Photo courtesy of Communitech
Veteran reporter, editor, and financial/tech specialist, Chuck Howitt is no stranger to abrupt change and radical disruption. For over three decades covering Waterloo Region for the Water Region Record Chuck has chronicled the death of KW as a manufacturing centre and its resurrection as a high-tech innovation hub.
Inside the newsroom, Chuck was on deck navigating the white water which carried him and his colleagues from typewriters to dumb terminals to PCs to tablets and smartphones in a technological revolution that was as swift as it was game-changing. Most significant was his contribution to establishing the Record’s online presence (The Record.com), a profitable digital clone of its newsprint parent, as well as his own foray into the Twittersphere.
Technology might be daunting but business can be devastating. In his long career Chuck has endured, coped with, and adapted to the toxic side-effects of mergers and acquisitions, editorial vs financial skirmishes, downsizing and layoffs, consistently emerging from these doldrums with Nietzschean good humour claiming, “What doesn’t kill me, makes me laugh.”
Latterly, Chuck, like many professional journalists, has contended with the mixed blessings of online “citizen journalists” and the attendant decline in journalistic accountability. In order to uphold the standards on which reliable, fact-based journalism was founded Chuck and "...a scrum of former Waterloo Region Record newsroom staffers" have launched Ink-Stained Wretches.org
Acknowledging that an informed electorate is key to a healthy democracy, Chuck and his fellow activists call on the federal government to treat the growing number of news media bankruptcies as an emergency and to act accordingly.