Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ford’s office asks city to remove NOW issue with fake ‘naked’ image

Saying she had been asked to do so by Mayor Rob Ford’s office, a City Hall custodial supervisor directed her colleagues Thursday to remove from city buildings all copies of a NOW Magazine issue featuring a computer-altered image of a shirtless Ford on the cover and a raunchier altered image inside. The issue hit newsstands Thursday morning. Lorraine Pickett sent the email at 9 a.m. to the City Hall security desk and to custodial managers responsible for other city buildings. It read: “Hi All, I have a request from the mayor’s office to remove all NOW newspapers from all City of Toronto locations/facilities ASAP. Please remove and dispose.” The directive was reversed in the early afternoon. But in a statement, NOW editor and chief executive Alice Klein said, “We are outraged. As far as I've heard, there's still such a thing as freedom of expression in Ford Nation.” Ford spokesperson Adrienne Batra attributed the incident to a “misunderstanding.”

Harper ‘backing out’of one-on-one debate: Ignatieff

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says Stephen Harper’s refusal to join in a one-on-one debate shows that the Conservative leader cannot be trusted. Harper is now “backing out” of the debate, Ignatieff told reporters during a campaign stop in Winnipeg. “Less than 24 hours ago, he was saying, ‘Let’s go into the ring, toe-to-toe, head to head,’ and I said, ‘Look, I’m willing to do that, provided that other leaders participate in a regular debate.’ I don’t want anybody excluded (from debates).” “And now he’s turned around. You can’t trust this man,” Ignatieff said. “This is about respect for the democratic process. I think Canadians would like such a debate. I’m willing to go anywhere, anytime (to debate Harper) and I repeat that. Just 24 hours after saying he’d like to square off against Ignatieff, Harper now says the idea is dead.

Pamela Wallin resigns as Guelph university chancellor

Citing increased responsibilities in the Senate, Pamela Wallin has stepped down as chancellor of the University of Guelph, the school announced Thursday. "Senator Wallin feels that she can no longer devote the time necessary to properly serve as chancellor," the university's president Alastair Summerlee said in a release. The former CBC host and journalist became chancellor of the Ontario school in March 2007. She was elected to a second three-year term in March 2010. She became a senator in 2008 and now chairs the national security and defence committee and also serves as a member of the Senate's foreign affairs and international trade committee, the veterans affairs subcommittee and the special senate committee on anti-terrorism.

Broadcasters rule out one-on-one debate between Harper and Ignatieff, confirm May’s exclusion

Canada’s broadcasters have ruled out a face-off between Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff and will exclude the Green Party from the upcoming official election debates, the Globe and Mail reports. The decision to carry debates involving only the leaders of the four main parties in Parliament follows a public battle between the Conservative and Liberal leaders, but also controversial backroom dealings between the country’s major television stations and four biggest political parties. According to the Globe and Mail, after hours of private and public discussions on Wednesday, the consortium of broadcasters announced an agreement by issuing an ultimatum to the representatives of the four parties, a source involved in the discussions said.In a bid to embrace some form of change, the English- and French-language debates on April 12 and 14, respectively, will feature one-on-one exchanges between the leaders of the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party, the Bloc Québécois and the NDP.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Harper challenges Ignatieff to one-on-one debate

Stephen Harper has challenged his Liberal rival, Michael Ignatieff, to a one-on-one televised debate. "We could also have a debate between Mr. Ignatieff and myself," Harper said while campaigning in Brampton, Ont., where the Tories hope to make inroads into a traditional Liberal stronghold. Ignatieff quickly welcomed the prospect of going "toe-to-toe" with Harper. "Anytime, anyplace," he said in Vancouver. "Canadians want a debate of principles. I think Canadians want a debate between hope and fear. ... I welcome that debate any day." Meanwhile, the all-party debate will be Tuesday April 12 in English and Thursday April 14, in French.

Star claims "most widely read" label but print and online numbers merged

The Toronto Star says it has has held on to its position as the most widely read newspaper in Canada and the most-visited newspaper website in the Greater Toronto Area, quoting an industry study. The latest newspaper readership figures released Wednesday by the Newspaper Audience Databank Inc., known as NADbank, showed that the Star’s total print and online readership within the GTA was steady, with a total weekly readership of 2.3 million adults. A separate report released today by the Canadian Circulation Audit Bureau also indicates that the Star’s total circulation in the GTA remained stable in 2010 despite heavy pressure from growing digital media sources and a generally weak economy. In the NADbank 2010 survey, the weekday Star was read by an average of 948,100 adults a day in the GTA, a decline of 3.2 per cent from the previous survey. On Saturday, the Star reached 1.2 million readers and on Sunday 757,000 readers, down 3.4 per cent and 1.4 per cent, respectively, from 2009 data. By comparison, weekday readership in the GTA for the Globe and Mail was down 9.7 per cent and 7.5 per cent on Saturday. The Sun saw weekday readership jump by 33 per cent, following a 21.5 per cent plunge in 2009.

Toronto councillor Doug Ford calls Star's reporting tactics ‘ruthless’

Questions over the possibility of curtailing journalists’ access at City Hall got personal Tuesday when Councillor Doug Ford lashed out and described one local newspaper’s reporting tactics as “ruthless.” Councillor Ford, the mayor’s brother, made the complaints about the Toronto Star during a meeting of the city’s government management committee, which was discussing security concerns raised by journalists’ free access to councillors’ office. Besides excessive freedom of information requests, Mr. Ford also alleged a Toronto Star reporter followed his 76-year-old mother to a neighbour’s house, and inquired what Diane Ford had dropped off. A Star spokesman denied this. The government management committee voted to direct staff and the press gallery president to implement a code of conduct for its members. The decision is subject to council approval. Click on the title to read the NatPost story.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Elizabeth May not invited to leaders' TV debate

Green leader Elizabeth May (pictured)says a broadcast consortium’s decision to exclude her from a televised leaders’ debate is “breathtakingly anti-democratic.” She is calling on Canadians to rise up and to register their disapproval. Consortium spokesman Marco Dube told media Tuesday only the four leaders whose parties are in the House of Commons — Conservative, Liberal, NDP and Bloc Quebecois — are invited to take part. The Green party has not yet elected an MP. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff told reporters in Vancouver May “belongs in the debate. “Of course she’s welcome . . . she was there last time,” he said. A spokeswoman for the New Democrats’ campaign said the party is “fine with her in the debate.” The PC's have not yet made a statement about the issue. Dube told media outlets Tuesday five host broadcasters — CBC, Radio-Canada, CTV, Global and TVA — “unanimously decided they wanted to invite the four parties that have representation in the House.” He described it as a programming decision.

One charge dropped against HGTV co-host

The prosecution withdrew one of four charges against the co-host of an HGTV home renovation show accused of harassing and defrauding a Toronto woman after a dispute over the work done on the woman’s home earlier this year.Crown attorney Michael Callaghan said the extortion charge against Barrington Anthony Sayers — better known as Anthony Sayers, the “trusty contractor” on the real estate and renovation show The Unsellables — was dropped Monday because “the conduct was encapsulated in the criminal harassment charge. “There was no reasonable prospect of conviction and by dropping this extortion charge, the remaining charges could be dealt with at the Ontario Court of Justice,” explained Callaghan, meaning the trial will not proceed to Superior Court, which consumes more court time and costs and could require a jury. Sayers, 41, is no longer charged with extorting homeowner Doreen Boulos, who contracted Sayers’ private company in early February to complete work done by a previous contractor. Sayers is still charged with two counts of criminal harassment and one count of fraud under $5,000.

Bell withdraws proposal on usage-based Internet billing

Bell Canada is offering a compromise to defuse a controversy over how smaller Internet service providers charge their high-usage customers. Bell says it is willing to let the ISPs decide how to bill their customers, so long as the ISPs pay for overruns at the wholesale level. The issue is under review by the CRTC. The CRTC originally decided Internet wholesalers would be forced to charge customers that use excessive amount of network capacity. That decision created a uproar after the smaller Internet providers argued the policy would make it impossible for them to compete.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Florida reporter confined to closet while Joe Biden speaks

An aide to Vice President Joe Biden has apologised to a reporter who was locked in a closet for hours after he was invited to cover a Florida political fundraiser because they did not want him talking with the guests. Spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander said the decision to hold local reporter Scott Powers (pictured) there was a 'mistake'. And she claimed an inexperienced staffer had put Powers in the closet instead of a 'hotel room' as was their normal practice. The Orlando Sentinel reporter was ushered into the closet inside wealthy property developer Alan Ginsburg’s Winter Park mansion, after being told that Joe Biden and Senator Bill Nelson had not yet arrived.

New media pundits become part of Washington establishment

“I look at those guys and call them ‘Facebook pundits,’ ” said Tammy Haddad, the venerable Washington hostess and cable news veteran. “They’ve risen up the media food chain. They’re acknowledged by the White House. They measure their success in a different way than the old guard in this city used to. --An excerpt from a New York Times piece on the rise of new media journalists in the U.S. capital. Click on the title to read the story.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reuters says two of its journalists are missing in Syria

Reuters says two of its journalists have gone missing in Syria. Television producer Ayat Basma and cameraman Ezzat Baltaji, both Lebanese nationals, failed to make it to the Lebanese border as planned on Saturday evening, and could not be reached by telephone. The agency reported Sunday that a senior editor planned to travel to the capital Damascus to speak to Syrian officials.

Classic journalism tale "Why Rock the Boat?" published as an e-book

William Weintraub's classic tale of Montreal journalism in the 1950s has been re-published as an e-book by Bev Editions. It can be downloaded for $3.99. (Click on the title.) The spoof was made into an NFB film that is also still available. Here is a brief summary of the plot. "In a tale reminiscent of The Front Page, Harry Barnes, a young reporter joins the Daily Witness where the managing editor, Philip Butcher fires journalists while clamping down on real news. To amuse himself Harry writes hilarious Butcher stories, which inexplicably appear in the Witness. When he falls for Julia, a reporter who is hot for rebellion, Harry is tempted to rock the boat all the way."

Just click on the title to go to Bev Editions on Smashwords to download.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

SCOC to decide whether Internet providers are broadcasters

The Supreme Court of Canada will decide whether Internet service providers are broadcasters when they distribute media content and video material online. Hearings are expected to begin in 2012, although the court did not stipulate a date in its announcement of upcoming judgments to be rendered. As more and more consumption of TV programming and feature length films takes place through the Internet and via portable media devices, the question of whether ISPs or mobile providers should be seen as conventional broadcasters in terms of their legal and copyright obligations. Should the court decide that they are broadcasting, ISPs will become subject to regulation by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) under the Broadcasting Act of 1991.

Libyan woman bursts into media hotel to tell journalists about her rape by Khaddafi militia

A Libyan woman burst into a hotel housing the foreign press in Tripoli on Saturday morning in an attempt to tell journalists that she had been raped and beaten by members of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s militia. After struggling for nearly an hour to resist removal by Colonel Qaddafi’s security forces, she was dragged away from the hotel screaming. She said she had been raped by 15 men. “I was tied up, and they defecated and urinated on me,” she said. “They violated my honor.” For the members of the foreign news media here at the invitation of the government of Colonel Qaddafi — and largely confined to the Rixos Hotel except for official outings — the episode was a reminder of the brutality of the Libyan government and the presence of its security forces even among the hotel staff. People in hotel uniforms, who just hours before had been serving coffee and clearing plates, grabbed table knives and rushed to physically restrain the woman and to hold back the journalists. To read the whole New York Times story and view a Daily Telegraph video click on the title.

Winnipeg Sun and City barter for exclusive display for newspaper

The City of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Sun have agreed to a sponsorship deal, whereby the Sun will retain exclusive rights to place newspaper vending boxes at 20 high-traffic Winnipeg Transit bus stops. In exchange, the city will receive $125,000 worth of in-kind services, including advertising in the newspaper to enhance the city’s ability to provide information to Winnipeggers.

Friday, March 25, 2011

APTN: The native network that’s getting a nation’s attention: Globe

Planetguys reported it on Monday and now the Globe and Mail's Marsha Lederman has noted that APTN, the aboriginal television network, has grabbed national attencion with its reporting on the Carson scandal.

Lederman writes:

" . . .(Paul) Barnsley, 54, is responsible for APTN Investigates, the show that broke the Bruce Carson story – a government-connected scandal that has been picked up by every major news outlet in the country, and has received a lot of attention on Parliament Hill.
"It’s a rare moment in the spotlight for APTN, a network that languishes high up on the dial, and whose newsroom operates on a much smaller scale than its mainstream competitors. “There’s a lot of people in this country that don’t know we exist,” says Barnsley.
"Launched in 1999, APTN offers programming about first nations, Inuit and Métis, ranging from cartoons (Little Bear) to drama series (Blackstone) to news programming in English, French and several aboriginal languages. Most of the programming originates in Canada, but you’ll also find Hollywood films and Northern Exposure reruns – and a lot of infomercials. . . ."

Click on the title to read the whole story.

Katie Couric said to be happier on the road; CBS reported searching for her replacement as anchor

Daily Beast columnist Howard Kurtz says CBS is looking to replace Katie Couric in the anchor chair. He writes:

"Katie Couric is feeling liberated.
Not because she is nearing the end of her five-year contract as CBS anchor—although there’s an unexpected plot twist on that front—but because she’s been spending less time in the studio. You can hear it in her voice.
“'It’s great for me to get out of the chair and into the world,' she says. 'I started out as a reporter, and I still enjoy reporting.'
"Rick Kaplan, her executive producer, says that 'when she’s on the road—in Iraq with David Petraeus—she has a great way with people. People like her and she likes them. There are anchors who consider being on the road a pain in the butt. She really looks for opportunities to feel the earth and touch people.'"

Click on the title to read the whole interview.

Google goes after big media ad dollars with new video search ads

Google is launching a new ‘Media Ads’ format for video ads on The ads will appear as small thumbnails with a play button, and when a user clicks on the thumbnail, the video ad will expand and take over the Google search page, playing the video ad in a larger player. Clearly, Google is going after big ad dollars spent by media companies when promoting new movies, TV shows, and more on the web. This is another way to grab a piece of that pie. So for example, if you search for Lincoln Lawyer, a recently released movie, on Google, you’ll see a search ad below the search box. When you click the ad, instead of being taken to a new site, a trailer video will pop up and play within the search screen. Essentially the format attaches a video player to existing AdWords ads.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rogers pays $275,000 penalty for automated calls

Rogers Communications will pay more than a quarter of a million dollars to two post-secondary schools for its use of automated calling devices without consent, regulators said. The CRTC reached a settlement with Rogers over its use of automated calling devices to notify its prepaid mobile customers of how they could purchase more minutes to avoid a service interruption. Rogers did not admit to any wrongdoing with regard to the practice however it did volunteer to stop the practice unless prior consent is given, make cash payments of $175,000 and $100,000 to post-secondary technology institutes in Quebec and B.C. and to review its compliance policies.

Global TV reporter becomes incoherent on air; "medical issue" blamed

Global News' Mark McAllister (pictured) was wrapping up a piece on Libya on Monday night when he began speaking in gibberish.
(Click on the title to watch the clip.)
Global issued a statement saying McAllister "suffered a minor medical issue causing him to experience a moment of disorientation."
The network said paramedics were called and that while the reporter is feeling better, he will be pursuing the matter with his personal doctor. McAllister was back on air Wednesday night.

BBC has trouble seeing across Atlantic

The BBC has accomplished some reporting on Canadian politics which gives new meaning to the term foreign correspondent. As reported in the Star, the Beeb concludes that Jack Layton has for the past several years managed to straddle two jobs as both federal NDP leader and acting deputy mayor of Toronto. And, the Star says, a certain Lawrence Cannon "must really have the Prime Minister’s ear if he can be both Canada’s foreign affairs minister and a political affairs columnist with The Globe and Mail who openly criticizes his boss, Stephen Harper, as a low-road operator.”

The ultimate cost saving at the Globe: run copy by a dead man

The print edtion of the Globe and Mail has a full page obit of Liz Taylor by Donn Downey. Not a mention that the writer died in 2001. At least the last time they ran one of his canned obits they said:
"This obituary was prepared by Donn Downey, who died earlier this year."

Other articles on Taylor by living writers have now popped up in the web edition.

Maybe they can pay Nino Ricci (see below) with the money they saved.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Shaw chief wields axe; 500 employees cut

Four months after Bradley Shaw assumed the corner office at Shaw Communications Inc., the firm is slashing nearly 4% of its nationwide workforce, a move seen as the first decisive mark made by the new chief executive. The cuts, numbering roughly 500 in all, arrive at a crucial time for both Shaw, the son of company founder JR, and the Western Canada cable giant. Calgary-based Shaw faces increasing pressure on margins and growth in its traditional television, Internet and digital home-phone businesses. Of equal importance, the company needs ample capital to erect a new wireless network analysts say sits at the centre of Shaw’s future profit prospects. Notices went out to roughly 150 managers, including vice-presidents of certain operations, and another 350 call-centre support and warehouse employees Wednesday notifying them of their termination.

Author Nino Ricci takes on the Globe's not-so-funny payment policies in a funny open letter

Ricci has not yet been paid for a travel article he wrote last October and in an open letter to Editor-in-Chief-John Stackhouse pokes fun at what used to be known as "the grey lady of Bay Street."

Many free-lancers will comiserate.

Click on the title to read the letter on Ricci's web page.

New media Barbarians breach NYT paywall in hours

Columnist Erik Sherman writes:
"It was obvious from the start that the New York Times (NYT) paywall would be fairly porous. But it’s actually far worse than I originally thought. Eighteen months of intense and expensive planning left the entire scheme open to be completely bypassed in 12 hours by one Twitter feed or four simple lines of code.. ."

Click on the title to read the whole column.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

N.Y. Times journalists tell story of capture and release

Anthony Shadid, Lynsey Addario, Stephen Farrell, and Tyler Hicks wrote an account of their ordeal while in the hands of the Libyan army.
Click on the title to read it.

U.S. sports reporter jailed for running prostitution ring

A veteran New Hampshire sports reporter pleaded guilty Friday to running a prostitution business in Massachusetts featuring women who had auditioned for him and to intimidating a witness in an effort to prevent her from testifying against him. Kevin Provencher was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in state prison. He was also fined $5,000 and placed on probation for one year after his release. Provencher worked for the New Hampshire Union Leader for 23 years. He has won four New Hampshire Sportswriter of the Year awards from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Finalists announced for 2010 National Newspaper Awards

The Toronto Star leads all newspapers in Canada with 16 finalists in the 62nd National Newspaper Awards competition, followed by The Globe and Mail with 11 finalists. The Gazette in Montreal earned seven nominations with The Canadian Press and La Presse in Montreal picking up six each. The National Post, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal in Saint John, and the Winnipeg Free Press have three nominations.
The Hamilton Spectator had two. The 72 finalists in the 22 categories were announced on March 21, 2011, from the National Newspaper Awards office in Toronto. There were 1,472 entries in this year’s competition for works that appeared in the year 2010. In all, 24 news organizations have been nominated

Deal reached in CBC-Yukon News court case

A CBC News reporter in Whitehorse will not be forced to disclose her sources for an investigative report, under an agreement announced on Monday. Lawyers for the CBC and the Yukon News reached an agreement in Yukon Supreme Court on Monday that means reporter Nancy Thomson will not have to disclose her sources for a 2004 investigative report. The newspaper wanted Thomson to reveal her confidential sources used for an investigative radio series that aired in 2004. Thomson reported at the time that Watson Lake's sole doctor was also the town's only pharmacist. The Yukon News wrote an editorial that praised Thomson's series and made its own claims about the doctor, who then sued the newspaper for defamation. The newspaper had wanted Thomson to disclose her sources as part of its defence in the defamation suit.

Libya releases four N.Y. Times journalists

The Libyan government released four detained New York Times journalists Monday, six days after they were captured while covering the conflict between government and rebel forces in the eastern city of Ajdabiya. They were released into the custody of Turkish diplomats. The journalists are Anthony Shadid, The Times’s Beirut bureau chief, who has won two Pulitzer Prizes for international reporting; two photographers, Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario, who have extensive experience in war zones; and a reporter and videographer, Stephen Farrell, who in 2009 was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan and was rescued by British commandos.

APTN ahead on Carson story; AFN goes ballistic

The Winnipeg-based Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN)usually flies below the radar of most non-aboriginal people but it has been breaking new ground on the Bruce Carson story that, of course, involves a water contract for reserves and the young ex-hooker from Ottawa. Some of the coverage has infuriated the Assembly of First Nations. APTN says Carson met with AFN chief Shawn Atleo and, among other things, promised to help him scrap the Indian Act. (click on the title to read the story.)

The AFN went ballistic in a media release:

"The Assembly of First Nations is appalled at the attempt to smear the national First Nations organization and its National Chief by the television network whose mission is to present a fairer and more accurate picture of our peoples. In an effort to make headlines, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network has forgotten its mission statement and vision and initiated an attack that one might have expected from a less serious or principled organization. Simply put, it is outrageous for APTN to have insinuated as it did in its national news broadcast tonight that National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, or officials at the AFN, offered anything other than the normal courtesies to Mr. Bruce Carson or H2O Pros, a commercial enterprise with which Carson claimed to have no financial relationship."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Libyan "citizen journalist" killed

A Libyan independent Internet journalist whose work helped galvanize public anger against Moammar Gadhafi was shot dead Saturday while collecting video for his online television network. Mohammed Nabbous, founder of Libya Alhurra TV, died in Benghazi shortly after posting a report about violence in a residential area of the city. In the last video he posted on his Livestream channel, Nabbous describes a day of bombing in an area of Benghazi called Hai al Dollar. The short video displays damage to homes and cars from what Nabbous describes as a bombing raid on innocent people. “This is just not good anymore. He has to be stopped,” Nabbous wrote.

Click on the title to read more.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Report: Libya agrees to free NY Times journalists

Fukushima: Disaster of Distraction?

BBC story should be required reading for any journalist or producer. Throughout the nuclear crisis, most of the media has pursued a studied advocacy of "OMG! What Will Become of Us? What Will Become of Us?"

Free Press Q4 revenue plummets 6.2%

Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe
Will things like The Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe help? In February 2011, FP signed an agreement to partner with a local restaurateur who intends to operate Canada's first "News Cafe". It will be a "community hub where customers can interact and engage with journalists working on-site. The News Cafe will have the added benefit of giving the Free Press a downtown presence, which it hasn't had since it moved to its current location in 1991."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New York Times revisits the paywall

The New York Times will begin to charge people to access some of its digital content as it makes another stab at getting readers to pay for digital news. Reuters

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Four New York Times journalists missing in Libya

Four journalists covering the fighting in Libya for the New York Times are missing, the newspaper said Wednesday. The New York Times said the journalists, who included two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Shadid, were last in contact with their editors Tuesday morning from the town of Ajdabiya.
Also missing were Stephen Farrell — a reporter and videographer who was kidnapped by the Taliban in 2009 and rescued by British commandos — and two photographers, Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario, the newspaper said. National Post

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Larry Zolf dead at age 76

Larry Zolf, the veteran CBC journalist and political expert, has died. He was 76. No further details were immediately available. Zolf's career is studded with wonderful anecdotes befitting a working journalist. The CBC obit here tells many of them. Another is published on Wikipedia: "In October 1971, Zolf invited feminist Germaine Greer and anti-abortion politician Joe Borowski on his program to discuss the emergence of second-wave feminism. During the program, however, Zolf launched his own attack on Greer, accusing her of "ignoring ethnic and class differences among women." Greer responded by accusing him of fabricating sections of her book (The Female Eunuch, in fact, contained no "section" on truck drivers) and told him, "I never suggested any such thing. I cannot have you sitting here distorting my book for the people who are foolish enough to think that you know about things." Zolf was born into a socialist home in Winnipeg but described himself politically as "a Diefenbaker, Bill Davis, Dalton Camp Red Tory."

St. Joseph Media buys Torontoist

Masthead describes the tarnsfer of this popular online local news site.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ontario's A-G willing to consider cameras in courts

Canadian Press asks Chris Bentley about a favorite subject. Winnipeg Free Press

CNN viewers down 37%, Fox News down 11%

This is according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism's annual State of the News Media. Much other information in the Hollywood Reporter story linked on these 2010 figures. Revenues continue to rise for cable news notwithstanding the viewership drops.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Are the media fuelling Charlie Sheen's breakdown?

One of a number of stories on this theme now appearing. From time to time the media are required to ponder whether their reliance on the cash register makes them complicit in doing terrible damage. We're just saying.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chrysler dumps media firm for "F" Twitter

Rough and tough Motor City automaker figured an F-bomb Tweet on its Twitter account was not helpful. They dumped New Media Strategies forthwith. NMS fired the employee who let the offensive Tweet go by. Detroit Free Press

BBC journalists describe Libya capture ordeal

Two members of a BBC television crew who were detained by Col Gaddafi's forces in Libya tell of their capture and the moment they thought they feared they would be executed. Telegraph with BBC video

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

NPR in disarray as CEO resigns

NPR chief executive officer Vivian Schiller resigned Wednesday in the wake of a sting video that showed fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation) disparaging conservatives, the tea party movement, and former NPR political analyst Juan Williams, whose firing in October may have set into motion one of the most tumultuous eras in NPR's 41-year history. Christian Science Monitor

Washington Post columnist David Broder dead at 81

Very nice AP obit on Mr. Broder. It reads in part: "He combined unglamorous shoe-leather reporting with a knack for detecting trends ahead of his competitors. A rumpled dresser with thick glasses and a shirt pocket full of pens and pencils, he was constantly in demand by good-looking TV news hosts who craved the insights and knowledge he had gained while covering every presidential campaign since 1960."

"Byline with Brian Lilley" on SUN News

Having devoted much newspaper ink to discrediting the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Ottawa parliamentary columnist Brian Lilley will host his own primetime show on Sun TV News, the upstart right-wing all-news channel to bow here on April 18 -- Hollywood Reporter

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

O'Leary censured for "Indian giver" slur

Term was used during a heated exchange on the Lang & O'Leary Exchange. National Post

CRTC punts Bully Beatdown complaint

It may be worrisome, alarming and perhaps unwatchable, but Bully Breakdown is fit for air, the CTRC has decided.

Monday, March 7, 2011

CRTC approves BCE takeover of CTV

From CTV News: "Telecom giant BCE Inc. has been given approval to take complete command of CTVglobemedia in a move that further integrates Canada's broadcasting industry. The CRTC gave the green light to the $1.3-billion purchase, but put a major condition on the approval." story quotes von Finckenstein, George Cope and Ian Morrison. LInk to story on the headline.

SUN NEWS to launch right-leaning service in April

And the launch will apparently include the work of Winnipeg reporter for Global News Nicole Dube (above). She announced yesterday that she will make the move. The SUN launch has been slowed by protracted renovations and the overall cost of setting up.

CRTC forbids Bell, Rogers from cornering content

Does the CRTC really think that those nice telco folks wouldn't act in the public interest when it comes to access to their content? Does it snow in Ottawa? Globe and Mail link above.

For everytHing else there's MasterCard

Or, as the Value the Invaluable campaign might say, a good RN is priceless. It's a new campaign by the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) to make the public more aware of the importance of the profession. Not the catchiest of names really We had to think twice about "invaluable". But fair enough. As the news release below indicates, radio ads will present kids trading what appear to be sports cards but which feature nurses not hockey players.
REELEASE --(EDITED) -- The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) ad campaign - Value the Invaluable - will introduce a new radio ad today in 12 other Ontario markets; transit shelter and on-line ads will follow. "Research continues to show that dollar for dollar, registered nurses are the best value in our health care system," says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "With a focus on making the most of every taxpayer dollar, the time has never been better to remind our politicians, our administrators and every Ontarian what patients already know - our nurses provide the best quality care that patients not only need but deserve." The new ads expand on the theme of valuing the heroes of health care - nurses - the way we value pro athletes. The new radio ad that begins airing today features two young boys trading playing cards - but rather than the cards featuring sports heroes, they feature nurses. "The radio ads are a charming and fun way to remind everyone that RNs are health care heroes," says Haslam-Stroud. "Employers talk about RNs like we are nothing more than a financial drain on the system. The kids in the radio piece portray them as the valued professionals they really are."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Harper Government" comes under fire

CBC story linked here on angry mail regarding the appearance in government documents (apparently) of the term Harper Government. It's common of course for the media and others to apply such personalized descriptions (Chretien Government, McGuinty Government) but the Conservatives appear to have tread into new territory. It is no doubt an attempt to cash in on Harper's favorable image among voters but smells like personality worship when its printed on government documents.

The ultimate Charlie Sheen exploitation

SeriusXM radio has set up a 24-hour channel devoted to all things Charlie Sheen. It's called Tiger Blood Radio. We will follow him everywhere folks. Jail. Psychiatric Ward. Keep up to date.

George Jonas on errors and retractions

Gadly columnist surveys the dilemma of those suffering errors and lies in print and elsewhere. Thoughtful piece on why it's good to get it right the first time. For one thing, retractions don't carry much weight. TPG

PMO apologizes for booting media before Ignatieff speech

The Prime Minister's Office has apologized for the "overzealousness" of staff who ushered journalists out of an event before Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff had the chance to speak. But Liberal communications director Leslie Church called the move to remove reporters "an appalling abuse of power." Both Ignatieff and Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended The Year of India in Canada event, organized by the Indian High Commission, in Gatineau, Que., Friday night. Harper spoke first, and then reporters were asked to leave before Ignatieff had the chance to speak.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Jim Travers, Toronton Star columnist, dead at 62

Toronto Star columnist James Travers has died. He was 62.
Star publisher John Cruickshank says the veteran national affairs writer died following a stint in an Ottawa hospital last week. The cause of death was not immediately released.
Travers began his journalism career in 1972 and eventually became a foreign correspondent and editor for Southam News.
He became editor-in-chief of the Ottawa Citizen in 1991 and held the job for five years before moving to the Star.
His 2009 column about the increasing power of the Prime Minister's Office over Parliament won him a National Newspaper Award last year.Travers is survived by his wife and two sons.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Internet 'crucial part' of life: Tony Clement:

Industry Minister Tony Clement stood firm against questioning of his decision to overturn new and controversial Internet billing rules allowed by the CRTC. Access to the Internet is "more than just important," Clement said at a House of Commons committee. It is "fast-becoming a crucial part" of the social and economic life of the country. In this context, in which new technologies are changing the economy "at light speed," the Conservative cabinet's move last month to reverse the telecom regulator's decision to impose so-called "usagebased billing" on small, independent wholesale providers was necessary to keep major network owners such as BCE Inc. from raising rates and affecting user habits.

Torstar reports higher profits and revenues

Torstar Corp., publisher of the Toronto Star, reported higher profit and revenues in the final three months of 2010, driven by growth in media operations and ongoing efforts to control costs. The results capped off a strong performance for the year, the company said as it released the earnings report Wednesday. Torstar’s revenue was $416.1 million for the three months ended Dec. 31, up 5.4 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2009. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, commonly known as EBITDA, for the fourth quarter was $71.5 million, up $1.9 million from the year-earlier period. For 2010, Torstar posted revenues of $1.48 billion, up 1.9 per cent from 2009. EBITDA was $233.6 million, up 22 per cent from 2009. In addition to the Star, Torstar’s holdings include Metroland community newspapers and Harlequin books. Its digital properties include and Workopolis.

Gerda hood-winked nearly everyone

Some will remember the titillating tale of Gerda Munsinger, the German femme fatale who ensnared a Canadian cabinet minister, Pierre Sevigny, in a sex scandal in the early 60s. The death yesterday of Bob Reguly recalls how Gerda hood-winked all of Canada into thinking she was dead. Everyone, it seems, except Bob Reguly. As her affairs were being revealed in Canada Munsinger slipped out of the country and landed in Munich. There she and friends constructed an elaborate hoax that she was dead. Much better play dead than face the press, she thought. There were even stories of trips to her grave. But Reguly some how go wind of her deception and tracked her down. His world exclusive for the Toronto Star is legendary. She was born in East Germany and married for a short period to American soldier Michael Munsinger. Gerda came to Canada in 1955, when she was in her mid 20s. She worked in Montreal as a maid, a waitress and as a hostess at the “Chez Paree” nightclub.

(Story courtesy The South Bayview Bulldog)

Newspaper carrier censors papers

About 50 customers received Monday morning's edition of the Woodstock Sentinel-Review without the front page headline and banner after a newspaper carrier objected to the use of the word "hellish." The carrier cut out the offending headline from each of the 48 copies she delivered.
The headline "The hellish reality" accompanied a story about a local man, Jason Poole, 22, who has been living in Christchurch, New Zealand, for two months while studying education at the University of Canterbury. Poole was in the city when last week's 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck. "This is certainly a first," Sentinel-Review publisher Andrea DeMeer said

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rogers to appeal decision over TV fees

The battle over whether broadcasters have the right to charge cable and satellite providers for carrying their programs is headed to the Supreme Court.
Rogers Communications Inc. said Tuesday it plans to file for a leave to appeal with the top court over a decision this week by the Federal Court of Appeals. That court ruled 2-1 that the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission had the right to establish a regime whereby broadcasters could attach a monetary value to their signals. The CRTC itself had referred the matter to the court as it announced its plans for embarking on the regime. But the fact the Federal Court of Appeals decision was not unanimous made an appeal more attractive.
“It’s not a question of it’s a slam dunk and there was a 3-0 decision and the court ruled on the actual law. It’s a different story than that altogether,” said Phil Lind, vice-chairman of Rogers Communications Inc.
Rogers and other distributors of TV network signals argued that the so-called value-for-signal issue was a matter that fell under the Copyright Act and the question of royalties, and was not in the jurisdiction of the CRTC. Justice Marc Nadon agreed.
Rogers will likely be joined by other cable and satellite firms in filing the leave to appeal.

Robert Reguly,newsman who tracked down Gerta Munsinger, dead at 80

Robert Reguly, the journalist who tracked down the mysterious woman at the centre of Canada's most notorious political sex scandal, has died. He was 80. Reguly died Feb. 24 at his home in Toronto after a lengthy battle with heart disease, a published death notice reported Tuesday. The veteran journalist, born in Thunder Bay, Ont., earned a national reputation as a hard-hitting investigative reporter with the Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun. During his years at the Star, Reguly's name became associated with in-depth political coverage, including the Gerda Munsinger (pictured) affair of 1966, one of the country's most controversial scandals. Reguly's exclusive interviews with Munsinger, a German immigrant and alleged Soviet spy who admitted to sexual liaisons with members of John Diefenbaker's Conservative government, won him the first of three National Newspaper Awards he would acquire during his career.

Gloves are off over wireless airwaves

Industry Minister Tony Clement is caught in a tug of war between the big telecom incumbents and smaller players over how to craft the next auction of wireless airwaves, a part of the spectrum so valuable it’s been likened to beachfront real estate. Monday was the deadline for submissions to Industry Canada on how the department should structure the 2012 sale of rights for the 700-megahertz spectrum – the airwaves vacated by broadcasters as they quit analog television for the digital world. A key question facing Mr. Clement is whether, in the name of increased competition, he should set aside some of the airwave auction for smaller wireless players.

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

Blog Archive