Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

CanWest cleared to shuffle National Post

Globe and Mail

Time Warner takes $100 mln charge on Time cuts

A restructuring charge of around $100 million for planned job cuts at its Time Inc publishing unit. Reuters

The new CBC News #1 (John Doyle)

"Only so much boggling a mind can take"

The new CBC News #2 (Rick Salutin)

It's scaaary, he says.

A.H. Belo Q3 looks weak

Dallas-based newspaper chain.

Globe and Mail on transfer of National Post

Interesting details on how much money the Post has lost.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Police look into gunshot at Lou Dobbs' home

A gunshot struck the home of CNN anchor Lou Dobbs this month, and police in New Jersey are trying to determine whether the bullet was fired intentionally or was a stray. CNN

METRO US 5th Largest Newspaper in United States

Release tells of the powerful Metro newspaper phenomenon. U.S. version of this free daily paper, one of which is published in Toronto in partnership with the Toronto Star, has driven USA TODAY into the shadows. Metro is a Swedish publishing company incorporated in Luxembourg. It is published locally in endless numbers of cities on most continents and seems set to devour the free newspaper business. The Planet Guys

CRTC rules Globalive not Canadian enough

CRTC has decided somewhat out of the blue that telecom contender Globalive is not Canadian enough. The company recently announced its new trade name and logo: WIND Mobile. Globalive's parent is Egyptian telecom biggie Orascom. Globalive has already jumped several expensive hurdles, as described by the Toronto Star, linked in the headline. Bell and Rogers are happy. Here also is what Kate O'Brien had to say in MobileSyrup recently: "Globalive Wireless has been put through the ringer over the past few months, especially with the upcoming investigation by the CRTC for their foreign ownership. However, this new wireless entrant seems to be having a grand old time. On their Twitter page they say they’re “working to bring competition to Canada’s wireless world is hard work but having some fun!”. Even when we interviewed Globalive Chairman Tony Lacavera he said it’s “just another roadblock”. But with all hardship comes adversity and Globalive has boatloads full of it!"

Wall Street Journal closes Boston bureau

"The economic background is painfully obvious to us all," says editor

"National Post will close after Friday if not transferred"

Creditors will not support Post beyond October 30, 2009, CanWest tells court.

TV vs Cable: Good argument but it overlooks the law

Column in Vacouver Sun drawing on simple logic but overlooking the nature of the law. Never spoken in the clash between TV and Cable is the principle of Estoppel, which establishes the reason why the broadcasters can't sue the cable companuies for stealing their stuff. They've given it away free for 40 years and now it's too late. Here it is from The Canadian Law Dictionary: Estoppel: A person's own acts, statement of facts or acceptance of facts which preclude his later making claims to the contrary.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fox's Shepard Smith: Sorry for 'lack of balance'

Fox correspondent Shannon Bream (left) had wrapped up a live interview with GOP candidate Chris Christie on Smith's afternoon news show Tuesday when Smith asked, "When will you be interviewing Jon Corzine?" Bream replied that despite "multiple requests," Corzine hadn't made himself available for an interview. "I didn't know that was about to happen," Smith then said. "My apologies for the lack of balance there. If I had control, it wouldn't have happened." AP

Canwest publishing OKs Post transfer

Needs lender approval. National Post

Big Cable deceiving public say CTV, CanWest

The Planet Guys always feel deceived. Sun

Forget the new National -- here's the old one

With Peter Kent. 1978.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Union for CanWest workers seeks cash

Representatives of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union asked to be included on the list of groups whose legal expenses will be covered in the restructuring process. The CEP is one of a few who are not eligible at this point. Globe and Mail

ESPN fires PA linked to Steve Phillips

Easier than firing Phillips, say the Planet Guys.

CanWest collapse deeply felt in Winnipeg

Sensitive story on the impact of bankruptcy on the "famously self-deprecating Prairie city." Reuters

St. Joseph Media websites honoured at Gladstone

Toronto Life, FASHIONmagazine and 20Minutesupperclub get recognition for online work, as described in this company release.

Starsuckers exposes phony news tabloids

Cheeky documentary rips lid off of manufactured "news". CP.

Olympic torch run called a conflict for scribes

Cosby Cosh of the National Post writes: "A couple dozen Canadian television reporters, mostly employees of CTV, are being criticized this week for having agreed to accept specially reserved places in the Olympic torch relay for the 2010 Vancouver Games. Yes, these journalists have a conflict of interest. About that, there can be no confusion. The question before us: Is it the kind of conflict of interest that matters. . . ." His bottom line: " . . . I think it's clear that the idea of newsmen running in the torch relay stinks; that they should have refused; and that they should be taken less seriously if they go through with it."

CBC's National glitzy but a little contrived: Star

The Toronto Star's Greg Quill is one of the first TV critics out of the gate with a comment on the revamped CBC news:
" . . . The National bowed in last night, flashing new graphics, a glitzy, wide-open set, a faster pace, a larger reporting crew. Its now-unseated anchor, Peter Mansbridge, plays a cross between a wandering, gracious maĆ®tre d' and — when he's standing behind the new Plexiglas counter — an avuncular publican pressing messengers to unburden themselves.

Gone is the pomp and circumstance of old, the age-soaked wisdom the national broadcaster oozed at 10 p.m., with Mansbridge as chief pooh-bah, the steel-jawed herd boss who once commanded a far-reaching news empire bound by the red and white of the nation's flag and by the sobriety and authority that represents. . . ."

Quill's bottom line?
"What The National has gained in speed and visual wallop seems to be at the expense of the appearance of reality. It was all a little, sad to say, self-satisfied and contrived."

Monday, October 26, 2009

New owners take control of Chicago Sun-Times

The sale of the Chicago Sun-Times, the 15th largest newspaper in the United States, and its sister publications to a group of local businessmen was completed on Monday, the newspaper said. The Sun-Times said its parent company, which filed for bankruptcy in March, is now owned by a group of investors led by Chicago investment banker James Tyree. The Tyree-led group purchased the Sun-Times, seven other suburban dailies and 51 weekly newspapers for five million dollars in cash and the assumption of 21.5 million dollars in liabilities in a deal approved by a US bankruptcy court on October 8.

Ontario Sikh newspaper publisher attacked by gunmen

Police are investigating the beating of the publisher of a Punjabi-language newspaper by three masked gunmen in Brampton, Ontario. Jagdish Singh Grewal,42, said he was leaving the office of the Canadian Punjabi Post late Friday night when three men carrying a baton and a handgun between them approached him. He managed to get into his vehicle, but one of the men smashed his car window and pointed a gun to his head, Grewal said. The men pulled him out of his vehicle and dragged him across the parking lot toward a van, beating him along the way, Grewal said. But they let him go when one of Grewal's employees came out and saw what was happening. Grewal suffered minor injuries and was recovering at home on Monday.

"Biggest change in history of CBC News," says CBC exec

Jennifer McGuire, (pictured at left) the CBC's General Manager and Editor-in-Chief, says on "CBC News looks and sounds different today. If you tuned in to World Report this morning, Peter Armstrong, our new host, welcomed you. On television, our newly christened CBC News Network has a new look and some new people bringing you the news. Even this page you are reading will soon be sporting a fresh new look." The Planet Guys wonder what happend to her title. She used to be "publisher." Full story if you click on the title.

Newspapers across the United States show steep declines in circulation

Circulation at many of America's largest newspapers continued a steep slide as the Audit Bureau of Circulations Monday morning released the latest figures for the six months ending September 2009 -- proving yet again that the industry can't shake the dramatic declines that have taken hold over the past several years.

USA Today had earlier announced a 17% hit. The Wall Street Journal overtook USA Today as the No. 1 daily in the country, according to ABC. Circulation at the Journal was up slightly, 0.6% to 2,024,269.

Compared to the same six-month period ending September 2008, daily (Monday-Friday) circulation at The New York Times is down 7.2% to 927,851. Sunday fell 2.6% to 1,400,302.

For the full Editor & Publisher story, click on the title.

Media focus help spare Saudi woman official flogging

Saudi Arabia's king waived a flogging sentence on a female journalist charged for involvement in a risque TV show, the second such pardoning of such a high profile case by the monarch in recent years. King Abdullah's decision to waive 22-year-old journalist Rozanna al-Yami's sentence of 60 lashes by a judge in Jiddah follows intense international media attention.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Critics blast Obama's stand against Fox News as 'Nixonian'

President Barack Obama's stand against Fox News and others viewed as hostile to his administration is being roundly derided as "Nixonian" by critics that include political pundits, journalists and legislators who remember Richard Nixon's paranoid and divisive presidency. Longtime Republican Lamar Alexander, who once worked as an aide to Nixon, took to the Senate floor last week to draw ominous comparisons between Obama administration tactics and those of his former boss. Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas has railed against attempts by White House officials to control the media, saying their efforts have been more aggressive than they were in the years when she covered the Nixon administration. And the mainstream media, even those organizations considered Obama-friendly, have widely criticized the White House for its war against Fox, citing the Nixon years.

The opposition and journalism: Interesting column

"I don't understand why if you write stories unfavourable to the opposition you are, in this case, Conservative, while if you write stories against the government you are a good journalist," writes Angelo Persichilli, the political editor of Corriere Canadese, in his weekly column in The Star.

Hackers get personal details from British newspaper's job site

Computer hackers have targeted the Guardian newspaper's jobs website in a "sophisticated and deliberate" move, the company has said. The breach put the personal details of some of the site's users at risk, and those who may have been affected have been identified and e-mailed.

Lashes for Saudi woman journalist

A female journalist in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to 60 lashes over a TV show in which a Saudi man described his extra-marital sex life.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

British scribe complains that people are swiping his newspapers on the tube (their word for subway)

But since the advent of free papers such as Metro and London Lite it feels like my reading material isn't my own. A culture has developed among passengers that is deeply offensive to right-minded people: many of them have become common thieves.

Read the whole -- very British -- story by clicking on the title.

Analysis: President pushes back, Chicago style

It is the political equivalent of Chicago gangland warfare, one that pits an American president with more fight in him than many anticipated against his worst ideological enemies, the makers of Fox News. And while many Democratic supporters are cheering a White House campaign to squeeze the ultra-conservative Fox outlet to the margins, others are cringing that the strategy does such a disservice to democracy that it ultimately will backfire.

Montreal construction tycoon sues Radio-Canada

Tony Accurso is suing CBC’s French-language network for defamation and is also denying allegations he met with three provincial cabinet ministers on board his yacht. The businessman arguing claims the public broadcaster infringed on his right to privacy by broadcasting a report in September alleging corruption. The report, produced by journalist Alain Gravel, alleged Accurso has powerful ties with politicians and union organizations in Quebec. Accurso has asked for $2 million in damages to his reputation, and $500,000 in punitive damages.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ontario Press Council dismisses complaint against Hamilton Mountain News

A column that suggested the Taliban was rooting for a New Democratic Party victory in the 2008 federal election was an exercise in hyperbole that would be seen by readers as the author's fanciful opinion, the Ontario Press Council says in dismissing a complaint against the Hamilton Mountain News. The column, published Oct. 10, 2008, under the headline Taliban rooting for a Layton victory, was based on a Canadian Press article from Afghanistan. It said that while a Taliban spokesman didn't know which party was most likely to withdraw Canadian troops, such a platform would be "good for that party and for their nation and the Canadian people." Ken Stone of Hamilton complained that the column was simply inaccurate since there was no mention of Layton or the NDP in The Canadian Press article.

Canwest gets time to transfer NatPost to another division

Canwest has been given more time to work on a planned transfer of the National Post to a division that owns the company's other newspapers. Certain divisions of Canwest, including its Global TV conventional television assets and the National Post but not the other newspapers, filed for creditor protection earlier this month. Canwest Global Communications Corp. says its subsidiary, Canwest Media Inc., has agreed with key note holders to extend the deadline for transferring the national newspaper to the limited partnership by one week to Oct. 30.

Who believes that Harper watches only American news?

Even Stephen Harper's own cabinet seems to be having trouble accepting that the man with the famously frosty relationship to the national news media doesn't consume Canadian news.

"I tend to watch American news," Harper said this week during a question-and-answer session at a Canadian Chamber of Commerce convention in Toronto.

"I don't like to watch Canadian news and hear what Allan (Gregg) and everybody else is saying about me. My hobby is to watch politics elsewhere."

Gregg, a pollster and CBC pundit, was in the audience.

Industry Minister Tony Clement was aghast Thursday when asked about Harper's news viewing habits.

"I'm sure he does" watch Canadian news, Clement said outside the House of Commons.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Feeding the 24-hour beast at the CBC

Playback magazine take on how CBC has discovered 24 hour news: "To create a multi-platform newsroom that gets news out in minutes rather than hours to younger consumers, CBC Newsworld and will jump to the front of the line in terms of how network [news-gatherers] feed the beast."

Corus's Q4 profit up as radio division takes hit

Canadian Press

Newsday goes to pay model for website

Sort of. $5 a week for much of , but apparently some will still be free. Begins next week. Let's watch.

10 stations to close, only CFTO makes money

Grim report from CTV guy to Sun editorial board. But, everything will okay if cable companies pony up.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pagers changing TV ratings game

Pager-like monitors on hip of selected viewers offer highly precise readings of viewing. Globe and Mail

CRTC allows Web traffic 'throttling' as last resort

Reuters take on story below.

CRTC concedes "ISP traffic management" necessary

RELEASE (edited) -- To meet the changing needs of Internet users, the Commission encourages ISPs to make investments to increase network capacity as much as possible. However, the Commission realizes that ISPs may need other measures to manage the traffic on their networks at certain times. Whenever possible, ISPs should give preference to Internet traffic management practices based on economic measures. These practices are the most transparent as they are clearly identified on monthly bills. With this information, consumers can compare between different Internet services and match their bandwidth needs with the amount they are willing to pay. Technical means to manage traffic, such as traffic shaping, should only be employed as a last resort. The Commission has also adopted special rules for ISPs that provide services on a wholesale basis to their competitors. These are necessary to ensure that ISPs do not use Internet traffic management practices to cause competitive harm to their wholesale customers.

Media-hungry Canadians "geoblocked" from Hulu, Spotify

Who knew? Globe and Mail.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Journalist detained in Iran now in UK

Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari, who was detained for nearly four months in Iran, has been released and has rejoined his pregnant wife in the U.K., Newsweek said Tuesday.

Top 10, bottom 10 (out of 176)

Press freedom as defined by Reporters Without Borders, is superior in Estonia (#6) compared to the U.S. (#20). Also, press freedom is sufficiently different between Yemen and North Korea to rank them #167 and #174 respectively. Canada is in the press freedom doghouse at #19. Charge of $5 to request federal files cited as one hindrance to freedom.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Activists pull hoax on media, Chamber of Commerce

Phony news release claiming CoC support for White House environmental plan picked up by big players and then quickly debunked Monday morning. Politico

Report urges action to preserve journalism

The authors recommend local news outlets be allowed to operate as non-profits.

Beringer Capital denies Canwest play

Acquisition of Micheal Sifton and John Prosperi fuel speculation. Also see below.

New York Times to cut 100 newsroom jobs

Through buyouts or layoffs.

Micheal Sifton lands at Beringer Capital

RELEASE -- "Mr. Sifton has had a distinguished 20-year career in the newspaper publishing business. He was President & CEO of family-owned Armadale Communications from 1988 to 1996. From 1996 to 2001 he held various positions, including President, at Hollinger Canadian Newspapers. Most recently he was President & CEO of Osprey Media from its formation in 2001 until August 2007 when it was acquired by Sun Media. He was appointed President & CEO of Sun Media, a position he held until November 2008. At Osprey and Sun Media Mr. Sifton led transformational change that created operational efficiencies and competitive advantage."

Gannett quarterly profit and ad revenue sink


Vivendi gets OK to make a bid for Brazil's GVT


Sunday, October 18, 2009

AP photo copyright case seems to have collapsed

Artist Shepard Fairey's claim that he had the right to use a news photo to create his famous Barack Obama "HOPE" poster became a widely watched court case about fair use that now appears to have nearly collapsed. By Friday night, his attorneys - led by Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford University - said they intend to withdraw from the case and said the artist had misled them by fabricating information and destroying other material. AP.

All you'll ever want to know about Obama vs Fox

Consensus in these linked stories is that White House can't win. Google

Saturday, October 17, 2009

UK's Channel 4 has landmark deal with YouTube

Fans of shows such as Peep Show and Skins will be able to access some of their favourite programmes on YouTube for the first time after it sealed a groundbreaking deal with Channel 4 yesterday. The Google-owned video site will add shows in full and free of charge shortly after broadcast on C4, via its 4oD (4 on Demand) catch-up service. 4oD will remain available on C4's website. Independent.

Jailed Canadian journalist in Iran freed on bail

Globe and Mail from CP.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fred Langan's NBN felled for CBC News "renewal"

The closing bell rang on Friday night for Newsworld Business News, the only CBC show dedicated entirely to business hosted by Fred Langan and seen on weekdays at 6:30 p.m. with a number of repeats over the weekend.

The end of the show marks the start of CBC’s news “renewal” that will feature a business show, hosted by Amanda Lang and Kevin O’Leary at 4:30 p.m. with Amanda making at least three appearances a week with business stories on The National. The new configuration starts on October 26.

The final NBN show on Friday featured flashbacks back to the 1990s when the show started as a production of an outside company. There were many tributes to Langan, who has spent most of his CBC career as a business reporter. They included clips from his appearance on the Rick Mercer comedy show, and many compliments on his trademark sartorial style, pictured. Peter Mansbridge, in his tribute, revealed that his mother got her business information from Fred.

Langan will contribute business stories to the new CBC newswheel which is believed to mimic CNN’s “Situation Room.”

Chasing a one-balloon wonder

The Balloon Boy saga seems set to consume all of journalism at this hour. On Google you can check out a staggering 5,612 super urgent renderings of this tale, most of them written after it was discovered that the kid was not in the balloon. In the U.S., the deflated balloon back on the ground and the kid safe, the story blew away wars and great national debates for air-time. It's now widely known that the kid vomited twice -- twice! -- on morning television. The most imminent concern of the Wall Street Journal was that the kid's parents were under suspicion. The local sheriff said no" but what the hell, this is a Balloon Story. Can't let anything get in the way of a really good balloon story. Even a one-balloon wonder of a balloon story. The Planet Guys.

Tongue-in-cheek take on paid circulation

According to a report published this week in American Journalism Review, 93 percent of all newspaper sales can now be attributed to kidnappers seeking to prove the day's date in filmed ransom demands. "Although the vast majority of Americans now get their news from the Internet or television, a small but loyal criminal element still purchases newspapers at a steady rate," study author and Columbia journalism professor Linus Ridell said. "The sober authority of the printed word continues to hold value for those attempting to extort large sums of money from wealthy people who wish to see their loved ones alive again, and not chopped into pieces and left in steamer trunks on their doorsteps." "These are sick, sick individuals," Ridell added. "God bless them for saving our industry." The Onion

Google’s golden one-trick pony

They make money!

Canwest could fetch more than $1 billion for newspapers, say industry observers

Canwest Global Communications could fetch more than $1 billion for its newspaper assets - including the National Post - as signs of life in the finances of the newspaper industry drive up interest in acquisitions, industry observers suggest. hris Diceman, an analyst at Dominion Bond Ratings Service, believes if Canwest moves ahead with rumoured plans to sell its newspapers, it could pull in between $600 million and $900 million for the lumped together assets in a first round of bids.

Winnipeg Free Press to end Sunday delivery, expands Saturday edition

FP Newspapers Income Fund says that it will stop publishing a full Sunday edition of the Winnipeg Free Press effective Nov. 1. The Sunday paper will be replaced with a compact-size product called "Free Press On 7" that will be available for purchase at retailers and newspaper boxes in and around Winnipeg. The paper's Saturday edition will be expanded to include the homes, books, and personal finance pages which were previously included in the Sunday paper, FP Newspapers said in a statement.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

CanWest to be delisted from Toronto Exchange

Canwest Global Communications Corp. announced Thursday it had received notice of delisting from the Toronto Stock Exchange effective at market close Nov. 13, 2009. Trading in Canwest shares, which sit at 23.5 cents, is to remain suspended.
The media conglomerate's stock was halted Oct. 5 when it filed for creditor protection under a mountain of debt. The company made its first court appearance in Toronto Wednesday where it received approval for a timetable that would see its restructuring completed by the end of January.

Shoe throwing Iraqi journalist says he would it again even if it cost his life

The journalist, Muntadhar al-Zeidi, told a Swiss television station that, after being mistreated in Iraqi custody for two days after he threw his shoes at President George W. Bush last Dec. 14, a judge asked him whether he regretted the gesture. "I told the judge only one thing: if the hands of the clock could go back I would do the same act even if it cost my life," al-Zeidi said, speaking through a translator.

Thomson Reuters to buy Breakingviews

Thomson Reuters Corp. says it will buy business commentary service Breakingviews, a move by the news and financial data provider to significantly increase its production of commentary written by columnists.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Times Co. will keep Boston Globe

After months of hunting for a buyer, The New York Times Company said on Wednesday that it had decided not to sell The Boston Globe, the newspaper it threatened last spring to close because of mounting losses.

People magazine publishes first photos of Jaycee Dugard as she looks now

Jaycee Dugard looks "radiant" on the cover of the latest issue of People magazine, managing editor Larry Hackett told Matt Lauer on the "Today" show Wednesday morning. Just two short months after being rescued from her 18-year kidnapping ordeal, the mother of two looks more like a teenager than a 29-year-old. The magazine features many photographs of Jaycee with her mother and her two daughters, Angel (15) and Starlit (11). None of the photos show the girls' faces. The photographs were taken by a private photographer the family hired, Hackett said. He wouldn't say directly whether People paid Jaycee and her family for the photos, but he did say: We have bought photographs in the past. I don’t want to go into the details.” Jaycee was not directly interviewed for the story, but she did authorize the story and issue a statement.

Supermodel poses in blackface for French Vogue photoshoot

French Vogue has gotten into some more haute controversy. This month's issue of the fashion magazine features a photoshoot with white supermodel Lara Stone in blackface, according to No stranger to shocking shoots — it recently featured a faux-pregnant model smoking a cigarette— the magazine enlisted photographer Steven Klein to shoot the 14-page spread, styled by editor Carine Rotifeld. The story that goes along with the photos praises Stone for her "radical break with the wave of anorexic models.

CanWest wants quick creditor deal

Lawyers representing CanWest Global Communications Corp. are proposing an “aggressive” time frame for the company's financial restructuring, and want to have an agreement with creditors in place by the end of January. Straying from that tight schedule could put the company's financial restructuring at risk and harm daily operations, an Ontario judge was told Tuesday.

TV station frets about anchors feeding own teleprompters

In a bid to save money, WTTG, Channel 5 in Washington, is planning to reassign the technicians who operate the electronic prompters that feed scripted news copy to the anchors while they're on the air. Instead, the station wants its anchors to do the job themselves, using their hands and feet. Some at the station worry that such a roll-your-own system could increase the potential for on-camera blunders.

PLANETGUYS NOTE: It is strange that WTTG does not seem to be aware that for about 15 years some TV operations have had anchors run their autocue, most notably Newsworld International (sold to Al Gore) and New York News 1, a local cable station in New York.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Stalin’s Grandson Loses Defamation Suit

On Tuesday in Moscow, a court ruled against Joseph Stalin’s grandson, Yevgeny Dzhugashvili, who had demanded $340,000 in damages from the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, for supposedly besmirching his family’s reputation by calling his grandfather a “bloodthirsty cannibal.”

Bloomberg Buys BusinessWeek

Bloomberg L.P. is the winning bidder for BusinessWeek, owned by McGraw-Hill. Bloomberg’s interest signals a wider journalistic ambition at the company, where the publishing side is known for its financial focus and financial readers. Despite some award-winning journalism, after 80 years, BusinessWeek had become a drag on McGraw-Hill’s books. It lost $43 million last year and had almost $32 million in liabilities outstanding as of April 30 — more debts than assets — according to a June memorandum sent to potential buyers.

British law firm abandons proceeding blocking Parliamentary reporting

A law firm has abandoned a bid to prevent the British press from reporting proceedings in Parliament. Carter-Ruck had tried to stop the media revealing that a Labour MP had tabled a question relating to oil-trading firm Trafigura and Ivory Coast toxic waste. The MP, Paul Farrelly, asked about an injunction stopping the publication of the Minton report into the waste issue. Carter-Ruck argued an order stopping the media revealing this injunction also applied to Parliamentary reports. The Guardian newspaper had been due to challenge the order in court later on Tuesday. However, Carter-Ruck relented, allowing media to reveal that there is an injunction in place blocking the publication of the report, which was commissioned by Trafigura.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A castoff reporter with a ‘Tom Sawyer business plan’ buys a newspaper

Eight months ago, M.E. Sprengelmeyer, 42, worked as the sole Washington correspondent for The Rocky Mountain News, the Denver newspaper that went out of business in February. In August, he embarked on a new life in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, an isolated little town. He became the owner, publisher, editor, primary writer and sometime ad salesman, photographer and deliverer of the weekly Guadalupe County Communicator, circulation about 2,000.

“I covered the war in Iraq and the presidential campaign, and I knew I was never going to top that, even if I found another reporting job,” he said, sitting on a battered chair in his single-story storefront space. “I just wanted a completely new direction...

“It’s the Tom Sawyer business plan: I’m trying to convince all my friends how much fun it would be to help me,” said Mr. Sprengelmeyer.

Click on the title to read the full New York Times story.

Venerable London Evening Standard becomes free paper in bid to boost circulation figures

The London Evening Standard became a free newspaper Monday after more than 180 years of sales in a bid to more than double its circulation as advertising revenue dries up. The paper eliminated its 50 pence (80 U.S. cents) cover charge in a bid to increase its circulation from 250,000 to 600,000. The newspaper is competing against several free London papers that have started in recent years. Russian tycoon Alexander Lebedev, who recently purchased the newspaper, said it is the first quality newspaper to become a free sheet and that he expects many others to follow.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"The Simpsons" Marge Simpson becomes first cartoon cover of Playboy magazine

This isn't the first time that a Simpson's character has appeared on the cover of a national magazine, but the appearance of Marge Simpson in Playboy could definitely go down as the most memorable.

Click on the title to read the full story.

Marty Forscher, tended cameras and owners, dies at 87

Though renowned as a repairman, Marty Forscher was perhaps best described as an armorer. For if news photographers were foot soldiers in the fight for social justice, as he long maintained, then he was intent on equipping them soundly. As a result, many of the seminal events of mid-20th-century history — World War II, the American civil rights movement, the Vietnam War — were recorded in part by cameras he had repaired, donated or adapted.(The New York Times)

Click on the title for full story.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Argentine Senate overwhelmingly approves media monopoly law

Argentina's Senate overwhelmingly approved a law that will transform the nation's media landscape on Saturday, and President Cristina Fernandez quickly signed it into law. Senators voted by a surprisingly high 44-24 margin for the law, celebrating the end of dictatorship-era rules that enabled a few companies to dominate Argentine media. Opponents say it instead gives the government too much power and will curtail freedom of speech. The new law preserves two-thirds of the radio and TV spectrum for noncommercial stations, and requires channels to use more Argentine content. It also forces Grupo Clarin, the country's leading media company, to sell off many of its properties.

Wall Street Jounal claims No. 1 spot after USA Today losses

Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal says it is now the largest U.S. newspaper by weekday circulation after USA Today, long No. 1, said in a memo its circulation had declined and likely knocked it down to No. 2.

Hamilton Spectator charged over photo

Police have charged the top editors and the publisher of the Hamilton's Spectator over a photograph that allegedly identified a surviving victim of the first man convicted of murder for having sex while knowing he had HIV.
(click on the title for the full story.)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Brazilian crime show host accused of killing to boost ratings turns himself in

Wallace Souza, a former TV crime show host and state legislator accused of commissioning killings to boost ratings turned himself in to authorities Friday and was jailed on homicide and drug trafficking charges. Souza has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence, but a state legislative committee ousted him from his post last week.

A new warrant was issued for the 2007 killing of drug trafficker Cleomir Pereira Bernardino, though it was not one of the five slayings under investigation that appeared on his "Canal Livre" crime show. Souza is accused of renting the car that Bernardino's killers used in their attack.

USA Today to post 17 percent drop in circulation

USA Today expects to report the largest decline in circulation in its 27-year history, threatening its No. 1 position among U.S. dailies as the growth of online news and the slump in travel pummel the newspaper.

AP, News Corp bosses tell search engines to pay up

The leaders of two of the world's major news organizations said Friday that it is time for search engines and others who use news content for free to pay up. The comments from Tom Curley of The Associated Press and News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch come as the media industry struggles in the Internet age. Many news companies contend that sites such as Google have reaped a fortune from their articles, photos and video without fairly compensating the news organizations producing the material.

"We content creators have been too slow to react to the free exploitation of news by third parties without input or permission," Curley, the AP's chief executive, told a meeting of 300 media leaders in Beijing.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Scotiabank-led team to control Canwest dailies, the Globe and Mail says

A group of creditors led by Bank of Nova Scotia will run the daily newspapers owned by Canwest Global Communications Corp, which announced a long-awaited recapitalization plan this week, the Globe and Mail reported on its website. Canwest LP, the Canwest subsidiary that owns the dailies, in the next few weeks is planning its own debt-for-equity swap, which is likely to include another court filing for creditor protection, the paper

Broadcasters, Ottawa settle over tax fees; Feds forgive $450 million fee

The federal government has agreed to forgive $450 million in fees it is owed by the country's broadcasters and cable industry, but will set up a new funding structure that would see them pay up to $100 million a year. Ottawa said it would not seek the money held in escrow by the broadcasting industry on the so-called "Part 2 Licence Fees," which the government levies to raise money to run the airwaves.

In return, the industry has agreed to drop a court action that claimed the fees were unfair and illegal because they exceeded the cost to the government of running the airwaves.

Slim majority of Canadians would back newspaper bail-out

A Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey - conducted before one of Canada's biggest media conglomerates received partial bankruptcy protection this week - found that a slim majority of Canadians would support a bailout for newspapers. It also found that 87 per cent of respondents believe newspapers play an important role in the news media.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Will "Times+" persuade anyone to pay $100?

Rupert Murdoch's News International has unveiled a new model for The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers with the launch of a membership scheme that gives readers access to exclusive events and special offers in return for a £50 annual fee.

Accused Brazil TV host 'missing'

Wallace Souza was a TV host and popular politician elected to the assembly in the state of Amazonas with a large majority. However, his expulsion following a vote last week meant he lost his parliamentary immunity and now it appears he is on the run, after a warrant was issued for his arrest. It says he conspired to have murders committed to increase ratings for his crme program. BBC.

Canwest C$10 mln "retention bonuses"

To keep 20 key employees in their jobs as some of its television and newspaper operations are restructured under bankruptcy protection. Reuters.

Highlights from the history of Canwest Global


Convergence fever buried Canwest

Rather nasty obit on CanWest from David Olive in the Star on the folly of "convergence Kool aid" and of the apparently relevant "Zionist world view" of David Asper. Toronto Star.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Asper stake likely to fall below 10%

Operational control of CanWest discussed in Globe and Mail story.

Canwest's holding company to file for protection

Canwest Global Communications Corp.’s holding company will apply for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday as it continues to work on a plan to recapitalize the country’s largest media conglomerate. The broadcaster and newspaper publisher has been negotiating with lenders after its holding company Canwest Media Inc. (CMI) missed a US$30.4-million interest payment due March 15. The missed payment had the potential to trigger the payment of US$761-million of 8% senior subordinated notes.

UK supermarket pulls ad from Fox News over Beck

Upscale British supermarket chain Waitrose said Monday it was pulling its advertisements from Fox News in the U.K. after customers complained about the cable news channel's Glenn Beck program.

Iran closes three newspapers without reason


Monday, October 5, 2009

Torstar Corporation to hold Q3 conference call

Call at November 4, 2009 at 8:15 a.m. Torstar will be releasing its third quarter results at 6:30 a.m.

Interesting history of NBC

As GE consideers selling.

Gourmet magazine ceases publication

Conde Nast also closes Modern Bride, Elegant Bride and Cookie, blaming advertising slump.

Can't wait to get Letterman on the stand says lawyer

Stop the TV Tax, coalition urges CRTC

News release from cable and satellite providers like Bell and Rogers. The radio campaign calls fee for carriage idea a "bailout" for CTV and Global. It does a "Come on people" exhortation which fully equals frenzy of the Save Local TV spectacle of this summer. Do these two gangs deserve each other, or what. The Planet Guys.

Murdoch's campaign to shut down free news on web

"Rubbish … bonkers … a crock … a form of madness,” say net experts. Vanity Fair.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bertelsmann mogul Reinhard Mohn dead at 88

Reinhard Mohn, the former chief executive of Bertelsmann, who turned the German publisher into one of the world's top five media companies, died Saturday aged 88. Mohn, who was born in the town of Guetersloh, where Bertelsmann is based, took the helm at the publisher in 1947 after returning from a prisoner-of-war camp in Kansas. The great-great-grandson of founder Carl Bertelsmann, he laid the foundation for the firm's expansion by creating the Bertelsmann book clubs in 1950, growing it into an international business with over 20 million members.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Man arrested in Erin Andrews nude video case

Plug the security peepholes! FBI says videos posted online were taken through a modified door peephole while the 31-year-old Andrews was alone and undressed in hotel rooms in Nashville, Tenn., in September 2008. Accused is Micheal David Barrett, 48.

Rally held in Rome to defend press freedom

Tens of thousands of people, including journalists and media rights activists, gathered in a Rome square Saturday to defend press freedom, accusing Premier Silvio Berlusconi of trying to silence critical voices. Berlusconi, a media magnate, has dismissed the accusations as a "joke" and the demonstration as a "farce." He said this week that there is more press freedom in Italy than in any other Western country. Berlusconi owns the country's largest private broadcaster. As premier, he and his conservative coalition have indirect control on the state-run broadcaster RAI. AP.

Washington Post forges alliance with Bloomberg

Replaces sharing arrangement it had with the Los angeles Times.

Letterman Extortion Raises Questions for CBS

This is an excellent piece on the Letterman situation from NYT.

Electroric newstand -- is it worth a shot?

Time Inc is gathering U.S. magazine publishers to start a jointly run digital newsstand next year that would deliver their titles to mobile devices like increasingly popular electronic book readers. Reuters.

CKX-TV Brandon: No ads, no money, no takers

WFP and CP.

Editor of ethnic newspaper featured in Toronto Star sting

Money for pills to make your unborn child a boy, rather than a girl.

AP video on Letterman, Halderman and the ladies

Friday, October 2, 2009

British broadcasters pile on pressure for TV debate

Gordon Brown is the key. Sky News has been campaigning for U.S.-style debates between Prime Minister Gordon Brown and opposition challengers David Cameron and Nick Clegg. The idea has been endorsed by Cameron and Clegg but Brown has been slightly more circumspect. Brown's Downing Street office did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the proposal.

Rebecca Santana named AP bureau chief in Iraq

The 37-year-old Santana replaces Robert H. Reid, who became the AP's director of news in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Reporter says criticism of Soviets brought threats

Alexander Podrabinek wrote an article last month criticizing Moscow officials and military veterans for pressuring a restaurant to drop the name "Anti-Soviet," claiming it insulted Russia's past. AP.

London's Evening Standard to become free paper

London's Evening Standard has announced plans to scrap its 50p (C80 cents) cover price and become a free newspaper, sacrificing £12m in revenue for a wider circulation. In August the paper sold just 107,680 at the full cover price. A further 8,500 copies were sold at below the basic cover price. The Evening Standard is understood to lose more than £10m a year. Paper is 182 years old.

CBS copyright claim takes Letterman video off Youtube

It was one weird moment. Letterman confessing to God know what, the audience isn't sure it's not a skit, some laugh even though they know it's not. Forget about seeing it on Youtube. CBS has had it yanked. Bootleggers will aboud. TPG

Sudden death spectacle leaves TV anchors stunned

In a ceremony somewhat like a public execution, Olympic contenders are found wanting and killed off in the same sentence. To the guillotine!

All about money as CRTC seeks "consumer input"

RELEASE -- At the Government of Canada's request, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will hold a public hearing on the implications and advisability of implementing a compensation regime for the value of local television signals. The hearing will begin on December 7, 2009, in Gatineau, Que. The CRTC is considering whether local television stations should be allowed to negotiate compensation from cable and satellite companies for their signals. "We are examining various facets of the Canadian broadcasting system as it adapts to an environment that is rapidly changing," said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. "We are discussing a number of regulatory changes with the industry to ensure the system's future health. It is important that consumers make their voices heard on the issues that affect them the most."

Papers not for sale: Canwest

Canwest Global Communications Corp. is denying a published report that it is putting its big-city daily newspapers across the country on the auction block and one of its senior executives has lined up financial backers to make a bid.
(see post below)

CBS producer pleads not guilty in Letterman plot

Robert J. "Joe" Halderman, a producer for the true-crime show 48 Hours, entered the plea in a Manhattan court as he was arraigned on one count of attempted first-degree grand larceny, punishable by five to 15 years upon conviction. Bail was set at $200,000. He is accused of trying to blackmail David Letterman for $2 million in a plot that spurred the TV host to acknowledge sexual relationships with women who worked on his show.

CBC, National Post to share content!

The CBC, Canada's public broadcaster, and the National Post have agreed to share content across their media platforms, the companies have announced. The two have often been at odds. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Under the agreement, the CBC's website will run daily financial stories and podcasts from the Post, while the Post will run daily CBC sports stories on its website and occasionally in the print edition of the newspaper.

CTV to close station in Brandon, Man., after 6 p.m. newscast Friday

CKX-TV, a Brandon, Manitoba, station founded 54 years ago will sign off for good after tonight's newscast. A second would-be buyer backed out of a deal to buy the station for $1. The move was announced in a memo from Ivan Fecan, the chief executive of CTV Inc.

Godfrey lines up CanWest buyout: Globe and Mail

National Post CEO Paul Godfrey has lined up financial support for the purchase of daily newspapers owned by CanWest Global Communications Corp., The Globe and Mail reports. Mr. Godfrey, former CEO of Sun Media and the Toronto Blue Jays, has already succeeded in one media buyout and now has private equity backers willing to finance a management-led bid for the newspapers currently owned by his employer, sources say. The newspapers are expected to be put up for auction within the next two months, and could fetch $1-billion, as creditors take control of debt-heavy CanWest.

In 1996, Mr. Godfrey led a $411-million management buyout of what was then Toronto Sun Publishing Corp. The deal proved wildly successfu

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Snafu at Czech news agency leaves it with two directors-general

The board of the Czech news agency, CTK, has to explain to parliamentarians why it accepted the resignation of the agency’s director-general, chose a successor and then reappointed the old chief when he changed his mind about quitting. The national news agency is a public corporation set up much like a Crown corporation in Canada.
In a close vote last August, the board appointed Radim Hreha to replace Milan Stibral who tendered his resignation to the board. But a month later he told the board he was staying. He said employees asked him to stay because they did not want a change in leadership at a time when the influence of news agencies is waning. Hreha said he plans to go to court to claim his appointment. The board has been told to explain the legal basis for their decision to a parliamentary committee by the middle of the October.

LA Times, Washington Post end 47-year-old syndication service

The Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service, which was launched in 1962 and has more than 600 clients around the world, will cease operations at the end of the year, the companies announced. The Tribune Co., which owns the Los Angeles Times, said content from the newspaper would be incorporated into McClatchy-Tribune Information Services, a joint venture between the Tribune Co. and McClatchy newspapers which supplies material to some 1,200 clients worldwide.

Philadelphia newspaper creditors seek control of company

Creditors who are out $400 million with the bankruptcy filing by Philadelphia's two main daily newspapers will be in court Thursday trying to win control of the company. Philadelphia Newspapers operates The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and the Web site.

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