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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 13, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta Itn TW UTWWOOI mAlB Government press releases, statements plentiful News media has no problem on stories to fill their columns By THE CANADIAN 1'HESS Canada's news media need not always search for news. Sometimes it's thrust at them. Take Ottawa and the 10 pro- vincial capitals, for instance. There are civil servants in all provinces whose job is !o provide 'government handouts releases and ctate- mentsr-tp the news media and a Cross-Canada Survey by The Canadian Press shows that the Business is flourish- ing. about a. year. It will be available lo cabi- net ministers, their deputies, members ol the legislature and the opposition leader who is. given status similar lo that of a minister in the Progres- sive Conservative govern- ment. David Butler, information service director, said the sys- tem will not prevent reporters from arranging their own in- terviews with cabinet mem- bers. The federal government em- ploys almost people whose primary funclion is to provide information lo the press and public. This does not include the SlG-rnember staff of Informa- tion Canada which was formed lo distribute informa- tion on government activities and the views of the public to the government. Its budget is DOUBLE OUTPUT Wliile some provinces say their flow ol information to the media has been constant, oitsrs like Ontario and Al- berta say it has doubled in the last five years. And every method short of pony express is used to spread the information, al- though the trend is towards inore sophisticated equip- ment. During a mealing of the Council of Wartime Premiers in June, it was agreed that (he information directors of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia would study the methods and costs of an integrated wire to disseminate releases through- out the region. The premiers said lhat each province would give priority to its own needs at present, but if regional integration was eventually thought desirable, compatible equipment could be.provided. Centralization of inform a- Uon-issuing services and trend towards the Telex-type equipment, rather than mail, was evident in the survey. Newfoundland expects soon lo have a Telex system, one which already is in use in P.E.I. New Brunswick has rnessage-sv.itchiiig data sys- tem somewhat similar to Telex while Quebec relies largely on Telbec, a private- wire system. Alberta uses teletype hookup. Following is a province-by- province look at the situation: NEWFOUNDLAND Newfoundland expects its Telex line, feeding seven sep- arate points and covering all news media, to go into opera- tion tin's summer at a cost of NOVA SCOTIA Nova Scotia is centralizing its information services, move which has been criti- cized by the opposition in the legislature and the Halifax newspapers but endorsed else- where. Information for media in the Halifax-Dartmouth area by hand delivery with mail outside the metropolitan area. Only the highways depart- ment uses voice clips, usually statements by the minister and safety officers. Cost of publicity services to- tals about million a year with 11 persons at work. The government production of re- leases is 750 a year, about the same as five years ago. PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND The Island Information Service augments Telex with mail and messenger service. At present ministers of the Liberal government and pro- vincial agencies use it. Direc- lor Chuck Hickey said the leg- islature opposition has never asked to use (he service and lie was not sure what would happen if they did. The Pro- gressive Conservative opposi- tion has criticized the cost of the service which employs eight people. NEW BRUNSWICK The New Brunswick Infor- mation Service has a staff of and spends a year covering all government de- partments. Its message sys- tem handles more than words a month, transmitting lo 13 radio stations, five dail- ies and a weekly, with some releases in English, ethers in French. Director Robert Campbell said his organization "will not provide political service" IK cither government or opposi- tion members. QUEBEC The province of Qutbee Is switching from its information and publicity office to a gen- eral directorate of govern- ment information. Informa- tion now goes via Telbec and mall to nearly all dailies, broadcasting and news agencies In the province. Dally voice clips and video- tapes are offered to 37 broad- casting stations and nine cable companies. In 1970-71, last year for which figures are available, more than releases and bulletins for broadcast- ers were Issued. The service also provided more than releases aimed at weeklies and the photographic service turned out photos. The publicity office spent in 1870-71, most of it on salaries lor the 164 employ- ONTARIO With no central agency, at least 20 Ontario government agencies employ 60 workers to turn out Information at a cost, which no authority has measured precisely. But a civil servant In Premier Wil- liam Davis' office said the cost runs over million for handling a flow of information which has at least doubled in the last Iiv3 years. "The business of govern- ment has got much bigger in the last live lie said. "Our provincial budget now is more than billion and there is a greatev demand by the public to follow government activities." Most information from the Progressive, Conservative gov- ernment goes out by mail or is distributed by hand to the large parliamentary press gallery. However, the natural resources ministry maintains a Telex system in Northern Ontario. The Progressive Conserva- tive caucus, in addition, main- tains a radio hookup in which broadcaster Michael O'Hourke, a defeated Tory candidate in the last provin- cial election, interviews liis party's members in the legis- lature and relays the talk to provincial broadcasters. The New Democratic Party and Ins Liberals also distrib- ute their own press releases. MANITOBA Norman R. Donogh, direc- tor of the Manitoba informa- tion services branch, csli- matcs cost of preparing and distributing releases by a staff of five writers and two clerks, who spend part of (heir time on it, at a year, including salaries. The agriculture department issues its own publicity in the form of farm-information re- leases and V. E. McNair, chief of the department's communications sendees, es- timates the cost of preparing such material by a staff of four or five at a year. The agriculture department also uses some tape record- Ings and sound films as part of a farm-extension service. Information service releases are running about a year compared with 650 five years ago. The 1972-73 budget Is but this Includes some specialized services as well. SASKATCHEWAN The government informa- tion service in Saskatchewan operates with two employees and three photographers on a budget of about Dis- tribution is by mall and the service will not handle state- ments by politicians without the specific request of a cabi- net minister. Last year 807 releases were handled compared with 602 In 1968. This year the toUl is more than 660 so far. ALBERTA Opposition Leader Harry Strom calls Alberta's newly- established Information, tele- type hookup an intrusion into the news-gathering procws. Access to the system, which covers the province's dailies and broadcasters, is limited to government departments and agencies. Members of the leg- islature are not allowed to use it. The Is eventually to eliminate mail service, the traditional method ol distribu- tion. Director David Wood was unable to estimate the cost of the service which employs 136 but he said their output is "easily twice what it was five years ago." Mr. Strom has timaled the cost of the tele- type hookup Itoelf it a year. BRITISH COLUMBIA The various department! in British Columbia provide their own information by mail and by hand to the legislative gallery. They serve 17 dailies, 118 weeklies and eth- nic papers, 57 broadcasting outlets and a dozen of the media in ndgiioiiag Wash? ington state. Statements by opposition members of tfae legislature are not carried but one infor- mation officer said the opposi- tion has not asked for the privilege. Officials could not estimate the cost of the service or tho number of releases handled but said there has been no significant increase in output in the last five years. Scientists jolt out of blue liy C. G. McDANIEL BOULDER, Colo (AP) Scientists are giving a jolt to bolts out of the blue. They say they have been successful in field ex- periments in suppressing the destructive force of lightning. The second phase of ex- periments to control this fear- some phenomenon recently was concluded in Colorado and produced encouraging re- sults, they added. Ultimately, the ability to suppress lightning would help reduce forest fires, BO per cent of which are caused hy lightning, Dr. Heinz Kasemir, project leader, said in a tele- phone interview Monday. Kasemir and five col- leagues from tiie National Oceanic and Atmospheric ministratmn .seeded thunder- storms mill metallized nylon succeeded in neutralizing storm elec- trical fields which produce lightning. The chaff is gossamer fine about four inches long. It cannot used in areas where there is airplane traf- fic localise it interferes with radar. For tliis reason, it is im- practical as a suppressant over urban Kasemir said, adding that other means are available to protect build- ings from lightning. Commencing July 15, Ihe scientists conducted ex- periments for six weeks in a 2 0 O-square-mile farmland area in northeastern Colo- rado. An earlier study was con- ducted near Flagstaff, Ariz., in 19C6-67, and further study is planned in Colorado, Kasc- mir said. While no comparative sta- lislics arc available from lightning activity in past summers, Kasemir said, on every occasion during the ex- periment storm electrical fields were dissipated. It is thought that volts a metre are necessary to produce lightning. Kasemir and liis colleagues suppressed lightning by In- creasing the conductivity of. the atmosphere with the chaff, thus making it impos- sible for storm electric fields to develop lightning potential. Ordinarily, air is a poor conductor of electricity and the electrical charges of storms are not dissipated un- til the field builds up enough strength to penetrate the in- sulaliou barrier of the air. Then a lighlning bolt occurs. The scientists in Colorado use a propeller-driven B-26 plane. Instruments to meas- ure electrical fields have been installed so they know where to sow the chaff. The plane is flown toward the turbulent base of the storm and the chaff is re- leased so that it will be borne into the clouds by updrafts in the storm's circulation. Changes in the electrical field are measured as the plane makes n return pass through the si arm. Cholesterol study planned MONTREAL (CP) An ex tensive North American study aimed at determining whether lowering the amount of choles- terol in the body actually helps prevent premature coronary ar- tery disease is to begin next year, Dr. Holicrt Levy, of the National Institute of Health in Balhesda, Md., said here. Dr. Levy told doctors at a three-day discussion on cardio- vascular drugs Ihe study of 000 people with high cholesterol levels will be carried out in 10 university hospital centres. 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