Belleville City Council votes yes to curbside organics

At the Belleville City Council meeting on Monday, Council voted yes to starting  curb side compost pick up. Both urban and rural areas of the city will be serviced.

Date: January 28,2013

Sources:    Town Council Agenda for January 28,2013 ,Councillor Tom Lafferty and The City of Belleville’s tweets, Quinte News

http://www.quintenews.com/2013/01/change-for-belleville-garbage-collection/40168/

Critical thinking/Gut reaction: I was happy when I heard this news. I used a green bin for almost 10 years prior to moving to Belleville.  After five months of being without one I have realized what a difference the bins make when it comes to waste. I feel the amount of garbage I put to the curb has increased and this has bothered me.  I was bothered that this story hasn’t had much local coverage. This is important news to Belleville.

I think that this is a great thing to happen to Belleville.  When combined with recycling, the bin can reduce the amount that goes into landfills and  could save residents money on garbage tags. This news raises several questions and issues. Will there be a price increase on garbage tags?

The budget for this project is $550,000 which includes purchase of bins,kitchen catchers and an education program. Will there be any costs for residents or will these be provided free of charge?  Will this create new,local jobs? Will pick up days and times be affected? How do you compost and what can be put into green bins? How soon will the program start?

Story Pitch

Story :What impact will the new garbage services have on Belleville?

Significance: This affects all residents and will affect the way people deal with garbage. This is going to change the way all residents deal with waste.

New/surprising:  This topic has been discussed for years and was finally approved on Monday. Past stories pulled showed a positive reaction to the  green bin pilot project that was tested in the city. With the lack of coverage on this news, residents might be surprised to learn that this has been approved. Link to story on pilot project.

Key topics and Questions :  What goes in a green bin ? Will residents have to pay for the bins ? Will the fees for garbage tags increase? Will this create new jobs? How many residents already use a composter? Tips for composting, How to raccoon/animal proof your green bin,

Sources: Talk to city councillors and residents. Interview key person from Matrec Inc (the company who was awarded the contract). People who work in waste management. Waste collectors, people who are experts in composting. Reports on impacts of similar programs. past city minutes on the topic. Environmentalists.

Platform : Print/online. Tv would be good for visuals with video of landfills and pictures that show how to compost. Twitter/SM would be a good way to inform people about the changes.

College Student rescues stranger from subway tracks

Publication Date:  Wednesday January 09, 2013

Source: The Toronto Star,Niamh Scallan;reporter

Link to story: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1312334–toronto-college-student-saves-stranger-from-subway-tracks

A college student rescued a stranger who had fallen onto the subway tracks in Toronto just as a train was approaching.

Characteristics of hard news

Timeliness: The story was published the day after the incident happened. The story was shared on social media  first which led to the student being identified.

Importance: It is important for stories like this to be told. Hard news with a happy ending appeals to a large audience. It restores people’s faith in humanity.

Proximity: This story was published in Toronto and was shared by news publications across Canada.

Prominence: The college student is the prominence. He is a face that Canadians can identify with. A young man from a small town who becomes a hero.

Oddities:  The student was sick and on route to the hospital when he saved the man. People risking death to save strangers is something you don’t hear very often.

Gut reaction

The story left me with a good positive  feeling. I liked the way  Niamh Scallan reported this version of the  story in a  descriptive manner. I could picture it happening and felt excited while reading it. It was a story I shared with many people.

I think this story will have readers asking themselves and others if they would do the same thing.  Would they risk their lives for a stranger? Specifically, would they jump in front of a moving train to save someone?

An issue this story raises for the audience is whether or not the current subway safety system needs to be changed. Commuters have debated for in the past on the topic of putting  up safety barriers. Barriers  and screens have been used in parts of Asia and Europe and there has been recent talk about putting screen doors on platforms on the Young Street subway line. There have been two subway related deaths in the news recently, both in New York.  In 2009 the TTC released a report on the number of suicides . From 1998-2007 there were 150 suicide deaths by subway in Toronto.  Would safety barriers or screens prevented these  any or all of these incidences?