OPINION: Gone to the dogs

Cute cat pics and daring dog videos have long been king of social media, collecting a number of likes many humans can only dream of.

It can be hard for people to see their own photos and accomplishments gain comparatively meager praise. Refreshing your page and hoping more people will notice you can be a hard cycle to break — do people really care more about Grumpy Cat?

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For us working at The Squamish Chief, how many likes a story gets can be disheartening, but not because we need to be applauded for our work. What’s more frustrating is when people ask questions in the comments that were answered in the article. While pets dominate, news that affects the community goes unread.

I get it.

I’m in no way blaming our fluffy friends. Staying informed about what’s going on in the world isn’t always fun. In fact, it’s rarely so. It’s hard to keep up with the constant global news cycle, and often harder to hear negative news about your own home. It’s much, much easier to watch goofy dogs online (Loca the Pug that Couldn’t Run is my favourite).

That doesn’t mean these stories — and the work behind them — are any less important. It’s why Squamish has its own newspaper, so journalists who live here and know the community can do the heavy lifting, the research, interviews and reporting for you. All you have to do is read it.

While uplifting and heartwarming stories will always be worth telling, I’d argue the hard-hitting news, those stories that are difficult to read, are the most important. A recent example is the measles outbreak and the vaccination records (or lack thereof) that can have deadly consequences. When you need to know exactly when and where the exposure was, The Chief published it. Luckily, there have been no cases of measles in the Sea to Sky. But there have been more vaccinations. This was most likely the result of the public health authority’s efforts. Maybe The Chief’s reporting played a part. In the end, people got the information they needed to make a decision that will ultimately make our community healthier and safer for us to live in.

Whether you’re wondering about measles vaccines or what happened at the latest council meeting — which reporter Steven Chua attends and reports on weekly — that information is here for you. If you subscribe to the newspaper, it’s literally at your door every week.

No more scrolling.

Instead, pick up the newspaper and flip through it. You’ll learn something about the community you live in. Even if you don’t read it right away (we know you’re busy!) that information doesn’t expire. It’ll be there when you’re ready.

What you do with that information is up to you.

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@ Copyright Squamish Chief

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