October 7, 2019




President Dave opened the meeting with some interesting facts about historic events on this day, followed by Joe valiantly leading us in Oh Canada.  Good job Joe!

Joe followed that success by winning the 50/50 draw and did what would have been a perfect reciting the Four-Way Test. 

Balint also told us about his week which included fun with tractors. 


Our speaker was Brian Brennan, a Calgary Herald columnist for 25 years, a musician, and a writer of 15 published non-fiction and fiction works.  

Brian let us know that more than two thirds of adults get news from social media; they don't trust it but go there for news anyway because it's a habit to go to Facebook at least once a day.  And Facebook, Google, and media pages are where incorrect stories make the rounds.  For example, there was a popular post about Trudeau supposedly asking Nigeria for 2000 immigrants because he had started a new job program for immigrants, which was untrue, but which was spread far and wide. 

Brian Brennan worked at the Calgary Herald in what he terms The Golden Age, when in his area of writing - The Entertainment Section, including professional theatre, amateur theatre, book reviews, movie reviews, and local events - there were 15 full time writers.  The Calgary Herald all told had close to 200 writers and a good sized budget. However, by the mid 1990s things changed.  Pressure to double profits, because the Herald executives were worried about Conrad Black taking over, didn't work and that along with the loss of advertising income (because of advertisers moving from print to the internet) reduced the number of investigative columnists to an woefully inadequate number.   

The most recent upsetting challenge to truth just happened in the last couple of weeks when Facebook removed the need for truth in political advertising.  Their removal of that particular policy was a result of Facebook being  challenged for running provably untrue Trump for President ads.  Rather than change those ads and lose that income, Facebook dropped the requirement for truth in advertising from only political advertising.

Brennan told several interesting stories about journalism and the watchdog role of journalists.  Brian also reminded us that one of the most famous current columnists, Susanne Craig, is a local-reporter-makes-good-story.  Susanne, a Calgarian  who now works at the New York Times, won the Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on on how Donald Trump’s tax returns, mailed to her anonymously, “debunked [Trump's] claims of self-made wealth and revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges” (Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist returns to Calgary to talk about reporting on Donald Trump, Adam MacVicar, Global News, September 7, 2019)

Brennan’s final recommendations to us were to trust The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, CBC, and The Calgary Herald, but little if anything on social media.

Brian also nodded agreement to the suggestion that the film Broadcast News demonstrated, if not predicted, the changes we've seen in journalism.


Bud Watson reminded us that we need to put some money in our Paul Harris Foundation envelopes in order to fulfill our club commitment to donate the equivalent of $50.00 per member, which is one of the qualification for Rotary Grant eligibility.


Please invite Balint to your events so we don't send him home saying he had too much time on his hands in Canada.  

Next Meeting

Be sure to attend our next meeting on October 21st to enjoy hearing Eunice Akinnuoye, owner of Granny's Bakery, tell us about herself and her craft.
In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving!



Club Information
Welcome to the Rotary Club of Calgary North.
Calgary North
We meet Mondays at 12:00 PM
Best Western Village Park Inn
1804 Crowchild Trail NW
Mail: BOX 67131 5111 NORTHLAND DRIVE
Calgary, AB  T2L 2JO
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