Monday, August 31, 2009

U.S. military ends journalist profiling contract

The U.S. military is cancelling a contract with a public relations firm after coming under criticism for using the company to rate the output of journalists reporting on the Afghanistan war. The Rendon Group had provided profiles of journalists that rated their output as "positive", "neutral" or "negative", although the military said it did not use the ratings to manipulate coverage or deny reporters access to cover the war.

CBC News employee in wheelchair dies after Fredericton hit and run

Dianne Trottier, 33, who worked for CBC News, was crossing the intersection at Regent and Beaverbrook streets in Fredericton late Saturday night when she was hit. She later died in hospital,

CBC-TV launches 90-minute supper hour news

The extended newscasts will feature new hosts in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Montreal, Halifax, Calgary and Toronto. The news will run from 5 p.m. to 6.30 p.m., with stories updated throughout the 90 minutes.

A week of reckoning for Canadian TV

CanWest stations in Victoria and Red Deer, Alta., fade to black; others try to make a go with new owners.
(click on the title for the full story)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Former NatPost editorial writer Harper's new PR guy

John Williamson, a former National Post editorial writer and past head of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, takes over the communications post from Kory Teneycke in mid-September. A crusader for lower taxes, Williamson, 39, served as Harper's press secretary during his 2002 bid to become Canadian Alliance leader. As lobbyist at the taxpayers federation, he was a vocal critic of the Conservative government's big-spending ways before leaving to study at London's School of Economics last year.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

International Journo Groups and Guild Protest Afghan War 'Vetting' of Reporters

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), including The Newspaper Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, on Thursday condemned what they said was "vetting" of journalists covering the Afghanistan war to gauge whether their coverage will portray American and NATO forces positively. Stars and Stripes reported recently that journalists seeking to be embedded with Western forces in Afghanistan may be vetted by The Rendon Group, a Washington-based public relations firm commissioned by the Pentagon,

Bell, Microsoft to end online partnership

Microsoft Corp. and BCE Inc.'s Bell Canada will close their Web portal,, on Tuesday and refresh their own sites: and Both companies said the split will give them greater flexibility to pursue their own online strategies. The formula for making money online is now driven by advertising, they noted, making it vastly different than it was in 2004.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dutch royals win privacy case against AP

A Dutch court has ruled in favor of the Dutch royal family in a privacy lawsuit against The Associated Press, saying photographs of the crown prince and his family on vacation in Argentina lacked news value.
The judge handed down an injunction Friday against further distribution of four images of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander's family that were made available worldwide last month.

Assignment Afghanistan

Colin Perkel of The Canadian Press spent two months on assignment in Kandahar. He produced a personal video. Runs five minutes and was shot with a Canon G9 -- a jumped up point-and-shoot camera. How journalism has changed!

Please click on the title to view it on Youtube

Art Andrews, Newfoundland broadcaster, dead at 70

Art Andrews's work in TV and radio made him a household name, while his voice is immortalized as announcing to Newfoundland that the Ocean Ranger was lost. But his spirit may be best exemplified as a venturesome sailor. He loved nothing more than being on the water.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

In-depth reporting may just save the news biz: Panel

Don’t be too shocked, but a panel hosted by the Canadian Centre for Investigative Reporting recently mostly agreed that the saviour of traditional media will be – investigative reporting.

Thing is, though, few of the speakers at the meeting held at the NFB Mediatheque had a clue how to pay for said journalism.

CHEK-TV set to die August 31

Goodbye CHEK, hello KCPQ. Shaw Cable says Canwest has confirmed plans to shut down its Victoria station at the end of the month, so Lower Mainland customers will find Fox TV's Seattle affiliate KCPQ in the channel six position instead.

30-day contract extension at Philadelphia Newspapers

Newsroom employees at Philadelphia Newspapers have agreed to a one-month contract extension as management fights to hold on to the company in bankruptcy court. CP.

CFRB lays off Paul and Carol Mott, Micheal Coren

Long-time afternoon talk hosts are gone. On-air gadfly Micheal Coren is also laid off.

Time Warner Cable to test TV on the Internet: report

Time Warner Cable Inc has signed up at least seven large media companies for a test that will offer television programs on the Internet to paying subscribers, the Wall Street Journal said on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Dominick Dunne dead at 83

Best-selling US writer Dominick Dunne has died aged 83 after losing his battle with bladder cancer, his actor son Griffin Dunne has confirmed.His first article for Vanity Fair was about the trial of the man who murdered his daughter Dominique. She was strangled in 1982 by her ex-boyfriend John Sweeney, shortly after she had completed her first movie, Poltergeist, at the age of 22.

Dominic Mohan new editor of the Sun (UK)

Rupert Murdoch's News International has promoted Dominic Mohan, 40, to replace Rebekah Brooks as editor of the Sun, Britain's most popular newspaper, it said in a statement on Wednesday. Mohan, currently the tabloid's deputy editor, will assume his new role on Sept. 2. Brooks, known as Rebekah Wade until her recent marriage, in June was appointed chief executive of News International, the British arm of News Corp

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

O'Leary tails Lang to CBC to set her right

Kevin O'Leary to join Amanda Lang at corp. Globe and Mail. Where did his celebrated wealth come from? He founded software publisher SoftKay. After numerous mergers and acquisitions the company became The Learning Company and O’Leary took control as president. In 1999, the Learning Company was sold to Mattel for $3.7 billion US.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Julia Child's 1961 Classic Becomes Best Seller

RELLEASE -- Julia Child's culinary classic, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," has become a #1 national best seller for the first time. The book, which was published nearly fifty years ago, will make its debut as a New York Times bestseller on Sunday, August 30 at #1 on the hardcover Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous list.

Reader's Digest gets OK to tap $150 mln loan

The bankrupt publisher of Reader's Digest wins court approval to access some of the $150 million in funding it has lined up to continue operating while it reorganizes.

Pressmart Delivers Newspapers on Kindle and Sony eReader

RELEASE (edited) -- Pressmart, a leading provider of multi-channel news publishing services today announced the availability of eEditions compatible for reading on eReader devices like Kindle and Sony. This unique technology enables news publishers to attract new subscribers who wish to read news and access their favorite newspaper content on the eReader screen in its original format. With this latest addition to Pressmart on-demand digital delivery platform, publishers can go digital on web, mobile, eReader, podcast and RSS in a matter of minutes even if they do not have any technical knowledge. Additionally, Pressmart offers access to state-of-art marketing, subscription and advertising tools using which Publishers can start monetizing from digital delivery from almost day one.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Celeb photographer Annie Leibovitz faces ruin

Despite moving in glamorous circles, Leibovitz has never been known for having a knack for finance.

Teachers' bets heavily on Toronto sports fans

And provides some cash for strapped CTVglobemedia.

ITV close to equity deal with Hulu

Britain's largest free-to-air broadcaster ITV is weeks away from signing a deal with Hulu, U.S. video-on-demand venture, to syndicate its content in exchange for equity in the company, the Daily Telegraph said on Tuesday.

Choosing between big audience and controversy

Some advertrisers shun Glenn Beck over "racist" remark.

YouTube inks deal with Time Warner

Program clips on Youtube.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A year later for Amanda Lindhout

As anniversaries go, it's a bleak one – and only Amanda Lindhout herself truly knows how bleak. Toronto Star.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Explorer 8 Trounces Firefox, Chrome in Security Test

Interesting bit of blog wisdom. Take it for what it's worth.

Friday, August 21, 2009

New name, direction for Quebec's TQS

"V" logo will stand for vedettes (stars), vitesse (speed), voyages (trips), and vice ou verite (truth or vice). See logo by following link.

Petition calling on Canadian gov't to scrap CRTC

The customers it seems have had enough, with one Ottawa man, Mike Lerner, starting a petition to dissolve the organization; Lerner began his march after being frustrated by Bell's recent decision to implement usage-based billing (the more you download, the more you pay) on wholesale customers, like his company

CBS to run video ad in EW print magazine

A coming issue of Entertainment Weekly's print edition will be embedded with a video player that will run ads for CBS shows and Pepsi. The concept belongs to Americhip Inc. The ad comes in a heavy-paper package resembling the kind of novelty greeting cards that make noises. A roughly five-centimetre screen starts playing automatically as the page flips open. A speaker is embedded below it. Here is a link to an Americhip video:

Israeli TV host commits suicide while awaiting trial for plotting against TV execs

One of the most famous Israeli television entertainers, Dudu Topaz, has apparently committed suicide in prison, where he was awaiting trial for allegedly plotting attacks on television executives. The former “ratings king” of Israeli television was charged with hiring thugs to attack network bosses whom he accused of ditching him in favour of reality television shows.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jayson Blair of plagiarism scandal fame now working as life coach

Jayson Blair, the ex-journalist best known for foisting plagiarism and fabrications into the pages of The New York Times, has been quietly working as a certified life coach for one of the most respected mental health practices in northern Virginia. Blair, 33, resigned from the Times in 2003, leaving a journalistic scandal in his wake. The resulting furor led the paper's top two newsroom executives to resign. Blair wrote a book, then mostly disappeared from view.

Walrus magazine creates movie-style trailers to promote cover stories

The general-interest magazine Walrus is making movie-style trailers to promote its cover stories, a move one analyst says could help revive an industry that's "sort of in the dumpster."
"It's tough times for any number of magazines and particularly the ones that don't fit the current sort of (special-interest) formats - and Walrus certainly falls into that category," said Lynn Cunningham, an associate professor with Ryerson University's journalism program. "Anything that's going to potentially work, hey, try it."
The Walrus posted its first cover-story trailer online this week to promote its September 2009 issue.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Don Hewitt, creator of "60 Minutes," dead at 86

Don Hewitt, creator of CBS News' groundbreaking "60 Minutes" program and one of the most influential behind-the-scenes figures in U.S. television journalism, died of pancreatic cancer on Wednesday, CBS News said. He was 86.

Globe's John Ibbitson says we should mourn demise of Reader's Digest

Reader's Digest may not long survive. We should mourn. The American parent of the world's bestselling general interest magazine said this week it would seek bankruptcy protection. The Digest is cutting its guaranteed circulation in the United States from eight million copies to 5.5 million, and from 12 issues a year to 10.

Reader's Digest Canada and other global operations are not affected, and the U.S. parent is expected to survive through a debt-for-equity swap. But a magazine that is already a shadow of its former self is clearly fading away.

(Click on the title to read the full column.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Behind Harper's war with media

Two years ago, Calgary television journalist Lynn Raineault completed a Master's thesis that explored Prime Minister Stephen Harper's ongoing battles with the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

As part of her research, Raineault conducted interviews with seven prominent Conservatives, including Preston Manning and Geoff Norquay, a former director of communications for Harper when he was opposition leader. To her surprise, she found that most of those Conservatives believed Harper was his own worst enemy when it came to getting favourable media coverage.

(Click on the title to read the full story.)

US columnist Robert Novak dies

The US political columnist Robert Novak, who played a key role in the Valerie Plame CIA leak controversy, has died.
Novak, 78, who had brain cancer, died at his home in Washington early today, his wife Geraldine told Associated Press.The veteran journalist wrote a widely syndicated column for the Chicago Sun-Times for decades and was also known for co-hosting the CNN programme Crossfire.

Newspaper rejects ad that criticized the newspaper’s parent company

The Long Island newspaper "Newsday" last week rejected an advertisement from the Tennis Channel that sharply criticized the newspaper’s parent company, Cablevision, for not carrying the network.

“Thanks for nothing Cablevision,” says the ad, which shows a tennis racket smashing a cable box. It adds: “You’ve dropped the ball by preventing your subscribers from seeing Tennis Channel’s round-the-clock coverage of the U.S. Open.” It invites Cablevision customers to switch to DirecTV, Dish TV or Verizon FiOS to get access to the coverage.

Newsday’s decision not to carry the ad raised questions about the paper’s independence from Cablevision. to Buy Hyperlocal Site Everyblock, the two year-old experiment in hyperlocal news, is being acquired by, a joint venture between NBC and Microsoft, the companies said Monday. The Chicago start-up, which has been funded by a two-year grant from the Knight Foundation, has been working to publish data feeds from governments in 15 American cities, including San Francisco, New York and Atlanta. The feeds deliver information like police reports, building permits and restaurant inspections, providing a statistical glimpse into neighborhood news.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Reader's Digest to file for bankruptcy

The publisher of Reader's Digest, the most popular general interest magazine in the United States, said Monday it will file for Chapter 11 protection with a plan to swap a portion of its debt for ownership of the company.

Reader's Digest Association Inc., which also markets books and publishes dozens of other magazines and Websites, said it has reached an agreement in principle with a majority of lenders to erase a portion of $1.6 billion in senior secured notes. The lenders will get ownership in return.

UFO sightings increase 'after television shows about aliens'

Sightings of unidentified flying objects increase when public interest is aroused by films and television programmes about aliens, newly declassified British files indicate.

Foreign media get First Nations tour

A group of journalists from far away toured two Cowichan Valley, B.C. venues last week as part of an initiative to show the world that Aboriginal tourism can offer an exciting, new kind of holiday.

"Our story. Your experience," that's our new motto, said Paula Amos, Director of Marketing and Product Development for Aboriginal Toursim BC.

She took writers and photographers from Europe and the United States to Cherry Point Vineyards and the Quw'utsun Cultural and Conference Centre, explaining that both operations were owned and operated by Cowichan Tribes.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Toronto Sun city hall columnist to run for Tories in by-election

Toronto Sun city hall columnist Sue-Ann Levy fulfilled her long-standing political ambitions today filing nomination papers as the Progressive Conservative candidate in the provincial St. Paul's riding. A Sept. 17 voting date for the downtown Toronto riding is expected to be called next week by Premier Dalton McGuinty.

The Tories are counting on the 52-year-old Levy's appeal as Jewish in the largely Jewish riding, as a strong fiscal conservative and recently-married gay woman. She will be taking a leave-of-absence from the paper.

The riding — with a long tenure of Liberal MPs and MPPs — became available with the departure of Michael Bryant, an MPP there since 1999 and former attorney general and economic development minister, who joined the city's economic promotional Invest Toronto as CEO in June.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Small is becoming beautiful for many newspapers in US

Newspapers are hurting all over the US, but the pain is less severe at small publications.

Take the Blackshear Times. The weekly paper in Georgia fills an information vacuum in a county of 17,000 people who live about 120km from the closest metropolitan market, in Jacksonville, Florida. That has made it easier for the Blackshear Times to hold on to its 3,500 subscribers and keep its revenue stable in a recession that’s ravaging much of the industry.

“CNN is not coming to my town to cover the news and there aren’t a whole lot of bloggers here either,” said Robert Williams Jr, the paper’s editor and publisher. “Community newspapers are still a great investment because we provide something you can’t get anywhere else.”

Steve Brill's startup venture to charge for content signs up 500 newspapers

Journalism Online, a startup created to help publishers charge for digital content, said it has reached preliminary agreements with 506 newspapers, magazines and online news sites that reach more than 90 million monthly visitors.

Representatives of the venture, whose founders include Steve Brill, creator of CourtTV, and Gordon Crovitz, former publisher of The Wall Street Journal, have been meeting for months with major newspaper and magazine publishers, who have grown increasingly interested in charging for online content as traditional advertising revenue plummets.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bell ends action against CRTC

Setting out the Bell strategy in launching, then withdrawing, its action against the CRTC. Seen by Globe and Mail writer as a useful gambit in the long battle of fees for programs.

Pagemasters to offer newspaper editorial services

Canadian Press is working with an Australian company, Pagemasters, to offer centralized design, editing and production services to newspapers in Canada and the United States. The new division, Pagemasters North America, will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Canadian Press, which already provides pagination services to Canadian daily newspapers including The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star. Picture above shows work done by a Pagemasters centralized "sub-editing newsroom" in Auckland for a New Zealand’s stable of newspapers and magazines. There's reaction back and forth as to whether the service will permit papers to do better work or merely cut more people from the payroll.

2 AP journalists wounded in Afghanistan bombing

A bombing has wounded two Associated Press journalists embedded with the U.S. military in southern Afghanistan.

O'Reilly-Olbermann in epic clash

When egos collide.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

CHEK workers try to buy station from CanWest

For sale, scheduled to close August 31, 2009.

Sirius XM offers 250 mln in notes to repay Liberty


Murder for ratings? Brazil cops suspect TV host

TV host accused of trying to boost ratings for his crime show by commissioning five murders. Cops say he roped his son into the scheme, tipping off camera crews to get exclusive stuff. Even in TV, this is considered going too far.

Re-regulate cable, satellite billing, CTV to tell feds

All out assault on Big Cable by Big TV. Words like "anti-consumer" and "misleading" fill the air. Toronto Star.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Black Journalists' Association Winners

Black Journalists' Association Announces Winners of Salute to Excellence Awards. Release.

Newspaper union to see Tribune bonus information

$70 million at issue. AP.

Will Rupert Murdoch Be the Pied Piper of Paid Content?

July 10, 2010 his deadline. Time magazine

CRTC to start over on negotiated fee

Meeting re-scheduled to November 16, 2009. Release.

Media buyers: Twitter is for, well, twits

Media Life survey found 52% agree, so it wasn't overwhelming.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tribune trumpets its ChicagoNow blog network

These blogs collectively aggregate some 500,000 unique visitors a month. Here is something from celebrated gardening blogger, Mr Brown Thumb.

CBS sells four more radio stations for $40 mln

Eye network plans to divest smaller markets. Reuters.

Pakistani lawyers seemingly at war with the press

Protest from Reporters Without Borders against nasty organized violence by lawyers on the Pakistani media. Readers are invited to offer any background to this apparent state of war. Very little information seems to exist on the web as to the root cause. Members of both fraternities may, knowing their brethern, be seeking some further moral footing in this one.

Robert Fulford: Ghostwriting is cynical, ethically dubious

In which he laments its popularity. National Post,

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Seattle situational is promising

Seattle Times is actually in the black while Hearst's online Post-Intelligencer is also successful, having kept all the readers it had before the print edition died. New York Times.

CanWest, CRTC to talk ownership

CanWest is going to have to re-structure. How would that work? Globe and Mail.

Toronto model the beautiful face of a beastly regime

Maybe, but a pretty listless performance.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Creepy model in ad frightens Swedish TV viewers

A commercial for Apoliva, an assortment of personal care products for Apotoket, featuring Swedish supermodel Adina Fohlin has made a major splash, although not quite the one that the Swedish pharmacy chain was hoping for. Rather than running out to purchase Apoliva products, viewers are running scared.

Quebecor and CanWest to share newspaper delivery in Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary

Signifigant savings, they say

Boston Globe says readers to pay for Web site

Push begins to wall off news to those who don't pay.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Peladeau consolidates control over holding company that controls Quebecor

Pierre Karl Peladeau has consolidated his control over the holding company that controls Quebecor Inc. one of Canada's largest multimedia companies.
Peladeau acquired his brother Erik's interest in the trust that controls Les Placements Peladeau Inc.

Pierre Karl Peladeau, president and chief executive of Quebecor, now controls all of the class A and class B Shares of Quebecor held by PPI and Holding Peladeau Inc. (HPI), a wholly owned subsidiary of PPI.

Quebecor owns the Sun Media chain of tabloid papers and other publications, the TVA television network in Quebec, the Videotron cable TV company and ot

CRTC gives TV industry more time on submissions

The federal broadcast regulator, after being slapped with legal action by BCE Inc. on Thursday, is giving the television industry an extra week to craft submissions regarding regulatory changes that would allow the country's largest TV networks to charge cable and satellite companies for their signals.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said Friday interested parties now have until Aug. 17 to submit their arguments in advance of September hearings regarding so-called fee-for-carriage legislation. Initially, interested parties had until Monday to make their submissions.

"The Commission requires time to consider the implications of the litigation for the current proceeding," the CRTC said in a statement.

Bell takes TV "pay for content" fight to court

Bell, which owns Canada's largest satellite service. alleges the CRTC has overstepped its jurisdiction with its "pay for content" ruling and asks a court to intervene in the fee debate, according to documents filed with the Federal Court of Appeal. The legal manoeuvre has sent ripples through the television sector.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Murdoch will use Sunday Times as vanguard for charging for online content

Rupert Murdoch will use the Sunday Times as a testbed for a radical new strategy designed to transform the finances of his British newspaper business by charging for online content. The newspaper's website, currently combined with that of its daily sister title the Times, will be launched as a standalone site,, at the end of November, according to senior industry sources.

The plans form part of a wide-ranging overhaul of Murdoch's titles, which also include the Sun and News of the World, after he said they would stop making content available free of charge. The News Corp chairman said on Wednesday that all his websites would introduce charges by June 2010.

Thomson Reuters Quarterly Net Doubles on Cost Savings

Thomson Reuters Corp., the news and data provider created by a merger last year, said second-quarter profit more than doubled. The result was fueled by cost savings from the deal and demand for the Westlaw legal service. Net income advanced to $315 million, or 38 cents a share, from $150 million, or 19 cents, a year earlier, New York-based Thomson said today in a statement. Earnings excluding some items rose to 58 cents a share, compared with the 44-cent average estimate in a Bloomberg survey.
The company eliminated jobs and products to help achieve $925 million in annualized savings from integrating Reuters in the first half. Thomson Corp. bought Reuters Group Plc for $15.9 billion in April 2008, adding financial information to its legal databases and health-care data products

Quebecor Inc. reports 34 per cent increase in Q2 profit

Quebecor's shares surged to their highest level in 10 months Thursday after it reported that second-quarter profit soared by more than a third as the strong performance of its telecommunications segment more than offset continued advertising revenue declines of its newspapers. The company's shares rose 9.33 per cent, gaining $1.82 to $21.54 in early afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. That's the highest level since last October. The Montreal-based media and telecommunications company reported net income of $76.8 million or $1.19 per share for the quarter ended June 30, up 33.6 per cent from year-earlier profits of $57.5 million or 90 cents per share.

Turns out there were no "Cronkiters" in Sweden or anywhere else

It turns out that Walter Cronkite, the anchorman who prided himself on accuracy helped perpetuate an unfounded claim that newscasters in Sweden and Holland had been nicknamed "cronkiters."

Cronkite wasn't alone in this mistaken report. Apparently, the first journalist to publish it was Pulitzer-prize-winning author David Halberstam. The theory gained credence when Cronkite himself mentioned it in "A Reporter's Life," his 1996 memoir. By then, the tale had also appeared in a 1978 history of CBS News. The Encyclopedia of Television included it in its entry on Cronkite. When Cronkite died last month, The Associated Press published it in his obituary.

Turns out, no evidence nor accounts uncovered thus far confirm its truth. Not Cronkiters. Not cronkiters. Not with a "k" instead of a "c." Not in Holland (which was added to the mix along the way) any more than in Sweden.

"I personally have never heard it," Olof Hulten, a veteran communications researcher and media educator in Kalmar, Sweden, said when asked about the term "cronkiter." A Dutch colleague concurred. Cronkite died last month at age 92.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

CTV Montreal cameraman killed in copter crash

Hugh Haugland, a veteran news cameraman who worked for CTV, was one of two people killed in a helicopter crash about 240 kilometers northwest of Montreal. The other person killed was the pilot.
Haugland, 44, was the father of two daughters and was the son of former CTV anchorman Bill Haugland, who retired in 2006

New desperate call from Amanda Lindhout

Almost a year into her captivity in Somalia, Amanda Lindhout said her health, both physical and mental, is deteriorating. In a phone call to OMNI TV on Monday, the kidnapped freelance journalist from Sylvan Lake, Alta., also said she is shackled and being kept in a dark room.

“I don't want to die here and I'm afraid I'll die in captivity if I don't get help soon,” she said. “I don't know how much longer I can bear this.”

Ms. Lindhout, 28, and Australian photographer, Nigel Brennan, were grabbed near Mogadishu, the Somali capital, on Aug. 23, 2008. Their local translator and driver were later released. A demand for $2.5-million was initially made

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ignatieff joins Writers' Union of Canada

With the issue of copyright reform at the forefront of the federal government's agenda once again, the Writers' Union of Canada has scored a major coup by enlisting Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff as its newest member.

“I've been a working writer since I got out of university and earned my living as a freelance writer for 18 years with no other visible means of support than my word processor, so I have a strong identification with the struggles of writers,” said Ignatieff, who has been a member of the union in the past. “I've lapsed, and I've signed up again,” he told The Globe and Mail.

Ignatieff is the author of 17 books, most recently True Patriot Love , a short history of four generations of the Grants, his mother's family.

Obama shares birthday celebration with Helen Thomas

On the day he turned 48, President Barack Obama decided to splash a little celebration on someone with whom he shares the birthday: legendary White House correspondent Helen Thomas, now a columnist with Hearst Newspapers. She turned 89 on Tuesday.

Obama emerged unannounced in the White House briefing room where Thomas sat in the front-row seat reserved in her name. He led the roomful of reporters in singing "Happy Birthday to You," gave a plate full of cupcakes to Thomas, watched her blow out one lit candle and sat down next to her to share a smiling photo.

U.S. journalists "pardoned" by N. Korea and released to Bill Clinton

Friends and family of two California journalists were relieved and excited Tuesday after the pair were pardoned by North Korea and released to former President Bill Clinton. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il ordered the journalists released after meeting with Clinton, who arrived in North Korea earlier in the day on an unannounced visit.

Sudanese women protest outside court as female journalist goes on trial for wearing trousers

Dozens of Sudanese women were holding a protest outside a Khartoum court where a female journalist was going on trial Tuesday for wearing trousers in public, a violation of the country's Islamic laws. Lubna Hussein faces 40 lashes on the charge of "indecent dressing."

Bill Clinton in N.Korea mission to free U.S. reporters

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton made a surprise trip to North Korea on Tuesday to try to bring home two jailed U.S. reporters, in what was the highest-profile visit by an American to Pyongyang for nearly a decade. The hardline communist state sent two senior officials and a schoolgirl with a floral bouquet to greet him at the capital's Sunan airport.

Analysts said the reception may indicate Pyongyang is seeking better relations with its arch enemy Washington, after months of high tensions sparked by the North's nuclear and missile tests and subsequent UN sanctions.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hudson River airplane splashdown wins AP Managing Editors' award

AP's fast, multidimensional coverage of the splashdown of a passenger jet into the Hudson River has been honored for Deadline Reporting by the Associated Press Managing Editors Association.

"The world expects The Associated Press to react well to breaking news, especially when it occurs in the main office's backyard," the APME judges said in making the award to AP's New York City staff. "But when a US Airways jetliner crash-landed in the Hudson River on January 15, the AP staff in New York really shone, producing a series of insightful, compelling and exclusive stories that demonstrated the power of the world's largest news organization."

From the first alert at 3:51 p.m. until 11 p.m. the main story was updated 19 times. By then, AP also had produced sidebars, including profiles of the pilot and passengers, a reconstruction of the flight and the dangers birds pose to aviation, the judges noted.

Australian radio show axed over national lie detector furore

An Australian radio show has been pulled off air after a lie detector stunt saw a 14-year-old girl say she had been raped. The Kyle and Jackie O Show on Sydney's 2Day FM was put "into recess" pending a review over the incident last week.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Britain's "The Observer" newspaper may close

Money losing Guardian Media Group could close its weekly newspaper The Observer in a drastic cost-cutting drive, the Sunday Times reports. Members of the Scott Trust, a charitable foundation that owns GMG, had discussed the plan in early July, according to The Sunday Times.

Members were shown trial copies of an Observer-branded magazine that could replace the Sunday paper and would be published instead on Thursdays, the paper reported. GMG management agreed to put the scheme on hold while an alternative was worked out to slim down The Observer and keep it as a Sunday publication, said the report.

"An especially embarrassing correction"

New York Times corrects many mistakes appearing in Cronkite obit.

Grand jury transcript details plan to kill Oakland editor

Chauncey Bailey was murdered because he was investigating shady activity at a bakery. Grand jury hears from state's witness that two indicted men joked as they planned the crime then hugged after the journalist was killed. "This is going to be big," one of them said of Bailey's killing, according to the court document--AP, CBC.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sunday People admits its story untrue

Pays damages to singer Peter Andre -- BBC

Venezuela shuts down first of 34 radio stations

Sinister project to "democratize airwaves" -- Reuters.

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