Saturday, April 30, 2011

Strange goings-on at Harper's news conferences

During a press conference that followed Harper's speech in a Brampton, Ont., auto shop The CBC's Terry Milewski asked Harper whether he would respect the Governor-General’s decision, if he called on a second-placed party to form government after a Conservative minority was brought down. The Prime Minister said he wasn’t going to speculate on what might happen after the election, despite the fact his whole campaign has been based on conjecture about what might happen post May 2. Milewski accused the Conservative leader of ducking the question and repeatedly asked him to answer. By this point, the assembled partisans felt it their duty to jump in for their man. “Shut down the CBC,” shouted one man. Another behind Mr. Harper was screaming, gesticulating and visibly upset. To be fair to Harper, he gestured for calm and maintained his composure.
Why the press conference needed to be held in front of a hostile crowd is not clear, unless it was an attempt to intimidate journalists. Other parties hold the presser in a separate room after the event.
Party spindoctors suggest Harper likes the visuals of being surrounded by supporters but it lends the appearance of a lynch mob when the inevitable happens. One suspects the visuals of this morning’s episode will be replayed on newscasts across the country and confirm many people’s impressions of the Conservative Party as the home of anger, intolerance and blind partisanship.

Click on the title to read the National Post's John Ivison column.

Royal wedding television audience hit 24million peak in UK

Audiences for television coverage of the royal wedding on BBC1 and ITV1 peaked at more than 24 million, according to figures released by the broadcasters.
BBC television attracted 18.7 million people during the peak period, representing 67.2% of the audience share. ITV1 said its coverage attracted 5.9 million during the peak period, giving the BBC a 3-1 win in the race for ratings.
About 8,500 journalists were in London for event, including staff from ABC, NBC, CBS and al-Jazeera, The BBC had the biggest broadcast presence with about 550 staff working on the event, at a cost of £2m.

Friday, April 29, 2011

CBS reporter breaks silence on her assault in Egypt

CBS news correspondent Lara Logan will speak on this Sunday's "60 Minutes" about her assault. She told the New York Times that she thought she was going to die in Tahrir Square when she was sexually assaulted by a mob on the night that Hosni Mubarak’s government fell in Cairo. Logan was in the square preparing a report for “60 Minutes” on Feb. 11 when the celebratory mood suddenly turned threatening. She was ripped away from her producer and bodyguard by a group of men who tore at her clothes and groped and beat her body.
“For an extended period of time, they raped me with their hands,” Logan said in an interview with The New York Times. She estimated that the attack lasted for about 40 minutes and involved 200 to 300 men.
Logan, who returned to work this month, is expected to speak at length about the assault on “60 Minutes” on Sunday night.
The assault happened the day that Logan returned to Cairo, having left a week earlier after being detained and interrogated by Egyptian forces.
After the “60 Minutes” segment is broadcast, though, she does not intend to give other interviews on the subject. “I don’t want this to define me,” she said.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rogers to roll out faster, next- generation network this year for wireless users

Rogers Communications Inc. will roll out an even faster wireless network this year to serve its smartphone, tablet and mobile laptop users, effectively beating its rivals in the race to have the fastest network in Canada. Rogers says it will roll out the new LTE network in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver by the end of 2011 and will reach Canada's top 25 markets by the end of 2012. The new Rogers LTE network will have speeds that are three to four times faster than its existing most advanced network, which is about on a par with the most advanced networks of Telus and Bell.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sun News drawing as little as 4,000 viewers

Despite launching in the middle of a federal election, the new Sun News Network has so far had little impact on the Canadian news scene. The Quebecor venture launched April 18 after months of “Fox News North” buzz and had an estimated 37,000 viewers across Canada tune in for its initial half-hour, when it hit the airwaves with a splashy promise of “hard news and straight talk.” Showcased commentator Ezra Levant’s The Source rated highest with an estimated 31,000 viewers on opening night, according to BBM Canada overnight estimates provided by sources.
That total had fallen to 12,000 by Wednesday, with less than 1,000 viewers in the coveted 25-to-54-year-old demo. By this Monday, a week after launch, Levant’s show was up to 19,000 viewers. By the end of Sun News’s first week, shows featuring Winnipeg-based radio host Charles Adler and Ottawa-based journalist Brian Lilley were drawing 4,000 and 5,000 viewers across Canada in their evening slots (Adler had opened the week with 31,000 viewers and Lilley with 17,000).

Harassment charges dropped against HGTV host

Prosecutors withdrew all charges against HGTV co-host Anthony Sayers on Tuesday, his lawyer says. The contractor is pursuing legal action against the Toronto Police Service as a result of what he calls “false charges” and a “malicious media attack.”
Dubbed the “trusty contractor” in the popular show The Unsellables, Sayers was arrested last month and charged with extortion, one count of attempted fraud under $5,000 and two counts of criminal harassment. Two weeks later, the charge of extortion was dropped. According to police, the owner of a home on a crescent near Yonge St. and Summerhill Ave. hired Sayers’ general contracting company to finish work begun by another contractor. After the first week, homeowner Doreen Boulos was disappointed with the work. Police alleged the contractor and his client had an argument, and that, in the following weeks Boulos was contacted “sometimes several times a day, and the communications were hostile” and escalating. In a Toronto Police news release dated March 14, it was said “police believe there may be more victims.” Prosecutors had the remaining charges dismissed Tuesday

Peladeau says Conservative operative deliberately tricked Sun Media

Sun Media president and CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau (pictured) wrote an extraordinary editorial in Wednesday’s Sun accusing a Conservative official of having funneled a photo purported to be of Michael Ignatieff to hurt the Liberal leader and to damage his fledgling conservative broadcast network.
The photo showed a group of U.S. soldiers in uniform, holding assault rifles and was said to have been taken in Iraq (see it above). One of the soldiers bears an uncanny resemblance to the Liberal leader.
According to Peladeau's editorial, the photo was given to Sun TV by Patrick Muttart, key architect behind the party’s election victories in 2006 and 2008 who worked on contract with the 2011 campaign from his Chicago home. A Tory spokesman said he would have “no further role” in the Conservative campaign.

Click on the title to read Peladeau's editorial.

The typewriter’s day is nearly done

The Globe and Mail's John Allemang writes:
"Who knew that typewriters were still being manufactured? Somehow word processing’s precursor had managed to endure in India for decades after the fickle keyboard crowd moved on. But now the 19th-century machine’s last gasp is that much closer with the announcement that Godrej & Boyce will close its Mumbai plant, which used to produce 50,000 typewriters a year. Defence agencies, courts and government offices were the last customers of the cumbersome device as sales plummeted to less than 1,000 per annum. Now, finally, even the tradition-minded Indian bureaucracy will have to face up to the efficiencies of the modern world. . . "

Click on the title to read the full story.

Sony says PlayStation hacker got personal data

Last week, Sony’s online network for the PlayStation suffered a catastrophic failure through a hacking attack, the New York Times reports. And since then, the roughly 77 million gamers worldwide who have accounts for the service have been unable to play games with friends through the Internet or to download demos of new games.
Then, on Tuesday, after several days of near silence, Sony said that as a result of the attack, an “unauthorized person” had obtained personal information about account holders, including their names, addresses, e-mail addresses, and PlayStation user names and passwords. Sony warned that other confidential information, including credit card numbers, could have been compromised, warning customers through a statement to “remain vigilant” by monitoring identity theft or other financial loss.

Click on the title to read the full story.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

McClatchy Q1 revenue falls, newspaper ad sales down

Newspaper publisher McClatchy Co reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue on a 11 percent decline in advertising sales, Reuters reports. Shares of the publisher of the Miami Herald and other U.S. newspapers fell more than 8 percent in morning trading.
"It was a very difficult quarter, much worse than expected," said Benchmark Co analyst Edward Atorino. "The revenue decline was so large in the first quarter -- much more than competition -- they are seeing some very weak revenue trends."
The New York Times Co last week reported a 7.5 percent fall in print advertising revenue while USA Today publisher Gannett Co Inc reported a 6.2 percent decline in publishing revenue as advertisers shunned print spending.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Now we've heard everything!

“In lieu of flowers, please vote LIBERAL,” his death notice in The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star read.

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

The Sun came up, and it was dead boring -- John Doyle

The Globe and Mail's TV critic John Doyle (pictured)skewers the new kid on the block. Here is an excerpt:

"So the other day, just back from Ireland and admittedly a tad jet-lagged, I started watching. First thing I saw was the ego that is Ezra Levant waving around a giant cigar and making a speech about Cuba. Odd, I thought. Here we are at the crucial point in a federal election campaign and Levant is anxious to let us know his views on events in Cuba.

Boy oh boy, did he go on. Cuba this and Castro that, interminably. Then it dawned on me that Levant had written a long, densely written analysis of matters Cuban and was talking it at us. It transcended terrible television to achieve the level of abomination. I was reminded that there was a guy with a sock puppet named Ed, who went from community cable TV to the CITY-TV channel a few years ago. The guy with the sock had a better grasp of the basics of TV than Ezra Levant and his producers."

Click on the title to read his whole column.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

BBC, under criticism, struggles to tighten Its belt -- NYT biz section takeout

The New York Times business section has a long piece on the BBC's financial woes. Click on the title to read the story.

It concludes:
Peter Bazalgette, a television producer and media analyst, said that much of the political and commercial criticism was unpersuasive to the BBC’s still-loyal audiences.
He went on: “In the Internet age, in a Tower of Babel of rumor and paranoia and the place where people think that Elvis is alive, Paul McCartney is dead and the Jews blew up the Twin Towers, there is more of an argument than ever for an independent, state-funded, trusted and reliable source of news and information. If you drastically change it, you’re chucking away a great deal of what makes it great.” 

Friday, April 22, 2011

New York Times gains online subscribers

The New York Times says its move to charge fees to website readers is paying off. The company gained more than 100,000 new subscribers since it introduced its digital subscription service on March 28, representing at least an estimated $26-million (U.S.) in annual revenue. The pay model is being closely watched by general interest newspapers, which are all seeking new forms of revenue in the face of declining advertising revenue and print readership.Only a handful of newspapers that specialize mainly in financial news, namely News Corp’s Wall Street Journal and Pearson PLC’s Financial Times, have been successful in charging readers for online access.

Japan files protest over newspaper cartoon about nuke emergency

Japan's Consulate General in New York lodged a protest with New York Times Co. on Thursday for publishing a cartoon in which Snow White, carrying a newspaper with the headline "Japan nuclear radiation," asks an old woman offering an apple if she comes from Japan. The consulate said that since the cartoon refers to a story in Grimm's Fairy Tales in which Snow White falls into a stupor after biting a poisoned apple, it may stir up what the consulate called unfounded anxieties over the safety of foods from Japan. The cartoon was carried on the editorial page of the International Herald Tribune, which is owned by the New York Times, in its Thursday edition. In the cartoon Snow White looks skeptically at the apple through a magnifying glass and says to the old woman, who is dressed like a witch, "Wait a minute! Do you come from Japan?"The cartoon was credited to Luojie of the English-language China Daily. It was not immediately known whether it appeared first in the Chinese paper before being reprinted in the International Herald Tribune.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tim Hetherington: 1970 – 2011

Well-known photojournalist Tim Hetherington (right) and Chris Hondros of Getty Images (left) have been killed in Lybia. This is a touching piece by BBC photo editor Phil Coomes.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blogger wonders if Sun News can move votes

Interesting blog in the Citizen which examines the effect of Fox News on the 2000 U.S,. general election. A study suggests that Fox had a small but defineable effect on the vote and may have been determinative in some races. Switch to Canada 2011, and the writer is pondering whether Sun News might not sway suffcieint votes "to swing a half-dozen Liberal seats into the Conservative column."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Equipping the homeless as news gatherers

It's happening, apparently, in the U-K.

Indignant NOW files complaint against the mayor

Freedom of the press, if you believe it, is at issue over the removal of the magazine with photo-shopped picture of Rob Ford on the cover. Toronto Sun story linked.

The struggle for the future of media in Canada

Dwayne Winseck opus in the Globe and Mail addresses issues created by the impact of "streaming" on the structure of the telecommunications business as we have known it. Maybe you will find this piece more than you ever wanted to know, but it is very thorough. TPG

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sun News gets on, long road to go

Sun News got on the air Monday night. The conservative issues were clear enough but the news focus needed some sharpening. Ezra Levant's fun with the CBC political poll was worth the time. It's unfair to judge the service on this first night's performance. Time will tell if Sun News can excite a large enough audience to pay its way. Technically, the pictures were a flat, evidence of the obvious. Its not a big glitzy Fox News with millions in ad revenues. CP story linked off headline.

Guardian regrets tabloid excesses

Guardian blogger looking askance at the way British tabs pay sex workers to tell on the big names with whom they romp.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lou Clancy to head Postmedia editorial ops

The veteran newsman Lou Clancy has been appointed to run the editorial operations of Postmedia Network Canada. Clancy, 64, has a broadly based journalism career which includes senior positions at the Toronto Star and later Osprey Media, the chain of daily and weekly newspapers assembled by Michael Sifton. Osprey was sold to Quebecor in 2007. Both men served with the Sun Media at that time. Clancy is known as a perceptive but soft-key person in public. Postmedia Network Canada has given Clancy oversight of its editorial operations and the news service that provides coverage to the National Post, and the company's other newspapers and websites. Picture is from a group shot taken in 1996 when Clancy was managing editor of the Star.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sun News debuts this Monday

Globe and Mail's Steven Chase.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stars pumps readership by getting you naked

It's come to this. The Toronto Star has started a new feature that will invite couples to discuss their relationships and at the same time pose for tasteful pictures of them "semi-nude". Here's the pitch: "By stripping away everything—including clothes—and having couples who are in long-term relationships answer a few questions and pose for a tasteful but revealing semi-nude photo. Of course, we’d provide a fig leaf (or leaves, or something else) to cover up any parts that you might not wish to share with the world. (And, let’s be realistic, not everyone in the world might wish to share.) We’ll shoot the picture inside studios at the Star with a professional photographer, and we’ll give you a really nice, large-format print for you to keep.

Digital shift: AP to change newspaper fee formula

The Associated Press says it will change the formula for determining the fees it collects from U.S. newspapers to capture the growing number of readers online and on digital devices.The new formula, which goes into effect in 2012, will be based on the size of a newspaper's print and digital audiences. It replaces a formula based on print circulation that has been in effect since 1985. The AP is trying to reverse two consecutive years of declining revenue. The decline is partly the result of falling print circulation as the Internet attracts more readers and newspapers shrink their delivery areas. A bigger factor has been AP's decision to lower its rates during the past two years to help newspapers cope with a sharp drop in advertising revenue.

Stephen Harper’s five-question limit

William Kaplan in the Globe and Mail about this decision by Stephen Harper. He finds it woeful that the media are "playing along, accepting the unacceptable". Although, it isn't clear what his suggested remedy might be. Apart from a boycvott, journalists are limited to writing about it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Shaw delaying its wireless launch

Shaw is once again hitting the brakes on entering the increasingly crowded cellphone market, a move analysts worry leave the cable giant further behind competitors who are gaining market share in its core businesses. CEO Brad Shaw said Wednesday the company is slowing its wireless build — scheduled to roll out early next year — to review the rapidly evolving technology, while reporting second quarter profits rose 20 per cent. “Our strategy has always been focused on creating a wireless service that creates compelling value for both our customers and our shareholders,” Shaw said in a conference call with analysts. “Therefore we believe we should allow some of the uncertainties, including technology developments within the industry, to become clear before we move forward and articulate our wireless plans.” That includes watching the development of LTE, or long-term evolution, networks, a direction most U.S. carriers are heading.

RIM’s Mike Lazaridis walks out of BBC interview

The publicity campaign for the long-awaited launch of the PlayBook from Research In Motion Ltd. ran into trouble today after the BBC news service posted a video clip of its co-CEO Mike Lazaridis (pictured) abruptly terminating an interview when asked about potential security issues in India and the Middle East. The 1-minute, 29-second clip shows Mr. Lazaridis bristling when the BBC’s technology reporter, Rory Cellan-Jones, asks if RIM has “sorted out” complaints from some government officials in India and the Middle East that the company’s widely admired network security is blocking police attempts to monitor communications. “That’s just not fair,” Mr. Lazaridis, an engineer and RIM founder, says in response to the question. “First of all we have no security problem ... We’ve just been singled out here because we are so successful around the world. It’s an iconic product.” When Mr. Cellan-Jones pressed again for a response, Mr. Lazaridis said: “It’s over, the interview. You can’t use that, it’s not fair, it's national security. Turn that off." Click on the title to watch the clip.

Two U.S. reporters reach crippled Fukishima-1 nuke plant

Voice of America correspondent Steve Herman and John Glionna of the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday were the first American reporters to gain entry to the grounds of the crippled Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant. But the duo was permitted no farther than the main gate. Since the March 11 magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami destroyed part of the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant here, few reporters seem to have attempted to reach the facility. The two reporters gained access all the way to the main gate of Fukushima-1 on Wednesday. Herman reported: "Police instructed us not to open our vehicle windows and to report to a radiation screening center in the town of Tamura afterwards, where we should wash the truck. As we moved towards 'ground zero' we passed kilometers of fields from which farmers have fled. For most of the 20-kilometer journey we spotted only police, military and other official vehicles. Even those we could count on one hand. Not a single person was seen outside in Futaba and Okuma, which until March 11 had a combined population of about 18,500. The doors of some businesses remain open through which people hastily fled when the ground shook with unprecedented fury."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Study: People won't pay for news online

Most Canadians refuse to pay for news online. A UBC study suggests so long as free alternatives exist, our wallets will remain closed. Alfred Hermida with the UBC School of Journalism says their research comes less than a month after The New York Times announced it would charge Canadians for online content. "When people bought newspapers, what they were buying wasn't just the information it contained... but they were buying a package. So, it's really not just about selling the content, but selling how you deliver it." If free sites weren't available, only 30 per cent of readers would be willing to pay for news online. Another 28 per cent are willing to pay for breaking news and 16 per cent would purchase features.Some say this could make newspapers think twice about setting up pay walls.

Quebec press council reprimands Maclean's for declaring province most corrupt

Maclean's magazine has been reprimanded by the Quebec Press Council for a controversial cover last year that called Quebec the most corrupt province in Canada. Besides the headline, the publication triggered widespread outrage in the province by running a front-page photo of the beloved Bonhomme Carnaval snowman clutching a briefcase stuffed with cash. In a March 18 decision that was made public Tuesday, the seven-member watchdog unanimously blamed the publication for the headline and "a lack of journalistic rigour."

Sun News loses host just days away from launch

The Sun News TV network has parted ways with a military analyst whom it had tapped to co-host a prime-time show when the right-leaning venture launches days from now. Quebecor Media confirmed Tuesday that Mercedes Stephenson has left the enterprise. It’s a late game change for Sun News, which promises TV viewers “Hard News and Straight Talk.” Ms. Stephenson was supposed to co-host a show called The Daily Brief with Gemini-award-winning journalist David Akin, who is Sun Media’s bureau chief in Ottawa.“Mercedes Stephenson is no longer with Sun News Network,” spokesman Serge Sasseville said Tuesday. “It was a mutual decision,” he said. “The Daily Brief was not a good fit for her.” Quebecor said Mr. Akin, a veteran reporter, will now host the show alone.

Newspapers and social media: Still not really getting it -- Matthew Ingram

Matthew Ingram (pictured) writes: "Many traditional media entities have embraced social-media services like Twitter and Facebook and blogs — at least to some extent — as tools for reporting and journalism, using them to publish and curate news reports. But newspapers in particular seem to have a hard time accepting the “social” part of these tools, at least when it comes to letting their journalists engage with readers as human beings. A case in point is the new social-media policy introduced at a major newspaper in Canada, which tells its staff not to express personal opinions — even on their personal accounts or pages — and not to engage with readers in the comments."

His thoughtful article can be accessed in full by clicking on the title.

EYE Weekly to become The Grid

Eye Weekly’s publisher and editor-in-chief Laas Turnbull announced via Twitter that on May 12 Eye Weekly will become The Grid, The Star reports.
Turnbull later told Marketing Magazine that the name refers to Toronto's layout. “If you look at a map of the city and take out the background and just emphasize all the roadways—North, South, East and West—it looks like a piece of graph paper. So that notion of looking at the city from a street level and a neighbourhood level is very much the direction we’re going editorially.”There will also be a content change at the Torstar-owned publication. Turnbull said that The Grid’s new focus will be “a younger, hipper, more provocative version of Toronto Life in a weekly guise.

TSN launches its attack on sports radio

When TSN Radio 1050 emerges from the corporate womb at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, its parents are promising the same formula that has propelled it to the top of the specialty channel ratings — information and entertainment — with a twist.“It’s TSN letting its hair down,” says network production head Mark Milliere. But it will take a lot to even make a dent in the afternoon drive lead of Sportsnet Radio FAN 590 kingpin Bob McCown. And it will take more than the high-energy antics of Mike Richards to dominate the morning drive slot. While TSN Radio will be less conservative than its TV counterpart, the bosses know that its strength will be the powerful television presence and lure of frequent appearances by its star announcers and experts.“We want our brand everywhere,” says Milliere. “We’re dominant in TV, we’re dominant in web . . . We think that can be a template for us.”

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mobile ad revenue surpasses online

Mobile advertising revenues in Canada are forecast to top $51 million in 2010, eclipsing online revenue growth at a time when traditional media continue to see fewer ad dollars. Ads for consumption on smartphones blew past expectations and grew by 169% to reach more than $31.9 million in 2009, the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada found. Expectations were for $18 million. "Mobile marketing was well on its way to reaching critical mass as of 2009," said Steve Rosenblum, director of research for IAB Canada. "Given that the study was conducted late in 2010, budgeted estimates should also paint a very accurate picture of growth for the whole year, and as a result, show even more momentum building in 2010." The mobile ad explosion hit while mature major media saw an 11% revenue decline across TV, newspaper, radio, out of home and magazines. Mobile ads are even growing 23 times faster than online revenues, IAB Canada said. .

Amazon introduces cheaper Wi-Fi Kindle with ads is slashing $25 off the price of a new Wi-Fi-only Kindle electronic reader. The catch: to get a Kindle for a new low price of a $114, you must purchase a version with sponsored screensaver ads and special offers. In all other respects, the new Kindle is identical to the Kindle now selling for $139. The only difference: Ads replace illustrations of classic authors like Virginia Woolf and Jules Verne that appear on current Kindle screensavers. Amazon’s Kindle vice president, Russ Grandinetti, says the lower-price sponsored ad strategy will “serve us well and make us an attractive option to the widest possible group of people.” The company introduces the ad model at a time when the market for eBooks and eReaders is become very competitive, with traditional eBook rivals such as Barnes & Noble’s Nooks and Sony Readers, and full-featured tablets such as Apple’s iPads. Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey says the special offers that come with the new Kindle have the potential to turn Amazon into a mini-Groupon.

Tory candidate stops Twitter activity after ‘insensitive’ tweet

Social media can be a double-edged sword as the experience of a Tory candidate in Kitchener shows. Here is a story from the K-W Record:

A Twitter message by the Conservative incumbent for Kitchener Centre set off a flurry of negative online responses on Saturday night, before his Twitter account was deactivated Sunday. Stephen Woodworth, who has been an active Twitter user with nearly 850 followers on the social media service, quoted a joke on his @WoodworthCPC Twitter account at 8:36 p.m. on Saturday. “Cop says to falling down man outside tavern ‘You’re drunk’ Man replies ‘Thank goodness’ Cop asks ‘Why?’ Drunk: ‘I thought I was crippled!’” The team supporting Kitchener Centre Liberal candidate Karen Redman was quick to demand an apology through Twitter. “I find it shocking and appalling that he would be that insensitive to the disabled community,” Redman said in an interview on Sunday. Woodworth initially attempted to explain the tweet as humour, apologizing an hour later through another tweeted message.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

French debate moved to Wednesday over Habs game

Certain to come out on the losing end in a battle for television viewers, political parties have agreed to move the date of Thursday’s French language leader’s debate — and avoid a conflict with a Montreal Canadiens’ playoff game. Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe put the puck in motion, noting that hockey-mad voters are certain to pick a Habs game — and their anticipated showdown with archrival Boston Bruins — over the French debate. He sought the help of other party leaders in persuading the broadcast consortium that organizes the debates to move it to Wednesday. The English debate is scheduled for Tuesday. NDP Leader Jack Layton soon added his own voice to Duceppe’s appeal. Even though Stephen Harper is a hockey fan, the Conservatives tried to stay out of it, saying they’d let the consortium decide whether the debate date should be changed.

Murdoch paper admits phone hacking as victim rejects payout

Media magnate Rupert Murdoch's flagship British Sunday tabloid newspaper officially apologized Sunday for hacking into voice mails, in a scandal which has affected celebrities, politicians and royal household staff. The weekly newspaper offered compensation and "apologized unreservedly" for the "unacceptable" hacking. But at least one of the victims is rejecting the deal, her lawyer told CNN Sunday. Nicola Phillips, who works for celebrity publicist Max Clifford, has refused a payout offer, lawyer Mark Lewis said. "She ... needs a declaration of the truth," Lewis told CNN. "If I said I will give you 50,000 pounds ($82,000), but you have no way of knowing how many times your phone was hacked, you have no way of knowing how much damage was done." He declined to say how much she had been offered, citing the terms of a letter Phillips received on Friday from News International, the News of the World's parent company. London police have arrested an editor and a reporter on "on suspicion of unlawfully intercepting mobile phone voice mail messages."

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Postmedia slips to loss on one-time charge

Postmedia Network Canada Corp. reported a loss of $12.3 million in its latest quarter as the company took a one-time charge related to restructuring and saw revenue slide. Included in the results was a $13.4-million charge related to restructuring and other operations in the quarter ended Feb. 28 compared with a loss of $7.6 million a year earlier.Postmedia said revenue slipped to $242.5 million, down from $254.4 million as a slide in advertising and circulation revenue offset growth in digital revenue.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lady Gaga to edit "Metro" for a day

Lady Gaga will be making a one-day foray into journalism as international editor-in-chief of the Metro newspaper chain for its May 17 edition. The pop diva with the penchant for in-your-face fashion will work out Metro’s central news desk in London as guest editor, selecting news items for Metro papers in 20 countries, including Toronto. Gaga, a vocal supporter of the lesbian/gay/transgender community – her latest album to be released on May 23 is entitled Born This Way – is expected to have a particular focus on stories that deal with equality issues, which will be reflected in Gaga’s Metro edition.

NBC's Meredith Vieira under fire for not challenging Trump's Obama statements

As reports that Meredith Vieira (pictured) is planning an exit from NBC's "Today Show" swirl, the anchor has sparked controversy over her failure to question a number of unsubstantiated challenges to the U.S. citizenship of President Barack Obama that Donald Trump floated in an interview with Vieira this morning. Trump--the billionaire real estate tycoon and reality TV figure who is flirting with a 2012 presidential run--again sought to suggest that Obama was not born in the United States. "Birther" activists on the right have circulated the unsubstantiated claim in an effort to depict Obama's presidency as the outgrowth of a shadowy, constitutionally illegitimate conspiracy. The birther position has been thoroughly debunked, and it hasn't gained traction within the journalistic mainstream. But Trump has nonetheless been on a media blitz in recent weeks promoting it.When the issue came up on "Today"--which airs on the same network as Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice"--Vieira didn't exactly hold his feet to the fire. "His grandmother in Kenya said he was born in Kenya and she was there and witnessed the birth," said Trump, reiterating a claim that has been proven false, as Vieira sat by silently. Critics took note. "Trump simply steamrolled over her challenges, for instance, on Hawaii's policy as to what birth documents it makes available," writes Time's James Poniewozik. "But she also let him make the claim that Obama's grandmother said she saw him born in Kenya--an old, and long-debunked, chestnut of birthers that ranks up there with the fake Mombassa birth certificate--without questioning it. So now millions of Today viewers are invited to take it as fact."

Larry King's new gig: Breath freshener ads

Larry King and wife Shawn will be starring in a new media campaign for All Natural BreathGemz, a breath freshener product, USA Today reports. According to a media release, receiued by the newspaper, BreathGemz "provides instant fresh breath that lasts for hours against the toughest offenders -- even garlic." How? A powerful mint coating encases a liquid core of parsley seed oil. "We love this product so much, we have become part of the Gemz family as partners, "says King. "Shawn and I plan to make sure that people share our enthusiasm for these truly effective BreathGemz." Larry and Shawn will exchange playful banter in two-minute TV spots, starting in the U.S. today.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Paul Godfrey says newspapers will survive

As quoted in the Calgary Herald: “The philosophy of Postmedia ... is digital first. That does not mean print last or print is going disappear,” he said. “But it does mean that the world is changing.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Glenn Beck out at Fox News

"Half of the headlines say he's been canceled," (Fox News Chief Roger) Ailes said. "The other half say he quit. We're pretty happy with both of them." AP story describes Beck's rapid ascent and phenomenal ratings at Fox, followed by missteps that embarrassed him and the cable system.

"We value your voice" -- but not much

Hilarious stance by AOL as it fires freelancers and then asks them to work for nothing. It takes brass.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

News of the World staffers arrested

Two prominent staff members of the News of the World have been arrested in connection with an investigation into phone hacking of celebrities. Those named are (left) former news editor, Ian Edmondson, and chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck. AP story linked

Dan Bjarnason's Korean war book launched

From left: Tom Kavanagh, Bob Waller, John McQuaker, Dan Bjarnason, David Nayman, David Burt Ex-CBC types of a generation past gathered at Ben McNally's book store on Monday night for the launch of Dan Bjarnason's Korean war book "Triumph at Kapyong -- Canada's Pivotal Battle in Korea."

Globe's take on Sun's coverage of CBC

Globe and Mail writer Simon Houpt on the Sun's attacks on the CBC and CBC responses. An academic calls it "unprecedented" but apparently the Sun is deaf to such concerns.

Monday, April 4, 2011

What went wrong with Couric anchorship?

Nice analysis by AP of the things Katie Couric did that may have led to her departure from CBS anchor job.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

"Twitter election" is out there on the immediacy of comunication using Twitter. In an election campaign, which is a kind of combat, it appears to be useful. Will it win an election? Who knows.

Friday, April 1, 2011

BCE launches Bell Media for online use

As it completes its purchase of CTV, BCE Inc. is launching Bell Media, a new business unit that is making CTV programs and other Bell content available on smartphones and computers as well as traditional TV.

Torstar Q1 results May 4, 2011

First quarter results available early that tmorning followed by a conference call.

Postmedia speculation: Harper running in "bubble"

Much media attention is focussed on Prime Minister's Harper's decision to take just five questions a day. It may be a sign of how little of substance there is in this campaign that he can get away with that. Postmedia file linked here makes up its own "could-be" answer to the question: It notes the "brewing issue of whether Harper, as the apparent front-runner in the race, is running a campaign in a bubble to prevent embarrassing mistakes." That could certaimly be. Why doesn't someone make that question one of the five?

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