Media Coverage in Toronto
Submitted by Bill Churchman

As usual, “NEWS NINE IS EVERYWHERE”…. except Toronto. On Saturday, September 11 approximately a year and a half of hard work that tested many friendships concluded with the dedication of the Toronto Firefighters’ Memorial. The nearly one hour long service was filled with emotion, not only for the fire fighters who participated, but also for their families and the families of those who were honored. Over 200 people were on hand for the ceremony. Among the distinguished guests was a young lady representing U.S. Congressman Bob Ney who presented our Fire Chief with a United States flag for the Memorial that had been flown over our nation’s Capitol Building. Also in attendance was a gentlemen who is currently serving as the Eighth District Vice-president of the International Association of Fire Fighters who repeatedly told us that he had never seen as magnificent a memorial such as we had built. A color guard and bagpipes came from Pittsburgh Fire Department. Ask any firefighter what it is like to hear “Amazing Grace” performed on the bagpipes. For me, the hardest moments came while hearing “A Fireman’s Funeral”, written and read by the widow of one of Toronto’s firefighters who had died while on duty.

But as usual, News Nine was nowhere to be found, in spite of a written invitation and a telephone call two weeks prior to the event during which their presence was assured. They can take their Mobile News Room half way across the State of Ohio or to distant counties in West Virginia to cover what seem to me to be trivial events. But even for an event with so much meaning to our community, they could not send anyone six miles north until around 24 hours later when a lone cameraman arrived to photograph the building.

Upon reflection, I should not be surprised by this. And, in all fairness, I must also tell you that WTRF-TV in Wheeling was also contacted in the same manner as was WTOV TV-9 and also failed to show. But it is, none the less, extremely frustrating to again see Toronto ignored by the local media. To my knowledge, only the Steubenville Herald Star and the River City Review saw fit to attend. But, I suppose, the dedication of a structure erected with volunteer labor and donated funding honoring 57 men who have served a small community over the past one hundred plus years, along with those who serve now and in the future, just isn’t newsworthy enough for the “Best News Cast in the Upper Ohio Valley”.

Bill Churchman

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