(OPINION) – Hi, My name is Pino Demasi. I started TRCCTB.COM back in January of 2018 due to my awareness that a majority of crimes and other concerning events went unreported in our mainstream media.
I run the “The REAL Concerned Citizens of Thunder Bay” Facebook group, which was started back in like 2014 if I remember correctly. The group was mainly a place where people could share news stories, local events, and discuss these issues amongst each other.
I started noticing that a lot of things people would submit to the group, and discuss, would not have an article in the news that either confirmed the details or at least acknowledged it happened. This semi-frustrated me, as I was an avid news fan of all local media.
I decided I would reach out to some of these media companies and send in tips, such as “Hey, this happened, this person knows about it. Go check it out”. On average, about 9 out of 10 tips I would send in, would never be printed or followed up on. Instead, we would only get regurgitated sterilized media releases which often had names and details omitted from time to time, which I also found odd, and still do not understand to this day.
I asked a local journalist “why?” why don’t these stories make it to print. The answer I got? BUDGET. They can’t afford to run every story they hear about. I get it, Thunder Bay has a lot going on. They have it in their budget to report on McHappy day, but not the violent assault that happened, or the child molester on James Street.
After thinking about it for some time, I decided I would take a stab at putting out my own articles, and reached out to several local media companies. I got declined over “budget restraints” and one person laughed at me and said they only hire professionals.
Well, me not being someone to roll over and give up, I decided “F**k it! I’ll start my own damn website!” and behold, TRCCTB.COM was born.
Right off the hop, I had local journalists mocking my write-ups, and taking stabs at my grammar. I wasn’t offended, and I still aren’t. I never read a book from front to back in my life. This was a spur of the moment thing, and I think it’s turned out quite well.
You’re literally reading news brought to you by a fat disabled cement finisher with a slew of health issues and an iPhone.
I recall my first few times going to public events to cover news, like the OIPRD report thing at the Victoria Inn. Other local media would ask me to move from here to there and bounce me around so they could get the shot they want. I had no issue with this, whatever, I moved to please them. Once I started my live stream, they would walk over, and block my view.
I even heard them whispering amongst each other, bashing me. Cool, and everyone questions my “professionalism”.
Whatever, that didn’t bother me, I kept on doing my thing. They finally stopped that when I brought a friend to the PA Clinic strike, and told him about the camera lurking in front of thing they do. He went out of his way to pay it back, and it’s never happened to me again since.
Then this crowd of people started trying to paint me as a “racist” and “hateful”. What people need to realize is that Thunder Bay has a large population of people who are not white, and just like white people, they commit crimes too.
Anyone who thinks I go a cherry pick stories about people who aren’t white, go spend a couple days in the courthouse and come back with an educated opinion. You’re dumb, and you’re only impressing other dumb people and encouraging them to be dumb, like you.
The racist/hateful non-sense continues until this day. I ignore it and laugh it off.
Then people started accusing me of being a drug-dealing heavy drug user. Boy if I was involved in any sort of drug dealing or organized crime I’d have to be the stupidest criminal to be chasing cops around crime scenes all day, and spending time at the courthouse every week.
I’ve had people message me and my family members with death threats. I had one guy, who used to run the cleanup crew cautioned to not contact me as he also threatened my life. This guy still to this day runs around blasting me with made up bulls**t whenever he gets drunk and bored.
Endless people messaging my wife telling her how sorry they feel for her because they don’t like the news that I WRITE! Like SERIOUSLY!
I had a letter from the Thunder Bay Police Service’s lawyer sent to me, telling me that I do not have their permission to use the images provided via their “Wanted Wednesday” program. I called right away to sort this out, as a news outlet, I do not need anyone’s permission to use their photos for news reporting purposes.
After a lengthy discussion on the phone, I made it clear that I would continue to use these photos. I brushed it off as likely just bitterness from the Director of Communications.
Then I started reporting on the frequent attempted abductions that had been happening, and one woman’s tale of how she was taken to Toronto and forced into the sex trade. She showed me things that confirmed her story beyond a shadow of a doubt.
I ran the story, and I had been warning people about this happening. Then on October 2, 2018, the Thunder Bay Police Service’s media release was published outright denying that anyone was abducted, forced to take drugs, forced into sex trafficking, etc.
People were outraged, and the people who already don’t like me were celebrating in the streets. They thought they had a big victory in their hands.
I questioned how the police service could release this media release when there was a gang-related abduction that went through court, and the Crown withdrew the charges due to all the witnesses not willing to testify over fear.
That’s when the Christopher Osmar allegations came to my attention. I worked hard to get the story, confirming details, and hammering it out. This incident happened on August 7th to August 13th. The police media release said very clearly that they did not have any “reports” of this happening, yet just a couple months earlier they made the arrest and this man is in jail awaiting trial.
(THUNDER BAY, ON) - A very serious situation unfolded in the cities north side in August. —- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT —- The Thunder Bay Police Service…
What the funk? How did the population take that so quietly? Where is the response from the tbps media release guy regarding that huge f***ing lie? And don’t get me wrong, I am a huge supporter of our police. I have been kicking up a storm and making noise surrounding the fact we need more officers, and the ones we have are overworked. I just believe there is some rot at the top that needs to be sorted out.
Most recently people have been comparing my page to the old “Thunder Bay Dirty” which I had nothing to do with, I was busy wiping concrete and wasn’t on social media other than to message my friends. I don’t see how the two pages are remotely similar. A knee-jerk insult from people without spending any length of time on my page.
And now recently, with the out-of-town lawyer offering free services to anyone that wants to sue me over “slander” or whatever. The key part to “slander” is that I had to have lied. Hasn’t happened.
None of this crap shakes me. Yes, I made a mistake with a photo, I put the wrong woman on there. I corrected it within 20 seconds of it being published, I apologized repeatedly to the woman in private and made a public apology.
Her image only remains online as a weapon for people that don’t like me. These people are not concerned about her, they are only using her as a pawn to attack me.
There is a lot I left out of this story, that I will save for another day. This is just the tip of the iceberg surrounding the garbage I’ve dealt with trying to cover gaps in the news coverage I see in town and in the region.
I have made minor mistakes, just like every other news agency out there. I acknowledge my mistakes, correct them, apologize and do what I can to make it right. The Chronicle Journal is the only mainstream local news source that actually prints corrections, apologies and retractions that I have noticed and doesn’t just edit their article in silence. Good on you CJ.
TBPS it would be nice if you responded to the Chris Osmar story, and the fact there was indeed reports of exactly what you said you didn’t have reports of.
I want to take the end of this article to thank the Thunder Bay Courthouse – Inside Edition for inviting me and teaching me how to report on court appearances.
Citizen journalist born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I like pizza and reporting on concerning events that are in my home region, or that impact it. You can read more by clicking here.