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Bill Good to give address

Bill Good is a media maven. He's been informing B.C. audiences over the airwaves since 1965. On Oct.

Bill Good is a media maven. He's been informing B.C. audiences over the airwaves since 1965.

On Oct. 2 local folks will have an opportunity to hear about Good's 45 years in the industry and his thoughts on the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of the media. The address, a presentation of Eldercollege, is an annual event held in memory of Clifford Smith, a renowned educator on the Sunshine Coast.

In a recent interview Good reflected on the role of the media in our society. Not surprisingly, he finds the good aspects of the information business far outweigh any negative aspects of the profession. And he delivers compelling arguments for his point of view.

"(The media) gives a lot of people a voice. It gives them a way to challenge authority. Look what's happened with the HST," the longtime CKNW talk-show host pointed out.

He also cited the media blitz that highlighted homelessness and forced all levels of government to respond as a way the media gave voice to the voiceless.

"The premier (Gordon Campbell) asked me to hold him accountable (on improving the lot of the homeless)," Good said.

Educating the general public about social causes ranks highly in Good's idea of the role of the media. He remembered a CBC series of programs he took part in during the 1970s that dealt with incest. Until that time the subject was "pretty much taboo."

"We were at the forefront of the HIV/AIDS story at the time that it exploded on the scene. We had colleagues that died suddenly. There was so much misinformation out there reporters and cameramen were afraid to be in the same room as someone who had AIDS," he recalled.

In his role as TV anchor, Good sometimes finds the current immediacy of information a double-edged sword. On the one hand Good, who has seen TV news go from slides to film that needed to be sent out to powerful satellites that can deliver instantaneous news from anywhere in the world, finds the speed exhilarating. On the other he mused that modern technology no longer allows the luxury of time that was once used to research stories more fully.

He said "appointment TV" (sitting down at 6 or 10 p.m. to watch the news) is no longer a necessity for many people with the proliferation of channels and programs available around the clock now.

Radio, he said has survived this trend the best - that medium is not nearly as fragmented as TV.

Good counts the Internet's ability to "give every person on the planet" a voice regardless of the person's ethical intent as an ugly aspect of the information age.

"It allows downright nasty people to say whatever they want. Meanwhile the mainstream media is trying really hard to get things right," he said.

He also gives short shrift to people who never question blogs and call him to insist that everything they read must be fact.

Good's presentation promises to be a memorable and questions from the audience will be welcome. Admission to the event scheduled for 2 p.m. at Chatelech Theatre is free.