Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Harper again changes communications directors


The prime minister is losing his fourth director of communications since coming to office just over four years ago. John Williamson, who arrived in the Prime Minister's Office less than eight months ago, is departing to make a bid for elected office in the New Brunswick riding of former Tory cabinet minister Greg Thompson. Thompson's seat in New Brunswick Southwest, however, won't be vacant until the next general election, which could be many months away, and Williamson must still contest the party nomination and then an election campaign. Williamson, 40, is the former head of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation who had just left Ottawa to pursue a masters degree at the London School of Economics when the prime minister pressed him into service last August. Williamson replaced Kory Teneycke, who was Harper's communications director for only 13 months before moving back to the private sector.

'Avoid the temptation to regulate,' Google tells Commons committee


Google Inc.’s Canadian policy counsel, Jacob Glick, told the Commons heritage committee Tuesday that policy makers should not encourage Canadian content rules and other regulations on the Internet. Glick said the Internet is a "good news" story, and acknowledged that its innovation presents challenges to many of today’s content distributors, producers, and providers. He warned policy makers not “roll back the clock.”
“You will be asked to roll back the clock on some of this innovation, because of the challenges it presents,” he told committee members.
Glick encouraged members to consider whether they are being asked to solve broad problems or simply the problem “that an existing business model has in the new world.”
Glick appeared before the heritage committee as part of its study on new media in Canada.

Barbara Budd departure part of CBC trend to replace announcers with journalists: Globe


The CBC's decision not to renew Barbara Budd’s contract with As It Happens after 17 years as co-host is part of a larger move to replace CBC Radio’s news and current-affairs announcers with journalists. Veteran CBC reporter Alison Smith’s move to her current position hosting World At Six, and former foreign correspondent Peter Armstrong’s new job at World Report, replacing long-time host Judy Maddren, are both part of that push. Ms. Budd came from a successful acting background.

Click on the totle to read the fll story.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Australia sports bodies and media end rights row


Australian sporting bodies and media outlets agreed a government-brokered deal Tuesday to end their row over coverage of major sports events, a dispute that led to a long-running media boycott of Australian cricket. The dispute erupted three years ago when sporting bodies, led by Cricket Australia, sought to limit news coverage, accusing the media of using the Web and wireless devices to profit from events without paying for media rights, as TV broadcasters have to do.

Barbara Budd leaving As it Happens


Barbara Budd, longtime co-host of As it Happens, is calling it quits. She announced her departure on air Monday night at the conclusion of the program, giving no reason for her decision or any indication of her future plans. A former stage actress who also works as a documentary narrator and voice-animator for movies and television, Budd took over Alan Maitland’s slot in 1993, sharing on-air duties with Michael Enright until his departure in 1997, then with Mary Lou Finlay till 2005. Finlay was replaced by Carol Off in early 2006.

Canwest gets more time to restructure

Canwest Global Communications Corp. has announced it won an extension of its bankruptcy protection in Canada until 15 June in order to work out the sale of its television unit. “Time is needed to carry out the recapitalisation transaction,” said Ontario Superior Court Judge Sarah E. Pepall at a hearing in Toronto on Monday.

Associated Press announces promotions

David Meeks, a veteran investigative and sports editor who led award-winning newspaper coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, has been named an assistant managing editor for The Associated Press.
David Minthorn, an AP news executive who has worked on style and standards at the news cooperative since 2000, has been named deputy standards editor.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cambodia remains could belong to Errol Flynn's photographer son


Forensic tests will be conducted on what two searchers believe are the remains of photographer Sean Flynn, son of Hollywood star Errol Flynn, who disappeared during the Cambodian War 40 years ago, the U.S. Embassy said Monday. At least 37 journalists were killed or are listed as missing from the 1970-75 war, which pitted the U.S.-backed Lon Nol government against the North Vietnamese-supported Khmer Rouge. A number of journalists were known to have been captured by the Khmer Rouge and probably executed.

GlobalPost charts online future amid newspaper woes


As US newspapers struggle for a business model for the digital age, the founders of a free online news site which recently celebrated its first birthday are optimistic about its future. "It's been an extraordinary year for us, far beyond any reasonable expectations I could have had," said Philip Balboni, president and chief executive of GlobalPost.com, which launched in January 2009. While Boston-based GlobalPost has yet to turn a profit, Balboni is heartened by how quickly the operation has been able to establish itself as a destination for international news. GlobalPost attracted more than 750,000 unique visitors to its website last month and is on track to surpass 800,000 in March. "We've set a goal for 2010 of going over the million mark," Balboni said. GlobalPost employs 70 correspondents in 50 countries, including veterans of The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other major news organisations paying them a monthly retainer and shares in the company.

Global Post is at: http://www.globalpost.com/

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bill Rose, former Ottawa Citizen photo director, dies at 82


Bill Rose, director of photography of the Ottawa Citizen from 1973 to 1981, has died at 82. He also contributed to the Winnipeg Free Press and the Toronto Telegram as well as to LIFE magazine.

Click on the title to read the full obituary.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Headline must sell, but musn't hype: Star's public editor


Interesting story on web and print headline writing by Kathy English, the Star's public editor (pictured). An excerpt:

"Names are key online because people search for people. The newspaper head, "The hardest working girl in country" could refer to just about anyone. Change that head to "At 63, Dolly Parton just won't slow down" as the Star's web editors did and those readers searching Google for the latest on Dolly Parton are far more likely to find the Star's story.

"Search engines don't really discern humour or puns so those memorable "zingers" that have long won accolades in newsrooms don't always cut it online. Thus, online editors would likely nix "I'm the pop, says the weasel" – the New York Post's headline when U.S. politician John Edwards admitted to fathering an illegitimate child."

Click on the title to read the full story.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Canadian-born pundit Frum axed from think tank


David Frum, the Canadian-born conservative pundit who's been harshly critical of the Republican battle plan against President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul, is unapologetic after being fired Thursday from a right-wing think tank.

"I'm going to remain a conservative whether they want me or not," Frum told The Canadian Press on Thursday night following his ouster from the American Enterprise Institute, adding he was saddened by the turn of events.

On Sunday, Frum wrote on his website, FrumForum, that health-care reform had been a debacle for the Republican party, saying they'd "suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s."

CBC reporter gets free flights; registered as MP's designated traveller


Stephen Maher of The Halifax Herald reports:

"CBC national political reporter Krista Erickson is registered as the designated traveller for Calgary Centre Conservative MP Lee Richardson, which means she is entitled to receive flights paid for by taxpayers. The Canadian Association of Journalists and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation both said the designation raises tough questions for Erickson, Richardson and the CBC, since she covers federal politics as part of her job. Erickson declined to comment Thursday.

'“If it’s about Lee, I’m not talking,” she said.

"Richardson said he and Erickson have been together for a couple of years. He said he registered her as his designated traveller in the fall or winter. He doesn’t know if she has so far taken advantage of those flights."

Marty Lederhandler, AP lensman for 66 years, dies


Marty Lederhandler, an Associated Press photographer who captured on film every U.S. president from Herbert Hoover to Bill Clinton, covered the D-Day landing in 1944 and climaxed a 66-year career with an iconic shot of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, has died. He was 92.

Drafted into the Army in 1940, and on June 6, 1944, led his Signal Corps camera team ashore with the 4th Infantry Division at Utah Beach, toting two carrier pigeons along with his camera gear. But when he attached film canisters for the pigeons to return across the Channel to England, the second one, evidently confused, flew inland instead. A month later, U.S. troops found a German army newspaper left by fleeing Germans with one of the photos on Page 1, duly credited to "U.S.A. reporter, Lt. Lederhandler." (pictured at left)

Click on the title to read the full obituary.

Ken Cavanagh, first regular host of W5, dies at 78


Ken Cavanagh, the first regular host of CTV's W5, died on March 23. According to an announcement in the Globe and Mail, he was 78. He succumbing to complications of Hereditary Haemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT. CTV's W5 was launched in 1966 and is the longest-running current affairs/newsmagazine program in North America.

A memorial event will be announced at a later date; please contact his daughter, Dr. Patricia Cavanagh or email pcavanagh2010@gmail.com for details.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Russian tycoon acquires British newspaper


Alexander Lebedev, a Russian billionaire who was once a K.G.B. agent stationed in London, struck a long-awaited deal to buy The Independent newspaper on Thursday, little more than a year after he acquired another of Britain’s respected major papers, The Evening Standard of London. In a market dominated by racy tabloids, Britain has four widely respected, general-interest national papers, each with a Sunday sister paper: The Independent and The Guardian to the left of center, and The Times and The Daily Telegraph to the right. The Independent, with a circulation under 200,000, is the smallest, and has lost money steadily since its creation in 1986.

A statement released by the Lebedev family cast the purchase as a move that would “safeguard the future of the business.”

“I invest in institutions which contribute to democracy and transparency and, at the heart of that, are newspapers which report independently and campaign for the truth to be revealed,” Mr. Lebedev said in the statement. “I am a supporter of in-depth investigative reporting and campaigns which promote transparency and seek to fight international corruption. These are things The Independent has always done well and will, I hope, continue to do.”

Montreal TV station stages 'plane crash' publicity stunt


FROM CBC.CA:
A television network is defending a publicity stunt in which an ultralight plane appeared to have crashed into a car parked across from Montreal's Bell Centre. The bright-yellow plane — a prop — was positioned over the crushed roof of a sport-utility vehicle early Thursday morning. A production crew on hand pumped artificial smoke into the car as bystanders posed in front of the scene and had photos taken.
The stunt was dreamed up by Canal D to promote its new TV series on life-threatening close calls. "It was not our intention to put people in danger," explained √Člise Beauchemin, director of communications at the French-language cable television specialty channel. "For us, it was just to create curiosity and suspense. We wanted to make it look very real."

Beauchemin said public security authorities were alerted ahead of time, including Montreal police and the fire department, "to make sure there wasn't any danger or panic whatsoever."

Canwest wins approval to fast-track Shaw appeal


Canwest Global Communications Corp. won approval Wednesday from an Ontario court to fast-track appeal hearings into Shaw Communications Inc.'s bid for a controlling stake in the media company's television assets. Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Harry Laforme granted the request to expedite the process, supporting Canwest's argument that the outstanding motion is holding up restructuring efforts for the company and "is creating uncertainty in the market," Canwest said. Goldman, a U.S. investment bank, and Toronto private-equity firm Catalyst Capital Group are leading an appeal that challenges Canwest's deal with Shaw.

Saskatchewan pulls plug on TV channel

SCN, Saskatchewan's publicly owned TV channel, will cease operations in May as the province shuts down the Saskatchewan Communications Network to save money. "SCN's viewership is quite low," Dustin Duncan, the minister of tourism, parks, culture and sport, said Wednesday in a news release about the cut. "We feel that there is no longer a role for government in the broadcast business."

U.S. newspaper ad revenue plummets to 1986 level


Newspaper advertising revenue plunged 27 percent last year to its lowest level since 1986, according to figures released Wednesday, reflecting the toll of the recession and a media shift that's driving more marketing dollars to the Internet. Newspapers sold $27.6 billion worth of ads in 2009, a figure that includes both print and online revenue. That's down from $37.8 billion the year before, according to the Newspaper Association of America. The picture is even more grim after adjusting for inflation. The $27 billion in revenue that newspapers received in 1986 would equal nearly $53 billion in today's dollars. Things did improve toward the end of 2009, raising hopes that the worst of the slump is over. Ad revenue in the final three months of the year fell 24 percent from a year earlier to $7.7 billion — the smallest quarterly percentage decline of 2009.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Canadian Denis Paquin appointed AP deputy director of photography


Denis Paquin, who has been national sports photo editor for The Associated Press since 2007 and worked in a variety of news photo assignments, has been appointed deputy director of photography for the news cooperative. The appointment was announced Tuesday by Santiago Lyon, AP director of photography. Paquin most recently oversaw the AP's photo planning and coverage of the Vancouver Olympics. Paquin, a native of Quebec who grew up in Maine and Vermont, is a graduate of Carleton University in Ottawa. He joined the AP in 1991. He left the AP in 1998 to run the photo department of the National Post. He returned to the AP in 2004.

Why the CBC should stop the hissy fit : Colunist John Doyle


"Then it came – the sound of rattling cufflinks. Umbrage. Outrage. Steven Guiton, the CBC’s regulatory officer, stepped up to the microphones, looking furious. He proceeded to announce the imminent end of public broadcasting in Canada. “There does not appear to be a future for public broadcasting further to this decision” he said.

"Horror! Murder in Gatineau, Quebec. The CRTC has killed the CBC. Driven a stake through its heart."-- The Globe and Mail's John Doyle.

Click on the title to read the full story.

Disgraced Toronto TTC chair returns to small screen


TTC chair Adam Giambrone’s TV talk show is back on track, starting on Thursday. On the Rocket was last broadcast Jan. 21, just before Giambrone (pictured) formally declared he was running for mayor. He withdrew from the race about a week later after publicly apologizing for betraying his live-in partner with a series of affairs. The show is expected to focus on the TTC’s efforts to reform customer service. Officials were still working Tuesday to confirm a guest appearance by hotelier Steve O’Brien, who is heading the TTC’s recently formed customer service advisory panel. Giambrone isn’t the only city councillor who takes questions from the public on TV. Mayor David Miller has a show and, until recently, Councillor Adam Vaughan hosted a program called Hour Town. He withdrew in January when he registered as a candidate in the fall election. Giambrone hasn’t said whether he will run again in his Davenport ward.

Italian Government cuts Corriere Canadese funding


Canada’s only daily Italian newspaper faces serious financial troubles after the funding it receives from Italy’s embattled government was cut by half. Corriere Canadese, the top news source for many first-generation Italians in Canada, has launched a determined campaign to keep running after learning on Feb. 25 that the $2.8-million grant it received from the Italian government would be cut by 50 per cent.

The government of Silvio Berlusconi has been trying to rein in its culture budget as it readies for an election at the end of March.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

CBC unhappy with CRTC decision


CBC/Radio-Canada is condemning the CRTC for its new framework for conventional television, saying the decision leaves Canada's public broadcaster out to dry. On Monday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced that — pending Federal Court approval — it would allow private broadcasters to negotiate market value for their TV signals with cable and satellite providers. However, it exempted the CBC from the process. "We are very, very disappointed. In our view, the CRTC has failed to fulfil its responsibilities under the Broadcasting Act," Steven Guiton, CBC/Radio-Canada's vice-president and chief regulatory officer, told reporters Monday afternoon.

Click on the title to read the full story.

CRTC supports 'market-based' approach, could lead to TV blackouts


Canada's broadcast regulator moved to adopt a "market-based" U.S.-style model on Monday that could see the most popular shows blacked out from Canadian televisions if cable companies and the national television networks cannot agree on carriage contracts for TV signals. The goal of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in permitting negotiations - a first for the industry - is to stabilize a private broadcast system facing sharp declines in advertising revenues as niche specialty channels and online content portals consume ad dollars once automatically allotted to conventional TV stations.

Chinese express regret, anger at Google move


Young Chinese professionals working in Beijing's main IT hub expressed a mixture of regret, anger and surprise on Tuesday at Google's move to shut its mainland Chinese website and reroute searches to Hong Kong. The government lost little time in warning Google that its rejection of self-censorship has incensed the ruling Communist Party, wary of ceding any ground on freedoms for China's 384 million Internet users. But for many educated, and especially young, Chinese, Google has been a well-loved website, even if homegrown rival Baidu Inc dominates the overall domestic market. And many fear Google's move on its search engine could affect its other offerings, from email to online books.

Monday, March 22, 2010

CRTC to let cable firms, broadcasters negotiate fee


The federal broadcast regulator said Monday it was throwing its support behind a “market-based” U.S.-like regime whereby cable operators and conventional broadcasters negotiate among themselves to determine whether TV broadcasters could get compensation for their signals. Before anything happens, however, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said it would seek approval from the Federal Court of Appeal to implement such a regime. There were conflicting legal opinions during hearings held last year over whether the CRTC had jurisdiction in this area, due to issues related to copyright. Monday’s ruling aims to put an end to a years-long acrimonious dispute between cable and satellite providers -- led by Rogers Communications Inc., Shaw Communications Inc. and BCE Inc. -- and the private-sector broadcasters, such as Canwest Global Communications Inc. and CTVglobemedia.
This time, the CRTC is banking that “market forces” can force a resolution on the bickering sides.

Internet usage overtakes television watching: Report


For the first time ever, Canadians are spending more time online than they are watching television, according to a new report. The survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid last fall found that Canadians are spending more than 18 hours a week online, compared to 16.9 hours watching television. Interestingly, Internet usage and the number of hours watching television have both experienced a rise since last year. Web surfing is up from 14.9 hours last year and television watching rose to 15.8 hours. Other media, such as newspapers, radio and magazines have all remained relatively stable in the last year.

Google set to announce China departure 'as early as today'


Google may announce its plans to close its search engine in China and outline the fate of its other operations based in the country as early as today. In January, the US search engine giant said that it would pull out of China unless authorities allowed the company to deliver uncensored search results. Talks between Google and Chinese authorities are continuing, but there have been no signs that the country will accommodate Google’s demands. The Chinese Business News suggested over the weekend that a final decision could be revealed as early as this week.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Roy Steinfort, former AP radio executive, dies


Roy Steinfort, a veteran newsman and former vice president of The Associated Press who turned the agency's radio operations into a service providing news to millions of listeners worldwide, died Sunday at age 88. He died after a short battle with cancer. In a journalism career spanning some 40 years, Steinfort went from covering sports in his native Kentucky to running a weekly paper to chief of all broadcast operations for the AP. He retired from the world's largest and oldest news agency in 1986.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Local broadcasters await Monday's CRTC ruling on the fee dispute with cable


Monday will mark an historic day for the Canadian television industry. The Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission is expected to issue a decision on an issue that's pitted the country's conventional television broadcasters against the cable industry. Broadcasters like CTV have argued a new revenue source is vital in order to protect the local television industry. The broadcasters are calling for the introduction of a fee for carriage system that would mean cable companies would have to pay for the rights to broadcast their programming. For the first time conventional broadcasters lost money last year. In 2009, revenue dropped by $116 million before interest and taxes. The latest figures from the CRTC show the profits of cable companies are up by $200 million before interest and taxes.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Christiane Amanpour hangs up her flak jacket


Christiane Amanpour is trading in her bulletproof vest for the button-down uniform of a morning news anchor. After 27 years at CNN reporting from volatile countries and deadly war zones, the 52-year-old is leaving for ABC to host the Sunday morning program "This Week." Not only is this a dramatic career change for Amanpour, but it also makes her "the first woman to be the solo anchor of a network Sunday news program," as the Los Angeles Times points out.

CanWest chase over for Godfrey consortium


The group that included Paul Godfrey, president and chief executive officer of the National Post, is no longer in the running to buy the company that owns that newspaper, the Toronto Star reports, quiting a source close to the process. The Godfrey group placed too low a valuation on CanWest LP and wasn't invited to proceed to the second stage of the sale process, the source said. CanWest LP, which is operating in bankruptcy protection, is expected to fetch at least $950 million, the amount the secured creditors are owed. The newspapers attracted "a significant" number of interested parties, the sale monitor said in a report. About half a dozen were invited to proceed to the second stage, which ends April 30. Any offers for less than the whole chain were rejected. One interested in the whole chain was not invited to move forward.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Google sets sights on television


The Web search firm is teaming up with Intel Corp. and Sony Corp. to design a product that would enable users to access the Web's most popular services through their television sets. The platform would be based on Google's Android operating system, initially designed for mobile devices and already running on many smart phones and electronic-book readers. While high-end TV manufacturers have largely shifted their attention to creating 3D sets, another trend has quietly taken hold in the industry: Internet capability.

CRTC says private conventional TV stations booked $116.4 million loss last year



Canada's biggest private television broadcasters made major cuts last year, as they grappled with the recession, but the industry still booked a big financial loss. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says private-sector conventional TV stations - which include the likes of Global and CTV - reported losses before interest and taxes of $116.4 million in 2009. That was after a massive 93-per cent drop in profits to $8 million during 2008. The CRTC said that national advertising revenues fell by 10.3 per cent to $1.32 billion, in the year ended Aug. 31, 2009, while local ad revenues were also down more than 10 per cent. However, the cost of running the TV operations was also reduced by 2.4 per cent, with most of that money going to pay for buying and producing programs.

Click on the title to read the CRTC release

Russian oligarch's son pumps millions to revive French daily

The 25-year-old son of a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin is pumping millions into a bid Wednesday to revive the once widely-read but now struggling daily paper France Soir. As other powerful Russian oligarchs close in on the British press, Alexander Pugachev plans to increase sales of the moribund tabloid tenfold, from current circulation of a pitiful 22,000 to 200,000 copies. With a fresh lay-out, a slew of newly hired high-profile editors and reporters, a giant 20-million-euro advertising campaign, and a slash in its price, Pugachev on Wednesday throws half a million copies on news-stands.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Obama's Fox News interview marked by interruptions, focus on 'special deals'

President Obama's interview Wednesday on Fox News Channel was a testy affair in which Obama repeatedly appeared exasperated at being interrupted and frustrated with the focus on legislative process rather than the substance of his health care proposals.
Prodded repeatedly by interviewer Bret Baier to discuss the parliamentary procedures that House Democrats are using to pass his legislation, Obama scolded Baier at several points, telling him, "Bret, let me finish."
At one point near the end of the interview, Obama shook his head and turned away when Baier cut in. Later, Baier apologized for interrupting him, getting a smile and a firm handshake in response.

Click on the title to watch the video and full story.

Jacmel’s radio station radiating hope in Haiti

Founded nearly 30 years ago, their station, RTDJ 101.5, is the oldest of the dozen or so operating in Jacmel. It was also the hardest hit by the earthquake. It wrecked the station’s downtown headquarters, bringing the top two floors of the four-storey building crashing down on the broadcast studio and crushing most of the equipment.

Click on the title to read the full story.

Civil rights photographer Charles Moore dies

American photojournalist Charles Moore, whose work chronicled the civil rights era of the 1960s, has died aged 79. Moore was one of the first photographers to document the rise of Martin Luther King as a civil rights leader, and had the only camera at the scene when King was arrested for loitering in Montgomery in 1958. One of his shots shows two white police officers manhandling King, whose right arm is wrenched behind his back. Much of his work was published in LIFE Magazine.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mike Duffy slams journalism schools

Senator Mike Duffy has attacked the University of King’s College and other Canadian journalism schools for exposing students to Noam Chomsky and critical thinking. In a speech Saturday to Conservative party members in Amherst, Duffy reportedly slammed journalism programs for churning out leftist graduates.

“When I went to the school of hard knocks, we were told to be fair and balanced,” Duffy was quoted from his speech in yesterday’s issue of the Amherst Daily News. “That school doesn’t exist any more. Kids who go to King’s, or the other schools across the country, are taught from two main texts."
Those two texts are Manufacturing Consent, Chomsky’s book on mainstream media, and books about the theory of critical thinking, Duffy said.

Erin Andrews's peephole stalker gets 2 1/2 years

A Chicago-area man who posted a nude video of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews on the Internet – after filming her through her hotel door – was sentenced to federal prison Monday. Michael David Barrett, 49, of Westmont, Illinois, received a 2 1/2-year term and was ordered to pay $7,366 in restitution to Andrews, who is also a contestant this season on Dancing With the Stars. He made the video after removing the peephole from her door in one of the hotel rooms and used his mobile phone to capture video of Andrews while she was naked.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Winnipeg Free Press photo editor Jon Thordarson was 59

Winnipeg Free Press photo editor Jon Thordarson, 59, died Saturday after a long battle with cancer.
Click on the title for full story.

Globe leads National Newspaper Awards nominations (release)

The Globe and Mail leads all newspapers in Canada with 15 finalists in the 61st National Newspaper Awards competition, closely followed by the Toronto Star with 14 finalists. The Edmonton Journal and Montreal's La Presse have six nominations each.
The Hamilton Spectator had four and The Canadian Press earned three nominations.
The Ottawa Citizen, Kingston Whig-Standard, New Brunswick Telegraph Journal, and National Post had two each. The Guelph Mercury, Halifax Chronicle-Herald, London Free Press, Montreal Gazette, Reuters, Sault Ste. Marie Star, Woodstock Sentinel-Review, Vancouver Province, Victoria Times Colonist, and Windsor Star have one each.

The 66 finalists in the 22 categories were announced on March 15, 2010, from the National Newspaper Awards office in Toronto. There were 1,301 entries in this year's competition for works that appeared in the year 2009. In all, 20 news organizations have been nominated.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Toronto on Friday, May 14 following the Canadian Newspaper Association conference. Winners will receive cheques for $1,000 and a certificate of award. Runners-up receive citations of merit.

Georgian opposition denounces phony TV war report

Georgia's opposition politicians are denouncing the government over a hoax television broadcast that said Russia had invaded and the president had been killed. The country's main opposition group on Monday accused the government of trying to retain power through "information terror." The simulated broadcast Saturday sparked wide anxiety in Georgia, which is still traumatized by the August 2008 war in which Russian troops advanced deep into the country. Cellular phone networks briefly went down as panicked Georgians phoned each other. Imedi, the station that aired the show, is private, but its director is a former chief of staff for President Mikhail Saakashvili. Opponents say the broadcast was government propaganda.

"When journalism is about hits, the craft goes amiss"

The Globe and Mail's Roy McGregor:
"When newspapers start confusing “hits” with “circulation,” there is an undeniable danger to journalism.
"If, as increasingly appears to be the case in the uncertain world of Web publishing, traffic is what matters most – and may one day be the basis for figuring out how finally to make money out of Web content – then it only stands to reason that those working in the business will chase traffic harder than stories.
"Why, given that traffic often increases when celebrity is involved, would a journalist risk a low-traffic day by introducing readers to someone they do not already know – regardless of how important that person's story might be?"

Click on the title to read the full story.

Google 99.9 per cent certain to pull out of China: Financial Times

Google's chief executive, Eric Schmidt, said last week he hoped to announce soon an outcome from talks with Chinese officials on offering an uncensored search engine in that country of 384 million Internet users. Many experts have doubted China’s ruling Communist Party would compromise on censorship, and on the weekend the Financial Times reported the talks had reached an impasse and Google was “99.9 per cent” certain to shut its Chinese search engine, Google.cn.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Walkerton, Ont., mayor wants peace bond against newspaper owner

The mayor in Walkerton, Ont., is trying to get a peace bond slapped on an area newspaper owner. Charlie Bagnato is targeting Brian Raper of the Cargill Area News over articles critical of the mayor and town. He says the final straw came when one article suggested he and some councillors be lynched. The Crown attorney handling Bagnato's request calls the case unusual. David Foulds says peace bonds are usually sought when there are direct threats. The case returns to court April 23. A justice of the peace has accepted that Bagnato has "reasonable grounds" to be concerned for his safety.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Kate Snow jumps ship after losing out to Juju Chang

It's kind of a rule of the business that when you're removed from an anchor job or overlooked for a new post, you find another job. That's what Kate Snow of ABC's Good Morning America is doing. She lost to Juju Chang for a weekday anchor post so she's going to NBC. Zimbio

Newspaper biggies semi glooomy at Mtl conflab

Much talk of the clock running out for newspapers if they can't find a way to make internet operations pay. This at meeting to celebrate centenary of Le Devoir.

All about Leah -- maybe

Leah McLaren apparently wrote an essay on "failed British dates." Now it's inspired a CBC movie. What more can we say? CP

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Journalism with Chinese characteristics

Remarkable push back by Beijing government against free from, advertising driven news coverage on the mainland. South China Morning Post broke the story stressing concerns over vulgarity, bad taste and unethical reporting. Some scribes have been accused of seeking bribes to write favorable stories. Still, spokesperson's announcement that reporters need to learn about the news from Marx -- if they mean it -- is shameful. This is from the Washington Post. TPG

Writer Paul Martin released from Hamas lockup

Paul Martin said he was arrested because of his work as a journalist and called his release, with the help of the British and South African governments, a "great victory for the freedom of the media."

AP man John Nance dead at age 74

John Nance, a former Associated Press reporter and photographer who covered the Vietnam War and later oversaw the news cooperative's operations in the Philippines, has died. He was 74.

Ben Zimmer named On Language columnist

RELEASE -- Zimmer succeeds William Safire who was the founding and regular columnist until his death last fall. The column is a fixture in The Times Magazine and features commentary on the many facets – from grammar to usage – of our language. “On Language” will appear bi-weekly beginning March 21. In making the announcement, Gerald Marzorati, editor of the magazine said, “Ben brings both an academic’s deep knowledge and a maven’s eye, ear and passion to his commentary on the way Americans write and speak now. We welcome him to our roster and know our readers and ‘On Language’ devotees will greatly enjoy his columns.”

CanWest news budget

Nothing conclusive in this morning's lot.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Here's an idea! We'll give Smith a live-eye colonoscopy



Better than that, Katie Couric will be there, dressed in what looks like a baby blue Hazmat get up. She'll write an article on her blog called Bottoms Up! Seriously, nice work.

Swedish papers re-publish Mohammed cartoon

In plot to murder cartoonist Lars Vilks, he gets support from three dailies in wake of the Colleen LaRose alleged conspiracy. She called herself Jihad Jane and was apparently bored. Papers says Vilks "does not stand alone." Mr Vilks is one of several artists and editors to have faced threats from Islamic extremists vowing revenge for publication of cartoons, which break an Islamic law forbidding depictions of the prophet.

FP Newspapers reports $2.8-million Q4 profit

Nice bounce for Free Press Newspapers, CP

Pay groups seek to avoid rerun of Oscars fee drama

 FT reports, "A group of 14 US pay-TV service companies on Tuesday night asked US regulators to prevent a repeat of the breakdown in fee negotiations that led Walt Disney to block millions of viewers from watching the Oscars broadcast on television"        

Wind Mobile launched `in haste,' report says

So disorganized customers can't pay. This is serious.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fox International partners with Abu Dhabi Media Co

Fox International Channels, a unit of News Corp, is to move some operations to Abu Dhabi in a new partnership with a state-sponsored media firm, it announced on the eve of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Media Summit.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

New Cycling Magazine from Running publisher

Toronto-based Gripped Publishing Inc. has launched a new homegrown magazine dedicated to covering cycling. Canadian Cycling Magazine is billed as the first Canadian cycling publication with a commercial newsstand presence.
The magazine will be published six times a year, and will focus on coast-to-coast coverage of all types of cycling. It will include reviews of the newest road and mountain bikes and offer training advice to readers. Gripped also publishes personal sports magazine for climbers, runners (right) and others. CP

Media converges on Florida for convergence conflab

Fifteen years after the convergence fever that caused mainly conglomeration, a meeting in Palm Springs (above) to discuss convergence. What surprises await? The tipoff may be that neither the organizers, Credit Suisse, nor any of the participants seem to have much to say about it in advance.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Stepan Rudick disqualified by World Press Photo

Apparently he altered images "beyond the boundary of what is acceptable practice".

David Black might bid for CanWest dailies

“There might be an opportunity to step up and run something bigger in Canada – and hopefully we can do it well,” he said. Globe and Mail.

Leonard Asper out at CanWest --- Viner carries on

Peter Viner to lead firm for time being. RELEASE-- Canwest Global Communications Corp. (“Canwest” or the “Company”) announced today that Mr. Leonard Asper has tendered his resignation as President and Chief Executive Officer and all other director and officer positions with Canwest and its subsidiaries in order to pursue other business opportunities and to avoid any concerns regarding potential conflicts of interest. Mr. Asper will continue to provide the Company with advice through a consulting agreement until such time that Canwest emerges from CCAA protection. MarketWatch ad Business Wire

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

CBC reporters win award for swine flu coverage

"A team led by radio reporter Laurie Fagan and TV reporter Sandra Abma collected a trophy Tuesday night for excellence in local broadcast reporting for the series "Swine Flu, Ready or Not."

"Lose My Shows, Lose My Business" tactic

Local ABC station in New York calls Cablevision's bluff.

Torstar results

It reports, among many other details, "In the newspapers and digital division, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 4.9 per cent to $51.9 million. Revenue fell 4.7 per cent to $272.6 million, an improvement over the 11.5-per-cent decline in the first three quarters of the year...."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Star-Phoenix writer Bob Florence beaten on street

Saskatoon Star-Phoenix confirms that a man in hospital after a vicious early morning beating is one of its longtime columnists. The paper reported that Bob Florence was on his way home from work early Saturday morning when he was attacked at a downtown intersection. Saskatoon Police spokeswoman Alyson Edwards would not confirm the identity of the 50-year-old man, but confirmed that an investigation is ongoing

Murdoch says he doubts sale of NYT to Carlos Slim

Also announces that the Wall Street Journal plans to launch a New York section to rival content in the Times.

Network News at a Crossroads

News chief echoes much concern in the industry opining ABC can't sustain what it's doing.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Boycott of cricket threatened by some media

News agencies, apparently led by AP, are saying they'll boycott the Indian Premier League cricket championships. On and off tiff is said to revolve around control of distribution of coverage (like the Olympics?) and certain media the IPL finds "objectionable".

3 sports reporters kidnapped in Nigeria

Few details so far.

Iran reportedly shuts down reform papers

Etemaad and Irandokht are the two publications named.

FT Appoints Gillian Tett US Managing Editor

RELEASE -- The Financial Times today announces the appointment of Gillian Tett as US managing editor, overseeing the FT's print and online editions in the region.
Tett, currently assistant editor responsible for the FT's markets coverage, will take up her new role with immediate effect. She will move to New York full-time from 1st September 2010. FT Editor Lionel Barber commented: "Gillian's award-winning coverage of the global financial crisis has been recognized around the world. Having led the markets team from London, and with a wealth of global experience, she is ideally placed to lead the next phase of the FT's editorial development in the US. She will play an important ambassadorial role in the region and strengthen our growing influence in the North American market

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