEC before anyone really knew what was happening.

I don’t think it is a stretch to assume The Gazette is not particularly popular with our elected officials over their commitment to keep the MEC and its predecessor, the municipal utility corporation, in the spotlight. Too bad. That is the job of a free press and what makes it so valuable.

I, for one, am extremely grateful for the fact that St. Albert still has a strong community newspaper in business to ensure our elected officials are held accountable for the decisions they make and the impact those decisions will have on our community for generations to come. 

For the record, I am a taxpaying citizen of this fine city. I am also the CEO/advertising director for AdCanada Media, which procures advertising for newspapers and their affiliations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

I have a front-row seat to a shift in the media industry. In a world where advertising dollars are being gobbled up by huge American tech giants who use surveillance marketing to deliver their highly-targeted ads — investing none of those revenues back into communities — locally-owned media outlets across the world are left teetering on the brink.

This example should serve as a cautionary tale as to just how dangerous it would be to live in a community without a strong local newspaper monitoring the issues on behalf of its citizens.

I would ask that all local businesses consider that potential reality before spending advertising dollars with Facebook or Google instead of The Gazette and I would ask all residents to consider that same reality before shopping on Amazon instead of at our locally-owned businesses.

Jeff Beardsworth, St. Albert