Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Brian Williams ignores fire alarm during ‘NBC Nightly News’ broadcast

Brian Williams, host of NBC's "Nightly News," kicked off its East Coast newscast Tuesday night with a story on American Airlines' bankruptcy--and a persistent fire alarm. Just seconds into the broadcast, a fire alarm interrupted Williams, who told the audience that it was indeed a fire alarm before throwing to reporter Tom Costello. "You'll forgive us, we have a fire alarm announcement going on here," Williams, a former volunteer firefighter in Middletown Township, New Jersey, said. The alarm continued throughout much of the broadcast. Later, Williams assured viewers that "there is no danger to us."The Pacific Coast did not get to see Williams' deft-handling of the alarm; NBC re-taped the segment for the West Coast broadcast of "Nightly News."

Werren Buffet buying hometown newspaper

Billionaire investor Warren Buffet is buying his hometown newspaper, the Omaha World-Herald. The purchase, by Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., will also include six other daily newspapers and several weeklies across Nebraska and southwest Iowa. Terms were not disclosed.Buffett apparently is putting aside doubts about the industry after telling shareholders in 2009 that many papers have “potential for unending losses” and that he wouldn’t buy most of them “at any price.” The World-Herald is 80-percent owned by its employees and 20-percent held by Peter Kiewit Foundation, the paper said today in a news story about the deal. It’s the No. 49 newspaper in the U.S. by daily distribution of the print edition, the newspaper said. Terry Kroeger, the company’s CEO, will stay with the business, Berkshire said.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Secret divorce proceedings of ex-Col. Williams should be public, media argue

The secret divorce proceedings of convicted murderer Russell Williams and his wife should be open to public scrutiny, says a lawyer for the Ottawa Citizen and a coalition of news agencies.
The media groups and their lawyer, Richard Dearden, are in the Ontario Court of Appeal Tuesday arguing against a Superior Court ruling that imposed numerous publication bans on the divorce proceedings between Williams and his wife, who can only be referred to as M.E.H.
The Citizen, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Ottawa Sun are arguing that Mackinnon’s order is flawed and contravenes the principle of open courts that governs matrimonial proceedings.
Full NatPost story here:

Mayor’s press secretary resigns; joins Sun and Newstalk 1010

Mayor Rob Ford’s press secretary, Adrienne Batra, has resigned to become the Toronto Sun’s comment editor and a municipal affairs correspondent with Newstalk1010. A dogmatic fiscal conservative, Batra is the former provincial director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in Manitoba. Batra came to work for Ford during his 2010 mayoral campaign and has helped him navigate through a handful of damaging missteps by playing up his regular-guy-makes-mistakes persona. At city hall, Batra is known as one of the few people who the mayor absolutely trusts and will listen to. For the last year, she has kept the gaffe-prone Ford on a tight leash.

Our HuffPost post draws reader comment

"If you had paid attention to the piece, you might have noticed that the CNN people weren't 'scratching their heads' over the Canadian edition. They were puzzled about why a a progressive like Arianna Huffington would hire a Washington-based neocon expat to edit the Canadian edition," says an e-mail from a reader. Good point BUT aren't they scratching their heads over that question too? As for Arianna, how can anyone tell where she stands politically? She has been all over the map. When she sold to AOL, she was accused of having :sold out" to the right. It seems to us that Arianna stands for Arianna and she has been very successful at it. Our growing readership generates many comments. We will post the most interesting ones as stories from time to time.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Huffington Post editor answers "Why Canada?" in CNN interview

Evidently some Americans were scratching their head about why the Huffington Post would start a Canadian edition as a spearhead to international expansion. Editor Daniele Crittenden explainst it all in an interview on CNN.
The HuffPost's move brings back memories of TIME Canada -- the mag's Canadian edition that featured four to eight pages of Canadian news from the 1940s until the Trudeau government scuttled it in 1976. It had Canadian status as a publication and was always a thorn in the eyes of cultural nationalists who claimed that it hogged advertising that rightfully belonged to them. Maclean's cautiously waited until TIME Canada was dead a buried before going weekly. We do not see the same outcry about the digital-only HuffPost. How the world has changed! (Disclosure: Peter Rehak was Time Canada's Toronto bureau chief in the final year and before that its correspondent in Ottawa.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Maple Leaf Sports plans broadcast gamble

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment is poised to take a billion-dollar gamble in broadcasting.
Now that the “for sale” sign has been taken off Canada’s highest-profile sports company, sources say Maple Leaf Sports is planning to move ahead and develop a regional sports channel that would show Maple Leafs, Raptors and Toronto FC games.
It will be a complex and risky move that will require difficult negotiations with cable operators and advertisers alike. Sports industry executives say a search committee formed by Maple Leaf Sports to find its next chief executive is considering a former Montreal Canadien for the job.
Pierre Boivin, a highly regarded veteran of the sport industry, was the Canadiens president from 1999 until earlier this year. He also worked as chief executive of Bauer Nike Hockey and now works with Claridge, a Montreal firm that manages the interests of the billionaire Bronfman family.
Maple Leaf Sports is searching for a new leader because chief executive Richard Peddie will retire by year’s end.
While the company’s teams struggled, Peddie was a business visionary, and helped to create new revenue sources with condominium developments and a sports-themed restaurant. His successor will inherit a company where the overarching concern involves a network startup.
Creating a new regional sports channel could generate billions of dollars for Maple Leaf Sports.
Full story by The Star's Rick Westhead:

Tom Wicker, N.Y. Times journalist, dies at 85

Tom Wicker, one of postwar America’s most distinguished journalists, who wrote 20 books, covered the assassination of President John F. Kennedy for The New York Times and became the paper’s Washington bureau chief and an iconoclastic political columnist for 25 years, died on Friday at his home near Rochester, Vt. He was 85. The cause was apparently a heart attack, said his wife, Pamela Wicker.
Full N.Y. Times obit:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Book publishers now doing what the big music labels were doing a decade ago -- suing downloaders and file-sharers.

Two weeks ago, publisher John Wiley made headlines by suing 27 internet users who were allegedly swapping editions of the popular “For Dummies” series online. The campaign appears to be working because John Wiley has now doubled-down on its effort by suing dozens more people. The prime targets this time include novice cooks and gardeners.
The litigation campaign reflects the fact that, in recent years, unauthorized file-sharing has become a problem for book publishers in the same way it has for the music and movie industry. In terms of file size, books are tiny compared to songs or videos and this makes it quick and easy for people to swap online copies. John Wiley claims that, since 2010, people have downloaded its “DOS for Dummies” title more than 74,000 times on the website
In a new lawsuit filed this week in New York federal court, John Wiley named more “John Doe” defendants and listed the titles they downloaded along with their location and IP address. Unlike a similar suit filed two weeks ago, the list of alleged offenders does not include many technology aficionados. Instead, the new list of miscreants is made up primarily of people from upstate New York towns like Rochester and Woodstock who shared “Cooking Basics For Dummies” and “Vegetable Gardening For Dummies.”

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mansbridge says CBC Criticism 'Part Of The Package'

CBC's Peter Mansbridge says having criticisms levelled at the beleaguered network is nothing new, and a recent barrage from federal politicians, media rivals and ordinary citizens is "part of the package." Despite attacks questioning the network's costs and accountability, Mansbridge says he's convinced most Canadians value the public broadcaster.
"Canadians own the CBC, they have every right to make those feelings known and to challenge us whenever they can and we should take some pride in the fact that they do," says Mansbridge, who on Friday was helping the CBC outline its winter programming schedule.
"This is no different than most times for the CBC -- we're under the microscope, we're being challenged on a lot of different fronts on the whole raison d'etre."

OpenFile packs it in in Hamilton

The news web page OpenFile that started abouta year ago to cover local news in cities across Canada, has announced that itis ending its operation in Hamilton, Ontario.
“With great sadness, after nearly a year of operation in the Hammer, I’m sorrysay we won’t publish new content on the Hamilton site after Sunday’s CFL game.Existing stories and blog posts will remain online indefinitely, but all newadditions will be suspended,” OpenFile’s CEO, Wilf Dinick wrote in a post..
OpenFile is still very much astartup business. In order for it to thrive, we have to focus our resourceswhere we are successful. We will continue to expand our team and our network ofsites across Canada, and we look forward to new opportunities in 2012. We’resorry Hamilton won’t be a part of that."
The post gave no reason for the move.
Open File's Toronto page can be seen here:
OpenFile started by having local people suggest strories and then sent its reporters to cover them. It has recently expanded into aggregating news from other sites. Launching such a site across Canada is an ambitious undertaking but it seems to us that it is still trying to focus on what it wants to be. Hamilton is well-served by the Hamilton Spectator and the local TV station, Channel 11, that covers local news extensively.

Ottawa wants to amend laws protecting CBC

Unimpressed with the CBC's explanations regarding its financial accountability and handling of access to information requests, Conservatives indicated Thursday they may look at amending a law that exempts the broadcaster from disclosing certain information - potentially even things like news anchor Peter Mansbridge's salary. The idea came from Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro during an often adversarial Commons committee hearing where CBC president Hubert Lacroix fielded questions about a recent court battle between the broadcaster and Canada's information commissioner that centered around a clause in the Access to Information Act. Section 68.1 exempts the CBC from releasing publicly any information that pertains to its journalistic, creative or programming activities, other than that which falls under general administration.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Newspaper launches online luxury store

Are we looking at the future as the International Herald Tribune -- the global edition of The New York Times - partners with to launch a online luxury goods store

Mona Eltahawy alleges sexual assault in Egypt

The Guardian: The US-based Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy has been released, according to her personal Twitter account, after 12 hours in detention at the hands of Cairo security forces. A later tweet from the account @monaeltahawy said that she was sexually and physically assaulted while being held inside the interior ministry in Cairo, in the early hours of Thursday morning. Link off headline

J.K. Rowling testifies about harassment

The media ethics committee in the United Kingdom has heard today from J.K Rowling, the creator of Harry Potter. She told a story of constant observation by reporters after her first work became popular. The intensity of attention grew until she had reporters and photographers stationed 24 hours a day outsider her house. At one point, her young daughter came home with a letter from a reporter stuffed into her schoolbag. Toronto Star

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

James Murdoch nailed by hacking scandal

Most favoured son forced out as head of newspapers. It's said he will remain chairman of media empire, despite speculation it's an empty title

Quebecor, Bell reach deal over TV content

The deal sees Bell adding Sun News, TVA Sports and two others while Quebecor's Videotron will carry Bell's RDS2 sports channel.

CBC loses court battle to keep documents secret

Federal court of appeal tells CBC to give over on documents that are eligible for examination by the information commissioner.

Al Jazeera seeking TO reporter, other NA staff

Information for those so inclined on the linked page.

Fox "leaves viewers ignorant" story

Toronto Star story that Fox News "leaves viewers ignorant" according to the headline. This come from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey which concluded, according tio Dan Cassino, that “Sunday morning news shows do the most to help people learn about current events, while some outlets, especially Fox News, lead people to be even less informed than those who (say) they don’t watch any news at all.” Oh well. Better to watch no news at all then.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CBC 24 Pulse Channel?

From the CBC website: is changing. Later this week it will have a fresh new look designed to serve you better. In addition to all of the information you are currently used to, you'll have access to more local breaking news and information; more video and audio; and more opportunities to connect with others in the community and CBC. This is a very low-key promo for whatever is coming but you have to think it's related to the arrival of CityNews CHANNEL.

1940s feature explains newspapering

We discovered this incredibly campy You Tube offering in the Huffington Post. They're post is here and deals with the ghetto treatment of women working the craft. But the newsreel's treatment of everything is brutal. The narrator is titled as Arthur P Twogood. Hmm. Sounds like they were one step away from pulling a bottle out of the filing cabinet and cooking up tomorrow's front.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Grieving Parents Testify on Hacking

U.K. hearing into press ethics hears from the parents of 13 year old Milly Dowler. Because reporters deleted messages from her voice mail, her mother and father thought she might still be alive, even though she was already dead.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

'Unbearable' paparazzi stalk Grant baby

Britain's high court has granted an injunction to the mother of Hugh Grant's baby. Her lawyer told of "unbearable" suffering caused by the freelancers. The mother is Chinese actress Tinglan Hong and her baby is known only as KLM.

Headscarf opinion lands media aide in jail

Only in Iran you say. Why sure. If you can't sentence a guy to a year in prison for saying he doesn't like the headscarf, what's the world coming to. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's media advisor is behind the pipes of one of those lovely Iranian prisons for overseeing news articles on women and the Islamic headscarf (left and very chic too) the news agency Mehr reported on Sunday. Javanfekr, who is to appeal the sentence, also prompted a separate two-month ban on a reformist newspaper, Etemad, after it ran an interview with him criticising Ahmadinejad's hardline opponents, according to another Mehr report. Thank you and no bomb threats please.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rex Murphy says Peter Newman is just wrong

A potential embarrassment for Peter C. Newman as Rex Murphy says Newman's new book contains incorrect information about him. Globe and Mail.

Mystique -- and temper -- of fabled Jessica Savitch

The mystique of Jessica Savitch is made up of many things. Her talent, insecurity and death at an early age in a car accident in 1983. She was also difficult, as this clip reveals. Although, many in television may sympathize with her upset as she prepares to do a network news update without a floor manager.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Live TV in Judge Brown's court please

If ever there was a case where live television and/or streaming video had a place in a legal proceeding, it would be in Judge David Brown's court tomorrow (Friday) and Monday. Judge Brown has decided that he requires a clearer legal reference before deciding whether the Occupy protesters can be evicted from St. James Park. Friday he will hear arguments. Monday he will announce his decision and presumably give his reasons. The protesters are arguing the eviction order is a violation of the Charter of Rights. We have no way of knowing what Judge Brown will find. But we do know that if he agrees with the protesters, the Canadian legal system will be thrown into absolute confusion. Interested parties (pretty much everybody) could easily argue that their rights (under the Charter) would be well served by live coverage of both. CP24? CityNews Channel?

Canada AM's Seamus O'Regan joining CTV National News

After nine years as co-host of CTV's Canada AM, Seamus O'Regan, 40, is joining the network's flagship national evening newscast, CTV News with Lisa LaFlamme. His final appearance on Canada AM will be on November 24, the network announced. His replacement will be announced the same day, CTV said.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tom Kent, head of newspaper ownership inquiry, dead at 89

Tom Kent, who led a 1980 inquiry into newspaper ownership that was known as the Kent Commission, has died at the age of 89. He was a journalist, public servant and an expert on public policy who was named a companion of the Order of Canada in 2001. His son, Oliver Kent, said he died peacefully on Tuesday after a cardiac arrest following surgery. Kent was born in Stafford, England in 1922, studied at Oxford and worked as a code-breaker at the top-secret Bletchley Park facility during World War II. He worked as a journalist in Britain after the war and moved to Canada in 1954 to become editor of the Winnipeg Free Press. He later served as a policy adviser to former prime minister Lester Pearson and became a deputy minister in the Pearson government of the early 1960s.The royal commission was established in response to growing concerns over concentration of ownership in the newspaper business. It was set up following the almost simultaneous closing of papers in Ottawa and Winnipeg that left newspaper monopolies in both cities.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Media challenge order to turn over to police unpublished photos and videos

A group of six media outlets are challenging court orders requiring them to turn over unpublished photos and video from Vancouver's Stanley Cup riot, arguing the orders violate their journalistic integrity while putting their reporters at risk. Police obtained production orders in September targeting the Globe and Mail, CTV, CBC, Global Television, the Vancouver Sun and the Vancouver Province. The orders demanded copies of all photographs and video gathered during the night of the June 15 riot, when scores of jersey-clad fans burned cars, smashed windows and looted stores after the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup final. But the outlets have filed a petition in BC Supreme Court asking to be exempt."When journalists' work product is treated as police evidence, their ability to operate as independent and impartial reporters is compromised and potentially their very safety is at stake," media lawyer Dan Burnett wrote in the petition, filed Monday."The more often such orders are granted, the more likely that rioters in explosive situations will look upon the journalists as evidence gatherers and react accordingly."The petition said the production orders are far too broad, asking for each and every image captured on the evening of June 15, regardless of whether they depict a crime.

CRTC compromises on Internet metering

Unlimited Internet plans are alive and well after federal regulators stepped in Tuesday to block Bell from so-called Internet metering—a billing plan that might have put an end to all-you-can-use data contracts. “It’s a step in the right direction,” said Steve Anderson, executive director of, which spearheaded opposition to Bell’s proposed usage-based billing scheme. Most small, independent Internet Service Providers should be able after this decision to “provide unlimited, unmetered Internet access for Canadians,” he said. But Anderson said the intricate new rules laid down by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission might lead to higher costs for some small ISPs.Those costs could wind up being passed on to consumers. In its compromise decision, the CRTC was trying balance the interests of companies such as Bell and Rogers with those of independent ISPs, who rent network access from large telecommunications firms.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chelsea Clinton named NBC special correspondent

The daughter of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton will be a special correspondent for NBC, the network announced on Monday. Chelsea Clinton, who also works for her father's charitable foundation, will report for NBC Nightly News and the network's news magazine show "Rock Center with Brian Williams" on groups and individuals making a difference by doing good.
"People who imagine and implement solutions to challenges in their own lives, in their communities, in our country and in our world have always inspired me," Chelsea Clinton said in a statement.
Clinton, who has traditionally avoided the spotlight and was known for refusing to speak to the press during her mother's political campaigns, will also continue her public health work at New York University and studying for a doctorate at the University of Oxford.

CBC hands over disputed documents as legal experts slam request

The CBC has, “under protest,” released a series of documents to a Commons committee that’s come under fire for even asking for them.
The documents are thought to include, among other items, details of the CBC’s spending on outdoor advertising and its fleet of vehicles, and are at the heart of a legal dispute currently before the courts.
The Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics committee had been studying the legal dispute and Conservative Dean Del Mastro brought forward a motion compelling the broadcaster to produce both redacted and unredacted versions to be vetted behind closed doors.
In a response to legal questions from Canada’s official Opposition over the weekende, parliamentary law clerk and counsel Rob Walsh basically agreed that the committee was stepping into uncertain constitutional waters and “could be seen as interfering with and possibly undermining the judicial process.”
Full story:

BBC chairman against newspaper regulation

The chairman of the BBC Trust has argued against statutory regulation of newspapers.In a speech entitled Ethics and Journalism after the News of the World, Chris Patten told the (British) Society of Editors' annual conference on Sunday that proper reform can be achieved only by journalists.Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong and now a life peer, said: "Statutory regulation of the press would in my view be more than wrong-headed, it would pose a real danger to the public discourse that underpins our democracy."So the responsibility to ensure high standards of professionalism rests with journalists, their editors and their proprietors."Patten said he may have to go before the Leveson inquiry that is looking into the culture, practices and ethics of the press.He said: "If so, I hope I can make a convincing case that the sort of regulation that covers us is appropriate for broadcasters but would not work for newspapers."

Link to full story:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hackers threaten to 'remove' Toronto from Internet if it evicts Occupy protesters

The notorious hacker group Anonymous is threatening to have the City of Toronto “removed from the Internet” if they move forward on plans to evict the Occupy Toronto camp.“The brave citizens of Toronto are peaceful and well mannered occupiers, and we will not let the city . . . get involved,” said a computerized voice in a Saturday video by the group.On Thursday, residents and business owners neighbouring the sprawling encampment gathered to voice their displeasure about the clouds of marijuana and campfire smoke emanating from the park — as well as the near-constant sound of drumming.That same day, city manager Joe Pennachetti told reporters that Toronto would take “appropriate steps” to disband the camp.Anonymous’ main weapon is not technically hacking, but rather a tactic known as “distributed denial of service.” The attacks work by commanding millions of computers (usually civilian computers commandeered by a computer virus) to suddenly flood a website with traffic, overloading the server.On Saturday, Occupy Toronto protesters were quickly shooed away by Toronto police after attempting to set up a “branch camp” behind the Ontario legislature. Protesters claimed the original site had become overcrowded.Approximately 300 people are estimated to be living at the downtown site.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

CBS dips back to Cronkite era with nostalgic set

A map of the world from the Walter Cronkite era was replicated for the set of the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley. CBS News directors Robert Klug and Eric Shapiro talk about embarking on the future of CBS News while giving a nod to the past.

Click on the title to take a look.

Profit falls for FP newspaper

FP Canadian Newspapers Limited Partnership (FPLP) said Thursday its third-quarter profit declined by $400,000 to $2.8 million in the wake of a $100,000 decline in revenues and an $800,000 increase in operating expenses. Revenues for the quarter totalled $26.4 million versus $26.5 million for the same period in 2010. Operating expenses were $21.9 million versus $21.1 million. The weaker showing left net earnings for the first nine months running 3.3 per cent behind last year's pace -- $10.7 million versus $11.1 million.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Media just fell asleep in Penn State story

David Newhouse, editor of the Harrisburg Patriot-News tells the history of the Penn State sex abuse scandal through the eyes of his reporters. It seems clear that the charges, which came in stages (first in 1998, and later in 2002) were covered up not just by the university but by the local police. In March of this year the Patriot-News says it carried a full account of information surrounding the investigation of coach Sandusky. Every journalist who reads the Newhouse account can decide for himself just where and why the defenders of the public welfare fell asleep on this story. The full Newhouse op-ed is linked on the headline above to one of our own pages.

Charlie Rose and Gayle King to CBS "Ëarly"

Charlie Rose and Gayle King are slated to tske over the CBS Early Show, a perennial laggard in the numbers. Some critics (linked above) say Rose and King are nice people but not proven at grabbing ratings.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Torstar plans buyouts, outsourcing

Torstar , the publisher of the Toronto Star, is offering immediate buyouts to editorial staff and plans to outsource ad-building, layout and editing duties, three Star journalists told Reuters today. The Star, Canada's biggest daily newspaper, wants to offer immediate layoff packages, reporter Richard Brennan wrote on his Twitter account. A second source, who declined to be identified, said the newspaper was planning a "major trim" of staff to be completed by the end of the year. The company has confirmed the buyout offer but said departures will be voluntary. It said it did not have a number for how many employees would take the offer.

Media Misses The Mark in Penn State story

Heartfelt complaint from sports writer Dan Vecellio about the focus on Joe Paterno rather than those actually accused of molesting kids. In many ways, however, Paterno represents the greater tragedy as an otherwise decent man who couldn't bring himself to expose his school to scandal even though it was required of him.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New AP Guidelines For Retweets: No Opinions

Seems reasonable in a world where there are no more personal opinions between friends, just public address system announcements on Twitter etc.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Esi Edugyan wins the Giller Prize

TORONTO, --CNW -- Esi Edugyan has been named the 2011 winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize for her novel Half-Blood Blues, published by Thomas Allen Publishers. The announcement was made at a black-tie dinner and award ceremony hosted by Jian Ghomeshi, attended by over 500 members of the publishing, media and arts communities. The gala was broadcast live on CBC's bold, livestreamed on, and aired on CBC Television at 11:05 p.m. (11:35 p.m. NT). The largest annual literary prize in the country, the Scotiabank Giller Prize awards $50,000 to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English and $5,000 to each of the finalists. A shortlist of six authors and their books was announced on October 4, 2011. Those finalists were:

David Bezmozgis for his novel THE FREE WORLD, published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
Lynn Coady for her novel THE ANTAGONIST, published by House of Anansi Press
Patrick deWitt for his novel THE SISTERS BROTHERS, published by House of Anansi Press
Esi Edugyan for her novel HALF-BLOOD BLUES, published by Thomas Allen Publishers
Zsuzsi Gartner for her short story collection BETTER LIVING THROUGH PLASTIC EXPLOSIVES, published by Hamish Hamilton Canada
Michael Ondaatje for his novel THE CAT'S TABLE, published by McClelland & Stewart
The shortlist and ultimate winner were selected by an esteemed jury panel made up of award-winning Canadian writer and 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Annabel Lyon; American author, memoirist and Guggenheim fellow Howard Norman; and acclaimed UK playwright and prize-winning novelist Andrew O'Hagan.

Indigo to sell Kobo for US$315 million

A sea change in strategy for Indigo Books and Music with word that it will sell off its Kobo ereader division. The buyer is Tokyo-based Rakuten Inc., a large world-wide e-commerce company which will continue to run Kobo as a stand-alone company with head office in Toronto. The linked top-notch story from Canadian Business contains pretty much all the information you might need to try to guess the why and whatever of this startling decision. Notably, Kobo's minority 49 percent shareholders will also sell. They are the Australian book and music chain RedGroup Retail and Cheung Kong Holdings, an investment company controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing. Among the factors which may have contributed to this decision is the intense competition coming from Amazon's Kindle and others. Another will be the US$40 million quarterly loss announced by Indigo at the same time as the sale. This loss occurred notwithstanding Kobo's stellar performance increasing its sales some 219 percent during the quarter. One survey of ereaders placed Kobo behind various editions of the Kindle and Novo, as well as the Sony reader. Canadian Business.

P.D. James pens sequel to Pride and Prejudice

The grand dame of English murder mystery writers, 91-year-old P.D. James, has written a follow to Pride and Prejudice. It has been released this week and unlike the original work by Jane Austen, this volume is a murder mystery. The beloved couple Elizabeth and Mr. (Fitzwilliam) Darcy turn detectives in the James sequel which is titled Death Comes to Pemberley. The story begins six years after the conclusion of Austen's classic novel. During a ball at the Darcy home, Elizabeth's sister Lydia comes hurtling in. "She's screaming that [George Wickham, her husband] has been killed," James told the Associated Press from her London home last week.."An expedition is mounted to see what happened. We follow everyone through the investigation. It's a very serious detective story." James has been working on the project for two years, though she said the idea first arose earlier.The celebrated crime novelist, best known for her series following British police investigator Adam Dalgliesh, Death Comes to Pemberley combines two personal passions."I have to apologize to Jane Austen for involving her beloved Elizabeth in a murder investigation, but this fusion of my two enthusiasms — for the novels of Jane Austen and for writing detective stories — has given me great pleasure which I hope will be shared by my readers," James said in a recent statement.

Diplomat says media "harmful' in kidnapping

Robert Fowler raises questions of how useful (or damaging) the media is in times of international kidnappings.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Reluctant bride vs the local Punjabi media

Toronto Star article criticising the Punjabi media for being pretty hard on a woman who came to Canada as a bride and then left her husband.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Ali Velshi Trio" to leave American Morning

The morning threesome of Ali Velshi, Carole Costello and Christine Romans will be replaced on CNN's American Morning by Soledad O"Brien (left) in the new year. A news release says Toronto veteran Velshi (centre) will be given expanded business and reporting duties on CNN and CNN International. O'Brien anchored American Morning with various co-hosts from 2003 to 2005. The changes keep up the reputation of American Morning's revolving door at the anchor desk. Another Canadian name, Ashleigh Banfield (right) makes a comeback of sorts with a new assignment as anchor on CNN between 5 and 7 am.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Andy Rooney dies at 92

Andy Rooney, CBS News' longtime resident curmudgeon whose whimsical and acerbic essays on "60 Minutes" turned the rumpled writer into an unlikely — and reluctant — TV celebrity, died Friday night, only weeks after retiring from the show. He was 92.
CBS announced the death of Rooney, who launched his long career during World War II as a correspondent for the Stars and Stripes military newspaper and continued to be a fixture on "60 Minutes" for 33 years.
He died at a New York City hospital of complications following minor surgery.

Click on the link to read the L.A. Times story.,0,2131737.story

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rocco Rossi poster in Toronto City Hall press gallery becomes rights issue

The Toronto City Hall press gallery has been asked to take down a provocative campaign poster that describes one time mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi as a "Goodfella" following a human rights complaint. Press gallery president David Nickle received the request verbally from a staff member in the city's real estate division on Tuesday. Someone apparently saw the poster, which hangs in space that is rented by various news organizations, from the hallway and lodged a complaint with the equity, diversity and human rights unit in the city manager's office. According to an email synopsis from city staff, the complainant believes the campaign memorabilia to be "degrading and derogatory to people of Italian descent."
The Goodfella ad was part of a series of Rossi campaign posters that looked like they were for a movie about the Mafia and used tag lines such as "wise guy" and "bocce balls." The candidate, a first generation Italian-Canadian, said at the time that he sought to "turn the stereotype on its head" and capture the attention of voters. The ads failed to boost his polling numbers, however, and he dropped out in the waning days of the campaign. Nickle told the National Post that the press gallery will keep the poster up for now, but has closed the door so anyone walking by cannot see it.
"It's fair to say that we question whether this is actually an offensive piece of material," he said.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Torstar profit rises, but revenue weakening

Torstar Corp. booked higher profit in the third quarter, but warned on Wednesday that the advertising environment is weakening as concern over the health of the economy grows among ad buyers. The publisher of the Toronto Star, the country’s largest newspaper by print circulation, also saw digital revenues rise sharply in the period, with funds from online and mobile efforts now comprising more than 10% of Torstar’s top line excluding romance novel unit Harlequin. Analysts at RBC Capital Markets said the quarter was in line with expectations, with a “relatively stable” performance at the company’s media divisions, which include the Star as well as Ontario community newspaper group Metroland. Print advertising was down 6% at the Star media group and flat at Metroland. The units accounted for 70% of $378-million in quarterly revenue.

French newspaper office torched after latest edition mocks sharia law

The offices of Charlie Hebdo, one of the more insolent of France’s satirical weeklies, were a charred mess early Wednesday, soon after copies of its latest edition mocking sharia, or Islamic law, hit the newsstands. The front page of the broadsheet featured the Prophet as a bug-eyed, bearded man – named as its so-called guest editor-in-chief – saying, “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter.” Police were investigating reports that two men were seen throwing firebombs or Molotov cocktails at the building. The paper’s website also was hacked, at one point showing only the picture of a mosque with the words “no god but Allah” before appearing only as a blank page.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rogers to test pick-and-pay TV in Ontario

Rogers is responding to a call from the CRTC to give consumers more choice and is experimenting with a new cable package that will let customers pick their channels.
The company will test a new TV package in London, Ont., beginning Nov. 8 and running until the end of March. The package begins with a roughly $20-per-month basic cable offering, and then charges an extra $26 and up for customers to pick an extra 15, 20, or 30 channels. Usually, those extra channels are offered in bundled packages.
The trial will be used by Rogers to demonstrate to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission the demand (or lack thereof) for more “skinny basic” and à la carte (or pick-and-pay) cable packages. Rogers, like other cable and satellite companies across Canada, has been asked to file documents with the CRTC in April demonstrating what steps it has taken to give consumers more choice over what channels are included in the TV packages they buy.

Wall Street Journal remains No. 1 US newspaper says circulation company

The Audit Bureau of Circulation says The Wall Street Journal remains the No. 1 newspaper in the U.S. with average weekday circulation of 2.1 million.
USA Today was second with 1.8 million, and The New York Times was third with 1.2 million on average from Monday to Friday. The Times had the highest circulation on Sundays with 1.6 million.
The figures released Tuesday cover the six months that ended on Sept. 30. The numbers are not comparable with the figures from a year ago because of new rules governing what counts as circulation. Compared with the October-March period, which had the same rules, the Times saw its circulation grow 25 percent. Circulation at the Journal and USA Today dropped slightly.

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