Who Will Replace David Baines?
In June, David Baines, Scott Simpson and John Manthorpe said farewell to Vancouver Sun business readers. They had accepted Postmedia’s voluntary buyout options. Postmedia is losing millions every quarter and is operating under a heavy debt load – reflecting a general decline in the viability of traditional media.
I will miss David Baines the most. He was an award-winning columnist who for the past 25 years exposed questionable practices, stock fraud and misconduct in the business world. He was afforded a generous amount of research time and he often took stories to the “legal edge.” His parting shot was a multi-page article looking at the financial stewardship of the Rick Hansen Foundation.
In his farewell column Baines said, “I learned that it takes money, not just to publish stories, but also to defend them. I am fortunate to have worked for a newspaper that has the means and mindset to do both, and to have had great libel lawyers … to guide me through this jungle.”
In the current media landscape, local TV, radio and print news seldom have the staff, the research time or the finances to pay for libel lawyers. There are still many talented journalists in our market, but they are provided with less opportunity to do in-depth work.
I’ll miss the journalistic excellence and in-depth stories that Baines provided. Let’s hope local media will still have the resources to cover much more than just the headlines in the months and years ahead.