Friday, December 31, 2010

Michael Jackson's Autopsy is cancelled

Much criticized plan by the Discovery Channel to re-enact Michael Jackson's autopsy under the blunt title above has been shelved. story linked.

Yellow Pages in search service deal

Release says that Poynt Corp.'s mobile search service for smartphones will have access to 1.5 million business listings from the Yellow Pages Group under a five-year agreement.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Shelagh Rogers appointed to Order of Canada

CBC radio personality Shelagh Rogers is among 54 appointments to the Order of Canada announced Thursday. Rogers has been named an officer of the Order for her contributions as a promoter of Canadian culture and for her volunteer work in the fields of mental health and literacy.

ESPN anchor apologizes for stealing newspaper writer's words

Sports writer Kevin Ding (pictured) heard familiar words when he tuned into ESPN Tuesday night -- words that he wrote for his Orange County Register column two days earlier. ESPN anchor Will Selva apologized Wednesday for lifting the opening paragraphs of Ding's Sunday preview of the Los Angeles Lakers' battle with the San Antonio Spurs for his report on ESPN's "Highlight Express" show.
"I made a horrible mistake and I'm deeply sorry," Selva said in a written statement. "I did not live up to my high standards or ESPN's."
The mistake happened when Selva pasted Ding's sentences into his script as background for his writing, he said.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Canada leads in fishing television. Who knew?

In the world of televised fishing, puns are something of an occupational hazard. Nowhere is this more evident than in the programming lineup of the World Fishing Network. The specialty channel’s marquee shows include Reel Fishy Jobs; Hookin’ Up With Mariko Izumi; and an informative show about products and techniques entitled – wait for it – Getting School’d.
TV angling has an audience. And across North America, much of that audience is consuming a Canadian product. The World Fishing Network (WFN), owned by Toronto-based Insight Sports Ltd., has roughly four million paid subscriber households in the U.S., a number it expects to double in 2011.

Click on the title to read the whole Globe and Mail story.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Eric Dowd covered Queen's Park for half a century

Eric Dowd died Christmas Day after a two-year battle with leukemia. He was 79. Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday that Dowd “has been a fixture at Queen’s Park for decades, and every single day he showed an incredible dedication to his craft and a genuine passion for journalism. He will be missed by his readers and by all of us who had the pleasure of knowing him.” Dowd was a “reporter’s reporter,” said Bob Rae, former Ontario premier and current Liberal MP. He “was always a tough but fair critic, and had a delightfully wry, gentle sense of humour.”
Dowd worked for The Canadian Press before moving to the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Telegram. When that paper went under in 1971, he became an independent correspondent for the British press. Later, he wrote columns that were picked up by newspapers throughout the country.

Jon Stewart's ‘Daily Show’ getting credit for passage of 9/11 compensation bill by U.S. Congress

Did the bill pledging federal funds for the health care of 9/11 responders become law in the waning hours of the 111th Congress only because a comedian took it up as a personal cause? And does that make that comedian, Jon Stewart — despite all his protestations that what he does has nothing to do with journalism — the modern-day equivalent of Edward R. Murrow? Certainly many supporters, including New York’s two senators, as well as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, played critical roles in turning around what looked like a hopeless situation after a filibuster by Republican senators on Dec. 10 seemed to derail the bill. But some of those who stand to benefit from the bill have no doubt about what — and who — turned the momentum around.
“I don’t even know if there was a deal, to be honest with you, before his show,” said Kenny Specht, the founder of the New York City Firefighter Brotherhood Foundation, who was interviewed by Mr. Stewart on Dec. 16.

Click on the title to read the full N.Y. Times story.

Kahnawake – where journalism thrives

Kahnawake is a Mohawk community near Montreal known for producing courageous steel workers who construct tall buildings and for harbouring lucrative Internet gambling and cigarette enterprises that exist in legal limbo. Kahnawake is also a town of 8,000 people with a roster of print and broadcast outlets that would be the envy of many cities 10 times larger. A thriving economy humming next to Canada’s second-biggest city combined with a fierce Mohawk independent streak have helped create a small-town media hotbed. On top of the TV channels and three radio stations, Kahnawake has three print news operations, including two websites and a newspaper. The broadcasters and other news outlets are small and run on commitment, from low-paid staff, local advertisers and an audience that keeps one station going with a weekly radio bingo game.

Click on the title to read the story.

Monday, December 27, 2010

CP, PostMedia name Williams "Newsmaker of the Year"

This year’s choice for The Canadian Press Newsmaker of the Year may seem as shocking as the crimes he committed. Notorious sex killer Russell Williams received the most votes in the news agency’s annual survey of Canadian newsrooms.

Williams also led a field of 12 prominent — and some infamous — faces from 2010, with one-quarter of Canadians (26%) selecting him as Newsmaker of the Year, according to an Ipsos Reid poll conducted exclusively for Postmedia News and Global TV.

Sunday, December 26, 2010 pulls Spector column on PMs marriage

Norman Spector (pictured) writes in his online column:
Note to readers (updated):
Why Ms. Harper joined the PM’s Christmas interview (24/12)
Merry Christmas!
As many of you know by now, The Globe deleted the above piece from its website around noon on Friday, after it elicited a flurry of comments--both con and pro--in the six hours it was online. As is the paper’s right.
Still, "Why Ms. Harper joined the PM’s Christmas interview" continued for most of the day to draw a large number of comments elsewhere on The Globe site--again both pro and con, and all of which I've read. For those who were surprised at the pile-on by the Ottawa press gallery, I'm linking my recent criticism of them for withholding information from Canadians in a matter concerning Brian Mulroney and Doug Finley--as well as specific barbs directed at Sun Media (here, here and here), Maclean's (here and here) and the Ottawa Citizen. As regular readers know, I could go on and on--as, in the coming days, may some of those who've been on the receiving end of my media criticism over the past few years.
In any case, we’ve now all had the opportunity to view the Prime Minister’s most unusual year-ender on CTV. And to ponder why he and Ms. Harper decided to do their first joint interview since the Conservative government came to power in 2006.
A source who’s well-connected at CTV tells me she did it as a “tribute” to the retiring Lloyd Robertson—one of the two journalists who served up the syrupy questions (though not the one related to their relationship). A Senator who’s involved in Conservative election planning hinted strongly via an e-mail to me that Ms. Harper will be involved in an upcoming ad campaign. For my part, after considering these and a couple of other suggestions forwarded to me privately, I’m still of the opinion that the deleted piece best explains why the Prime Minister and his staff decided to have Ms. Harper join the CTV year-ender in the last segment. Accordingly—and with versions of varying accuracy in circulation--I’m posting it here on my website, as it originally appeared, for your consideration.

Click on the title to read the full column.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Don Cherry visits troops in Afghanistan along with Tory ministers

Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan received a surprise Christmas visit on Saturday from one of their fiercest backers — Don Cherry. The Hockey Night in Canada icon visited the country to celebrate the holidays with the troops he praises regularly on his Coach's Corner segments. Cherry was joined by Defence Minister Peter MacKay, International Co-Operation Minister Bev Oda, Alberta Tory MP Laurie Hawn, comedian Jimmy Mac and Quebec singer Dany St-Arneau.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Photographer challenges authenticity of Toronto Star contest winner's painting

A photographer whose images are posted on the public site Flickr says the painting that won the Toronto Star’s cover contest is a “reproduction” of his photo of two streetcars. Both the photo and the painting show a streetcar approaching on the left and another driving away on the right on a snow-covered street. Artist Kelley Turgeon admits she drew inspiration from Brian Labelle’s photo but says her acrylic painting is an original work of art. She offered her “sincerest apologies” for upsetting Labelle.
“That was one of the pictures that I looked at, but it was also one of dozens,” she says. “I’m sorry if I offended somebody — that wasn’t my intention. I spent hours painting this painting.”
Photographer Labelle says he deserves credit.
“The entire content of my photograph is in there. It’s exactly the same composition,” Labelle says. “It may be a copyright infringement.”
The winner of The Star’s first emerging artist cover contest was awarded $2,500. Turgeon’s impressionistic painting was also published on the newspaper’s front page on Christmas Eve.

The Star's prize winning acrylic painting:

The photograph:

Click on the title for The Star's story that also has a link to a heated discussion on Flckr.

Hungarian PM rules out changes to controversial new media law despite international outcry

Hungary's prime minister is ruling out any changes to the country's contentious new media law despite an international outcry over press freedom. The law approved by parliament Tuesday and set to take effect Jan. 1 will greatly expand the state's power to monitor and penalize private news outlets. Media watchdogs and several European countries, including heavyweight Germany, have criticized it. Prime Minister Viktor Orban told private Hir TV television on Thursday that "we have no intention whatsoever" of changing the law. Hungary will assume the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union on Jan. 1.

TV technician jumps from Romanian parliament balcony

A Romanian television technician was severely injured Thursday when he flung himself from parliament’s balcony in protest at the centre-right government of Emil Boc’s austerity measures. Adrian Sobaru, 40, threw himself off, shouting “Boc, you have stolen the children’s future,” witnesses said. Mr. Sobaru, an electrician working for public television, suffered several facial fractures but his condition was stable, a spokesman for the emergency hospital in Bucharest said.Local media said he was protesting at the austerity package adopted in July, which reduced by 15% an allowance aimed at helping his family take care of an autistic son. The incident took place as lawmakers prepared to start debates on a no-confidence motion tabled by the opposition. Parliament was suspended for an hour, and the motion was eventually defeated in the absence of opposition MPs.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Documentary producer Patricia Thompson, wife of Jim Bittermann, dead at 63

Patricia Thompson, a Paris-based American television producer and an Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker, died here on Monday. She was 63. The cause was a cerebral hemorrhage, her husband, Jim Bittermann, a CNN correspondent, said. (Bittermann worked for CBC's The National and Newsmagazine in the 1970s.)

Linked to New York Times obit.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Paul Hebert leaving CMA Journal next December

Editor in chief of the CMA Journal Dr. Paul Hebert, left, says he has accomplished his mission. He will leave when his five-year contract expires December 11, 2011. WFP

Sportscaster Paul Carson dies of cancer at 60

Longtime Vancouver sportscaster Paul Carson has died at the age of 60 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sac Bee employs "talking newsstand"

As technology goes, the talking newsstand has to be down there with the can opener. But, in a time of trial and darkness, this simple device may give hope to some. It's being employed by the Sacramento Bee. When a reader buys a newspaper, the newsstand launches into a 15-second commercial. Thanks to a company called Innovative Newspaper Marketing Concepts, the Bee's newsstands do more than dispense newspapers. The "scrolling text news rack" also has an LED unit mounted on it that displays a message to consumers as they walk by.

Attack on Maclean's raises free speech concern

As might have been expected, the demand that public funds to be denied from Maclean's magazine has brought concern by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. Should action be taken because people were offended?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Things not what they used to be at CBS News

Katie Couric is said to be facing a firm management at CBS, determined to lower her $15 million a year salary. Talks go on as CNN is expressing interest in Couric. Of course they are, and not for $15 million. For Couric the ratings are a hurtful thing. They are down 24% from when she took over. the CBS Evening News Bloomberg.

U.S. feds set to back Internet traffic rules

This Reuters story from Yahoo News sees the changes as a chance for cable to better compete with the telcos in providing U.S. Internet service.

CRTC fines Bell $1.3M for making unsolicited calls

It's a welcome thing that someone is calling Bell Canada to account for business practices which seem to indicate an entirely contemptuous attitude to their customers, and to the law as well. Bell has been fined for making unsolicited calls and leaving messages on their customers phones. Story in the Toronto Star linked off the headline.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tommy Douglas furore not really about him

With the CCF banner looking a lot like the Red Flag (above) the Mounties were always on hand when Tommy Douglas spoke. But unless we learn some things about Douglas that frankly seem unimaginable, the present drive to get his unexpurgated RCMP file, is really about creating precedent. That must be how the government sees it and it is the only consideration that makes sense.

Wireless upstarts score on new subscribers

The new wireless companies Wind Mobile and Mobilicity appear ready to scoop up as much as one-third of new subscribers signing up for cellphone plans in the current fiscal quarter, according to analysts findings. The prediction is laid out in the Globe and Mail story linked. The story notes that incentives are playing a part, but so too must be the body of ill-will created by the big three. Aggressive and unhelpful techniques have left a clientele ready to bolt in any direction. There is apparently no sense of loyalty. Who knows if the new providers will do better.

Wikileaks and the media: Dancing with the devil

Interesting opinion piece from Globe and Mail's Kate Taylor on how highly-regarded nespapers live with being the tools of Julian Assange. Link in headline.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Google Meets Reality as CBS, Fox Bar Shows

CBS president Les Moonves (left) says “the mother lode is network advertising and syndication and he isn't going to jeopardize it for "a couple of bucks”. He seems to speak for televison producers who fear the kind of death suffered by the music industry. They are actively blocking Google from re-runs of popular programs such as Glee and NCIS. Story from Bloomberg

Craigslist pulls prostitution ads from Canadian sites

Craigslist is beginning to respond to federal government pressure to yank down ads for sexual services. The history of the Craigslist contretemps is in the linked Toronto Star story. The story also notes that many "weekly newspapers in Canadian cities also carry explicit ads, but the federal government has said the papers are more likely to exercise control over the content to ensure the ads don’t involve minors." These weekly papers would include the Star-owned Eye Weekly and the indy NOW Magazine, owner of perhaps the largest sex ad section in the country. How the government knows that newspapers "exercise control" is not explored.

Now senator says no public funds for Maclean’s

Senator Vivienne Poy also cites Quebec and Islamic stories. In the same Globe and Mail article there's a pointer to Marcus Gee excoriating City Council for its PC behaviour in this.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Toronto asks Maclean’s for ‘Too Asian’ apology

City Council has asked Maclean's to apologize for the article that raised the question of whether Canadian universities were "too Asian." Maclean's might consider it although it falls well within the realm of free speech, the TPG say. Maclean's may argue that it was only repeating the publicly stated views of a brainless portion of the enrolment. But it looked as if the magazine was sympathizing with party-party white kids who just didn't want to deal with the competition of the Chinese. Tough we say. Headline linked to the Star.

Black loses appeal on fraud, obstruction convictions

Conrad Black has lost an appeal of his remaining convictions for fraud and obstruction of justice. A federal appeal court in Chicago has turned down Lord Black’s request for a re-hearing of an appeal he brought to a three-judge panel of the court in September. That panel reversed two fraud convictions, but upheld one fraud and one obstruction of justice conviction. Lord Black's lawyer, Miguel Estrada, asked a full panel of the appeal court to review the judges’ ruling. Mr. Estrada argued the judges erred and failed to properly apply a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that re-wrote a key section of the fraud statute. But today the appeal court dismissed the application. The court did not release reasons for its decision. Lord Black said he will file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Supreme Court to hear Conrad Black libel suit appeal

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear an appeal by a group of former Hollinger International Inc. executives who want half a dozen libel lawsuits filed by Conrad Black to be blocked from proceeding in Ontario. Canada’s top court will hear arguments on March 22 from Richard Breeden and a group of former directors of Hollinger International, who were sued by Lord Black after they claimed he operated a “corporate kleptocracy” while he was chief executive of the former Chicago-based newspaper publishing giant. The report was widely distributed in Canada and the United States and became the basis of criminal indictments filed against the Montreal-born businessman in 2005 by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. The Ontario Court of Appeal had ruled in August that the libel lawsuits could proceed in Ontario after a lower court had dismissed attempts by Mr. Breeden, Graham Savage, Gordon Paris, Richard Seitz, James R. Thompson and Richard D. Burt, to have the case tossed out of court in 2009 or at least, moved to the United States.

Older web users catching up: Pew report

Older adults are swiftly closing the generation gap when it comes to internet activity, with more mature populations now surpassing younger crowds in some online habits. So says the Pew Internet Project's Generations 2010 report, which analyzed U.S. web trends broken down by age groups. While adults between ages 18 and 45 make up about 56 per cent of the online population, it was the so-called Older Boomers (ages 56-65) who were more likely than the Millennials (ages 18-33) to do things such as visit government websites or seek financial information online.
The Pew data, released Thursday, showed that 69 per cent of Older Boomers in the U.S. survey had visited government websites, compared with 61 per cent of the younger group. When it came to searching for financial information online, the older group again dominated (41 per cent), with 33 per cent of the Millennials using the web for money matters.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wendy Freeman named president of CTV News

CTV has named Wendy Freeman as the new president of CTV News, two weeks after Robert Hurst announced his retirement. Freeman, a 17-year veteran of the network, will become president on January 3. She has held the position of vice president and executive producer of CTV National News since 2001. "Wendy has been understudying this role for years. She will lead us into the next generation of news," Ivan Fecan, president and CEO of CTVglobemedia, said in a statement Wednesday.
Freeman said the job was a "dream come true."
"I look forward to working with Canada's best news team to explore new opportunities that will bring us even further into the digital age," she said.
"This is an exciting time for CTV News."

Mark Zuckerberg chosen as Time magazine's person of the year

Mark Zuckerberg has been chosen as Time magazine’s person of the year 2010, “for changing how we all live our lives in ways that are innovative and even optimistic.”
Mr Zuckerberg excelled at science and classics at Ardsley High School before going on to Harvard to study computer science. Zuckerberg created the social networking site Facebook in his penultimate year at Harvard with his flatmates and fellow Harvard students Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin. At first only available to Harvard students, Facebook’s popularity soon spiraled and the site expanded to surrounding universities. Today Facebook is nearing 600 million users with more than 1,700 employees and offices all over the world. Although his company figures are kept strictly under wraps, Zuckerberg’s private fortune is said to be worth an estimated £4.4 billion.

As it happens, new CBC-Radio host is beer pitchman 'Joe Canadian'

Months after CBC Radio dropped "As It Happens" personality Barbara Budd, suggesting it wanted a host with more journalism experience, the public broadcaster has replaced her with an actor/TV host best known as "Joe Canadian" from the popular Molson Canadian ad campaign. CBC says Jeff Douglas (pictured) will become the new co-host of the weeknight current affairs series on Jan. 4, alongside veteran broadcaster Carol Off. The Nova Scotia-born Douglas recently guest hosted for a string of five shows and said he was excited to join the series permanently. The 39-year-old replaces the veteran broadcaster Budd, a former stage actress who said she was shocked to learn her contract was not being renewed in April after 17 years on the air. At the time, a CBC spokesman said the new host will "likely have some kind of journalistic background."
CBC Radio boss Denise Donlon stepped back from that on Wednesday, insisting the search for a replacement was never restricted to journalists and said the net was cast as wide as possible.

Jim Shaw's pension: $495,833 a month

A boost to Jim Shaw’s executive pension plan may have pushed the cost of financing his retirement to about $100-million for Shaw making one of Canada’s most generous corporate pension plans even richer. Concordia University accounting professor Michel Magnan, who has done extensive work on executive compensation issues, estimated Shaw’s cost to provide a monthly pension of $495,833 to Mr. Shaw, who retired last month as chief executive officer of the telecommunications company at age 53. Stephen Griggs, executive director of the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, said it is very unusual for an executive to get an enhanced pension when retiring at age 53, when most people face a substantial penalty for retiring early. Mr. Griggs said his coalition, which represents most of Canada’s largest institutional investors, is against oversized pension plans for executives.

Interesting BBC blog on photojournalism

Ne York Times contract photographer Michael Kamber writes:

" . . . is photojournalism really dead? When my mentors in 1985 lamented the passing of photojournalism, what they were really marking was the passing of their system, their model. And it was a great model. And the model that we reinvented in the 1980s and 1990s was pretty damn good too. Now it's my generation's turn to lament the passing. But once again, what is dead is not photojournalism - what is dead is the particular culture of photojournalism that supported us for the past 30 years.

"Today there is a new way, a new system. I meet young photographers constantly: idealistic, excited, naïve, creative. They may have missed out on the magic of baryta paper in a tray of Dektol, but they love image-making nonetheless. And as has been said ad-nauseum, they are focusing on new models for raising cash to do projects - the grants, agency workshops . . . "

Click on the title to read the blog.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Apple gains approval for Canadian iBookstore; promises to promote Canadian authors

The federal government has given Apple the okay to offer a Canadian version of its iBookstore. Minister of Canadian Heritage James Moore has announced that Apple Canada has received approval under the Investment Canada Act to set up iBookstore Canada, following a review of whether the e-book store would benefit the country.
A press release from the Department of Canadian Heritage says Apple has promised to promote Canadian-authored books in both domestic and international iBookstores.
The company has committed to increasing opportunities for Canadian publishers and authors, as well as access to books from aboriginal authors and publishers.
Apple has also promised to help Canadian publishers streamline the processes of creating and enhancing e-books.
The iBookstore is accessed through the iBooks app available for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

Yahoo Inc. will lay off about 600 employees -- four per ccent of its workforce -- as the struggling Web portal adjusts its operations to revive revenue growth. Most of the layoffs will be in its product group. The company will continue to hire globally to support key priorities, it said in a statement. The cuts come nearly two years into the tenure of Chief Executive Carol Bartz. Yahoo has managed to boost profit margins under Bartz's watch, but revenue growth has stalled and page views at Yahoo's network of websites declined four per cent year-over-year in the third quarter. While Yahoo remains one of the world's most popular online destinations, the Web portal is facing increasing competition from Google Inc and social networking powerhouse Facebook.

Sun's Warmington says he got a threat from a cop

Warmington, pictured, writes:

"It’s not easy criticizing police.
"And it’s certainly not fun receiving an intimidating message from a Toronto Police officer’s Facebook account warning that “karma” is “strange” and to “buckle up.” But this e-mail was sent to me, I was informed by Staff Supt. Cyril Fernandes who heads the Professional Standards Unit Monday night, will be investigated. Although I did not lay a complaint, and had simply asked Chief Bill Blair for comment, Fernandes said the police were taking the initiative on their own. I was writing about a man named Mike who called the John Oakley Show on AM640 and told the panel consisting of lawyer Lorne Honickman, Toronto Star columnist Joe Fiorito and NDP MPP Peter Kormos that during the G20 “99% of the public were fine and 99% of the officers were fine” but “there was absolutely a culture that was tainted.” "As a result, Mike said, “the only way I can go out on the streets and look the public in the eye when I am doing my job (is) they need to know there is a certain layer of protection that exists.” Short of there being a proper inquiry to hear testimony like this, I thought Mike’s words were important to the process."

Click on the title to read the full column.

Thomson Reuters starts service for U.S. news media

Thomson Reuters Corp has launched a news service for U.S. publishers and broadcasters in a bid to win business from the Associated Press and CNN. The new service, Reuters America, provides text stories, photos and video by Reuters journalists for newspapers, television stations and online publishers. Newspaper publisher and broadcaster Tribune Co is its first customer. As part of the service, Reuters America also will offer sports and entertainment news from six partners: the Wrap, SportsDirect Inc, the Sports Xchange, US Presswire, SB Nation and
The service comes as newspapers and TV stations try to recover from the worst financial recession in recent memory.
Tribune Co, which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and TV stations in New Orleans, San Diego and Denver, has signed a multi-year deal. Terms were not disclosed.
Reuters is hiring journalists and using outside journalists, or "stringers," to provide general news stories in addition to its business and financial news. It also will write stories commissioned by its news clients.

Click on the headline to read more.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Harper photographer's laptop stolen from PMO!

The PM's official photographer Jason Ransom had his Mac laptop stolen from inside the Langevin Block, the PM’s supposedly ultra-secure headquarters. The heist happened in April 2009, but news of the incident didn’t spread until this week, when Maclean’s started asking questions about an obscure item buried in the latest public accounts of Canada: a $1,298 reimbursement for “theft of personal laptop.”
Ransom (whose wife, Deb, is Harper’s other official photographer) did not respond to an e-mail request from Maclean's for comment, but the PMO did provide some details. Ransom was using his personal Mac that day because his government-issued laptop was being repaired. And at some point—in between snapping behind-the-scenes shots of Harper busy at work—his silver laptop disappeared. No photos were lost because Ransom always uploads his pics to a main server.

CHFI holds its lead in Toronto’s radio ratings

Easy-listening pop music broadcaster CHFI (98.1 FM) is still Toronto’s No. 1 radio station, with a 12.6 per cent share of hours tuned by listeners of all ages (up from 12.4 per cent in the summer), according to the fall Portable People Meter reports. The figures for the 13 weeks from Aug. 30 to Nov. 28 were released Thursday by BBM, the Canadian broadcast industry’s audience monitoring service.
Adult contemporary station CHUM-FM (104.5 FM) is in second place in the ratings, with a share of 9.4 per cent of hours tuned by listeners over the age of 12, down from 10.2 in the summer ratings period.The 1980s and 90s rock hits station BOOM-FM (97.3 FM) is in third place with a 9.2 per cent share, down from 10.4 in the summer.
Office favourite CHUM-FM (104.5 FM) is in the lead for females aged females 25-54, with a 16.7 per cent share (down from 17.8), followed by the similarly formatted CHFI, with a 14.2 per cent share of the same demographic (up from 13.7).
Male listeners aged 25-54 still prefer classic rock station Q107 (107.1 FM) over all the rest, giving it a 13.7 per cent share (down from 14.3). The Edge (102.1 FM) held the top spot with men 8-34, earning an 18.8 per cent share of hours tuned (up from 16.4). Women aged 18-34 place CHUM-FM at the top with a 15.2 share.

Editor&Publisher scraps paywall

Editor & Publisher, the magazine that covers the US newspaper industry, has pulled down its paywall. It announced on Friday that it had stopped charging for access to its site to allow more visitors to view its "exclusive content."
"We have not been big believers in paywalls," said Duncan McIntosh, president of Duncan McIntosh Company, which has published E&P since January.
He added: "Paywalls in name alone connote a psychological negative, which is one reason we have never been big believers. Nielsen had been using one for a number of years, but nothing during the past year has changed our opinion about them.
"We have removed it to build more traffic and make more of our original content available to our visitors."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

iPad owners say adios to their newspaper subscriptions

The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) at the University of Missouri completed the first stages of a study to see how the iPad impacts news consumption. The majority of the 1,600 participants were male, declared themselves as early adopters, were well educated, and between the ages of 35 to 64.Many of the participants used media from the iPad as well as print publications to catch up on the day’s events. The majority of the iPad users reported using the device for news at least 30 minutes a day while nearly 49% said that they use the tablet for news consumption for at least one hour daily. While the iPad is a ready made media machine that can handle a a lot of information, print publications can’t provide the same level of content. That’s why it’s no surprise that the news junkie level iPad owners that use the device for at least an hour each day favor newspaper apps over their companion websites or print editions. More than half of these owners said that they were much more likely to cancel their print subscriptions in the next six months and and about ten percent of them had already done the deed.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What Don Martin learned from 32 years in the newspaper business

Don Martin does an excellent reprise of his more than three decades in print journalism as he switches from the National Post to TV as host of the CTV news channel political program Powerplay.

"After almost a third of a century, I’m about to exchange a dream job in newspapers for a dream job in television. Nobody pinch me. I don’t want to wake up." he writes

Click on the title to read the full story.

Hundreds mourn Citytv newsman

Hundreds of mourners, friends and strangers alike, gathered to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Citytv anchor Mark Dailey. Fellow Citytv anchor Gord Martineau said the capacity crowd at the Yorkminster Park Baptist Church on Yonge St. at 1 p.m. Saturday was “a testament to the guy and how much people enjoyed watching him.”
“Many people who had never met him felt that they knew him. He (Dailey) was a complete professional, loved what he did. He had qualities you can’t buy in people, so it leaves a big hole in our newsroom,” Martineau added.
Veteran crime reporter Jim Junkin, who recently retired from CTV, called Dailey “a true gentleman and a real professional.”
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said Dailey — who died on Dec. 6 after a second unsuccessful battle with cancer — had “friends throughout all of the emergency services, not just in Toronto but right across the country.”

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ontario Press Council faults Ottawa Citizen

In a somewhat bizarre decision, the Ontario Press Council upheld part of a complaint lodged by Carol Wainio (right) an artist and art professor at the University of Ottawa, against the Ottawa Citizen and its columnist David Warren (left) a one time editor of Idler Magazine who has been writing for The Citizen three times a week since 1996.
Wainio complained about eight columns by Wareen published over a three-year period. She claimed four contained factual errors and four contained statements lacking proper attribution. The subjects of the columns ranged from U.S. President Obama to the economic crisis in Iceland.
On the factual complaints, the columnist and Wainio relied on different and conflicting sources. Council decided that while the sources relied upon by Wainio appeared substantially more reliable and persuasive than those relied upon by the columnist, it was not in a position (except in one instance) to make conclusive findings of factual error, principally because it did not have the power to summon witnesses, or demand properly authenticated documentary evidence.
The Council concluded that the newspaper had an obligation to confer with the columnist and provide an adequate response to Wainio. For those reasons, the Press Council upheld one of the factual complaints and the complaints dealing with faulty or misleading attribution.

To read the whole adjudication, click on the title.

Leonard Asper returns to TV via Fight Channel

A firm controlled by Leonard Asper bought into The Fight Network Inc., a specialty channel operator featuring mixed-martial arts programming, for an undisclosed sum. As part of the deal, Asper has assumed the role of chief executive. The move marks a return to the media industry for Mr. Asper after a nine-month exile following the prolonged collapse of Canwest, once the country's largest media company
Sources close to the deal say his company has taken a 30% interest in the network, an independent sports channel with about 450,000 subscribers sold by all major cable and telco distributors through various program packages. He has the option to increase the stake to 51%.

Station reprimanded over minister’s ‘disparaging’ remarks on homosexuals

Christian broadcaster Crossroads Television System (CTS) has been found in violation of broadcasting codes for statements made by evangelical television personality and minister Charles McVety (pictured) that implied there was a “malevolent, insidious and conspiratorial purpose” to the activities of homosexuals. Rev. McVety said he was told Thursday by CTS that his show, Word TV, would be temporarily pulled from the air. “My good name has been impugned by this report,” he said.
The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, a self-regulated industry watchdog, said that Rev. McVety disparaged gays in episodes that ran between July 2009 and February 2010 when commenting on Toronto’s massive gay pride parade and a revised Ontario sex curriculum for grade schools.
It said Rev. McVety violated sections of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters code of ethics, particularly the clause that calls for “full, fair and proper representation.”

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Photos by chief Kennedy White House photographer to be auctioned

A trove of John F. Kennedy pictures by White House photographer Cecil Stoughton (pictured in 1962) was set for auction Thursday, including a rare image of Marilyn Monroe with the president and Robert Kennedy at a Democratic fundraiser. The photograph is contained in an envelope labelled “Sensitive Material — May 19, 1962” with 22 other gelatin silver prints of the event. Its presale estimate is $4,000 to $6,000.
“It’s the only image of the three of them together,” said Matthew Haley, Bonhams’ expert for books, manuscripts and historical photographs. “There are very few prints of this photo.”
The collection is being offered by Stoughton’s estate at Bonhams auction house. It includes 12,000 photographs, and is conservatively estimated to bring $200,000. Stoughton died in 2008 at age 88.

Click on the title to view some of the images.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Killeen and Taggert to host CTV BC News

Following is courtesty of the Vancouver Sun: "Mike Killeen and Tamara Taggart will be taking over the anchor seats for CTV's 6 o'clock newscast being vacated by Bill Good and Pamela Martin, effective Jan. 3. CTV announced the new anchors Wednesday. Both Taggart, 42, and Killeen, 48, said it was a dream come true for both of the native Vancouverites. CTV BC's evening newscast has 72,000 viewers, according to the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement ratings as of Dec. 5, down eight per cent from the same time last year, and Global B.C.'s News Hour averages 303,000 viewers (35 per cent audience share), up one per cent from same time last year. Both the new CTV anchors are grads of the broadcast communications school at the B.C. Institute of Technology.. Killeen was CTV's Olympics reporter since 2006 and has often filled in as an anchor for weekend newscasts. He won a Webster award in 1996 for School Colours, a five-part series on the impact of immigration on BC's education system, and was a co-finalist for a Webster in 2000 for The Clark Warrants. Taggart graduated in 1991 from the BCIT broadcasting program and worked in radio and concert promotion before landing a community calendar spot 13 years ago with Vancouver Television, the forerunner of CTV. She went on to host the breakfast television show and doing entertainment coverage for the evening news. In 2001, she moved to CTV's weather desk, where she has developed a popular following because of her bubbly personality, frequently hosting events around Vancouver.Taggart, who describes herself as a third-generation Vancouverite, is married to guitarist and record producer Dave Genn of the band 54-40. They have a son and two daughters, the most recent born last August."

Michael Hind Smith was CTV veteran

A veteran of the CTV Network, Michael Hind-Smith, has died. He was CTV’s first Vice-President, Programming, and later President of the Canadian Cable Television Association. He is reported to have died last Friday. He had been fighting prostate cancer for some years, but is said to have died of pneumonia.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Visiting hours for Mark Dailey

Visiting will begin Wednesday (hours and location below) and a celebration of Mark's life is planned for Saturday at 1pm. Both are open to the public. Visiting at the Newbigging Funeral Home, 733 Mount Pleasant Rd. on Wednesday from 2pm-to 4pm and 7pm to 9pm. Again on Thursday from 2pm to 4pm and 7pm to9pm A Public Celebration of Mark's Life will take place on Saturday December 11 at 1PM at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church (1585 Yonge St./2 blocks north of St. Clair/NE corner of Yonge & Heath). Donations may be made in Mark's memory to Prostate Cancer Canada (

Pamela Martin and Bill Good to retire

Pamela Martin and Bill Good will retire from the news program which they have hosted for nearly ten years. They took on the task of knocking off Global News for CTV British Columbia. That was after CanWest took over the outlet which had previously been the CTV standard bearer on the west coast. Both say their decisions are not co-ordinated and that they intend to keep busy with things that they are known to enjoy. The timing of the decision will nonetheless create speculation about the moving on of CTV' key personnel as the Brave New World of BCE looms.

Steve Paikin says he saw brutality blog on the agenda at Common Committee hearing about the G20 riots.

New look for Business News Network (BNN)

CTVglobemedia's BNN has launched a new look, the first in many years. The market information which was shown vertically on the right has been replaced with a lower frame bar. Today, the new format was overlaid on advertisements. A plus, for sure.

Howard Stern facing pay cut

Howard Stern heads off on his vacation December 16 but it appears he may not be coming back to Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Speaking at an investor conference in New York CFO David Frear said he is “hopeful” that Stern sticks with the company, but hinted that if he does it would be for less money. Stern has a demographic (young men) that is desirable and he has often publicly prided himself on his brilliance. Some might say sleaze

Monday, December 6, 2010

Citytv personality Mark Dailey dead at 57

Cancer claimed the well known and liked Citytv personality Mark Dailey today. 680 News reported the death on it's website: "One of the most respected television journalists in Toronto has lost his battle to cancer. Citytv news anchor Mark Dailey, the voice of the station, died at the age of 57, Monday, with his family by his side. After successfully beating prostate cancer for six years, Dailey announced in September that cancer had spread to his kidneys. He underwent surgery in October, but the disease spread to his lungs and the rest of his body.

U-K's Mail Online sees free future

Interesting angle on the well-covered divide over free versus paywall. Newish site from the Daily Mail (Mail Online) is all the rage among readers. Will this model of digital journalism win out? Stay tuned. Headline link to the Nw York Times.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Reporters get middling marks for honesty

TV reporters and newspaper reporters rank numbers 13 and 14 for ethics and honesty in the annual Gallup poll of 22 professions in the U.S. This may rank journalists (Gallup doesn't use the word) somewhat higher than in previous year's polls. Most interesting is the complete lack of interest journalists (reporters?) seem to have in the ranking of their own calling. A thorough search of stories linked on Google news reveals none that mention the news person's ranking. But then, it's probably "not news" that journalists have a mediocre ranking for ethics , right? Linked is the Gallup site where they show the full list.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Groupon rejects Google's $5 billion offer

Group coupon marvel Groupon Inc. has apparently turned down an acquisition offer from Google Inc. and is staying independent. The Chicago-based online phenomenon started two years ago and is said to have been profitable in eight months. Google is said to have offered between $5 and $6 billion for the daily deal start up. According to the Chicago Tribune story linked: "Groupon offers consumers steep discounts online for local businesses such as restaurants and salons, with the deal tipping for everyone if a minimum number of its subscribers sign up for the offer. Groupon takes a cut, typically 50 percent, of the revenue from each deal it runs."

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ben Sherwood to replace David Westin at ABC

Interesting change of guard as ABC announces that Ben Sherwood (left) former executive producer of "Good Morning America," will be president of its news division. The durable David Westin (left) had previously announced his intention of leaving the job. Some say he was forced out by Disney chief Robert Iger. The New York Tunes says the appointment comes amid speculation about a possible tie-up of ABC News and Bloomberg News.

Serious deja vu at Reuters Global Media Summit

As we recall, this article about the determination of certain big papers to charge for online content could have been taken word-for-word from last year's global summit. And, seriously, they still can't find a way to apply those charges. Well, maybe next year.

Quebecor FOI find reveals CBC bonuses

Quebecor's abiding interest in how the CBC spends public money has yielded information on the bonuses paid to the top ten executives at the corporation. Appearing in the Sun locally, the information spins the bonuses towards the rugged economic times of many people. "As Canadians dealt with the ravages of the recession in 2008 and 2009, CBC’s senior executives continued to rake in big bonuses, some well into the six-figures for a single year.In the fiscal year ending in March 2009 — a month when 61,000 Canadians lost their jobs — the top 10 executives at CBC split a performance bonus kitty worth $888,699. The individual bonuses ranged from $4,300 at the bottom end to $165,090 at the top end, which is almost 3.5 times greater than the average Canadian salary, according to Statistics Canada."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Elton John edits UK newspaper for World AIDS Day

Elton John has taken time out from touring to edit daily newspaper The Independent on World AIDS Day.
Wednesday's edition of the newspaper featured several pages of coverage of the fight against HIV as well as contributions from famous friends including comedian Stephen Fry and actress Elizabeth Taylor. Proceeds from the day's sales go to the Elton John AIDS Foundation. John admitted that his lack of computer experience could be a hindrance in his new job, which involved deciding on the layout of the pages.

How Toronto newspaper websites looked in 2000

Interesting feature on BlogTO. Click on the title to view.

Ryerson U alternative station CKLN fighting for its licence

On December 8, the station faces a CRTC hearing. The regulator claims that when it investigated a rash of complaints, it found programming logs, annual reports and other required records in disarray and in some cases unavailable.
The CRTC wants to discuss the station’s performance and status, but the formal wording of the hearing notice seems chilling, asking CKLN, among other things, to “show cause why the Commission should not take steps to suspend or revoke the broadcasting licence in question.”

Click on the title to read the full story in NOW

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Robert Hurst stepping down as head of CTV News

Robert Hurst is stepping down as president of CTV News. Hurst has spent 38 years with the network and has held the top news job since September 2002.
"Bob goes out a winner with CTV News standing tall as Canada's No. 1 (in) news," Ivan Fecan, president and CEO of CTVglobemedia and CEO of CTV Inc., said in a statement.
Hurst began his broadcasting career with CTV in 1973, working as a writer for "Canada AM." Within a few years, at age 26, he was named news director at Toronto's CFTO affiliate. Hurst later returned to reporting, where he was posted to a number of network bureaus, including Ottawa, Washington, Moscow and Beijing. In 1994, he returned to Canada and held various positions, including chief news editor and vice president. In 1995, he spearheaded the application for CTV News 1, which later became CTV Newsnet, and is now known as CTV News Channel. CTV said Hurst will remain in his current position until a successor is named in the coming weeks.

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