Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Europeans are coming

International journalists are a fact of life here in Nunavut. At my work, we have one of the few satellite feeds in Nunavut, and we get a fair share of the TV guys who show up. We get some good ones (my buddy Per from Norway is a good example).

There is nothing worse than a journalist who has the story they want to write already written in their head before they even visit where they want to go.

That is why I fear for this summer. Check this from CBC today, on the subject of the many scientists visiting here for International Polar Year research:

Scientists won't be the only new faces northerners will notice this summer: Thomas said she's also noticed a big increase in the number of journalists interested in covering International Polar Year activities.

Journalists taking interest in the North, that is great. Problem is, many have the story already written in their minds before they board a flight.

This is from a BBC story (we aren't talking about fly-by-night operations here, we are talking big players). The author is discussing global warming in Nunavut. This what he had to say about the rink in Kugluktuk:

We later discussed sport and the popularity of ice hockey in Canada. Jack told us that until a few years ago, youngsters used to play on the ice rink in Kugluktuk, "but now it no longer freezes over so the kids can't play anymore".

There is a germ of truth in there, but it is set up to defend a false arguement. The entire article is about global warming, and the implication is that global warming is behind the problems with the rink in Kugluktuk.

The whole story is here

Or, what they call the whole story. I have reported on the rink in Kugluktuk. They can't make ice IN THE WINTER. Let me try that again, THEY CAN'T MAKE ICE IN THE WINTER!!!!

The problem isn't global warming, to make ice in the winter, they just have to leave the doors open. The problem is that they installed pipes to provide cooling for the ice surface when the rink was built, but never purchased the ice-making equipment to hook up to the pipes that run under the ice surface.

The pipes leach heat from the heated dressing rooms to the ice surface. That isn't a global warming problem, that is yet another infrastructure problem in a territory plagued by them.

I sent that story and a version of this warning to my friend Per, when he contacted us from Norway before landing here. He saw the problem right away, and promised me he wasn't looking to do anything like that.

Global warming is real.

A bunch of well-meaning left-leaning know-nothings, with their heady dreams of Arctic Adventure, and a set agenda before they get off the plane does nothing to help global warming, or the people of Nunavut.

Call me jaded, but I don't go out of my way to help international journalists anymore. The novelty has worn off, and their work is suspect.

I'll be looking for more factual errors over the course of the summer. Mis-spell a name, I'll cut you some slack. Invent implied facts, I'll jump up and down and scream bloody murder. I may even do a story about it if there are enough of them.

The Europeans are coming, man the battle stations with stacks of facts.