Monday, November 30, 2009

G.E. Pact With Vivendi Clears Way for Sale of NBC

General Electric has reached a tentative agreement to buy Vivendi’s 20 percent stake in NBC Universal for about $5.8 billion, helping clear the path to a sale of the television and movie company to Comcast, people briefed on the matter told the New York Times web page DealBook. But much remains to be negotiated, these people warned. The Vivendi agreement values NBC Universal at $29 billion, less than the $30 billion or so that G.E. and Comcast had agreed to last month.

Grey Cup delivers a record audience of 6.1 million

More than 14 million Canadians, or nearly 43% of the country's population, watched the game in whole or in part. An incredible 8.35 million viewers were watching the broadcast at 9:49 p.m. ET on TSN and RDS as Montreal kicker Damon Duval converted his second game-winning field-goal attempt as timed expired. The combined TSN and RDS audience for 2009 Grey Cup surpasses the previous combined Grey Cup audience high of 5.2 million set in 2002 by 16%.

CRTC asks views to comment (again?) on the local news vs cable issue

The federal broadcast regulator wants Canadians to use a spoecial website to air their views on the availability of local news, information and public affairs programming.
At the heart of the debate is a battle between the major television broadcasters and cable and satellite companies over who pays for TV signals. The TV broadcasters have asked the CRTC to compel the cable and satellite operators to pay for the broadcasters' TV signals to help maintain local stations and programming. Cable companies have said such a fee could result in charging their customers as much as $10 a month on top of their bills to cover the extra costs.

Jane Francisco named new editor-in-chief at Chatelaine magazine

Jane Francisco, an 18-year veteran of the publishing industry, is the new editor-in-chief at Chatelaine magazine, Rogers Media Inc., the magazine's owner has announced.
She takes over from Maryam Sanati who is no longer with Rogers Media.Francisco has most recently served as editor-in-chief at Style at Home magazine, a Rogers publication.

CanWest pensioners' lives in limbo

At age 72 and with health problems to contend with, Bob Ireland says there's not a "heck of a lot" he can do to find new work to replace his crumbling pension plan. So the veteran Hamilton television reporter, who retired from station CHCH in 1997 after 30 years of service, says he and his wife are reviewing their finances, trimming costs and cancelling vacation plans. Mr. Ireland is one of more than 200 CHCH retirees and active workers who learned this summer that their underfunded pension plan was being shut down and liquidated as part of the agreement by CanWest Global Communications Corp. to sell the station to Channel Zero, a Toronto-based specialty television producer. Channel Zero made the purchase on the condition it would not take over the station's pension plan. While retirees are waiting to learn the final funding numbers, the plan had a shortfall of over $10-million at the end of 2008. At that level, retirees would face a 22-per-cent cut to their pension payments.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Torstar chief says company is making changes to keep pace with the future

David Holland, the head of Torstar Corp., is convinced Torstar is headed in the right direction as it broadens its focus beyond the troubled newspaper industry and into the digital world. The company's board of directors gave Holland a vote of confidence last week by confirming his role as president and chief executive. He started in the job as an interim CEO. Holland says the company, once centered on its newspaper operation and named after its cornerstone big city newspaper, the Toronto Star, is now a broadly based media enterprise.

In addition to the Star, Torstar's Metroland Media Group has more than 100 smaller newspapers including the Waterloo Region Record, Guelph Mercury, Hamilton Spectator and numerous community weekly papers. Torstar also holds a 19 per cent stake in Black Press, which publishes more than 150 daily and weekly newspapers with 17 press centres in Western Canada, Washington and Hawaii, and a 20 per cent stake in CTVglobemedia.

For the full story, click on the title.

CTV, Global "believed they were invincible"

"The world of broadcasting was quickly changing and almost everybody – the new pioneer broadcasters, cable companies and, of course, viewers – adjusted to this new reality. The only group that didn't see the changes coming was the "elite" of Canadian broadcasting, mainly CTV and Global. They believed they were invincible, that viewers would keep watching their programs no matter what, and they ignored that the world and technology were fast changing.

"They believed that those changes only affected other media, like newspapers and radio. In fact, those industries started to address the new reality long ago. They are still struggling with it and, in some instances, also having some success, without crying for help from anybody," Angelo Persichilli.

Click on the headline to read the entire column.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Amanda Lindhout: Gutsy reporter or naive thrill-seeker?

A golden rule for journalists is to report the story, not become it. Unfortunately for Amanda Lindhout, this was not the case. Kidnapped in Somalia, the Canadian journalist endured 15 months of captivity before her release this week. Snatched along with Australian photographer Nigel Brennan in August 2008, the pair says they were beaten, tortured and left alone, often without food.

But their release has also sparked discussion about journalists in conflict zones – and questions about Lindhout's credentials. Online blogs note her dozens of Facebook photos striking glamorous poses amid conflict.

Gutsy reporter? Or naive thrill-seeker?

For the full Toronto Star story, click on the headline.

Detroit's new Daily Press goes on hiatus

Detroit's third daily newspaper has suspended operations, less than a week after its first edition hit the streets. The Detroit Daily Press had trouble getting paid advertisers, as well as operations problems, according to a statement posted on the newspaper's Facebook page. "Due to circumstances beyond our control, lack of advertising, lateness of our press runs and lack of distribution and sales, we find it necessary to temporarily suspend publication of the Detroit Daily Press until after the (first) of the year," the statement read.

NatPost CEO Godfrey to head troubled Ontario Lottery

National Post CEO Paul Godfrey is to oversee the troubled Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan has nominated Godfrey, a well-known Progressive Conservative, as chairman of the corporation that has weathered scandals over insider wins and executive expenses in recent years. Godfrey is also the former president of the Toronto Sun and headed the Toronto Blue Jays until he stepped down last year.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Rogers Plans On-Demand Television for Handsets

Rogers Communications Inc. plans to extend its new online- television service to smart phones in early 2010 as consumers watch more shows on their handsets, Reuters reports.

Canwest revenues and operating profits slump

Canwest Global Communications Corp. saw its sales and operating profit drop in its latest quarter even as the bottom line improved from a massive year-ago loss, the company said Friday. Canwest, which owns the Global television network and the National Post newspaper among other assets, posted a net loss of $111 million, or 62 cents a share, for its fourth quarter ended Aug. 31. The beleaguered media giant's bottom-line loss was an improvement over the year-earlier loss of $1 billion, or $5.74 a share, which included more than $1 billion in asset writedowns. For all of the 2009 financial year, Canwest lost $1.7 billion, or $9.51 a share. That was much worse than the net loss of $1 billion, or $5.87, for 2008.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cossette value doubles since putting itself on sale

Saying "no" to a hostile bid has virtually doubled the value of Cossette Inc and set the stage for a showdown next month between two private equity firms wooing Canada's biggest home-grown ad agency. Reuters.

Somali sources says Lindhout ransom was $700,000

"A police officer and a lawmaker said that a $700,000 ransom was paid for their release. It was not possible to independently verify their claim." Scotsman

Al-Jazeera English gets CRTC approval

Rogers to cut 900 jobs


Rogers to buy C$163 mln stake in Cogeco

"Rogers said the purchases were for investment purposes and it had no current intention to acquire ownership in either company." Reuters

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Amanda Lindhout set free after family pays ransom

"I don't think it was political -- you know 15 months with these men and I don't know very much about them. But I think, from the information that I've gathered, I think that it was criminals -- criminals under the guise of being freedom fighters for Somalia ... It was extremely oppressive. I was kept by myself at all times. I had no one to speak to. I was normally kept in a room with a light, no window, I had nothing to write on or with. There was very little food. I was allowed to use the toilet exactly five times a da ... So, basically, my day was sitting on a corner, on the floor, 24 hours a day for the last 15 months. There were times that I was beaten, that I was tortured. It was an extremely, extremely difficult situation." Quotes from CTV News

Toronto Star to outsource production work, cut 121

Further to Mr. Cruickshank's warning of last week. Star said by management to be facing "nightmares".

Washington Post closing remaining U.S. bureaus

Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Reuters

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Playboy to outsource magazine ops to American Media

This move is said to cut $5 million off Playboy's annual forecast loss of $8 million. Reuters

Judge unplugs Roger's "most reliable" boast

BC judge accepts argument that Telus and Bell Canada network upgrades earlier this month make it impossible for Rogers to claim Canada's most reliable network. How about fairly reliable network.

Monday, November 23, 2009

AP declares another cricket war in Australia


Mullahs muzzle popular Tehran newspaper

Worried about press freedom? Think Iran, where Hamrashri (right) the largest circulation paper has been closed down for publishing (are you ready?) a picture of a Baha'i temple. AP reports the lively social commentary paper ran an ad for tourists who might want to look at the temple. Silly of those editors not to understand that the mullahs get mad when you mention another religion. Makes you ponder what they think of the rest of us. Makes you wonder where the tourists might come from. The Planet Guys

CTV, CanWest want to delete U.S. signals

"The broadcasters now wish to expand the simultaneous substitution policy with program deletion. It would provide that when a Canadian broadcaster purchases the rights to a U.S. program, they would have the right to air it whenever they choose within a seven-day window. The hook is cable and satellite companies would be required to block the U.S. broadcast of the same program if it did not air simultaneously" Toronto Star

Harper to loosen telecom rules?

"Mr. Harper's thinking on the issue may have been coloured by a meeting last March in New York with News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch. The lunch meeting between the Prime Minister and the media magnate was ostensibly to discuss G20 issues, but it is understood that Canada's media ownership regulations came up in conversation, with Mr. Murdoch complaining Canada is the only country in the Anglosphere where News Corp. doesn't operate, simply because it is not allowed to. The meeting is said to have persuaded Mr. Harper that the government should revisit the Wilson report" National Post

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Microsoft and News Corp eye web pact

Some say enough money and the right techhology can corner Google. Traffic would be shoe-horned to the Murodch news sites where, guess what, you pay to read the news.

Anti Google wonks work on knocking off goliath

Can they pull it off? Murdoch dollars appled to making Microsoft Bing the exclusive search engine for his big papers. Who knows. Much excitement in the news seems to compel a public response from Google.

YouTube introduces automatic captions for deaf


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Time Warner, News Corp reported interested in MGM


Complaint that PM didn't take questions

CP makes a connection between free speech dinner and PM's decision not to take questions after.

Lawrence Solomon: What she didn't ask

In which global warming skeptic Solomon wonders why Anna Maria Tremonti didn't ask what in his view would have been tougher questions of James Hogan, who sells GW public relations. FP

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cranky Shaw snipes at CRTC, Ivan Fecan

Globe and Mail.

Manga comics keep Torstar chuckling

"Harlequin manga are comic adaptations of Harlequin's romance novels and are currently digitally distributed by Harlequin and SoftBank Creative within and outside of Japan. The digital comics, just released for Amazon's Kindle, are English versions of Harlequin's Japanese manga, which have been digitally distributed in that country since 2007. An ideal blend of "East meets West," the manga are acclaimed for their perfect marriage of Japanese-style comics and Harlequin's world-renowned romances."

La Presse has struck deal with three more unions


AP Layoffs Over But Morale Is 'In The Toilet'

"Morale -- which was low before -- is completely in the toilet now," says an editor who left AP during the recent buyout and still maintains contact with former colleages.Secrecy has been a long-running characteristic of the current management of the newsroom, says the editor, who's been in touch with laid-off staffers.So it's no surprise that e,ployees were left in the dark regarding job cuts. The editor laments the loss of talent -- and lack of faith in management -- at "the most important news organization in the world." Things used to be more open, says the editor, but "AP has become more top-level than ever before" at the expense of hearing valuable staffers' thoughts on improving content and moving the company forward.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

FP Newspapers Income Fund Has Distribution for Nov

VANCOUVER -- RELEASE (edited) -- FP Newspapers Income Fund today announced a distribution of 9.50 cents per unit for the month of November 2009, to unitholders of record on November 30, 2009. The distribution will be paid December 30, 2009. FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership owns the Winnipeg Free Press, the Brandon Sun, and their related businesses, as well as Canstar Community News Limited, the publisher of seven community and special interest newspapers in the Winnipeg region.

AOL to cut one-third of workforce


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

CRTC blamed for empowering cable firms

Cable companies have gained so much power they have become a threat to Canadian broadcasting, and the national telecommunications regulator is mostly to blame, says Canada's second-largest private broadcaster. Canwest Global Communications Corp. president Leonard Asper blamed the CRTC for setting ground rules that have impoverished broadcasters and put cable firms in the penthouse.

National Post available on Kindle

Kindle,'s electronic reader, has just been released in Canada and the NatPost is on it. The price is $14.99 and it includes international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet.

No doubt, other will follow suit. The kindle is in the photo at left, displaying The New York Times.

YouTube channel for submitting videos to newsrooms

YouTube on Tuesday introduced a new portal, dubbed YouTube Direct, intended to provide news organizations with a more organized way to find and use homemade videos about the day's major news stories. Now, through YouTube Direct, you can submit your video to the news organization of your choice and that station or Web site editor can choose whether to use or decline your footage via a private dashboard. The result? "Citizen stringers," YouTube said.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Offer Canadians low-cost TV package, CBC tells cable

The CBC says it has a simple solution to the battle over so-called television tax controversy facing cable and satellite subscribers. The public broadcaster is telling the federal regulator it should force the carriers to offer a skinny service of Canadian stations at a cost lower than current basic service offered by cable firms. CBC president Hubert Lacroix, shown at left, told the CRTC that cable companies are growing rich on the signals they currently retransmit free from the broadcasters. And he presented what he says is proof the system is broken, tabling graphs showing profits for broadcasters have been on a steady downward path since the introduction of cable specialty channels in the early 1980s.

Monday, November 16, 2009

CRTC blasts both sides in TV dispute

Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein says networks, cable companies ‘destroying each other' and tearing the industry apart.

Media take publication ban in bail hearings to top court

Mandatory publication bans that impose a “cone of silence” on bail hearings must be lifted, argued the country’s largest media companies before the Supreme Court of Canada Monday.

Sun Media lawyers have been fighting mandatory bail hearing publication bans ever since Michael White, an Edmonton man later convicted of killing his wife, was granted bail in 2005 despite widespread outrage in the community. The Edmonton Sun was not allowed to report on the judge’s reasons for releasing the accused because White requested – and was automatically granted – a publication ban. The highest court also heard arguments involving bail hearings for the so-called Toronto 18.

“The problem with section 517 is it’s a blanket all-or-nothing ban that the court must grant simply if the accused asks for it,” said Sun Media lawyer Peter Banks.

The media argued the pre-charter criminal code provision breaches the press’ constitutional right to free expression.

The public has a right to know why individuals the police suggest are terrorists are being released back into the community, said lawyer Paul Schabas.

Rogers decries 'irrational' bidding for U.S. shows

In the afternoon of the first day of the CRTC hearings, Rogers Communications Inc. accused Canada's big television networks of being locked in an “irrational” bidding war for U.S. programming, telling the regulator Monday that the broadcasters should not be allowed to collect fees for their signals.

CTV proposes shakeup as CRTC hearings start

Under the CTV proposal, networks would yank signals or black out popular programming if unable to agree to financial terms with cable, satellite carriers.

CTV appeared first Monday, while Rogers was slated to speak in the afternoon. CanWest appears on Wednesday.

Ted Bissland, long time CBC legal reporter, dead at 76

Ted Bissland, a longtime CBC legal reporter, has died. He covered such major stories as the alleged baby murders at The Hospital for Sick Children and the murder of Hannah Buxbaum. He wrote a number of true crime books and co-authored The Modern Canoe, regarded as the definitive work on making a cedar strip canoe.

"The Digital Journalist" to suspend publication

The Digital Journalist, a 12-year-old online publication aimed at photojournalists, has announced that it is suspending publication. Founded by veteran photographer Dirck Halstead,pictured, the publication also ran workshops to teach still photographers to shoot in video, now the staple of many newspaper web pages.

"Unfortunately, our principal sponsor, Canon, whose market has also been impacted by these turbulent times, has decided they can no longer afford to provide their financial backing to The Digital Journalist," Halstead wrote in an e-mail to readers. "We are very grateful for the generous support they have given us over the years."

He said the publication plans to reorganize, look for new funds and continue publishing sometime in the future.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

NYT takeout on the ambitions of Bloomberg news

"Bloomberg has used the cash spraying from its terminal business to hire an astounding number of journalists in recent years, becoming something of a haven in a downsizing industry. Top writers or editors from Fortune, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal land there seemingly weekly. (Six of the company’s 11 executive editors have worked at The Journal.) Bloomberg now has 142 journalists in Washington, 196 in Tokyo and 30 in Paris. It recently opened bureaus in Nigeria, Ghana and Cyprus. It has won numerous journalism awards and, to cite just one example, has offered some of the shrewdest coverage of the financial crisis over the last couple of years," the Times writes.

For full story, click on this post's title

Purchase of NBC by cable company seen as "highly symbolic"

Eight decades after pioneering the concept of broadcasting, NBC is on the verge of a startling move that illustrates broadcast television's decline. Cable TV operator Comcast Corp. is expected to buy a controlling stake in NBC Universal, perhaps as early as next week, bringing the network of Johnny Carson, Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Hope, Milton Berle and Tom Brokaw under the corporate control of the company that owns the Golf Channel and E! Entertainment Television.

"This is highly symbolic," said Tim Brooks, who had worked at NBC for 20 years and now writes books on television history.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Star's public editor on citizen journalists

" . . . what's most important in the debate about citizen journalism is that news organizations themselves uphold journalistic standards and verify all information that is gathered before it is published or broadcast.

"Unverified information is not news, it's simply rumour – whether it's gathered by journalists or citizens committing acts of journalism." -- kathy english

Click on the title for the full article.

Friday, November 13, 2009

If local TV stations disappear, does anyone notice?

If a local TV station in a Canadian city goes dark, does anybody notice? A handful of markets were confronted with that question this fall. The CRTC will try to find the answer starting Monday.
For the full Globe and Mail story, click on the title.

Sun Media plans to appeal judge's ruling on CBC FOIs

Sun Media plans to appeal a federal court's dismissal of a bid to make the CBC disclose almost 300 records in a timely manner using federal Access to Information law. "I think any Crown corporation collecting $1 billion in taxpayer dollars every year must be accountable," said Glenn Garnett, vice-president editorial for Sun Media.
"We're disappointed but we're not going to stop now."

New York Times News Service to Cut Jobs and Relocate

The New York Times News Service will lay off at least 25 editorial employees next year and will move the editing of the service to a Florida newspaper owned by The New York Times Company, the newspaper and the Newspaper Guild said Thursday.

Canwest to list shares on junior stock exchange after TSX delisting Friday

Canwest Global Communications Corp. says its shares will begin trading on the TSX Venture Exchange starting Monday, after being delisted from Canada's main stock market at the end of Friday's trading.

Washington Times editor resigns

John Solomon, the executive editor of The Washington Times, has resigned, the newspaper said. Solomon has held the post since January 2008. He resigned on Nov. 6.
Solomon's resignation followed the ouster of three top employees of the newspaper — Thomas P. McDevitt, the president and publisher; Keith Cooperrider, the chief financial officer; and Douglas D.M. Joo, the chairman. Before joining The Washington Times, Solomon was an investigative reporter at the Washington Post, focusing on politics and money.

Killer of U.S. TV anchor gets life

An Arkansas jury sentences Curtis Vance to life in prison, sparing him the death penalty. Wednesday, the panel found Vance guilty in the October 2008 murder of Little Rock TV anchor Anne Pressly.

Newspapers join coffee and "value meals" in exemption from new tax

Bowing to pressure from the restaurant industry and newspaper publishers – and fearful of overtaxing a cherished morning ritual – the McGuinty government has abandoned a scheme to slap the 13 per cent HST on newspapers and meals costing less than $4.

(Planetguys have to wonder whether the Libs consider newspapers "value meals" for the soul)

Most Canadians think media over-hyped swine flu threat

Opposition politicians and the media may be hammering governments for their handling of the H1N1 situation, but a new poll suggests Canadians themselves feel their governments are doing an OK job. The media's coverage of H1N1 on the other hand - well, that doesn't earn much admiration. The latest Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey found that overall, most respondents see all three levels of government as having done at least a fair job of preparing for, and dealing with, the H1N1 flu virus.

When it comes to media coverage, 65 per cent of Canadians surveyed said news organizations had overreacted to H1N1 influenza.

"That says to me that Canadians are leaning pretty heavily towards saying there's been a bit more hype about this than they might have found preferable," said the pollster, adding that the age, level of education and sex of respondents made little difference.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

John King to replace Lou Dobbs; focus on political news

John King will anchor an ambitious new 7 p.m. hour of political news for CNN beginning early next year, the network announced. The news came a day after Lou Dobbs abruptly told viewers that he was quitting his CNN anchor job immediately. Until King begins his new assignment, a rotating cast of anchors will fill in at 7 p.m. on an interim program called “CNN Tonight.” King is currently the anchor of “State of the Union,” CNN’s Sunday political news show.

ESPN wins S. American rights for 2010/12 Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has awarded the South American broadcast rights for the 2010 and the 2012 Olympic Games to U.S. broadcaster ESPN, the IOC said on Thursday. "ESPN will acquire free-to-air television and radio broadcast rights in Argentina for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games and the London 2012 (summer Games), including minimum free-to-air exposure guarantees," it said.

Lou Clancy steps down as Toronto Sun editor-in-chief

Toronto Sun Editor-In-Chief Lou Clancy has left behind 45 successful years in the newspaper business. Clancy decided to retire and Friday marked his final day at the Sun after two years on the job. "He's had a ball," says Rhonda, his wife of 40 years. "This is his timing and this is good timing." Clancy leaves a newsroom that -- under his leadership -- put Toronto's stories on the front page, focusing on filling the Sun with competitive, hard-hitting local news.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

SF Examiner says Dobbs may run for president in 2012

Multiple sources have told, Dobbs has been quietly testing the waters for a presidential run in 2012, the Examiner reports. According to these sources, Dobbs has increasingly been feeling the pressure from CNN head Jonathan Klein. The longtime CNN anchor has increasingly become a controversial flashpoint for the network, as he argues against illegal immigration and for the idea that Barack Obama might not be a legitimate citizen of the United States. His increasingly angry conservative/independent leanings stand out in stark contrast to the cable news network's more centrist approach.

Lou Dobbs leaving CNN; parting "amicable"

CNN's Lou Dobbs stepped down from his controversial role as an advocacy anchor at the network at the end of his show Wednesday night after announcing plans to seek a more activist role.
"Over the past six months, it has become increasingly clear that strong winds of change have begun buffeting this country and affecting all of us, and some leaders in media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond the role here at CNN and to engage in constructive problem-solving as well as to contribute positively to a better understanding of the great issues of our day and to continue to do so in the most honest and direct language possible," Dobbs said during his 7 p.m. broadcast.
Dobbs, 64, said he had discussed the issue with CNN President Jonathan Klein, who had agreed to a release from his contract "that will enable me to pursue new opportunities."

Linden MacIntyre wins Giller Prize

Linden MacIntyre, co-host of CBC's The Fifth Estate, has won the Giller Prize for his book The Bishop's Man, which deals with the sensitive topic of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests. The winner of the major literary award, with a $50,000 cash prize, was announced at a gala in Toronto on Tuesday by Jack Rabinovitch, founder of the award.The Bishop's Man is about "a priest who goes into the business idealistically, who realizes that priests also have feet of clay, and it leads him to a personal crisis," MacIntyre said.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Drop extortion charge, Letterman accused asks court

A TV news producer accused of blackmailing David Letterman in exchange for keeping quiet about his sexual affairs was only trying to sell the late-night comic a screenplay, a defence lawyer said Tuesday. Robert J. "Joe" Halderman's lawyer asked a judge to toss the attempted first-degree grand larceny case, saying the producer did nothing illegal in slipping Letterman documents alluding to the ``Late Show" host's dalliances and taking a $2 million check from Letterman's lawyer.

"There was no extortion. There was a screenplay for sale," the lawyer, Gerald Shargel, said outside court. "There was a commercial transaction. Nothing more."

Seven-year licence approved for Victoria's CHEK TV

The CRTC has approved a seven-year licence for CHEK Media Group. The broadcaster, acquired early last month from Canwest Global Communications with private and employee investment, called the licence transfer today a “historic” move in both expediency and the term of the deal.

“A licence transfer like this usually takes months,” John Pollard, president and general manager of CHEK News, said in a statement. “They have reviewed our application and approved it in less than a month."

Ex-NY Post editor sues paper for racism, sexism

Sandra Guzman, a black and Puerto Rican former New York Post editor has sued the newspaper and its parent News Corp, saying she was fired after complaining about sexism and racism, including a cartoon that appeared to liken U.S. President Barack Obama to a chimpanzee. According to a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court, the former associate editor, was terminated on Sept. 29 in retaliation for complaints about allegedly pervasive racism and sexism at the newspaper.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Murdoch may remove newspapers' stories from Google

Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, said his papers which include the London Times and the Wall Street Journal , would probably cut themselves off from Google once they started to charge online. In an interview with Sky News Australia, Murdoch was asked why, given his attacks on Google for “stealing” the company’s content, News Corp had not decided to remove its websites from Google’s search indices.

“I think we will, but that’s when we start charging,” he said. “We do it already with the Wall Street Journal . We have a wall, but it’s not right to the ceiling.”

CRTC approves sale of CHEK to Victoria investor for $2

The CRTC has approved the sale of Canwest's CHEK-TV station in Victoria to a group of investors for $2. The federal regulator said Monday that the TV operations and related transmitters can be sold to a private numbered company owned by a consortium of local investors, 39 employees of the TV station and the Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union. In its decision, the CRTC noted that CHEK-TV is losing about $12 million per year and "has not shown any marked improvement in profitability over the past three years."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Star editor takes his pencil to Cruickshank memo

In a move of "constructive revenge," a Star editor took his practiced pencil to the memo that chief honcho John Cruickshank sent to the staff, announcing cutbacks. He posted the result on the torontoist blog. Click on the title of this post to see it.

London tabloid did not tap phones, watchdog finds

Allegations of phone tapping by the Sunday tabloid News of the World have been dismissed by the industry's watchdog. The Guardian had claimed that thousands of high-profile figures - including former deputy prime minister John Prescott - had their phones hacked into by a private investigator working for the News of the World. The Guardian also alleged that the newspaper's publishers, News Group Newspapers, paid out more than £1million in out-of-court settlements to those whose phones were tapped.

But yesterday, the Press Complaints Commission ruled there were no signs of tapping by journalists at the Sunday paper.

Newspaper startup in Portugal surprises many

It would be hard to find a less promising country in which to start a newspaper than Portugal. Not only are readers defecting to the Internet, as they are elsewhere, but relatively few people ever picked up a paper to begin with. And print advertising has plunged by more than 40 percent this year. Yet while newspapers elsewhere are shutting down or grappling with an uncertain future, Portugal recently got a new one, called i, short for informação, or information. “Everyone was astonished that they went ahead with the launch when they did,” said João Palmeiro, president of the Portuguese Publishers Association.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Photo journalists concerned about flood of pix from PMO

The PMO is sending out a steady stream of publicity photos in the hope they will be used in newspapers and blogs across the country. But photojournalists believe Harper's handlers are going too far in trying to control his image.

'Citizen journalism' goes (semi) pro

It began in the U.S. in April of last year and last week launched a Canadian edition to cover Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. (They also offer a national edition, and plan to add more Canadian cities.) It's the most up-close, well-funded look Canadians have had yet at one form of the "citizen journalism" that media experts view as a core component of the future of news.

The online publication is The Examiner, owned by Clarity Digital Group.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Canadian Press food writer honoured for lifetime service to culinary community

Judy Creighton, a longtime journalist with The Canadian Press, has received a prestigious award for her lifetime of service to Canada's culinary community. Creighton, 71, was given Cuisine Canada's Founder's Award on Friday on the opening day of the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. Her weekly columns appear in the country's largest and smallest newspapers and everywhere in between, including online editions.

FP Newspapers Q3 profit shrinks on declining ad revenue

FP Newspapers Income Fund reported Friday a third-quarter profit of $1.1 million at its operating division, which owns the Winnipeg Free Press and Brandon Sun newspapers, down from a year-ago $2.5 million as ad revenues dropped amidst the economic slowdown. The Winnipeg-based fund, which owns 49 per cent of newspaper chain FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership, said the LP saw revenues down 14.3 per cent to $26.6 million.

Torstar posts Q3 profit recovering from year earlier loss

Lagging newspaper and digital sales continued to plague Torstar Corp. as the company turned a year-ago loss into a modest profit in the third quarter on lower corporate costs and continued growth at its book publishing division. The media company that owns the Toronto Star and other newspapers, as well as the Harlequin book-publishing business, reported Wednesday net income of $4 million or five cents per share in the quarter ended Sept. 30. This was an improvement from a year-ago loss of $740,000 or one cent per share.
Despite that Scotiabank downgraded the stock. See post below.

Torstar downgraded to 'underperform' by Scotia Capital

Scotia Capital analyst Paul Steep downgraded Torstar's stock to “underperform” from “sector perform” and lowered his profit forecasts, after the publishing company reported lower-than-expected third-quarter earnings and revenues. The company is showing stronger-than-expected growth in its Harlequin romance-book-publishing division (evidence, perhaps, of just how popular escapism becomes during recessions), but its bread-and-butter newspaper publishing business is in quicksand.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Milan court blocks Sky Italia soccer rights win

Tough go for Murdoch's Sky Italia in Berlusconi-land as Milan court annuls a contract with a soccer league.

French reporter detained in Tehran

CP story has unfortunate headline which is not supported by the story: Reporter for French news agency detained during dueling rallies in Tehran. The Planet Guys were excited to think that dueling was popular enough in Iran to inspire street rallies.

Thomson Reuters Q3 profit beats forecast

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Survey shows radio second-only to TV over web

RELEASE -- A Nielsen analysis of a media use study conducted by the Council for Research Excellence (CRE) found that 77% of adults are reached by broadcast radio on a daily basis, second only to television at 95%. This study, in which consumers were physically observed consuming media throughout the day, found that Web/Internet (excluding email) reached 64%, newspaper 35%, and magazines 27%.

Torstar strikes sombre note in announcing results

Generally upbeat tone of others in reporting Q3 results (CP for example said, Torstar Corp. posts net profit in Q3, recovering from year earlier loss) was not reflected in Torstar's announcement of its bounce-back profit.

Broadcasters trumpet "unprecedented support"

News release says Local TV campaign has CRTC swimming in it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Toronto Star announces major restructuring

What would Joseph E. Atkinson (left) think? Proud product of his ambition might farm out work in both copy editing and pagination work. House story quotes publisher regarding this and planned buyouts. "We must find the best way to operate our business at the lowest possible cost, including contracting out non core functions where there is a sound business case to do so," John Cruickshank wrote in the memo. "This will involve what is likely to be the biggest restructuring of the Star's workforce in its history."

RCMP officer who fired Taser sues CBC for libel


Goldman Sachs says Canwest made move on specialty

Could it be a way for creditors to tighten their control on the highly lucrative specialty channel assets, which include HGTV, Showcase and Diva. GS think so. CP

Cable, satellite should be forced to offer "essential" TV

CBC suggestion. A little fuzzy. CP

Jim Nantz alimony $916,000 a year (ouch!)

From the divorce trial: Nantz cried on the stand as he testified about how his wife used to follow him around the country to various sporting events, but gradually lost interest in his career. She could not even be bothered to go to New York City to watch him collect a "Man of the Year" award. Or let him hang the oil painting--of himself--that he received with the award in their house. (He had to put it in storage.) He was even offered the hosting slot on the CBS Early Show, but turned it down because she was against it. He admitted to taking a younger lover, but that it didn't matter much because his marriage was already "dead." Sun-Times

Albanian newspaper editor beaten

Canadian Press

Fists fly at Washington Post

"Back when I got into journalism, the idea that a fistfight in a newsroom would turn into a news story was unthinkable," (Henry) Allen said when reached Monday evening. "The guys in the sports department at the New York Daily News, they had so many, you wouldn’t even look up."

CNBC: NYT Potential Acquisition Target for Google

Story attempts to explain why. NewsBusters

Ottawa sees no quick decision on Globalive

Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement said on Tuesday he would take his time in reviewing a regulator's ruling against start-up wireless company Globalive, delaying a competitive threat to the Big Three carriers. Reuters

Doing without AP to save money

Tribune Co. said it will use some AP material such as sports statistics and stories it considers vital. The Chicago-based company said it is trying to determine whether severing ties with the news cooperative next fall is a viable option. AP

Bell launches high-speed net one day ahead of Telus

CP via Toronto Star

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tehran shuts biz paper critical of its economic policy

TV viewers turning to programs online

Globe and Mail piece suggests CRTC is becoming irrelevant as U.S. survey shows viewers seeking downloads and streaming emtertainment. That's hurting revenues of conventional TV forms, it says.

Punjabi Raptors broadcasts coming next month

After the success of Punjabi Hockey Night in Canada, announcers Parminder Singh and Harnarayan Singh will now call Raptors games in the language of north India Toronto Star

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Peter MacKay to marry CTV news executive

Bride to be is 35-year-old Jana Juginovic. Nice National Post story and picture by Scott Maniquet which notes that McKay and Juginovic kept their relationship secret. File material shows them together in February, however, which in Ottawa, would normally attract enough questions to out them quickly.

Media aren't the best friends of human rights

Max Yalden, former Languages Commissioner and former chief of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, concludes that what the media frequently dispense as being in the public interest is really just stuff that interests the public, that sells newspapers. He tells Haroon Siddiqui that he too would have dismissed hate-speech allegations against Maclean's.

Senate, White House agree on reporter protections

The White House, key senators and media representatives have reached a compromise on legislation to protect reporters from being forced to disclose their confidential sources in federal court. Senate supporters of the so-called media shield bill said Friday that the deal gives the government authority to override those rights in certain national security cases. AP

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