-7- “Council approves controversial growth fees”- an analysis of newsworthiness

Blog Challenge #7: Choose a story from the front page of the Winnipeg Free Press and discuss what makes it newsworthy. 

City Council just voted in favour of a bylaw that imposes growth fees on new developments. This story was given front page coverage by the Winnipeg Free Press, and I will discuss why they made that choice. In order to unpack this story, let’s look at the things that make any story newsworthy.

  • New:  The story came out on October 26, and the bylaw was voted in on the same day. Obviously this issue is a very current story, and the event it highlights only occured very recently. Naturally it is more relevant through that alone.
  • Proximity: The story is centred around city hall in the centre of Winnipeg downtown, and the bylaw affects nearly everyone in our city. It’s a local story.
  • Impact: This new bylaw will have a large, and progressively larger, affect on the homebuying market in our city. Increased fees for buying/building new houses will cause people to want to either move into established neighbourhoods, or reconsider moving out of the ones they may already be living in. This means that prices will soar for buying resale homes. This also makes it harder on businesses that are currently working on these new housing development projects. The mayor says revenue will be exclusively put towards community building.
  • Human Interest: Most Winnipegers could be affected by this bylaw in some way, especially if they’re buying new homes in the near future. It could cause some homeowners to have to move out to different resale homes in the future. Some new home building projects that are already in progress could potentially be stopped. These fees will place more of a burden on new homeowners trying to get by, and as the developers too.
  • Conflict: There is a lot of controversy and debate over this bylaw. Some outspoken Winnipeggers say that it’s being rushed, whereas Mayor Brian Bowman thinks that they are trying to just delay the problem for the sake of delays. Mike Moore of the Home Builders’ Association said will be looking the legality of the bylaw and whether or not the city acually has the authority to introduce it.

Whenever a bill is passed in city hall it is newsworthy, but this one especially because of the contention between council members, Bowman, and citizens, lobbyists from the home building sector. The continuous coverage of the story by the media, and build up to the decision further exemplifies why they’ve decided to make this front page news.



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