Friday, September 10, 2010

Gimme my Timmies, the frozen stuff

I admit it. I’ve dropped a few bucks at Tim Hortons (yes, we have no apostrophes today, although of course we should).

It doesn’t hurt that my employer has seen fit to install a Timmies outlet in my workplace. As the only purveyor of double-doubles in Winnipeg’s bustling Exchange, this one ought to change its slogan from “Always Fresh” to “Always Busy.”

My sons accuse me of having visited every Tims outlet in Canada. They are wrong, of course. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

But, after extensive research and coffee rental I can report that the cleanest Tims I have ever visited is in Cochrane, Ontario. Best-laid-out parking lot, too.

At the other end of the spectrum on both counts is the one in Vanderhoof, B.C.

Blind River, Ontario is no screamin’ hell, either.

But what really gets me worked up (especially after a couple of cups of joe) is that Always Fresh business. It is, to put the matter politely, at variance with the facts.

The doughnuts, bagels, Timbits – highly nutritious all, no doubt – are not fresh. They are frozen.

This is no urban legend. Why, it says so right in Maclean’s magazine, whose apostrophe is a rakish maple leaf. At least they have one.

The Sept. 13, 2010 Maclean’s reports on a proposed $1.95-billion class action lawsuit that is splitting the chain’s management and the franchisees who rake in the dough. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Once a journalist, always a cheap-shot artist.)

The article recalls the scandal in 2003 when Ron Joyce, co-founder of the chain, revealed that its food was not fresh but, in the magazine’s words, heated up from “frozen globs of dough trucked in from a factory.”

The current battle features the assertion that the “Always Fresh” system of reheating frozen food has cut into the franchisees’ profits.

Check out the Maclean’s story. It’s on the long side, but if you start reading it when you line up at my local Tims, you stand a good chance of finishing before you taste your Always Frozen food.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What is journalism?

Check out the blog list on the right side of this page. You will find 16 posts by second-year Journalism major students in my Creative Communications class on the topic What is Journalism?

Their opinions and examples will give you a perspective on the huge range of journalism today -- all sorts of journalism in all sorts of media.

Yes, some media are declining. Think of print-only newspapers or traditional hour-long television newscasts. But even those "old" media are sprouting vibrant new online growth.

In short, it's a great business today for smart, curious, energetic young people, people such as these bloggers.