How Canadians Communicate


332 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55238-104-8
DDC 302.23'0971




Edited by David Taras, Frits Pannekoek, and Maria Bakardjieva
Reviewed by Jay Newman

Jay Newman is a professor of philosophy at the University of Guelph. His
most recently published work is Biblical Religion and Family Values: A
Problem in the Philosophy of Culture (2001).


This collection of essays on the current condition of the Canadian media
is based on papers delivered at a 2001 conference sponsored by the
University of Calgary’s Telus Visiting Scholars Program. Six speakers
were invited, but most of the contributors to the volume are associated
with the University of Calgary. Co-editor David Taras has provided an
introduction, and co-editors Frits Pannekoek and Maria Bakardjieva have
contributed papers. There are three sets of essays. The first three
articles deal with recent problems relating to government regulation of
the media, the “convergence” strategy of media companies, and
difficulties of libraries and museums in addressing technological
change. These are followed by essays on the state of various media in
Canada: newspapers, books, television, Aboriginal media, films, and
music. The last three articles deal with aspects of the “new media”:
consequences of home Internet use, the continuing development of
telehealth technology, and difficulties confronting teleworkers. Since
most of the contributors are academic communications specialists, the
essays are for the most part quite similar in style and tone. There are
more than enough charts, lists, numbers, endnotes, and bibliographical
references to satisfy readers who appreciate such things. The book also
abounds with dollar figures, so that even novelist Aritha van Herk, in
her engaging piece on book publishing in Canada, lets us know, for
example, that in 1998–99, English-language book sales totalled
$1,352,383,000, and when CEO Larry Stevenson was terminated at Chapters,
“he left with a severance package of $855,750 on top of his yearly
salary of $287,500 and a $105,750 bonus.”

The essays in the collection are of a uniformly high quality. The
authors appear to know their areas quite well; they communicate
clearly—which is a real asset in a book on communications—and they
make sundry useful recommendations. They generally love Canada and
earnestly want us to help them make it an even better society.


“How Canadians Communicate,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024,