Editorial – Media Needs to Tell The Story As It Unfolds – Not Recreate It

In Editorial

Editorial – Is this the way media should be?

It’s something that’s been bugging me since I heard about it.

But, we always strive to get the story right and not to jump to conclusions.

So Today’s Northumberland e-mailed the reporter – it’s been days and we haven’t heard back.

This likely won’t put myself in the “good books” with certain media or reporters, but it’s another example of what this profession is turning into.

On July 12, 2023 Today’s Northumberland received an e-mail from a person stating Kevin Mills was coming through Northumberland County the next day.

Mills became a quadriplegia while swimming in the ocean over a decade ago. With pounding force the wave smashed him on the bottom.

Before the accident, Mills was very active in rock climbing and a paramedic.

That all changed.

Looking into the story it didn’t take long to know this is a story that had to be covered.

So, the days plans were changed and Today’s Northumberland met Mills along with two people who were joining him.

All were very accommodating and welcomed the chance to share their story of Mills becoming the first quadriplegic to use his wheelchair to cycle across Canada.

Inspirational is the first word that comes to mind when meeting Mills, but many more soon arise.

Kind, welcoming, polite, and so much more.

Today’s Northumberland followed Mills on his two-hour journey from Brighton to Cobourg where he met with Mayor Lucas Cleveland, Councillor Adam Bureau who presented Mills and Nikki Davenport with certificates on their journey.

Then they wanted to have a rest day.

But that really didn’t happen – unfortunately.

And the fault of that is with the media.

CTV had planned to come and do a story on Mills journey.

As it should be, it’s easily a national story worth telling.

A veteran CTV reporter and cameraman came to Cobourg.

But what happened for Mills “rest day” turned into more of a work day.

Mills had been at the Victoria Park Campground, but the reporter had Mills and Davenport go to D’arcy Street for footage, footage and more footage.

By the end of the day, Mills was nearly in spasms when he should have been relaxing.

The story aired with file footage from Mills journey along with video taken in Cobourg.

The inspirational, kind-hearted man wouldn’t say “no” when asked.

And it’s understandable.

It would be national coverage for him to promote his goal which is accessibility and that there is life after a devastating injury.

What was planned to be a rest day, turned out to be work day for the group who had a trailer site over looking Victoria Beach and Lake Ontario. A beautiful spot to relax on their journey.

But they couldn’t because national media couldn’t be bothered to follow Mills time line.

It wasn’t the media working around Mills schedule, it was Mills working around media’s schedule and that is flat-out wrong!

This man is doing something no other person has ever done and yet he’s asked to recreate part of his ride for the camera.

Frankly, it’s mind boggling.

When Today’s Northumberland e-mailed the reporter we asked if he would have had asked Terry Fox to run a few more kilometres after he’d completed one of his day marathons.

Media is forever changing – daily.

But like other parts of society, media needs to get back to their roots.

People like Mills aren’t there for the media – we are there for him.

To tell his story as it unfolds.

Not recreate it.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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