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Tyee's drive for new readers (last chance to help!) is part of a grassroots push for news diversity.

By David Beers 3 Jul 2007 | TheTyee.ca

David Beers is founding editor of The Tyee.

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Beers: Crunch time

"We are in the middle of a major wave of private media consolidation in this country," says Steve Anderson, co-ordinator of Canadians for Democratic Media. "Recent history suggests we are headed for even less local coverage and less original programming."

Amen.

In Canada -- especially British Columbia -- a smaller number of corporations own more and bigger news media than in most places in the Western world. And as today's exclusive Tyee cover story by Marc Edge shows, media barons never stop scheming to expand their empires.

Conrad Black's trial coughed up faxes in which CanWest founder Izzy Asper dreams of joining Black in creating "awesome and infinite" deals with Shaw, Rogers, Thomson and other giants to create a "bulletproof media position" in Canada, untroubled by regulators.

Now Asper's sons run CanWest, and they've said nothing to indicate their ambitions are any less grandiose.

What can you do?

Well, The Tyee's drive to gain 5,000 new free subscribers to our new, improved e-mail headlines is in its final days, and frankly we won't meet our goal if you don't help spread the word right away. It's easy enough. Just go to our web page that allows you to forward our quick, funny video to friends. They'll be introduced to The Tyee as well as facts about Big Media's latest power plays, and solutions.

Or just write a short, personal note to your e-mail circle of friends and colleagues. Encourage them to sign up for The Tyee's headlines. Cut and paste this url: http://subscribe.thetyee.ca/?q=Subscribe/Headlines/, which will take people to the sign-up form. Hit send, and you're done in five minutes, 10 max.

You and your friends might even win free air travel or another prize as a thank you. (Take a look at the sidebar for more contest info.)

Act fast though -- our contest ends Sunday, July 8. Thanks to all of our readers who have helped us so far to make it more than half way to our goal.

Still rarin' to take on a media mega-millionaire or two? Join the "Stop the Big Media Takeover" letter-writing campaign by Canadians for Democratic Media. As their site explains:

"Rules that truly curb media concentration in Canada are long overdue. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) -- the body that regulates broadcast and telecommunications systems -- is holding a hearing in Gatineau this coming September on how to ensure a diversity of voices in our media. The deadline for submissions is July 18, 2007.

"These hearings could in the long run lead to a more concentrated media and a relaxation of the foreign ownership rules, leaving our media susceptible to takeover by even bigger U.S. media conglomerates. The airwaves belong to the public, and the CRTC needs to hear from you. Click here to let the CRTC know that media diversity matters to you."

We at The Tyee are happy to note, by the way, that Steve Anderson at Canadians for Democratic Media used a chunk of our recent Tyee video in his video on media concentration you'll find at their site.

We were glad to share. Working together is the only way we are going to achieve the truly diverse media we need to create a better community, nation, and world.

Thanks for helping us get the word out.  [Tyee]

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