Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Torstar to be sold, taken private in $52-million deal

The company that publishes the Toronto Star has agreed to be sold to a company run by entrepreneurs Jordan Bitove and Paul Rivett in a deal worth roughly $52 million.
Torstar, a print and digital publishing company that runs newspapers and websites across the country, including the Toronto Star and, announced the deal with NordStar Capital Tuesday evening.
Tuesday, Torstar’s B shares fell 16 per cent, closing at 40 cents per share, giving up some of their gains from the day before, when they rose from as low as 33 cents to 48 cents per share, with most of the gains coming in the last hour of trading on the TSX. NordStar’s offer is worth 63 cents per share, for all Class A voting shares and Class B non-voting shares.
“We believe in news. With this transaction we can ensure a future for world-class journalists and world-class journalism befitting the paper’s storied history,” said Bitove. “We are committed to investing in the news business, along with preserving the Atkinson Principles, as fairness and accuracy will continue to guide the papers’ prevailing value system.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Canadian Press may not qualify for government media grants

Excerpts from a memo sent to Canadian Press staff on April 3, 2020 from president Malcolm Kirk:
"...There is no way to ignore the realities confronting society today and confronting every business in the world. Obviously, we are not immune to these forces. 
"The elimination of virtually every sporting event means there are no results to report, and that means almost no sports agate for our PMNA desks to handle. We have seen a sharp revenue drop in our commercial assignments business. Custom content work – material that is invariably part of a client’s marketing strategy – has also slowed down.
"Amid the backdrop of a sizable number of layoffs, wage rollbacks and the cessation of print editions in the past two weeks, it also won’t surprise you to learn that many wire clients are looking for payment holidays and suspension of billings. Advertising revenues, already in a decline before the crisis, have dropped dramatically for many of our customers, which means cash flow is tightening for everyone. 
"You may have heard the federal government has announced business assistance initiatives in recent days. We are assessing our eligibility for these measures. Candidly, we are not optimistic that these programs will be very helpful to CP in the immediate term simply because of the eligibility requirements.
"We are pressing Ottawa and the Quebec governments on these and other possible initiatives that could support our sector and CP specifically."
The full text

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

160-year-old Vatican newspaper succumbs to coronavirus

 The Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano, which Pope Francis has jokingly called “the party newspaper”, suspended printing for only the third time in nearly 160 years on Wednesday due to the coronavirus.
 The paper, which was founded in 1861, will continue publishing online and most of its staff of about 60, including 20 journalists, will work from home, editor Andrea Monda said.
“A newspaper and the paper on which it is printed are inextricably intertwined so it sad that this is happening but the reality is that we are all facing a crisis,” Monda told Reuters.
Wednesday evening’s edition will be the last for the time being. The newspaper’ print run of about 5,000 is disproportionate to its wider influence in reflecting Vatican opinion on international affairs and Church matters. It is followed by many ambassadors. (Reuters)

Friday, March 20, 2020

CBC’s closure of local newscasts amid the coronavirus crisis is a shame

Robert Hurst, one time president of CTV News, writes in an opinion piece in the Globe and Mail:
"Shame on the CBC for closing its local newscasts amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"This is a moment when news gathering and reporting is a critical public service. This is a moment when citizens need and crave information.
The CBC says it is “pooling our resources” into one core national news offering. What poppycock! Those resources are already pooled into the CBC News operation.
"What the CBC is actually doing is eliminating more than 75 hours a week of original local news reporting at a time of crisis.

"PEI Premier Dennis King is justifiably angry. The CBC is the only local newscast in Charlottetown and King says it is a “critical partner.”

"Across the country, thousands of local stories will now go unreported. For example, the failings of Ontario’s Telehealth emergency service will get only a passing mention on CBC News Network while that important story leads local newscasts. The CBC’s national audience will not have much interest any more in the Lynn Valley Care Centre, where 4 people have died from the coronavirus. But people in North Vancouver will want more, much more. Thankfully CTV and Global are active and vibrant in British Columbia."
More (subscription needed)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

China expels American journalists

China announced on Tuesday that it would expel American journalists working for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. It also demanded that those outlets, as well as the Voice of America and Time magazine, provide the Chinese government with detailed information about their operations.
The announcement comes weeks after President Trump limited the number of Chinese citizens who could work in the United States for five state-controlled Chinese news organizations.
The announcement, made by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, came weeks after the Trump administration limited the number of Chinese citizens who could work in the United States for five state-controlled Chinese news organizations to 100.  LINK

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