If you’d asked a year ago if we’d prefer to cover municipal council meetings via something called ‘Zoom’ technology….well, you can guess what the answer would have been.

But as it turns out, it’s not bad! There may be drawbacks for the councillors. There have been glitches – for example when people not sitting in front of a microphone are asked to say something (this happened often at town council meetings). Or when somebody engages in a whispered side conversation without muting their microphone, or rustles paper (Hello, M.D!). But these are a minor part of the story and are gradually being eliminated. Otherwise, the audio comes through loud and clear. As far as our coverage of the meetings goes, the results might even be better, due to the ability to check back into the meeting at any point the next day (or whenever).

So what’s lost in this new format? For one thing, it’s easy enough to space out, getting distracted by other things. It requires a bit of discipline. But from our point of view, there are no significant drawbacks. An advantage might also be that more people are ‘attending’ meetings than usual.

An unintended consequence of broadcasting meetings, of course, is that councillors have to be even more careful about what they say. Lack of candour is not a good thing, on the whole. But people should watch what they say, obviously.

So….we’re happy we can continue to report on what your municipal councils are doing. And we’ll keep doing it as long as your local newspaper remains a viable business. Helping in that regard is the M.D. of Lesser Slave River, which continues to see value in advertising in the paper; not helping is that the Town of Slave Lake doesn’t.

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