thumb.aspx.jpegMarc Edge, former reporter, one-time seatmate at a Montreal Canadiens hockey game, and now journalism instructor is emerging as one of Canada’s leading media scholars.

His latest book — Asper Nation — digs deep into the CanWest-Global network built by the late Izzy Asper and now in the hands of his children. It’s not just about a family dynasty, though. The central message of the work is that in building a media empire, the Aspers have brought media concentration in Canada to dangerous levels.

(I was sent a review copy of the book. There are four excerpts from the book and a feature article by editor David Beers at The Tyee.)

Asper Nation has a lot going for it: deep research has produced a detailed history, with a healthy dose of anecdote, and Marc’s 20 years in the newsroom are used to good advantage. The book is a deep read but fast-paced. The writing is brisk.

Most Canadian journalists and media watchers are familiar with the story and most of the twists and turns ( byline strikes, head-office-written editorials, layoffs, etc.). Marc’s real gift to the reader is bringing it all together. For those who have watched this unfold, it’s a reminder of what’s happened with media ownership in this country, and the effects of the increasing concentration, over the past decade.

Marc also ties in media theory, which is where the rubber of media concentration meets the road of newspapering, as he tallies the loss of diversity and the concentration of editorial voices outside the local area.

Marc’s book deserves a wide readership, wider than journalism circles where the stories and the fears of media concentration are well known. We get better media, after all, not when the media decides to get better, but when the public sees what’s happening and demands that it change.

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