The fact is that these days we´re all too busy being led to focus on the calamity that is our world. We’re all “connected” but watching the same channel. In reality, most are just going along for the ride, searching for entertainment while heading to work, or home. When I say entertainment, I’m not belittling the tragedies that face our planet and its inhabitants, what I mean is that most of us are just using our internet connections to pass the time. If this were not the case, I believe that what’s going on in today’s society would be met with much more fierce opposition.
So, who’s bothering to read about what’s happening in their immediate surroundings? Good question. It’s hard to compete with the loud voices on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, oh yeah, X. These are among the darlings of the smartphone world. The ones that control what we see and hear and think. How does community reporting hold a candle to that? In order to take hold, it has to grab the youth, and these days grabbing the attention of the younger crowd is like trying to catch a fish in the water with your bare hands. There’s so much going on at once that getting a foot in the door with community information and goings on is almost impossible. Our minds are so saturated with the most ridiculous, the funniest, the saddest, the most dangerous, the most fascinating, the most interesting and the most informative, that there’s no room or even patience to pay attention to the “normal” and “every day”. Yet these are of the upmost importance to us all. We’re all going from being in unique communities and cultures to being all the same. We’ve lost track of the fact that our differences are what made the world a most interesting place. Now, the most interesting, is what gets the most views. No one seems to care about the efforts some of our community members make in order to keep our differences alive. The money spent on informing and trying to teach.
I’m from a time where our Portuguese community would flock to wherever anything Portuguese was taking place. Any news from back home was important. Portuguese traditions were held in high regard. Of course, no one can expect those things to remain the same forever, but no one could have predicted such a change in the paradigm either. The battle for survival of community media services is almost as old as the services themselves. Luckily, there have always been those among us that have kept these services afloat, but at great personal expense, and I don’t just mean money. Advertising revenue has always been a struggle, and the target audience has always had difficulty grappling with the idea of paying for something they’ve always had free of charge. I get that. The only thing is that today is much different from 50 years ago, even 10 years ago. Running costs are now atrocious and I can say for a fact that none of the publications available today in the community are making a profit. Advertisers follow trends and unfortunately community-based publications and broadcasts are not it, at least in Portuguese.
Times have changed, the Portuguese community is more dispersed and more Canadian than ever. It’s a struggle, and I believe, a losing battle, although I would love to be proven wrong.