Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

On Location: Canada's Television Industry in a Global Market/Canadian Newspaper Ownership in the Era of Convergence: Rediscovering Social Responsibility

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

On Location: Canada's Television Industry in a Global Market/Canadian Newspaper Ownership in the Era of Convergence: Rediscovering Social Responsibility

Article excerpt

Serra Tinic, On Location: Canada's Television Industry in a Global Market (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005), 207 pp. Cloth. $60. £40. ISBN 0-8020-8737-X. Paper. $27.50. ISBN 0-8020-8548-2.

Walter C. Soderlund and Kai Hildebrandt (eds), Canadian Newspaper Ownership in the Era of Convergence: Rediscovering Social Responsibility (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2005), 194 pp. Paper. $34.95. £19.95. ISBN 0-88864-439-6.

Here are two very different books on the Canadian media, but they have in common hard empirical research which is used to illuminate the questions with which they are concerned. Serra Tinic interviewed over fifty individuals involved in the production process in the Vancouver area as part of her consideration of the nature of the television business in that part of Canada, while Walter Soderlund and his associates combined detailed analysis of content and interviews with newspaper executives as part of their exploration of the impact of chain ownership on the Canadian press. Thus both volumes can legitimately claim that their theoretical analysis is grounded in practical realities.

Vancouver has become very important as a base for American 'runaway production', so much so that the unions in Los Angeles have started to agitate against supposedly unfair Canadian competition. Tinic explains how important this industry now is for British Columbia but she is also concerned to demonstrate that as far as indigenous Canadian material is concerned, the west coast has lost out to central Canada in recent years. The days of the series Beachcombers are presented here as something of a golden period, while the use of Vancouver in Da Vinci's Inquest (and presumably its successor) is presented as something of a decline, since that series is designed for the international market rather than as an expression of aspects of life in the west. Personally I think she is a little too enthusiastic about Beachcombers and rather hard on Da Vinci, which for this viewer combines the appeal of the cop/coroner drama series with a constant illumination of the differences between Canada and the United States in matters of policing and social policy. …

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