SNEAK PEEK: Deeper than insults


author: jae won hur | executive director

Prairie Dog

Credit: Ian Lee via Flickr


Of course, personal attacks coupled with crude insults on Facebook, for mere difference in social beliefs are absolute unacceptable; however, it’s deeper than just sixth-grade name-calling and insults.

The demographical chromosomes of Regina can be seen as somewhat binary; simply, there are two groups that define a ‘Reginan.’

On one hand, there are those who are satisfied with this city and province. They find the status quo thrilling. Whether it be the people, the Saskatchewan lifestyle, or the economic and cultural opportunities, these individuals love and are content with the Land of the Living Skies and Queen City.

In contrast, there are those that are completely dissatisfied with this city and province. They feel trapped, claustrophobic and suffocated by the perceived economic and cultural ceiling that seems to be caving in. Regina doesn’t support the sought-after lifestyles of these individuals. Simply put, the general narrative of these individuals is to find something beyond the status quo.

Like many other young people within our city and university, I don’t see myself living in Regina for the rest of my life. I would like to try something else and branch out into various opportunities. That is not to diminish or condemn in any way individuals that love Regina, far from it in fact. It’s a mere introduction to a bigger discussion point, that being the Prairie Dog and Regina’s journalistic mediums.

For context, recently, an editor for the Prairie Dog (the so-called Regina’s only alternative) lashed out at local activists for their stances on #BlackLivesMatter. What started as ad hominem attacks from the editor’s Facebook page diffused into the Prairie Dog’s official Twitter handle where language and insults that I’d rather not repeat were spewed against the activists.

According to the Prairie Dog website, the publication that brands itself as “Regina’s Only Alternative Newspaper” states their readers are “smart, savvy, and informed media consumers who are difficult to reach through any other media” and that they are “the city’s trendsetters and opinion leaders who turn to [Prairie Dog] for honest, insightful, and entertaining coverage of the things that matter to them.” Basically, they are describing the aforementioned descriptions of those that look beyond the status quo – those that want more than the Leader-Post.

It is from these notions in which I find the inappropriate behaviours of an editor from the Prairie Dog especially concerning and disappointing. Of course, personal attacks coupled with crude insults on Facebook for mere differences in social beliefs are absolutely unacceptable; however, it’s deeper than just sixth-grade name-calling and insults. As a journalist, one is given a platform to speak for the masses. A journalist serves the function of an amplifier, which projects the chords of the general masses. Simultaneously, when one is given this privilege and opportunity to be a voice of the masses, there needs to be held a certain moral standard involving not only tolerance of various opinions, but also a certain level of moral integrity. People turn to the Prairie Dog and rely on its content, because in a city full of norms, traditions and routines, it’s hard to find something that challenges the status quo. These individuals pursue the extraordinary within the canvases of art, culture, sports, opinions and news. It should naturally be derived that such a relied-upon publication should have upheld a level of integrity and morality.

I love the Carillon because I’m someone that seeks the extraordinary in this university. In a social and anthropological environment embarked on tradition and precedence, this paper gives me an opportunity, albeit for a brief moment, to break the routine and to view my world in a different light. People feel the same way about the Prairie Dog as both publications serve similar roles – to give people a challenging opportunity of viewing the world in a different light.

That said, this op-ed’s purpose is not to say that this publication has never had conflicts with other viewpoints, nor is it to attack the Prairie Dog. This episode and op-ed is a reminder to not only Prairie Dog, but also to the Carillon and other journalistic mediums, that we serve a vital role for the community and university. People that seek the extraordinary rely on our publications. As a result, we must ensure that a certain level of integrity, tolerance, and morality is upheld. This is also reminder that the freedom of speech is an absolute right, but the opportunities of journalism are a valuable privilege, and that intolerance, personal attacks and being a complete jackass should not be tolerated, especially ones coming from a journalist.

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