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Atlantic Canada: Four News Silos

As the startup community strives to become a truly regional presence, one thing becomes increasingly clear and problematic: it’s difficult to follow what’s going on in provinces other than your own.

This is a problem for two reasons. First, startups in the region need to get their message out to international markets, and the factors preventing news from travelling between provinces also prevent it from travelling around the world. And second, there are provincial policy decisions that affect startups around the region, and it’s often difficult to follow the debate on these policies in adjacent provinces.

As I describe the situation, I’m not assigning blame to anyone. The vanishing revenues at news organizations have been well documented, and different organizations have chosen paths to deal with it, as any businesses would. Basically, the options in traditional newspapers range from limited paywalls (headlines can be viewed and non-subscribers get a certain number of free stories per month) to complete paywalls (no one can read even a headline until they’ve subscribed).

More important, the technical age should allow an exchange of news and opinions across provincial boundaries, and this isn’t always possible.

A case in point: the New Brunswick government has launched a five-year, $80-million innovation program. It could help the formulation of policy in the other provinces to learn how the Fredericton government is distributing the money. A second case in point: all universities are developing entrepreneurship programs, and each would benefit to know what the others are doing.

Yet it can be difficult to find information on these issues…