Thursday, April 30, 2009

Shaw to buy two Ontario and one Manitoba TV stations for $1 each from CTV

CTV has accepted an offer by Shaw Communications CEO Jim Shaw to buy its TV stations in Wingham and Windsor, Ontario, and in Brandon, Manitoba. for $1 (one) each. CTV had announced it would not re-apply for licences for the stations when they expire this summer. CTV has said the stations had consistently lost money since the network acquired them in 2007.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

National Post stops Monday editions in summer

The National Post will not publish a Monday edition this summer, a move designed to save costs. Its parent company CanWest Global Communications Corp. is currently involved in negotiations with its banks and bondholders on a potential recapitalization and restructuring. The company is carrying a $3.9-billion debt and is trying to avoid filing for protection from creditors.

CanWest said the move did not involve any layoffs. The hiatus begins on July 6 and the company intends to resume Monday papers Sept. 14, a week after Labour Day. The National Post does not publish Sundays. It is only available electronically in Mantoba and Saskatchewan.

NATO slaps restrictions on media in Kandahar

NATO has imposed tough new restrictions on foreign journalists covering the war in southern Afghanistan, changes that could affect how much Canadians see and hear from war-torn Kandahar, The Canadian Press reports.

The new measures, imposed in early March, mirror the way the U.S. military manages reporters in Iraq.

The restrictions make it virtually impossible for Canadian journalists to leave Kandahar Airfield on their own to interview local Afghans and return unimpeded to the safety of NATO's principal base

Garth Turner memoir corrects passage on CP; skirts defamation

The publisher Key Porter Books has prepared a "clarification" sticker for the inside front cover of all copies of former Ontario MP Garth Turner's memoir titled Sheeple: Caucus Confidential in Stephen Harper's Ottawa.

Stickers for the books and explanatory letters to booksellers were sent out early last week.

The clarification - three paragraphs in length, four sentences in total - was prepared in response to a complaint from Robert Russo, Ottawa bureau chief for The Canadian Press. It claimed that Turner, a former member of the federal Progressive Conservative and Conservative parties, was both incorrect and defamatory in his published recollection of a 2006 Tory caucus meeting.

CP reported that Prime Minister Stephen Harper got a standing ovation at the closed-door meeting after Harper reiterated that his government would continue to fly the Canadian flag at full mast on Parliament Hill as Canadian soldiers died in Afghanistan. In Sheeple,however, Turner says the ovation, "standing or otherwise," never happened. Further, Turner claims CP's Ottawa bureau chief told him later that "information of this kind is never verified [by the news agency], never confirmed, because of the inherent difficulty of doing so."

In the clarification, which can also be found on Turner's website, the MP "accepts the assertion by [CP] that ... all [CP] stories [using] anonymous sources are double-sourced and cleared for publication by a senior editor." At the same time, he declares his "enormous respect" for CP and acknowledges he "never discussed [the flag-flying] issue or any other issue" with Russo, CP's Ottawa head since 2003.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

White House will probe presidential plane PR stunt

The White House plans an inquiry into a low-flying photo shoot by a presidential plane that panicked New Yorkers and cost taxpayers $328,835. President Barack Obama said it won't happen again.

But the origins of the government public relations stunt that went awry remained an engrossing mystery. The White House military office approved the photo-op, which cost $35,000 in fuel alone for the plane and two jet fighter escorts.

"I think this is one of those rare cases where we can all agree it was a mistake," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said of Monday's "unfortunate" flight low over the Hudson River that for many on the ground evoked chilling memories of 9/11.

The sight of the huge passenger jet and an F-16 fighter plane whizzing past the Statue of Liberty and the lower Manhattan financial district sent panicked office workers streaming into the streets.

"It was a mistake, as was stated ... and it will not happen again," Obama said.

White House officials did not say why new photos were needed of the plane that is sometimes used as Air Force One — Obama wasn't aboard the flight — or who the presumed audience of the planned photographs were.

Asper blames regulations for TV woes

CanWest Global CEO Leonard Asper says the cause of the profit declines at Canada's major TV networks is a regulatory system that has allowed cable companies to get rich while network television erodes. The bad economy and debt are making the problem worse, but they are not the culprit, he told a CRTC hearing.

“The current economic downturn did not cause our structural problems. The operating results for all broadcasters began to decline during a healthy economy,” Asper said.

Broadcasters attempting PR coup: Rogers.

Rogers Communications Inc. has accused conventional-TV operators of engaging in a "public-relations" campaign with the aim of generating a crisis and building support toward additional financial relief. The allegation came during a second day of hearings before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission as it examines the future of the struggling conventional-TV sector.

"We think the broadcasters are engaged in a bit of a government-relations, public-relations exercise," said Ken Engelhart, senior vice-president of regulatory affairs at Rogers. "They are threatening to shut down stations so that hearings like this can be held . . . and want to see who comes forward with subsidies."

Monday, April 27, 2009

CTV chief blames CRTC for contributing to crisis in TV

CTVglobemedia Inc. chief executive Ivan Fecan levied sharp criticism at the CRTC on Monday at the commission's special hearing on the state of the industry.

"Over the years, there has been a series of decisions that have had the effect of compromising the underpinnings of conventional television while favouring the distributors (cable and satellite carriers)," he said.

"What I am saying is that things are seriously out of balance when, for five years running, the system produces continuous growth for one sector and continuous decline for another."

He said distributors are enjoying record profits while conventional broadcasters are losing money.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Longer life expectancies may keep print newspapers on life support: Maureen Dowd

Phil Bronstein, the San Francisco Chronicle's editor at large, gave New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, pictured at left, a tour of his city's journalistic haunts and, as she reported, "His tour ended with cold comfort, as he observed that longer life expectancies may keep us on life support. 'For people who still love print, who like to hold it, feel it, rustle it, tear stuff out, do their I. F. Stone thing, it’s important to remember that people are living longer,' he said. 'That’s the most hopeful thing you can say about print journalism, that old people are living longer.'”

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Journalism changing, not dying: London Free Press editor Berton

" . . .Despite what you may have heard, the industry is not dying; it's changing. Yes, newspapers are closing, circulation almost everywhere is declining, and TV stations are shutting down.

"But depending on your point of view, The London Free Press has never had more readers than it does today. We will sell about 100,000 newspapers today, which means more than twice that number will read it.

"But we are not just a newspaper. We are a multi-platform media company. And we have easily the same number of people using our digital products as use the newspaper. We have people subscribing increasingly to our e-edition (it looks exactly like the newspaper, but in electronic form) and more than 200,000 unique monthly visitors to our website.

"People haven't stopped being interested in news, they just receive it differently, often depending on their age. . . . " (from a column by Paul Berton, editor of the London (Ont.) Free Press

U.S. journalist Saberi 'on hunger strike' in Iran

An American-Iranian reporter jailed by Tehran for eight years on charges of espionage has gone on hunger strike, her father has said.

Reza Saberi said his daughter Roxana told him she had stopped eating five days ago.

Ms Saberi was convicted of being an American spy and sentenced behind closed doors by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran a week ago.

Ms Saberi has lodged an appeal, which Iranian authorities say will be heard fairly and quickly.

Friday, April 24, 2009

John Tory to host show on Toronto's CFRB

John Tory, who resigned as leader of the Ontario PCs on March 6 after losing a by-election in Haliburton, has been named host of a new CFRB call-in show starting this Sunday at 8 p.m.

"It's not going to be all about politics. I hope it's about issues – I would plan to steer it away from a preoccupation with politics just because I think that would be boring and predictable," he told the Toronto Star.

Tory was a radio reporter in the 1970s before entering business and politics. He said the new part-time job would not preclude him from other career opportunities.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

CBC News exec explains policy on kidnapping coverage

Esther Enkin, executive director of CBC News operations notes that viewers have been critical because the CBC successfully suppressed coverage when reporter Melissa Fung, pictured at left, was abducted in Afghanistan even while CBC reported others.

"Each one of these incidents poses an ethical dilemma for us. As journalists, our instincts are always to publish, to share the information, to hold the facts up to the cold light of day," Enkin wrote on CBC's web page. "But there are also some basic ethical principles we try to adhere to in the practice of our trade. In these cases, the principle that is paramount is 'minimize harm.'"

The CBC is adding guidelines to its "Journalistic Standards and Practices," she said.

Ms Fung appeared on a panel on reporting in Afghanistan at the Canadian Journalism Foundation this week. She declined to discuss her abduction.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Canadian TV doomed without help: CTV chief

Ivan Fecan told the House of Commons heritage committee that there must be regulatory reforms to boost revenue and reduce programming obligations.

But the president of cable provider Shaw Communications Inc. countered that private broadcasters are responsible for their own troubles and taxpayers shouldn't be forced to bail them out.

Fecan insisted CTV is not seeking a bailout. However, he said broadcasters must be able to charge cable TV providers for the right to carry their over-the-air signals – known as fee-for-carriage.

Alternatively, he said, networks should be relieved of their obligation to provide specified amounts of local news and Canadian content. That would be a less desirable solution, Fecan added, since there's not much point in providing local television stations if there's little local content on it.

Without a solution, Fecan predicted there will be no future for conventional television.

The Walrus and L'actualite lead magazine awards

The Walrus and L'actualite earned the most National Magazine Award nominations Tuesday with 28 each. Toronto Life had 27,Maclean's 20 nominations and Report on Business 19.

The awards will be presented in Toronto on June 5.

New York Times Falls Most Since 1987 on Declining Ad Revenue

The net loss expanded to $74.5 million, or 52 cents a share, from $335,000 a year earlier, the newspaper publisher said today in a statement. Sales fell 19 percent to $609 million, trailing the $634.3 million average of four analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Times Co. cut jobs, slashed pay, halted its dividend and sold assets to help preserve cash after ad revenue slipped 13 percent last year. It’s seeking to sell its minority stake in the Boston Red Sox baseball team and is negotiating additional pay and job cuts with unions.

Canwest wins another payment extention To May 5

Canwest Global Communications Corp. has been granted a further extension by its lenders to May 5th. CEO Leonard Asper has announced that senior lenders have agreed to provide the firm with additional access to credit. "That said, we must also continue to exercise diligence around expense management,"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Web-only newspapers? Don't junk the presses yet

A study by two researchers at City University in London dissects in excruciating detail the ill-fated move by an economic daily in Finland,, which shed its printing presses in December 2007.

The aim was to cut operating costs by eliminating paper, distribution and associated staff. It worked: the paper slashed its capital outlays by more than 50 percent.

The problem is that its revenue plummeted even further, by 75 percent.

Monday, April 20, 2009

New York Times leads in 2009 Pulitzer Prizes

For the list of winners, click on the title.

Iran's top judge orders probe into journalist's case

Iran's judiciary chief has ordered a full investigation into the case of Roxana Saberi, the U.S. journalist convicted of spying and sentenced to eight years in prison. Some analysts believe hard-liners opposed to improved U.S.-Iran relations are behind the sentence. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has also intervened, asking that Saberi be allowed to make a full defense during her appeal.

Rogers tells MPs to reject fee for carriage request from networks

Rogers vice-chairman Phil Lind told a parliamentary committee that the cost of fee-for-carriage would be passed on to cable subscribers, increasing monthly bills by more than $4.50. And Rogers executives warned that job cuts are possible if the change goes ahead.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

TV bailout a bad idea: Star editorial

The Star says in part:
"What the networks really want is a fee-for-carriage – a fee for the cable transmission of their broadcasts, which would ultimately be borne by viewers. But this proposal has already been shot down by the CRTC. And the Conservatives are leery of overruling the CRTC lest they be blamed for hiking everyone's cable bill. Hence, the proposal to help the networks through the back door by airing more government ads.

"This is a bad idea. Stripped to its essentials, public money would flow to private networks on the heels of a government rebuff of an appeal from the public network, the CBC, for more funding.

"The government should bury this idea before it gains momentum."

Iranian president intervenes for jailed journalists

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote to Tehran's prosecutor that the rights of Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, who was jailed for eight years, and jailed Iranian-Canadian blogger Hossein Derakhshan, who has been behind bars since November, must not be violated in any way.

"Please take the necessary measures to ensure that the process of examining the charges against the aforementioned individuals are being carried out carefully and fairness, justice and regulations are observed," the president wrote in the letter to prosecutors.

"Please, personally observe the process to ensure that the defendants are allowed all legal rights and freedom in defending themselves and that their rights are not violated even by one iota," reported Iranian official government news agency Irna.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

CHCH anchor goes to CFTO

Michelle Dubé, co-anchor of the beleaguered CHCH-TV's evening news, has left the station four months after assuming the job along with co-anchor Nick Dixon.
She is not expected to be replaced.

Dubé, 24, took over from longtime anchor Connie Smith, who left the station in December in the wake of layoffs and belt-tightening by troubled parent company Canwest Global. Dan McLean, who had been a CHCH anchor since 1980, left the station a short time later.

Dubé, has taken a reporting job at CFTO-TV in Toronto.

Pull out all stops to save small TV stations, Barrie MP urges

With small stations nationwide threatening to go off the air because of dwindling revenues, the "status quo isn't an option ... something has to happen, whether it's funding, whether it's government ad buys, whether it's fee-for-carriage," Conservative MP Patrick Brown (Barrie) said in an interview with the Toronto Star.

Iran jails journalist as US spy

Roxana Saberi, 31, an Iranian-American journalist who was arrested in January and went on trial this week, was branded a US spy has been jailed for eight years. She denies the charge. A brief trial was held behind closed doors.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Quebec judge bars media from reporting on settlement talks in 'adscam' case

Justice Jean-Francois de Grandpre issued the judgment in Montreal on Friday.

A lawyer representing Groupe Polygone sought the ruling shortly after Montreal's La Presse reported April 1 that negotiations between the company and the federal government were back on.

Lawyer Louis Belanger argued freedom of the press is limited by an individual or a corporation's right to privacy and that the right to privacy should reign in this case.

Finalists announced for Canadian Association of Journalists awards

The awards are to be handed out May 23 at the CAJ awards banquet in Vancouver.

CBC to expand supper-hour newscasts despite cuts

Jennifer McGuire, CBC's interim head of news, announced that some evening newscasts will grow to 90 minutes from one hour. They will begin at 5 p.m. and will be followed by Coronation Street at 6:30 p.m., and the game shows Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune in the 7-8 p.m. timeslot.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Washington Post reorganization makes single editor responsible for stories on all platforms

The Washington Post is undertaking a major reorganization of the newsroom "to create new reporting groups, streamline editing desks and anticipate the impending integration of our print and digital news operations," according to a memo from Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli

The memo says that "a single editor ultimately ought to be able to oversee all versions of a story, whether it appears in print, online or on a BlackBerry or iPhone. Space in the newspaper and editing firepower in general should be allocated based on a day’s news priorities, not a predetermined formula."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

'ETalk' host Ben Mulroney to helm new nationally syndicated radio show

CTV says Ben Mulroney, co-host of "ETalk," has co-created a new syndicated radio show called "ETalk20" that kicks off this weekend in 11 cities across the country.

U.S. investigating Guantanamo inmate's phone interview with Al-Jazeera

Mohammed el Gharani, a native of Chad, alleged he was severely beaten by guards for refusing to leave his cell in the interview with Al-Jazeera network journalist, Sami al-Haj, who previously was imprisoned for six years at Guantanamo. The interview was reported in Al-Jazeera's website.

New venture to help US newspapers make money on Web

Journalism Online intends to "quickly facilitate the ability of newspaper, magazine and online publishers to realize revenue from the digital distribution of the original journalism they produce," its founders said in a statement.

The company is led by Steven Brill, the founder of Court TV, Gordon Crovitz, a former publisher of The Wall Street Journal, and Leo Hindery, a former chief executive of AT&T Broadband.

Journalism and the harm it does

Sad, and starkly true.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Canwest gets extension on U.S. debt

Canwest Media Inc. has received a one-week extension from an ad hoc committee of senior noteholders as the company works on recapitalizing itself for a common senior lender and noteholder deadline of April 21.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Quill and Quire editor dies at 40

Derek Weiler, editor of Quill and Quire and frequent contributor to the book pages of the Star, died suddenly at home in Toronto on Sunday at the age of 40.

Other blogs in our group

Chai on Bayview
Eye on Central Europe
Friends Hub
Homefront Front Page
Homefront Title Page
Homefront Simon Pearce
Homefront Back Page
Homefront Sophie Conran
Homefront Emma Bridgewater
The Smokey Hollow Falls Review
The South Bayview Bulldog
Trish Stuebing's Store Diary
Yonge and Roxborough
RS Associates Blogs

‘Hyperlocal’ Web sites deliver news without newspapers

A number of Web start-up companies are creating so-called hyperlocal news sites that let people zoom in on what is happening closest to them, often without involving traditional journalists.

Take a look at the South Bayview Bulldog and Yonge and Roxborough News in our "Friends" box to the right.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

AP wins NFL photo contract from Getty Images

The Associated Press has won the NFL commercial photography contract, which has been the territory of Getty Images for the last five years. In 2004 the NFL deal helped propel Getty’s ascent in the commercial sports licensing business. The contract deals with licensing NFL photos for commercial use, which is separate from the photo agencies’ wire service coverage of NFL events. Is this a new business model for AP?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Al Gore's Current TV cancels Its IPO

The only real surprise is that it's taken this long. Al Gore's TV network, Current TV, has withdrawn its $100 million IPO. The network is siting "current market conditions."

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Canwest quarterly loss $1.44B after $1.19B writedown; revenue off 9 per cent

Canwest CEO Leonard Asper says the company is "well positioned for an economic recovery."(Of course, it will have to survive long enough to see the turnaround --TPG). In a conference call with analysts, Asper would not discuss the company's debt situation.

Breaking news mental breakdown?

Top ten signs of this condition.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ontario premier laments dwindling media numbers covering his government

At a news conference, commenting on the declining numbers in the legislative press gallery, Dalton McGuinty said governments need the media to ensure the public gets the information it should have, especially when politicians decide to change course.

"As a matter of enlightened self-interest for any government of the day of any political stripe, you need an informed citizenry if you want to take them places where they may be uncomfortable going," he said.

Earlier this year, McGuinty asked reporters to keep five feet away from him during scrums.

Corus Entertainment reports dip in second quarter profit

The media company reported profit of $29 million or 36 cents per share for the quarter ended Feb. 28, a drop from net income of $35.4 million or 41 cents per share reported during the same quarter the year before.

Google tells newspapers: 'Innovate to survive'

Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, says that one of the fundamental reasons for problems within the industry had been newspapers’ failure to meet readers’ wishes and embrace new digital platforms.

Feds mull help for small TV stations

Faced with the potential closing of several small-market television stations across the country, the federal government is considering a $150-million fund to keep community TV in business.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Vancouver police draw fire over camera confiscation

Civil rights advocates say that investigators are detaining journalists or seizing their cameras following incidents involving police.

The issue hit the news again on Sunday, when a camera belonging to a photographer for The Province was confiscated by Vancouver police following an incident in which a man driving a stolen truck was shot and wounded by an officer.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association said Monday it's aware of four such allegations against the Vancouver Police Department.

CanWest granted two-week bank extension

The new deadline sets the stage for a pivotal week of negotiating with bondholders. The bondholders are largely made up of hedge funds who are negotiating as a bloc. They hold great sway over the company's fate because if CanWest doesn't make a $30.4-million interest payment to them by April 15, they can push the company toward insolvency.
CanWest says that if it can negotiate a deal with the bondholders, it would allow the company "to pursue a recapitalization transaction."

Monday, April 6, 2009

A gripping report from Afghanistan by Canadian journalist Louie Palu

The ex-Globe and Mail photog is now free-lancing as a writer, videographer and, of course, photographer. Click on the title to read his story and look at his video.

CP and other news organizations looking to sell news on RIM smartphones

The introductory price for a year's subscription is $3.69 and the service will also carry advertising.

Cricket tournament wants to control news distribiution; major agencies not covering

The world' major news agencies -- The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse -- will not cover a major cricket tournament in South Africa because the organizes want to control the distribution of news and photos. The tournament is this year's Indian Premier league (IPL).

Canwest faces Tuesday deadline for debt agreement with lenders

Tuesday is the new deadline for Canwest Global Communications Corp. to restructure a debt agreement with its bankers. The debt-laden company will have to amend the terms of its credit with senior lenders.

"What the banks want to do is make sure the company is making progress on selling assets or getting additional capital," said Chris Diceman, senior vice president at DBRS.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

U.S. media allowed to witness return of war casualty

For the first time in 18 years, U.S. media was allowed to cover the arrival of an serviceman killed overseas, the first such opportunity since the Obama administration overturned a ban on news coverage of returning war dead.

Air Force officials received permission from family members to observe the return of the body of 30-year-old Staff Sgt. Phillip Myers, who was killed April 4 by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Threat to shut Boston Globe shows no paper is safe

Chilling tone to AP story regarding threat by NYT to shut down subsidiary Boston Globe.

Friday, April 3, 2009

CTV Toronto's weatherman Dave Devall makes it to Guinness World Records

CTV Toronto weatherman Dave Devall has been deemed as having the "longest career as a weather forecaster" by Guinness World Records. Devall will receive a certificate announcing the milestone on Friday, when he'll officially retire from his 48-year forecasting career with the station. Also see Digging Deeper below

Murdoch sees end for free online newspapers

Rupert Murdoch says that newspapers will have to start charging for their online services to survive. as he predicted the recession will continue for several years. Speaking at The Cable Show, Murdoch said free content online is damaging the newspaper industry.
He said: "Nobody is making money with free content on the web, except search. People are used to reading everything on the net for free and that's going to have to change."

He also predicted that the recession will last several years.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

British villagers thwart Google mapping camera car

Alert for suspicious cars after a spate of burglaries, residents of Broughton, Buckinghamshire, zeroed in on a Google Street View car with a 360-degree camera on its roof. Forming a human chain to stop it, they harangued the driver about the “invasion of privacy”, adding that the images that Google planned to put online could be used by burglars.

As police made their way to the stand-off, the Google car yielded to the villagers. For now, Broughton remains off the internet search engine’s mapping service.

Ontario court documents will be more open to the media

Ontario Attorney-General Chris Bentley says the province will relax the rigid secrecy over cases ranging from sexual offences and extortion to criminal matters involving young offenders.

He added that he will look into relaxing a ministry policy that prevents prosecutors and ministry staff from responding to questions from the media.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Confikcker scare all the media's fault, says WSJ

"Digital Pearl Harbour" a media fiasco.

Russian newspaper worker dies after street attack

A newspaper page designer has died after being beaten near his home in a Moscow suburb. It was the latest of a string of attacks on journalists in Russia.

Sergei Protazanov was found by a passer-by on Sunday as he lay on a sidewalk in the town of Khimki. He was taken to hospital and later discharged. He died at home on Monday.

His editor, Anatoly Yurov, of the newspaper Grazhdanskoye Soglasiye, said that Protazanov had told him by telephone from hospital on Sunday that he had been attacked. On Monday, he told him from home that "Everything hurts — on the inside and on the outside. I cannot move," Yurov said.

Yurov said that police told Protazanov's wife that her husband's death was probably caused either by food he ate at the hospital or medication.

Blog Archive