Monday, December 31, 2012

Cameron, Enright, Barrie to Order of Canada

Journalists Stevie Cameron, Michael Enright and Andy Barrie are apointed to the Order of Canada.
Toronto Star

Friday, December 28, 2012

Widely different opinions on the value of paywalls

Can this sign save the Globe?
The Globe and Mail has a lot at stake in its recent effort to get people to pay for reading the newspaper online. The desperate measure of showing readers an image asking them to pay, rather than showing the story, has become known in the industry as the paywall.  Today the Globe is thumping the paywall  tub again starting off with a brave little conceit that Apocalyptic Mayans didn't see the end of the world, but they are seeing the end of news for free online. Then there 's U.S. commentator Dana Blankenhorn who says investors should short the New York  Times because its paywall -- and paywalls everywhere -- haven't got a chance. Blankenhorn says paywalls are only a temporary fix. He quotes Matt Ingram of GigaOm as saying that the Times is only maintaining with its paywalls, not prospering. "The paywall acts like sandbags against the flood. They keep the floodwaters out but they don't stop the rising water. In the case of newspapers, this flood is an unsustainable business model. As Clay Shirky noted, in the debate over the Washington Post adding a paywall, sites like Homicide Watch cover every killing in the area, with a staff of two, while the Post newsroom has dozens of reporters but just covers a handful of cases a year. As Shirky wrote at his own blog last year a newspaper is a bundle, but the nature of the online world is to tear such bundles apart. The easy part of a paywall is getting money from 2% of your audience, he adds. The harder part is replacing 98% of your advertising business."

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ads may come back to CBC radio after 38 years

There used to be advertisements for evaporated milk from contented cows, oatmeal that would control your weight, throat-cooling cigarettes and three-for-10-cents cigars. Those vintage spots ran on CBC Radio back in the 1930s and 1940s, and while the notion of ads on Canada’s public radio programs might today seem as oddly foreign as those vintage examples, contemporary listeners will have to get used to the concept. In 2013, advertising will return to CBC Radio 2 and to the French-language Espace Musique if the public broadcaster gets the go-ahead from federal regulators. Listeners could start hearing ads as early as May.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New York newspaper publishes gun owners' names and map

A newspaper’s interactive map listing the names and addresses of gun permit holders in two New York counties has drawn a gathering avalanche of outrage.
As word spread across social media, thousands left comments expressing disbelief and anger at the map, compiled from publicly available information on handgun permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties and published online over the weekend by The Journal News, a newspaper based in White Plains, N.Y., and owned by Gannett Co.

Naming Magnota newsmaker of the year "truly disgusting:" Bob Rae

Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae was among the first to express his anger and disappointment on Sunday, tweeting to 33,361 followers that the “Canadian Press reaches a new low with its naming Magnotta as ‘newsmaker of the year.’ Truly disgusting.”
After being challenged about the news value in a response by one his followers, Rae went on to say The Canadian Press had resorted to “cheap sensationalism” and that “lots of people had more impact and made more news.”

Monday, December 24, 2012

What do we mean by "impact on the news"

It's up to Canadian Press of course if  it wishes to describe Luc Magnotta as  its  Newsmaker of the year. The problem for a lot of people  who are now excoriating CP for this choice is that Mr. Magnotta was such a crashing nobody. It may be possible to stand above all others in impact on the news starting from Mr. Magnotta's undistinguished obscurity but frankly it's a challenge, in our view. Scott White, editor in chief of CP, cites Newsmakers like Ben Johnson and Russell Williams to justify the choice of Magnotta as this year's Newsmaker. Gee, it hardly seems possible he can't see the difference. Mr. Johnson was an otherwise decent enough person, poor and Black, who won great Olympic honour. Canada gave him its heart. Then he fell an incredible distance to earth when it was discovered he had taken dope. Tragedy defined and worth of every bit of the breathless interest shown by Canadians in the story. Colonel Williams could hardly have exhibited a more Shakespearean tumble. His horrifying crimes revealed not simply his depraved mind but an astonishing double life as one of the country's most prominent military men. His arrest shook the RCAF to its foundation. Worthy of the CP Newsmaker?. You bet. We suppose Bob Rae's point might be that while "impact on the news" is subjective, it probably requires more than Mr Magnotta brought to the news to be named Newsmaker of the Year. 

More than 30,000 Americans have petitioned to have Piers Morgan deported.

The latest in the White House petition follies: Send CNN television host Piers Morgan back to Great Britain.
More than 32,000 people have signed the petition on the White House website calling on President Obama to deport Morgan over his support for new gun-control laws after the Connecticut elementary school shootings.
Morgan "is engaged in a hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment," the petition says. "We demand that Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens."

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Choice of "Newsmaker of the Year" triggers social media storm

The selection of Luka Rocco Magnotta as Canada’s 2012 Newsmaker of the Year lit up the country’s social media and news web sites on Sunday with a cyclone of outrage and condemnation.
The alleged killer, who now sits in a Montreal detention centre as his case goes through the legal process, was the subject of a global manhunt last spring after a Chinese engineering student was killed, his body cut up and remains mailed to four different locations in Ottawa and British Columbia.
The event, including Magnotta’s capture last June at a Berlin internet cafe, was splashed across newspaper front pages and Web sites all over the world.
Mr. Magnotta was chosen in the annual poll of the country’s newsrooms by The Canadian Press.

Sunnybrook Gangnam parody a free speech issue

A battle for the right to post an obstetrics-based parody of the Gangnam style video is being waged on YouTube and in the media. The video was made by staff at Sunnybrook Hospital and appears to many as a light-hearted comment on the work of the professionals who deliver babies. But to a group known as Empower Birth, the video is an affront to women who want "positive empowered births." That complaint was enough to cause Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre to remove the video from its YouTube channel but OB/Gyne has been re-posted twice by others who insist it is just fine and that the issue has become one of free speech. So far Sunnybrook has not apologized to Empower Birth, another of its demands. Should Sunnybrook apologize? You be the judge. Empower Birth

American journalist Paul Salopek to spend next seven years walking to retrace humankind’s origins

In the context of the modern news cycle, American journalist Paul Salopek’s plan to spend seven years walking across the world gathering stories is radically slow.
In the context of human evolutionary history, his journey is running at warp-speed. Salopek’s route — moving from Ethiopia into Israel, continuing across Eurasia, and finishing at the very tip of South America — retreads the path our earliest ancestors took as they radiated out of the “cradle of humankind” and into new continents, a process that began 60,000 years ago.
Both contexts are necessary to understand Salopek’s “Out of Eden” walk, which begins in January.
As an experiment in reporting, Salopek is calling the project “slow journalism.” It is an attempt to capture the stories that he missed as a foreign correspondent by hopping from one part of the world to the next. He hopes to emerge a better storyteller.
But science is as important a thematic strand as storytelling for the 50-year-old, California-born Salopek, who holds a degree in environmental biology.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cogeco to buy Peer 1 for C$526 million to boost data hosting

Cogeco Cable Inc, the main unit of media and telecom company Cogeco Inc, will buy Peer 1 Network Enterprises Inc for about C$526 million to expand its cloud computing and data hosting business, Ruters reports..
Cogeco Cable, which provides cable-TV, high-speed internet and telephone services, has been looking to increase its presence in the fast-growing data-center business due to tough competition in signing up new television customers in Canada.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Broadcast council slams mayor’s radio show for ‘abusive’ comments about Smitherman

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has ruled a freelance journalist’s comments about George Smitherman (right) on Mayor Rob Ford’s radio show were “abusive and unduly discriminatory.”
The council also ruled that David Menzies’ comments about Star reporter Daniel Dale, calling him “effeminate,” were not abusive.
On May 6, Menzies (centre) appeared on Newstalk 1010’s The City with Rob Ford featuring the mayor and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford.
Menzies complained about the abuse Rob Ford receives, recalling a question during the 2010 mayoral campaign when someone asked about his obesity and the possibility of having a heart attack in office.
Menzies hypothesized about asking a similar question to Smitherman, then a mayoral candidate.
“You know, George, being a practising homosexual and being the fact that you’ve been involved with all kinds of illicit drug use, how do we know you won’t engage in high-risk sex and drug use that will bring about, uh, HIV leading to AIDS and you’ll die in office?”
The council ruled that Menzies’ comments about Smitherman, who is openly gay, violated several provisions in its code of ethics.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

City-tv given approval to come to Montreal

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has approved two related applications that will see the Citytv network officially come to Montreal, and the launch of a new television station, ICI, that will offer local ethnic programming. In the first decision, the CRTC approved a $10.67-million purchase of CJNT by Rogers Broadcasting Ltd., and its conversion from an ethnic station into an English commercial station. CJNT, branded Metro 14, is owned by Toronto-based Channel Zero Inc., and has been an affiliate of Citytv since June. Channel Zero bought CJNT in 2009, along with Hamilton, Ont.’s CHCH, for a combined $12 (plus $500,000 in commitments to keep the station running) from Canwest Global Communications Corp., the former parent company of The Gazette.  Montreal Gazette

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Montreal kids make fake bird snatch video

A Golden Eagle snatching a child from a park? No.The hoax was perpetrated by kids at an animation design school called  Centre NAD.  A blog posting identified four students at the Montreal 3D animation and digital design school as being behind the hoax, which it said was part of a school project. "The child and the eagle were created using 3D animation by the students and then dropped into real footage," it said. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Did coverage of Newtown disgust you?

Jennifer Harper in the Washington Times offers some sensitive thoughts on the inevitable show business treatment given to this appalling crime by all-news services and others.   Washington Times

Saturday, December 15, 2012

It's your fault if you believe phony "news"

According to Chris Kelly, producer of the CBC fake news program This is That, it's more or less your fault is you believe much of what it broadcasts. Kelly appears to bring a whole new school of thought to the field of journalism ethics. This week the program ran a story, complete with a fake interview, that a Montreal Councillor was insisting that dogs in Montreal parks should be able to respond bilingually to commands. It was a ridiculous idea but it came from a place where there are many ridiculous ideas about language. It's hard to imagine that anyone who ran the story really believed such a mental feat is possible for canines. But it was -- and is -- entirely possible that Quebec can generate ideas of this quality.  The daily news run is loaded with stories which are ridiculous but which are also true (how quaint). Kelly is unfazed. "We obviously feel for the City of Montreal and city council who are probably getting some calls right now. We feel bad that that was an outcome of this, but it's a joke. A pretty funny one," said Kelly. "The overarching truth that we've noticed about this style of stuff is we live in a very knee-jerk age and people sometimes don't take the time to go beyond the 140 characters," Kelly said. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Court ruling threatens local news, broadcasters say

Private television broadcasters are warning that local stations can’t continue to exist on advertising revenues alone, after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the stations shouldn’t be paid for their signals when they are rebroadcast by cable and satellite companies.
Local television stations in Canada – including those operated by corporately owned CTV and CanWest Global as well as a handful of smaller independent players– send their signals out into the world in a way that they can be intercepted and rebroadcast. Cable and satellite providers capture those signals, and then offer them to their subscribers.
The local stations were poised to get paid for those signals after years of lobbying the federal regulator, but the Supreme Court on Thursday said the CRTC does not have the authority to force the companies to pay for the signals.
The decision leaves stations around the country scrambling to find a new way to pay for local news and programming.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Supreme Court kills fee-for-carriage scheme!

Briefly stated, the Supreme Court of Canada has decided that requiring the program suppliers to pay cable companies a fee to carry the programming is outside the jurisdiction of the Canadian Television-radio and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).   You will recall the vitriolic advertising by both sides of a couple of years ago when this issue reached a fever-pitch. Cable called it a tax on the user, broadcasters said it was merely fairness.  In denying the fee-for-carriage plan, the high court has said it violates the terms of the Copyright Act. Call lawyer Brown. Few of us will know what this means exactly. But for the foreseeable future, no extra charges for watching programs.
Link to CBC story

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Obits for pets being offered in Singapore newspaper

A newspaper in Singapore is offering grieving pet owners the opportunity to share their goodbyes to a loved pet in an obituary. The Straits Times, Singapore's largest newspaper, is now allowing grieving pet owners to publish obituaries for their beloved pets that have crossed over into the Rainbow Bridge
The memorials will be placed in a "pets corner" of the newspaper's classified section. Reportedly, Singapore's population amongst the wealthy are having fewer children and are showering more attention on their pets.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Telus suing Mobilicity; cell phone companies at each other's throats

Telus Corp. is suing wireless new entrant Mobilicity for what it alleges are “false and misleading” claims made in a new television advertisement.
Vancouver-based Telus, which filed its notice of civil claim with the Supreme Court of British Columbia, is seeking an injunction to block Mobilicity from running the TV spot, which began airing across Canada in late November.
The lawsuit, which comes during the height of the pivotal holiday shopping season, signifies how competitive wireless carriers have become in the smartphone era. Although Mobilicity‘s ads do not specifically name Telus or any other wireless competitor, Telus claims the spot contains a trio of “misrepresentations” that damage its brand.
In particular, Telus is taking issue with the commercial’s claim that “what you see isn’t always what you get” with other wireless networks with respect to unlimited offers.
Moreover, Telus alleges that Mobilicity claims to offer wireless services with “no contracts” even though its services are governed by service terms and conditions. The lawsuit also alleges that Mobilicity makes a “false” claim of offering unlimited data – even though its data plans are subject to a fair use policy that authorizes the carrier to use throttling to slow down the data speeds of heavy users.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Australian media urge end to blame game in nurse tragedy

Australian media called for a halt to the blame game Sunday after a wave of global outrage over the death of a nurse who took a prank call at the hospital where Prince William's wife Kate was being treated.
Britain has reacted with horror to the death of mother-of-two Jacintha Saldanha, 46, who is believed to have taken her own life after she was duped by two Australian radio presenters seeking news on Kate's pregnancy.
She was found dead on Friday, days after she answered a call at the hospital from hosts at Sydney's 2Day FM radio posing as Queen Elizabeth II and William's father Prince Charles.
Saldanha put them through to a colleague who divulged details of Kate's recovery from severe morning sickness.
The private King Edward VII's Hospital blasted the stunt as "appalling", with the death unleashing a torrent of online anger directed at presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who have been taken off air and are in hiding.
While acknowledging the death was a terrible tragedy, Australian media said Sunday "this is not a time for hysterical finger-pointing".

With 18 killed this year, ‘lawless’ Somalia is the deadliest post for media workers

Somalia has long been unsafe for journalists but now it’s worse than ever. With 18 reporters and media workers killed so far this year, it is the most dangerous dateline in Africa. And while foreign journalists are sometimes targeted, it is locals who are most at risk.
A report released last week by the National Union of Somali Journalists listed 44 reporters killed since 2007 and said another 250 had fled after receiving death threats. Those remaining are struggling to do their jobs in a country hostile to their profession.
“It has reduced journalists into silence, damaged the quality of independent reporting and instilled fear in the hearts of journalists who would dare to report on critical issues,” Omar Faruk Osman, secretary-general of the Somali journalists’ union, said in an email.
Full story

Taxpayers should pay more for CBC: Globe columnist

The Globe's  columnist Simon Houpt argues that the CBC needs more and not less funding and that it should get out of commercials altogether.

He writes:
"But one issue proved a lightning rod (at the recent CRTC hearings): the proposal to allow advertising on its Radio 2 service. And if the complaints about it were correct, the complainants’ solution – to keep Radio 2 ad-free – didn’t go far enough.
"The CBC needs to ban ads entirely from all of its airwaves.
"Why? First, some background. Fans of CBC abhor the idea of ads on radio. At a press event held by the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting a few days before the hearing, actors Gordon Pinsent and Eric Peterson, and the bestselling author Vincent Lam, argued passionately for the need for a commercial-free space."
The column

Friday, December 7, 2012

DJs off the air as nurse is an apparent suicide

The company behind the Australian radio station that made a prank call to the London hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was receiving treatment for severe morning sickness has expressed its sadness and shock over the death of the nurse who took the call. Details about the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, a married mother of two, are still emerging but it appears she took her own life just two days after the DJs, posing as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, called the King Edward VII Hospital to inquire about Kate’s condition. National Post

Now the Washington Post deploys a paywall

Wall  Street Journal 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

CRTC tells Corus Oprah not educational enough

The murky field of what's educational and what's not (and according to whom) will soon be explored  by the CRTC as Corus has been told to show that Oprah Winfrey Network conforms to the requirements of its license in Canada.  Globe and Mail 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Murdoch's iPad only The Daily shuts down

News Corp today announced that The Daily, it’s iPad-only digital newspaper publication, would be stopping its standalone publication effective December 15, 2012. The Daily will continue as a brand as part of “other channels,” according to a News Corp press release, including The New York Post, which will adopt its technology section and other components, as well as take on some of its staff.   TechCrunch 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

John Tory for mayor?

Proof again that when a headline ends in a question mark the answer is almost always "No". Seriously, John Tory might make a great mayor but it's hard to see him giving up a life where he gets to be liked and his only problem is what to have for dinner.  Toronto Sun 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

An inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press: The Leveson Report

"A law is needed to stop press havoc": Lord Leveson calls for "genuinely independent and effective watchdog to protect innocent members of the public" -- Daily Mail headline.

The Daily Mail story
Executive Summary

The full report

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sun papers to move behind paywall

Sun Media says it will launch a metered pay-per-view system for online readers of its daily tabloids next week. The move folows announcements earlier this year by the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star that they were moving to so-called paywalls which would require readers to pay for their online news. 

Warren Buffet still bullish on newspapers despite closing one

Warren Buffett isn’t letting one troubled newspaper color his view of buying what many media experts consider the dinosaurs of the news business. Mr. Buffett said he still planned to buy newspapers, even though he recently announced that he would be shutting down one that he recently bought by the end of the year.
“I hope we have a lot more,” said Mr. Buffett about his newspaper portfolio while he attended a party Monday night for his longtime friend Carol Loomis, a writer for Fortune who recently published “Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012.”
Mr. Buffett went on a newspaper spending spreethis year by buying more than 60 newspapers from Media General and a small stake in the newspaper company Lee Enterprises, a chain of mostly small dailies based in Iowa. At the time, he stressed that he had great confidence that newspapers would continue to be solid investments for decades to come.
“I think newspapers in print form, in most of the cities and towns where they are present, will be here in 10 and 20 years,” Mr. Buffett said. “I think newspapers do a good job of serving a community where there is a lot of community interest.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Journalists caught freeloading -- at IKEA. No kidding!

Members of Winnipeg's media outlets are being chided for throwing ethics out the window in exchange for a night of alcohol, food and discounted shopping at Ikea.
"It looks to the public as if the journalists are just what they're made out to be in the old movies — freeloaders, drunks," said Nick Russell, a former journalism professor who wrote the book, Morals and the Media: Ethics in Canadian Journalism.
Ikea, the Swedish retail giant which opens its Winnipeg store to the general public on Wednesday, invited media to an exclusive party on Monday night, lavishing them with beer and champagne, live music and a gift bag of free stuff, in addition to the chance to shop with a 15 per cent discount.
Russell said there shouldn't have been a single media person at the event.

Ottawa under pressure to sign Internet surveillance bill

The Harper government, under pressure at home over its controversial Internet surveillance bill, including a renewed push from law enforcement to pass the legislation, continues to come under international pressure to pass Bill C-30.
The legislation, dubbed the "lawful access" bill, contains provisions that would allow Canada to ratify an 11-year-old convention on Internet crime, which its allies are antsy to see approved.
A confidential briefing note for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, prepared ahead of a meeting with officials from the United Kingdom, notes that Canada has yet to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, also known as the Budapest Convention, named after the city in which is was signed in 2001.
"Key allies, including the UK and the United States, view this as a key international agreement and are eager for Canada to complete its ratification process," the undated briefing note says. "The recently tabled Bill C-30 contains measures, including provision for data preservation orders, which would enable Canada to ratify the Budapest Convention."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bomb found under car of Pakistani journalist whom Taliban threatened over stories about shot schoolgirl

A bomb was found on Monday under the car of a prominent Pakistani journalist who the Taliban had threatened over his coverage of a schoolgirl the militants shot, his employer said.
A half-kilogram of explosives were found under the vehicle of the senior journalist for the Geo News television station, Hamid Mir, while parked at his home in the capital, Islamabad. A bomb disposal squad defused the bomb.
“I was told a few days ago that my name was mentioned in a letter written to the Interior Ministry and in that, there was a threat,” Mir told reporters.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Britain's Leveson Inquiry issues report

Beyond celebrities and bereaved parents, the Leveson Inquiry into Press standards is focused on proposing a new system for regulating Britain’s newspapers.

Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations could radically change the way media organisations operate in the UK.
He said he wants a body independent of the establishment and the press, which will provide redress, particularly to those who cannot afford expensive legal action, and a mechanism of swift resolution for privacy and libel cases.
Those who complain of press harassment have said the inquiry must produce a system that tackles invasions of privacy, damaging inaccuracies and the culture that resulted in the phone-hacking scandal.
But journalists and editors warn that freedom of expression will be threatened if the current Press Complaints Commission (PCC) is replaced by a regulator with wide-ranging powers to clamp down.
The proposals

Friday, November 23, 2012

TSN appoints digital media execs

TSN is leveraging the success of its partnership in the Olympic Media Consortium with new leaders at the helm of its integrated digital media and marketing initiatives, Mediacaster reports.

Stewart Johnston, President of TSN, has announced two new appointments to the network’s senior management team. Nathalie Cook has been appointed Vice-President of Integrated Marketing and Partnerships, and Mark Silver has been named Senior Director, Digital.

Both join TSN after successful roles at Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium.

Interesting New York Times piece on "in bed with the media" in France

"The line between politicians and the news media can be blurry in France, where the fates of some journalists have long been hitched to those in the government they pester or please. Mr. Sarkozy’s close ties to media executives were considered something of a scandal, and his presidency drew greater scrutiny to the incestuous relationships." the Times says.
The full story

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tom Haberstroh, Margo Harper fired from CTV

Canadian Journalism Project

Online publication fights Gallery strictures

An online publication, Blacklock Reporter, says it will legally challenge the Ottawa Press Gallery over the gallery's decision to require certain information about the Reporter. The issues remain unclear even as the gallery asks to know who is behind the Blacklock Reporter, what other work its staff does and the names of principals. The gallery being so clubby itself it is difficult to know just what is at work.  Blacklock Reporter

Monday, November 19, 2012

Media a pivotal player in libel suit against Ford

When Blatchford is covering the trial, every story reads like a column. Each column has a summary perspective. She does it in a way that always does justice justice (if you will) and can never offend the most scrupulous of justices. Christie Blatchford

BCE and Astral try again for CRTC approval

Who believed all that silliness about how businesses would just go to ground after the CRTC rejected the proposed takeover of Astral Media by BCE. The atmosphere would just be sooo chilling, we were told.  That must be why, less than a month later, BCE-Astral are back knocking on the government's door with a similar deal in mind.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Today Show Goes Female At The Top

Patricia Fili-Krushel, chairwoman of the newly-created NBCUniversal News Group has taken a firm hand at The Today Show, demanding a sharper and faster paced morning show. Stephen Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal, promoted Fili-Krushel to the top new job and since then she has reportedly been working on a plan for reinventing Today. Mediaite

Reporters w/o Borders re attack on Hamas media


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fearing for the future of journalism

In this Toronto Star column Tony Burman has a worried look about the future of investigative journalism in light of the BBC scandal. We say don't worry. Journalists have been going over the top in search of the big story since the Washington Post commissioned Woodward and Bernstein to find out what the president knew and when he knew it. They got it just about right. But subsequent generations of scribblers have frequently been blinded by the glory of breaking a "Holy Shit" tale. The BBC's shame is heightened because while journalists went right off the rails seeking a paedophile in the government (there wasn't one, apparently) it firmly ignored a well-documented scandal within its own ranks. It's happened here. A few years ago, the CBC libelled a couple of doctors and fought the case all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Corp lost badly. But, it appears, the fifth estate is still on the air doing useful work. Have no fear. Toronto Star

Friday, November 16, 2012

BCE, Astral said to be ready to announce a new deal

BCE Inc. and Astral Media Inc. are poised to announce a new takeover deal that seeks to overcome regulatory opposition with a plan to auction off a number of Astral’s English broadcast assets, the Globe and Mail reports.
People familiar with the talks said the terms of the transaction have largely been finalized and a deal could be announced as early as Friday.
We shall see!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Canada Year Book felled by the Internet

After 145 years of documenting the country’s history, the Canada Year Book will no longer be published.
Statistics Canada published the last edition of its longest-running publication on Tuesday. It is the last such print publication and will not continue as an online resource.
Rather, the agency says it “will continue through other means to keep Canadians informed about their social and economic life.”

Lorrie Goldstein laid off at the Toronto Sun

Well known editorial writer and Toronto gadfly Lorrie Goldstein is among the most prominent of the 500 or so people laid off yesterday by Sun Media. Together, the layoffs hit papers in Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg and printing facilities in Kingston and Ottawa. Associate Editor Goldstein was a 34 year stalwart at the Sun and in his heyday was a must-read for anyone inclined to challenge a lot of what passes for wisdom in our town. Toronto Sun blog

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Interesting piece in New York's Photo District News about "crowdsourcing" of photos

The word "crowdsourcing" has come to mean audience and reader generated photos sent to newspapers and other media.

Photo District News, a N.Y. based photo magazine, headlined its interesting analysis of photos from the hurricane Sandy disaster "The failure of crowdsourcing news photos."

An excerpt:

"At a time of cost cutting for media budgets, lots of news organizations imagine that user-generated content can fill the void. But the recent failure of crowd-sourced news photos of Hurricane Sandy, and the shortage of coverage of other climate change-fueled disasters around the world, demonstrate how far we are from truly democratizing the medium of photography. Photographers worry that the lowering of technological barriers means “everyone’s a photographer now,” but in fact, the number of people who can take and share news photos is still limited by economics, infrastructure and geography."

The whole story

Is Warren Buffet getting less bullish on newspapers?

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway plans to shutter the 143-year-old News & Messenger in Manassas, Virginia, just six months after it was scooped up from Media General.
The 10,000 circulation newspaper, its website, and its companion weekly publication will close on December 30, the day the final print edition will be published. The move affects the staff of 33 whose jobs will be eliminated.

The announcement was made on Wednesday by World Media Enterprise, which operates the 63 newspapers that Berkshire Hathaway acquired from Media General in June.

"Business conditions drove us to this decision," wrote Doug Hiemstra, president of World Media Enterprises, in a post published on the News & Messenger's website

"We do not see a long-term viable way to maintain a daily news operation here."

Buffett, who not too long ago derided newspapers as investments, changed course this year, snapping up scores of small and mid-sized papers throughout the United States.

In addition to the majority of Media General's newspaper properties, he recently purchased a paper in Texas and took a small stake in the newspaper chain Lee Enterprises.

Known as the "Oracle of Omaha," Buffett's acquisition approach to newspapers is to buy small publications that cover the local market. Though he holds a stake in the Washington Post Co, he shuns large metropolitan newspapers.

The closing of such a small paper in the Berkshire stable could be a sign that even publications that are laser-focused on community news are facing serious challenges.

Radler gets off easy at OSC hearing

When the OSC finally resolved its case against ex-Hollinger exec David Radler on Wednesday, the outcome was not spectacular.  Radler received no sanction, no financial penalty and no requirement to contribute even some of the costs of the commission’s lengthy investigation. Paying at least a portion of costs is common in OSC cases.
Instead,  Radler signed a series of undertakings including agreeing not to serve as an officer or director of a public company in Ontario. And even that can be revoked at his request.
The undertakings also don’t apply outside of Ontario or to private companies anywhere, something critical to  Radler who lives in Vancouver and co-owns Alberta Newspaper Group, a private newspaper company.
Globe and Mail story

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Quebecor’s sweeping job cuts highlight newspaper industry’s stark reality

Excellent analytical piece on newspapers' problems by te NatPost's Jamie Sturgeon:

The stark economic reality presently facing the newspaper industry was made all too apparent for hundreds of staff members across Sun Media Corp.’s national operations Tuesday, as parent Quebecor Media Inc. announced sweeping job cuts.
Gone are 500 positions or 8.8% of the Quebecor news unit’s workforce, affecting both unionized and non-unionized ranks, from advertising sales personnel to circulation workers to members of scores of newsrooms — some of whom have worked for decades creating the stories that helped define their cities, towns and communities.
The full story

Sun TV wants you to start paying for it whether you watch it or not John Doyle reveals

"It has been revealed that the owners of Sun News have put in for mandatory carriage on basic cable in Canada. The elusive, lucrative 9(1)(h) category, as it is called by CRTC wonks. What it means for us is that if you purchase a basic cable package, Sun News would be part of it, whether you bloody well like it or not," he writes.
John Doyle's whole column

TVO's Saturday Night at the Movies bites the dust after 40 years; 35 to 40 staffers to leave in cutbacks

TVO, Ontario’s publicly funded broadcaster, is cutting up to 40 positions and cancelling Saturday Night at the Movies after a nearly four-decade run as part of an effort to save $2-million.
TVO says it will put more resources into “digital innovation in children’s educational media” and current affairs as it addresses reduced government funding.
The broadcaster says its plan will see 35 to 40 current employees “leave” TVO between now and the end of March, 2013.
As a results, TVO will have fewer staff dedicated to traditional TV production and a enhanced focus on digital technology.
The current season of Saturday Night at the Movies will be its last. Allan Gregg in Conversation and Big Ideas will also go off the air in the spring.
TVO says it plans to include some Big Ideas lectures as part of The Agenda with Steve Paikin.

Sun Media to cut 500 jobs

Quebecor Inc. is cutting some 500 jobs at its Sun Media newspaper division in a move that includes the closure of two production facilities in Ottawa and Kingston, the Toronto Star reports.
The downsizing, representing about a third of Sun Media’s unionized workforce, is part of the Montreal-based media group’s efforts to reduce annual costs by $45 million.
There had been earlier reports Quebecor would eliminate the position of publisher at some newspapers.
Quebecor’s president and CEO, Pierre Karl Peladeau, says the restructuring is warranted by changes in the newspaper industry.
“With the recent announcement of a major strategic redesign of Sun Media’s organizational structure, the restructuring further streamlines and optimizes the organization’s operations,” he said in a release Tuesday.
“By doing so, Sun Media Corporation is proactively leading the way to ensure long term success.”
It remains committed to its publications, which include the Toronto Sun and other dailies across Canada under the Sun and other banners, Peladeau added.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Now BBC news chiefs step aside . . .

Helen Boaden, director of BBC News, and her deputy Stephen Mitchell, stepped aside pending a review of why editors spiked the report last year on Savile, who has been accused of abusing children on BBC premises.

Some BBC staff have cast the 22,000-strong Corporation as a bureaucratic behemoth where journalistic talent is throttled by incompetent managers, and opponents - and even some allies - questioned whether it could survive in its current form.
If you want to read more . . .

Sunday, November 11, 2012

BBC needs radical overhaul, chairman says

The BBC’s chairman said Sunday that the broadcasting organization was in a “ghastly mess” as a result of its bungled coverage of a decades-old sexual abuse scandal and in need of a fundamental shake-up.
“Does the BBC need a thorough structural overhaul? Of course it does,” the chairman of the BBC Trust, Chris Patten, said on The Andrew Marr Show, the BBC’s flagship Sunday morning talk show, after the resignation of the broadcaster’s chief executive.
But although Patten has said that the BBC’s handling of the scandal was marked by “unacceptably shoddy journalism,” he pushed back on the Marr show against suggestions that the crisis could lead to a dismantling of the BBC as it now exists, with 23,000 employees, a $6-billion annual budget and a dominant role in British broadcasting.
“The BBC is and has been hugely respected around the world,” he said. “But we have to earn that. If the BBC loses that, then it is over.”
Public confidence in the broadcaster has slumped further in opinion polls in the wake of its coverage of a scandal involving allegations of abuses by a senior politician at a children’s home in Wales in the 1970s and ’80s. But the British public would not support breaking up the BBC, Patten said, adding, “The BBC is one of the things that has come to define and reflect Britishness, and we shouldn’t lose that.”

BBC chief resigns over false sex abuse report broadcast on Newsnight

The director general of the BBC has resigned in the wake of a controversial broadcast on child sex abuse, the BBC announced Saturday night.
The director, George Entwistle, issued a statement saying, “I have decided that the honorable thing to do is to step down.”
Earlier Saturday, Entwistle said the report, broadcast on the Newsnight program, never should have been broadcast.
The report wrongly implicated a former Conservative Party official, Alistair McAlpine, the BBC statement said. He admitted that the program further damaged trust in a broadcaster already reeling from the fallout over its decision not to air similar allegations against one of its star hosts.
George Entwistle’s comments followed an embarrassing retreat for the BBC, which apologized Friday for its Nov. 2 “Newsnight” TV show on alleged sex abuse in Wales in the 1970s and 1980s.
During the program, victim Steve Messham claimed he had been abused by a senior Conservative Party figure. The BBC didn’t name the alleged abuser, but online rumours focused on Alistair McAlpine, a Conservative Party member of the House of Lords. On Friday, he issued a fierce denial and threatened to sue.
Messham then said he had been mistaken about his abuser’s identity and apologized to McAlpine, prompting fury over the BBC’s decision to air the report and the suspension of investigative programs at “Newsnight.”
“We should not have put out a film that was so fundamentally wrong,” Entwistle told BBC radio on Saturday. “What happened here is completely unacceptable.”

Media fight on the right over GOP

From Politico:
Rush Limbaugh couldn't have been more right.
Months before the election, the conservative radio host made a prediction: "If Obama wins, the Republican Party is going to try to maneuver things so conservatives get blamed."
And that's exactly what's happening.
On the night of Nov. 6, shortly after President Barack Obama won reelection, Steve Schmidt went on NBC News and called on GOP leaders to "stand up" against the extreme elements in the party that the Republican strategist believes are leading it down the wrong path, even singling out Limbaugh by name. Days later on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough criticized Republicans for taking cues from unnamed pundits "who make tens of millions of dollars engaging in niche marketing" that the host complained provides a misleading picture of the nation's electorate. Columnist David Frum last week slammed the "conservative entertainment complex" that had "fleeced, exploited and lied to" Republicans, ensuing doom on Election Day.
More from "Politico"

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"Legendary" CBC radio drama studio to close

The CBC’s Studio 212, home of radio drama production, will close at the end of the year, the CBC has announced.
As part of the federal budget cuts this spring, the CBC will no longer produce radio dramas, so the production facility at the Toronto headquarters will be disassembled. Its last creation, the popular war series Afghanada, wrapped in the spring.
Studio 212 was also the laboratory for the mystery series Midnight Cab,Monday Night Playhouse and Rumours and Borders.
(Anyone ever listened to any of these? Just asking.)
Link to Star story

Cleveland Plain Dealer staff launch campaign to save the daily newspaper

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's future as a daily newspaper is in jeopardy. The Cleveland newspaper, which is owned by Advance Publications, has seen the writing on the wall for some time. Diminishing subscriptions and ad sales, along with the changes that Advance Publications' has made with some of their other major dailies, puts the paper in peril of losing its daily status.

In a last ditch attempt to stave off the possibly inevitable switch to a reduced print schedule, staff at the Plain Dealer have launched a "Save The Plain Dealer" campaign.
Beginning on Sunday, billboards, bus placards, and advertisements will be seen around town alerting readers to dramatic changes in the newspaper industry and the possible consequences of Cleveland being without a daily newspaper. The ads assert that newspapers as we know them are in peril, and ask people to make their feelings known to the paper's owners.

The "Save The Plain Dealer" campaign is being led by members of Newpaper Guild Local One, which represents about 170 writers, photographers, designers, and other newsroom staff at the PD.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Chief Justice recuses herself re Black decision

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin will not take part in the ultimate decision about whether Conrad Black should be stripped of his Order of Canada. “On Sept. 25, 2012, the chief justice wrote to Mr. Stephen Wallace, secretary to the Governor General, recusing herself from all deliberations of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada on this matter,” said Owen Rees, McLachlin’s executive legal officer. McLachlin, as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, also chairs the advisory council. That’s the independent panel that decides who gets — or should lose — the prestigious national honour. Its recommendations are binding on the Governor General. Toronto Star

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

OpenFile bank accounts frozen

The bank accounts of OpenFile are frozen and freelancers still haven’t been paid, but founder Wilf Dinnick says the innovative journalism network will return in 2013 – or before. Canadian Journalism Project

Tom McKee dead at age 76

Tom McKee,  legendary  radio and television sports broadcaster with CBC, CTV, ABC, TSN and TV Labatt  has died in the Toronto area at age 76.

Karl Rove questions own decision desk at Fox

Careful media coverage of a close presidential election Tuesday exploded so suddenly Tuesday that it left the bizarre spectacle of Fox News Channel analyst Karl Rove, a major fundraiser for Republican Mitt Romney, publicly questioning his network's declaration that President Barack Obama had been re-elected.  AP

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cogeco founder Henry Audet dead at 94

Henri Audet, founder of the Quebec-based Cogeco cable and media business, has died at age 94. He began what has become Canada’s fourth-largest cable company and one of Quebec’s largest media companies in 1957 with a TV station in Trois-Rivieres, Que. His son, Louis Audet, now heads the business, which had consolidated revenue of $1.4 billion for fiscal 2012 and 3,500 employees in Ontario and Quebec. Cogeco Inc., through Cogeco Cable Inc., Cogeco Data Services Inc. and Cogeco Diffusion Inc., is a major Canadian communications company.
 Cogeco founder Henri Audet dies at 94

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Bell Media calls it a wrap at Masonic Temple

The hopelessly unwanted Masonic Temple seemed to have found a real use when CTV purchased it in the 90s to have a "downtown" location like CHUM. Now CTV is owned by Bell Media and Bell owns the fabled 99 Queen Street West. Who needs the Sonic Hall any more?  So the Masonic Hall at Yonge St. and Davenport Rd. will go into moth balls at least for the time being. Story

Thursday, November 1, 2012

British photographer wins $50K Grange Prize

A British photographer who captures elite athletes at their moment of peak perfection has won the Grange Prize, the annual $50,000 award for photography given by Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario.
London's Jo Longhurst was named as winner Thursday evening, chosen by public vote ahead of fellow British finalist Jason Evans and two Canadian photographers: Emmanuelle LĂ©onard of Montreal and Annie MacDonell of Toronto.
Each year, the Grange Prize pits two Canadian photographers against two from another country. The other three finalists receive $5,000 each.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Industry minister rules out Bell-Astral merger role

Federal Industry Minister Christian Paradis dealt what appears to be the final blow Tuesday to BCE Inc.'s faltering bid for Astral Media Inc., saying Ottawa doesn't "have any intention to intervene" in the proposed bid.
BCE Inc. has petitioned the federal cabinet to tell broadcast regulators to re-evaluate the controversial $3.38-billion offer, which the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission rejected on Oct. 18.
"At this point, there is an appeal possible according to the law, but we don't have any intention to intervene," the minister said following an address to an industry conference here.
The blunt comments appear to all but rule out a merger of Astral with Bell Media, the entertainment unit for BCE, the country's largest telecommunications and media company.

The Globe and Mail's paywall is here. Can it succeed? Does it deserve to?

The Trontoist's take on the Globe and Mail's paywall:
"As of now, anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the Globe is entitled to just 10 articles a month before the website prevents them from reading more, though articles accessed through links on social media are still free and unmetered. A digital subscription is $19.99 for a month, and free for existing print subscribers."
The whole story

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Newspaper Circulation: Wall Street Journal leads, but overall newspaper circulation flat

U.S. newspaper circulation was almost unchanged in the six months that ended in September as publications continued to make gains in digital editions, according to data from a media industry group.
Average daily circulation for print and digital editions combined fell 0.2 percent for the 613 newspapers included in the semiannual study by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Sunday circulation for the 528 newspapers in Tuesday's report increased 0.6 percent.
The Wall Street Journal kept its position as the No. 1 newspaper. Its average circulation grew 9.4 percent to 2.3 million, largely because more readers are paying to read content on its website and mobile devices. Digital circulation grew about 257,000 from a year ago, more than making up for a loss of nearly 60,000 in print.
USA Today was second at 1.7 million, down 3.9 percent.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Penguin, Random House merge to create world’s largest consumer book publisher

Pearson PLC will merge its Penguin Books division with Random House, which is owned by German media company Bertelsmann, in an all-share deal that will create the world’s largest publisher of consumer books.
The planned joint venture brings together classic and bestselling names. As well as publishing books from authors such as John Grisham, Random House scored a major hit this year with “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Penguin has a strong backlist, including George Orwell, Jack Kerouac and John Le Carre.
The two companies said Monday that Bertelsmann would own a controlling 53% share of the joint venture, which will be known as Penguin Random House.
Bertelsmann would keep full control of Verlagsgruppe Random House, its trade publishing business in Germany, and Pearson would retain the right to use the Penguin brand in education.

Toronto Star to launch digital subscription

"In a significant transition for our newspaper and our popular website, the Toronto Star will launch a paid-subscription program in 2013 for full access to all the stories and features on our website," Star publisher John Cruikshank announced. "This move will provide a new source of revenue for the Star that will help support our ability to provide readers of both our print and online editions with the best and most comprehensive package of news and information in Canada," he said in the newspaper. "Under the plan, most print subscribers to the Toronto Star will receive free full access to’s content, wherever and however they want. "Complete details of the program, including how to register and how much we will charge, will be released in the coming months."

Greek journalist to appear in court for publishing millionaire list

A journalist arrested in Greece for publishing the names of more than 2,000 Greeks with large Swiss bank accounts will appear in court on Monday on charges of violating privacy laws.
Costas Vaxevanis was arrested on Sunday after publishing the infamous "Lagarde List," named after International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, in his magazine Hot Doc in its Saturday edition.
In her role as France's finance minister before joining the IMF, Lagarde in 2010 reportedly gave her Greek counterpart a CD with the names of Greek citizens with large deposits in an HSBC branch in Geneva.
Last week two former finance ministers were pressed to explain to a parliamentary committee why the government appeared to have taken no action to investigate whether those individuals were tax evaders.
Vaxevanis says his arrest is unfair.
In an act of support, the top selling Ta Nea newspaper also published the "Lagarde List" on Monday.
The list does not indicate the exact amount that each of the 2,059 individuals have in Switzerland.
It reveals the identity of each deposit and the individual's profession. The newspaper article said some accounts contained as much as 500-million-euros (US$645 million).

Sunday, October 28, 2012

N.Y. Times reaches tentative deal with Newspaper Guild

The New York Times said Sunday night that it had reached a tentative agreement with the Newspaper Guild, setting the stage for a new labor contract after more than 18 months of negotiations. In a message to the staff, the executive editor, Jill Abramson, said the paper and the union had agreed “in concept” on a new five-year contract. She said that at the request of the mediator, Martin Scheinman, no further details would be forthcoming because the agreement still needs to be put in writing.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Record-low television ratings for Game 2 of World Series

The Giants' shutout of the Detroit Tigers drew a record-low television rating for Game 2 of the World Series. San Francisco's 2-0 win Thursday night on Fox earned a 7.8 fast national rating and 12 share, down 12 per cent from last year's St. Louis Cardinals-Texas Rangers matchup. The previous low was an 8.1 for the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies-Tampa Bay Rays series. Fox said Friday the rating was up 3 per cent from the Giants' rout in Game 1 on Wednesday. The "Thursday Night Football" Buccaneers-Vikings game on NFL Network went up against the World Series for the first time and had 5.2 million viewers, not including fans in the Tampa and Minneapolis areas who watched simulcasts on local channels. That's down from a season average of 7.1 million. The World Series was watched by 12.3 million people on Fox, which is available in about 60 per cent more homes than NFL Network. Ratings represent the percentage of all American homes with televisions tuned to a program. Shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time. The Giants' shutout of the Detroit Tigers drew a record-low television rating for Game 2 of the World Series. San Francisco's 2-0 win Thursday night on Fox earned a 7.8 fast national rating and 12 share, down 12 per cent from last year's St. Louis Cardinals-Texas Rangers matchup. The previous low was an 8.1 for the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies-Tampa Bay Rays series. Fox said Friday the rating was up 3 per cent from the Giants' rout in Game 1 on Wednesday. The "Thursday Night Football" Buccaneers-Vikings game on NFL Network went up against the World Series for the first time and had 5.2 million viewers, not including fans in the Tampa and Minneapolis areas who watched simulcasts on local channels. That's down from a season average of 7.1 million. The World Series was watched by 12.3 million people on Fox, which is available in about 60 per cent more homes than NFL Network. Ratings represent the percentage of all American homes with televisions tuned to a program. Shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Shaw, Corus downplay merger speculation amid BCE-Astral trouble

Shaw Communications Inc. and affiliated media company Corus Entertainment Inc. downplayed Thursday speculation that the two firms would seek to merge — an idea likely pushed off the table for the moment as a result of BCE Inc.’s faltering bid for Astral Media Inc. “We realize there’s some value and synergies [with Corus],” Brad Shaw, chief executive for the Western Canadian cable giant said on an earnings call Thursday, but added: “Shaw’s pretty focused on what we need to do. Overall we’re really pleased with how [Shaw’s own] media division has performed.” Alongside voting control of the cable company, the Shaw family controls Toronto-based Corus, which operates TV channels such as Movie Central and radio stations that were spun off more than a decade ago.Alongside voting control of the cable company, the Shaw family controls Toronto-based Corus, which operates TV channels such as Movie Central and radio stations that were spun off more than a decade ago  More

Conrad Black never gives up; brushes off fraud conviction on BBC news satire

A calm but not-altogether convincing Conrad Black brushed off his fraud conviction Thursday night as a guest on Britain’s top-rated satirical news show, but audience members said it was tense when Mr. Black was shown videotape of himself shifting boxes of documents from Hollinger offices in Toronto in 2005. The BBC program caps Mr. Black’s week-long London blitz to sell his new book and rehabilitate his reputation among Britain’s elite who elevated Mr. Black to the House of Lords. Mr. Black indicated he has every intention of retaking his seat in the Lords. More

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Clark Kent quits Planet to become a blogger

Even Clark Kent can see through the writing on the wall when it comes to the newspaper industry. In the next issue of DC comics’ “Superman,” due out on Wednesday, the superhero’s alter ego will eschew being a mild-mannered reporter, presumably to become a snarky blogger, when he quits his post at the Daily Planet. “This is really what happens when a 27-year-old guy is behind a desk and he has to take instruction from a larger conglomerate with concerns that aren’t really his own,” Superman writer Scott Lobdell said to USA Today. “Superman is arguably the most powerful person on the planet, but how long can he sit at his desk with someone breathing down his neck and treating him like the least important person in the world?” Lobdell said. In the comic’s current story line, the Daily Planet's editor-in-chief has soured on Kent because he is not getting enough front page scoops on his beat of covering all things Superman. To make matters worse, head honcho Morgan Edge has been giving Kent a hard time, which causes him to go from mild-to-wild-mannered, quitting on the spot in the middle of the newsroom before launching into a diatribe about the state of journalism. “This is not the first time in DC Comics history that Clark Kent has left the Planet, and this time the resignation reflects present-day issues – the balance of journalism vs. entertainment, the role of new media, the rise of the citizen journalist, etc.," DC Comics said in a written statement to "Over the next several issues, readers will enjoy the many surprises in store for Clark, as the 'H'el on Earth' storyline unfolds." Fox News

Douglas & MacIntyre publishers in bankruptcy

Globe and Mail

Professor accused of "self-plagiarizing"

What's self-plagiarism?  Is like re-cycling or re-purposing?  How seriously should anyone take it?  If the case of University of Toronto researcher Stephen Mathews is to be believed, it's a "severe abuse of the scientific publishing system." Stephens and a couple of colleagues are accused of re-using stuff they wrote in 2005 documents as part of current published work. The scientific journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews has published a prominent retraction of certain of Stephens work. Vancouver Sun

Monday, October 22, 2012

Press Freedom: What's happening in Turkey?

A media advocacy group is accusing Turkey of waging the "world's biggest crackdown" on media freedoms. New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a report released Monday that 76 journalists are in prison in Turkey and at least 61 of them are held because for "their published work or newsgathering activities."  Vancouver Sun

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Media sector feels the fallout of CRTC ruling

Story by Michael Lewis starts by quoting unknowns as saying the BCE denial may "curtail growth" in media horse trading and then moves on to speculate about all the moves that may follow now. Okay. Curtailment will work itself out in about a day and a half we're guessing. Really. George Cope cowed into hiding in his office? What are the odds? Toronto Star

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Veteran journalist William (Bill) Stevenson publishes memoir

Veteran journalist and author William (Bill) Stevenson. has published a memoir Past to Present: A Reporter’s Story of War, Spies, People, and Politics.  Stevenson, now in his 80s, worked for the Toronto Star and CBC and is the author of a number of books, including the very successful 90 Minutes at Entebbe, an account of the spectacular Israeli raid to rescue hostages held aboard an airliner at the airport in Entebbe, Uganda., Stevenson is married to Monika Jensen, a former producer at 60 Minutes and at CTV's W5.
 The Toronto Star's Oakland Ross,  a globetrotting newsman himself, has written a review.

Murdoch looks at buying the LA Times

Murdoch looks at buying the Los Angelese Times. Telegraph UK

Friday, October 19, 2012

Election night 1968 -- how they used to do it

The passing of the legendary Lincoln Alexander (Progressive Conservative) this week has brought up memory reels and this one is a pip. It records Mr. Alexander's upstart win in Hamilton West against the Liberal candidate Thomas Beckett by a slim margin. Fun to watch. Penetrating questions.  

CRTC pulls the plug on BCE’s national strategy

The federal broadcast regulator is forcing BCE Inc. to go back to the drawing board on its media strategy in Quebec.
Astral Media Inc. was considered the linchpin in BCE’s battle for the province against rival Quebecor Inc. and the remaining leg in its larger ambition to create a telecom and media powerhouse of truly national scope.
After betting on a series of blockbuster acquisitions in recent years, including broadcaster CTV and sports giant Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., cracking the French-language market was considered the next natural step in BCE’s quest to provide a pan-Canadian platform for its bounty of content and give advertisers the ability to buy nationally.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Long-Time CTV host Jack McGaw has died

Industry sources report that Jack McGaw, long-time CTV personality, has died. McGaw has been retired for some years. One his last projects was developing and hosting "Live it Up," a popular light-hearted consumer show. Jack's photo on the right is from the Michener Awards page which he won in 1973 for "Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil," an hour long television program that dealt with the invasion of privacy through the use of 'bugging' devices and the attempts by Parliament to control them.
More details will be posted when they become available.

Newsweek gone digital, The Guardian on edge‏

Better run out and buy that iPad if you want to continue reading the "printed" press!

After 80 years, Newsweek goes digital

And The Guardian is "seriously" thinking about it.

The story

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lloyd Robertson memoir recounts painful youth, CBC clashes, rise through TV news

A poignant interview with Lloyd Robertson by Cassandra Szklarski of The Canadian Press. The photo is by Michelle Siu.

Excerpt from the story about Lloyd's memoir: "A blow-by-blow of career highlights form a loose framework for 'The Kind of Life It's Been,' which devotes much of its ink to repeated clashes with CBC bosses and union rules that culminated in Robertson's bitter exit to CTV in 1976."
The whole story

Rupert Murdoch survives new bid to oust him from News Corp

Rupert Murdoch survived yet another attempt to oust him as chairman of his News Corp media empire, the second straight year he has defeated critics who say his family wields too much control over the company.
Shareholders re-elected Murdoch, his two sons, Lachlan and James, and the rest of the company's returning board members during a 75-minute meeting in Los Angeles. They also voted against proposals that would have separated the chairman and CEO roles held by Murdoch and eliminated News Corp's dual class stock structure, which gives the Murdoch family voting control of the company.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Crime reporter Jim Junkin joins City-TV

Long -time CFTO (now CTV Toronto) crime reporter Jim Junkin has taken a part-time gig at City TV.
Junkin retired from the CTV Toronto station in 2010 but friends say he missed the action too much. He will  be back on the air three days a week.
 CityTV is owned by Rogers. Junkin will join some former  CTV hands at City like Gord Martineau and Tom Hayes. 

Star story on Globe and Mail's paid online service; reader response hostile to paying

Citing the need to increase revenue, the Globe will start charging $20 a month for full access to the website, beginning Oct. 22. Online access will be free for weekly print subscribers. Weekend subscribers will be able to get the service for an additional $5 a month.
Globe publisher Philip Crawley said the growth in popularity of mobile devices has created a sustainable market for online content. People now like to read their paper at home in the morning and have access to it all day long on their smartphones or tablets.
The Globe has tried charging for online content online in the past. Several years ago it launched the Globe Insider, putting premium content, including columns by high-profile writers, behind a paywall. The effort was dropped because it suppressed traffic to the website, said Crawley.
This time is different. Mobile devices have created a different consumer culture, Crawley said.
The storysays that The Star is also considering a oaywall.
Full story

The move does not site well with readers. Here are excerpts from some of the posts on The Star website:
--Memo to Toronto Star- charge & I'm gone. No ifs, ands, or buts. Household does have 7day paper subscription so I probably wouldn't even know if you did... I am the only one who visits the website.

--If we had to pay the Star for anti ford news i would not pay and just read the alternative leftist rags available free every week

 --most people throw out half of the Saturday Star as soon as they get it --- so would you pay online for half that you do not read? -

-- Let me get this straight... 50% of my monthly internet bill to access one website?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Globe and Mail's John Doyle's advice for the CBC president on his new five-year term

Avoid self-immolation. The CBC, a big, unwieldy organization with multiple platforms, an army of enemies and an internal army of malcontents, doesn’t need any more embarrassments. Like, for instance, threatening legal action against CTV for promoting “Big Bang Night in Canada.” This actually happened the other day. With no Hockey Night in Canada to transfix the nation, CTV has gamely packaged four old episodes of Big Bang Theory (the most-watched show in Canada, week to week, with around four million viewers) for Saturdays. Succumbing to a fit of nitwit outrage, someone at CBC issued a legal “cease” notice to CTV pointing out “confusion” between Big Bang Night in Canada and Hockey Night in Canada. CBC requested CTV cease all promotion and publicity for it. No, seriously, they did. Then they retracted it.

The Globe to roll out metered paywall

The Globe and Mail will roll out its digital subscription package on Oct. 22, providing free online access to most print subscribers and allowing casual readers access to 10 articles a month on its website.
The newspaper announced plans in May to build a metered paywall system, citing the need to boost revenue as the advertising market fluctuates.
The Globe’s plan provides unlimited access to both the paper’s website and apps to anyone with a five- or six-day subscription to the printed newspaper. Weekend-only subscribers will be asked to pay $4.99 a month for unlimited access, while those without a subscription will be charged $19.99 a month after a one-month, 99-cent trial.
Some components of The Globe’s site will continue to be free to everyone.

Former CTV Ottawa anchor Max Keeping diagnosed with colorectal cancer

Nine years after he was hit with prostate cancer, Max Keeping has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. He undergoes surgery next Monday, an eight-hour operation that will seriously alter the busy retired anchor’s lifestyle.
Keeping has already been told by doctors that he’ll be out of commission for a minimum of six months, but he hopes to be out in the community doing his regular charity events and fundraisers in just four. The extensive surgery will mean he’ll be carrying a second ostomy bag, but he’s determined that the after-effects from the disease will not slow him down.
“I’ve always looked at life as living today for today. That hasn’t changed,” Keeping, 70, said in an interview Monday at the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation office.
An upbeat Keeping said he was going public with his diagnosis to increase awareness of colorectal cancer, which according to statistics kills 176 Canadians every week.
In fact, Ottawa has one of the highest rates of colorectal cancer in Ontario.
Canada-wide, an estimated 23,300 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year; 9,200 will die from it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

BBC announces inquiry into sex abuse allegations against children's TV host

The BBC is struggling to contain a crisis sparked by allegations of serial sexual abuse against the late Jimmy Savile, a longtime children’s television host.
Dozens of women have come forward to say that Savile, who died in October 2011 at age 84, sexually assaulted them when they were as young as 13. London’s Metropolitan Police, which is leading a national investigation, says it has identified 40 potential victims.
The publicly funded national broadcaster is facing questions about its failure to stop Savile’s predatory behaviour, which was an open secret in showbiz circles during his heyday several decades ago.
BBC Director-General George Entwistle announced late Friday that the broadcaster would hold an inquiry into the “culture and practices of the BBC during the years Jimmy Savile worked here.”

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Television is a winner in US presidential election

Almost 70 million people watched the first Obama v Romney face-off, the overwhelming majority of them on a television set, or at least a television channel. Meanwhile both sides are engaged in record levels of television advertising, much of it localised.
Television companies will benefit most from absorbing the $1 billion the campaigns combined are expected to spend on the presidential race alone. They are already talking in the key swing states of advertising fatigue and the possibility that saturation is dulling the impact.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Toronto, Rogers TV launch new City Insider TV show

The City of Toronto and Rogers TV will launch a new bi-weekly television show called City Insider later this month, featuring city programs and events.
The new show will begin airing 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 16 on Rogers TV, cable 10/63 in Toronto and Scarborough.
It will provide a mix of information modeled after the city’s Our Toronto newsletter, which is delivered three times a year to households. City Insider will have on-camera interviews with staff, as well as with residents who involved in city programs. It will also have in-depth features about the city’s rich history using the Toronto Archives.

Show biz mag Variety's new owner impresses employees

New Variety owner Jay Penske won kudos from his new employees at Variety by promising to take down the paper's online paywall, continue the industry trade's presence in print and invest in its newsroom.
In his first address to Variety's approximately 120 employees late Wednesday afternoon, the head of Penske Media Corp., which acquired the venerable Hollywood trade paper on Tuesday for about $25 million, made a largely positive impression on the staff, according to people who attended but requested anonymity because the meeting was private.
Many Variety reporters and editors have been frustrated that their content is less read online than that of competitors such as the Hollywood Reporter and Penske-owned Deadline, in part because it is only available to paying subscribers.

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