E25: Today I am joined by Tom McCoag. Tom first joined the Springhill Parrsboro Record in 1980, and joined the Chronicle Herald Amherst Bureau in 1982. He was in this position until 2009 until he transferred to the Chronicle Herald head office to be a Copy and Pagination Editor. In 2017 he left the Chronicle Herald and joined the Town of Amherst as the Corporate Communications Director.
Please note, Tom is doing this interview in a personal capacity and his opinions are his own, not the the Town of Amherst or any previous employers.
This is why I wanted to have Tom on the episode. He was a journalist in Amherst for 27 years, and he would have stories and opinions about the history of our local journalism scene and where it stands now. And Tom shared these. We covered how he first got involved in the News industry in High School. We talked about his education and career paths. To me the most interesting conversations were about Tom’s definitions of what local news and journalism is and why it matters to our community.
If you don’t remember Tom as a reporter, you may also know him from his days reffing Minor Hockey and Ramblers Games, or as an umpire for Little Baseball, or as a Cadet Officer. Tom has been involved in our community for many years.
As I’ve said before, I joined in the #StopHateForProfit campaign and have signed off Facebook for at least the month of July. This conversation reminded me again that Facebook sells ads on stories and content produced by our local news organizations and makes Billions of dollars each year off it. But, Facebook does not pay for any of this content. They do not reimburse news organizations, Facebook just expects to get and monetize the hard work of journalists for free. Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies absolutely play a role in our declining local news system.