Letter from the editors: Why The Toronto Beacon?

by and

July 1, 2017

Photographed by Jessica Leung

Welcome! We are a recently established digital newspaper that delivers accounts of issues and events relevant to Canadian youth. We cover a broad array of topics including Canadian politics, culture, science, and happenings on university campuses.

The Toronto Beacon was created as a reaction to the current state of journalism. Inflammatory click-bait, non-investigative stories, and “fake news” are slowly but surely killing journalism and hindering the pursuit of public enlightenment.

“News”

Snapchat’s featured news section is a particularly miserable illustration of some of the problems within journalism. Headlines such as “I Love Dating my Married Boyfriend” and “Ariel hits the beach” are clearly intended to maximize clicks. This type of brain-dead media is turning our youth population into entertainment addicted consumers interested in only the most superficial and easily digestible information. Members of the general public need to be aware of news with real world implications in order to make good social and personal decisions.

Elsewhere, in the world of serious news, the media has become an echo chamber of politically correct niceties. To express an opinion that disagrees with the prevailing narrative is virtually taboo. The editor of Write magazine, Hal Niedzviecki, resigned earlier this year amid controversy over an editorial essay in which he expressed that he does not believe in cultural appropriation. Soon after, the editor of The Walrus also resigned after he tweeted in support of Mr. Niedzviecki and was criticized by some contributors to the magazine. The essay was meant to prompt writers to discuss and understand the perspectives of people very different from themselves. Ironically, by pressuring Mr. Niedzviecki and others like him to resign, the conversation was dominated overwhelmingly by his critics and there was no discussion to be had at all. Political correctness and censorship are the new norms and there are not enough journalists willing to risk their careers to stand up against the Orwellian future that this current trend implies.

Perhaps even more malicious is the selective publication of unverified allegations and half-truths to forward a personal agenda. In an example that hits close to home, The University of Toronto’s student newspaper, The Varsity chose to not cite widely accessible video evidence of protestors at the October 2016’s free speech rally acting violently. Instead, The Varsity used quotes that were unverified and that equivocated the free speech activists to homophobes, transphobes, and white supremacists. We found this to be an especially condemnable incident since The Varsity, being the primary news source for campus-related events at the University of Toronto and having the ability to shape the student body’s opinion, blatantly disregarded the basic journalistic principles of impartiality and public accountability.

Today’s youth will suffer the most as a result of these practices. Assaulted from one side by garbage news and from the other by the biased views presented by the mainstream media, where can young people find the information that they need to make informed decisions and become a positive force in society? Ultimately, our goal for The Toronto Beacon is to promote thoughtful discourse and action among young Canadians. To this end, more than ever, we need journalism that is serious and unashamed of telling the truth.

We look forward to delivering high-quality content to our readers. Thank you.