We'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our editorial team: Greg McGrath-Goudie.
McGrath-Goudie is our reporter covering civic matters in The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands. His position was created with funds from the Canadian government through the Local Journalism Initiative. The program is intended to provide community journalism in areas identified as "news deserts."
McGrath-Goudie started working for CollingwoodToday.ca at the end of September 2021.
Enjoy this Q and A with Greg.
1. What made you study English and political science in school? What sparked your interest in Journalism?
I decided to study English and political science for two reasons: I loved writing and reading, and I was curious about how the world around us functions. Journalism came on my radar when I found out about Lakehead's student newspaper, The Argus, and I wrote an article that they published. I quickly saw journalism as a way that I could use writing to contribute to the world around me.
2. What made you decide to pursue a career in journalism?
I had considered trying to find a path in research or in another area of writing, but I ultimately chose journalism because I believe it's the most impactful writing there is. Journalism is rooted in the here and now: it gives everyday people a platform to be heard; it holds institutions and governments to account; and it requires journalists to get out there, meet a bunch of different people, ask tough questions and find out what's going on in the world today. It's a fast-paced, exciting industry, and it was the only type of work I could see myself doing when I graduated from university.
3. What are your first impressions of The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands?
I haven't had the chance to spend much time in the area yet, but my first impression is that it's an absolutely gorgeous area. As an outdoorsy person, I can tell that I'm going to be very happy living here. Between the Blue Mountains, Lake Huron, and the hiking trails, the area has a lot of adventure to offer.
4. Why do you think hyper-local journalism continues to draw readers?
I believe hyper-local journalism draws readers because it gives communities stories that directly impact them. For example, a bill passed by the provincial or federal government can seem sort of nebulous or far away, but something that happens in your own town, to your own neighbours, is of immediate importance and interest.
Local news helps people understand what's going on in their immediate surroundings, from what's going well to what isn't going so well. A government bill might not directly impact you, but if, say, a local road has flooded, or there's a shortage of housing in your town, those are things that could directly impact your day-to-day life. That's why I think hyper-local journalism continues to draw readers, and also why it's so important.
5. What was it like to start a new job as a journalist during the "pandemic of the century?"
I feel fortunate to be given this opportunity. Many recent graduates have struggled to find gainful employment, and I have been lucky enough to land a job in my chosen field of – a field that was very competitive to begin with.
There are so many issues that have been created by the pandemic, and I believe that now is an incredibly important time to be a journalist. Things feel heavier than they did before. Public health and the economy might have been background noise for many people in the past, but these issues are now front and centre in our lives. It may sound strange, but it's an exciting time to be a journalist. There is simply so much important work to do, and there is a heightened sense of purpose in the work these days. I'm really looking forward to it.
6. You were hired through the Local Journalism Initiative, which is aimed at providing resources to provide coverage in "news deserts." Why do you think this project is an important one?
A lot of media outlets have struggled to stay afloat in the 21st century, and this project helps to ensure that news is continually delivered to communities across our nation. News is important for not only finding out what's going on, but also for maintaining a healthy democracy. Without a local news outlet, who is going to attend city council meetings to find out about new bylaws, or ask questions about the budget? Who will give a platform to people that have an important story to share?
The Local Journalism Initiative ensures that journalists are on the ground doing this work, and that's why it's so important.
7. Anything else you'd like people to know about you?
Aside from being a literature and news nerd, I'm a pretty outdoorsy guy. I like going on back-country camping trips via kayak or canoe, and I've gone hiking in places all over the province when I've had the chance. I'm originally from Labrador, and I've paddled the Grand River out there as well.
I wrote my master's research project on memoirs left behind by my Labradorian family, who were Southern Inuit trappers and have lived in Labrador for hundreds of years.
I have a fiancee named Becca, and a big, silly dog named Patches, so I mostly spend my time hanging out with them.