Tuesday, January 31, 2012

NFL sets up BCE-CRTC Super Bowl showdown

BCE throws NFL ownership rights at the CRTC to thwart the regulator's order to permit all mobile carriers to show games.  When worlds collide.  .  Globe and Mail. 

Husband of CTV Ottawa anchor found dead

Condolences poured into CTV Ottawa Monday evening after it was announced that the husband of CTV Ottawa anchor Carol Anne Meehan has been found dead.

Ontario Provincial Police officers found Greg Etue's body inside a 2008 Pontiac Montana van parked on a lane in the Brudenell, a small community about a two-hour drive west of Ottawa. The 56-year-old had been missing for two weeks. Foul play is not suspected in the death.

Etue, a prominent Ottawa pharmacist, had been living with multiple sclerosis, and had been battling cancer for the past two years. Meehan has been off-air since her husband's disappearance.

After the OPP issued a press release identifying the body, Ottawa-area residents reacted with sympathy, offering numerous condolences to Meehan and her family.

"I never personally met you, Carol Anne, but have come to know you and your compassion for others by watching you deliver the 6 p.m. evening news," said one respondent wrote in a Book of Condolences on the CTV website. "I am saddened by the news. My prayers are with you and your kids. I just want you to know that your absence has been felt by all of us who are blessed enough to have CTV News as our hometown platform."

"I'd like to send the family my deepest condolences during these extremely difficult times," said another sympathizer. "Please know that you are not alone, that your friend and family embrace you." Ottawa Citizen

George Christopoulos is Mayor Ford's press aide

Former Toronto Sun crime reporter George Christopoulos has been appointed press secretary to Mayor Rob Ford. Christopoulos replaces Adrienne Batra who handled media for Ford since his election. Mr. Christopoulos leaves his position as a media relations coordinator for the police, where he worked closely with Chief Bill Blair. It's a position he took in 2003 after his stint with the Sun; He started at the paper in 1990, working as a reporter covering crime, general assignment news and City Hall. Christopoulos covered municipal affairs for the Sun from 2000 to 2003. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Triumph at Kapyong goes to second printing

Dan Bjarnason's riveting story of Canada's epic stand at Kapyong during the Korean War is going to its second printing. It's not surprising as "Kapyong" is a richly detailed account of how greatly outnumbered Canadian troops held their ground against the Communist Chinese. In the end, it is said that Canada's gutsy holding action permitted U.S. forces to re-group and re-take large portions of the Korean Peninsula. There would be much more fighting before the armistice. But it is history's verdict that Canada's small force played a pivotal  role in saving the Republic of Korea. 

Honda releases "Ferris Bueller" ad a week early

When you spend millions making a Super Bowl spot, it might seem sensible to get it out on You Tube and build the hype for the on air debut. That's what the Honda people thought as they let loose this entertaining parody on the seemingly timeless1986  classic Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

News Corp among bidders for Turkish media giant

News Corp, Time Warner and TPG Capital have placed bids of up to around $1 billion for the ATV-Sabah media unit of Turkey's Calik Holding, three sources close to the matter told Reuters on Monday.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Murdoch talking to Les Fenwick

 News Corp. is in serious talks to hire former Bloomberg LP chief executive Lex Fenwick to be the new  hief of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co., according to people familiar with the matter. Wall Street Journal. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

UK Sun scandal: 5 charged for bribing cops

 A Scotland Yard team investigating the bribery of police officers by journalists searched the offices of Rupert Murdoch’s flagship British tabloid, The Sun, on Saturday after arresting a police officer and four men identified as current or former journalists at the paper. A police statement said searches were also being conducted at the homes of the arrested men.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Polygamist sect buys ads urging repentance (?)

Warren Jeffs sect has taken ads in the U.S. and Canada. One appeared in the Vancouver Sun.  It isn't clear to whom the ads are directed, but Jeffs had complained repeatedly during his Texas trial last year that he was being persecuted because of his religious beliefs. Jeffs' sect, which teaches that for a man to be among the select in heaven he must have at least three wives, is estimated to have 10,000 followers in North America.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Toronto photog Andrew MacNaughtan dead at 47

Toronto photographer Andrew MacNaughtan, well known for his work documenting rock band Rush and many other Canadian musicians, has died. He was 47. Rush members Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart confirmed the death in a statement on their website, which expressed shock and sadness at MacNaughtan's sudden passing. The rockers called the photographer a "sweet person and a very talented artist" who will be deeply missed.  CP

Twitter to restrict user content in some countries

Twitter announced Thursday that it would begin restricting Tweets in specific countries, renewing questions about how the social media platform will handle issues of free speech as it rapidly expands its global user base.

Until now, Twitter had to remove a Tweet from its global network if it received a takedown request from a government. But the company said in a blog post published Thursday that it now has the ability to selectively block a Tweet from appearing to users in one country.

"Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country while keeping it available in the rest of the world," the Twitter blog said. Twitter gave as examples of restrictions it might cooperate with, such as "pro-Nazi content" in France and Germany, where it is banned. It said even with the possibility of such restrictions, Twitter would not be able to coexist with some countries. "Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there," it said.

"As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression," Twitter wrote.

CTV Ottawa anchor’s husband missing

Greg Etue, (pictured) 56, the husband of CTV Ottawa anchor Carol Anne Meehan, is still missing, Ottawa police said Thursday.

On Wednesday Ottawa police  issued a second appeal to the public to keep an eye out for Etue, who was last seen Jan. 16 driving a 2008 Pontiac Montana van with a Thule ski box on top.

“This is a nightmare that is now into its 8th day,” Meehan posted on her Facebook page Tuesday.

Ottawa police released a surveillance camera photo of the van, as well as a newer photo of Etue in an effort to seek the public’s assistance in locating him.

Police described Etue as white, 5-foot-9 and slim, with short grey hair and blue eyes. He was wearing a grey jacket, a baseball hat and winter boots. Etue, who is a pharmacist and a father of two, has both multiple sclerosis and cancer.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Leonard Katz appointed interim CRTC chairman

Canada’s federal broadcast and telecommunications regulator appointed vice-chairman Leonard Katz to the post of interim chairman Wednesday, following the departure of longtime chairman Konrad von Finckenstein. Mr. von Finckenstein’s five-year term at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission expires today. The appointment was widely expected as the government vets long-term candidates for the job. A new chairman is expected to be selected before Mr. Katz’s own term expires next fall. Mr. Katz, an industry insider who held senior positions with both Bell Canada and Rogers Communications Inc. before joining the CRTC in 2005, was appointed to vice-chairman of telecom in 2007.

Stop throttling video games, CRTC tells Rogers

Rogers Communications is breaking the law by deliberately slowing down certain types of Internet traffic, the CRTC says.

In a letter made public Jan. 20, the CRTC gives Rogers two weeks to show it’s complying with the rules.
“Commission staff is of the belief that Rogers applies a technical ITMP to unidentified traffic using default peer-to-peer (P2P) ports,” said Andrea Rosen, the CRTC’s chief compliance and enforcement officer.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Publication ban lifted on Russell Williams divorce

The woman who married former colonel and convicted sex killer Russell Williams is “yet another victim” of his depravity, but there is no legal basis for wrapping a cloak of secrecy around her divorce file, Ontario’s highest court said Tuesday.

The Ontario Court of Appeal has set aside a sweeping series of publication bans and sealing orders that were imposed by an Ottawa family court judge last April.

While the decision would normally take effect immediately, the court is holding its ruling in abeyance for 14 days to give Williams’ wife an opportunity to consider “what steps, if any” she will take to challenge it, said Justice David Doherty, who wrote Tuesday’s judgment on behalf of a 3-0 appeal panel.

That means that for the time being, the bans will remain in effect and Williams’ spouse — whose identity and occupation were widely reported in the aftermath of his February 2010 arrest on two counts of murder and multiple counts of sexual assault, forcible confinement and breaking-and-entering — will remain known as M.E.H.

In seeking the bans last year, M.E.H. said she dreads the divorce proceedings will bring even more attention on her than did her husband’s criminal trial.

But in its strongly worded decision Tuesday, the appeal court made perfectly clear that courts do not impose publication bans or seal court files to prevent personal embarrassment to someone involved in a legal action.

Canada needs to reinvent CRTC, outgoing head says

 Konrad von Finckenstein gives exit interview to the Globe and Mail:

"After five stormy years as Canada’s chief communications watchdog, Konrad von Finckenstein is departing with a warning to his successor: Internet and wireless technology has disarmed federal regulators of their weapons to protect cultural identity.
National culture and viewpoint have traditionally been defended by controlling access to content – primarily flowing from the U.S. entertainment machine. But that power is rendered toothless as programming becomes freely available to anyone with a computer or mobile device, Mr. von Finckenstein says. 
 “We have now moved into an era where the consumer is in control, and where thanks to the Internet and mobile devices, you cannot control access any more,” he said."
More here:

YouTube cracks 4 billion daily video views

YouTube, Google Inc’s video website, is streaming 4 billion online videos every day, a 25 per cent increase in the past eight months, according to the company.
The jump in video views comes as Google pushes YouTube beyond the personal computer, with versions of the site that work on smartphones and televisions, and as the company steps up efforts to offer more professional-grade content on the site.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Globe appoints public editor-- better late than never

The Globe and Mail has announced that it is appointing its first public editor, "in an effort to make the organization more transparent and accountable to its readers and the general public."

The new position will be assumed by Sylvia Stead, a senior editor who has held a range of editorial leadership positions. Ms. Stead, who moves into the role Monday, will report to both the editor-in-chief and publisher, to ensure any needed autonomy from the newsroom, the Globe said in today's edition.

CBC reporter's link to B.C. premier too close for comfort: ombudsman

The CBC ombudsman has found B.C. provincial legislature reporter Stephen Smart's marriage to Premier Christy Clark's deputy press secretary, Rebecca Scott, to be in violation of the national broadcaster's journalistic standards and practices.

Kirk LaPointe's review stems from a complaint of conflict of interest by Merv Adey, who wrote to CBC News on Dec. 20. "I do not wish to impugn Mr. Smart's ability or character," Adey wrote. "However, I believe it's impossible for him to fairly carry out his job while married to the premier's friend and communications person.

"One of a reporter's first duties is to think and speak with a critical mind about his subject (in this case, the premier and her government and the opposition parties also). While married to a stakeholder in a political non-contract position, I think that's really too much to ask of him."

Wayne Williams, CBC's news director for B.C., responded to Adey on Jan. 3, insisting there is no conflict of interest and that CBC had "taken specific steps to address the issue, ensuring both distance and transparency."

LaPointe said there is "no evidence (Smart) has taken advantage of his wife's role, (and) even the complainant praises his journalist qualities.
"But just because there is no impropriety does not mean there is no conflict," LaPointe wrote. "Whether a real or perceived conflict of interest, no amount of managing it can do more than mitigate the impact of an impartial fulfilment of duties.
"As it stands there is a violation of CBC Journalistic Standards and Practices."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Kingpin of international copyright theft arrested in New Zealand

New Zealand police on Saturday revealed bizarre details of the arrest of the suspected kingpin of an Internet copyright theft case against the James Bond-like backdrop of a country mansion hideaway with electronic locks, a safe room and a pink Cadillac.

German national Kim Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz, was one of four men arrested on Friday, a day before his 38th birthday, in an investigation of the Megaupload.com website led by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The group was accused of engaging in a scheme that took more than $500 million away from copyright holders and generated over $175 million in proceeds from subscriptions and advertising.

A police official said dozens of officers, backed by helicopters, forced their way into the mansion, nestled in lush, rolling farmland, after Dotcom refused them entry, a scene more reminiscent of a high-octane spy drama than the usual policeman’s lot in rural New Zealand.
Television footage showed vehicles, including a pink Cadillac and a Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, being removed from the property.

The house where Dotcom was arrested was one of the largest and most expensive in the country, worth around NZ$30 million. Located in hills northwest of New Zealand’s largest city, the mansion is surrounded — at suitably discreet distances — by other substantial country homes and luxury lifestyle blocks complete with stables, swimming pools and tennis courts.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Globe lunches with Arianna Huffington

Unnoticed by this observer, the Globe and Mail's business section has been running a weekend series titled "The Lunch," a festgab by various reporters with business figures. This week's, by Susan Krashinsky, features Arrianna Huffington whose empire of web pages is out to conquer the world. As noted below, a French site launches on Monday with Anne Sinclair, wife of Dominique- Strauss-Kahn, at the helm.

The interview contains some interesting things: The site does not pay writers but seems to be able to con some big names to work for free. It also does not charge, making its money from advertising (if it does make any money, that is). The Canadian site employs 14 full-time people, four of whom will work for the upcoming Quebec edition that is to launch next month. Ms Huffington also plans to launch a streaming video version of the sites. The Globe web page features some audio clips from the interview.

Ms Huffington's site was bought by America Online a year ago for $315 million.

Here is a link to the full version:

Interesting as the lunch series is, we miss Jan Wong who always went for the jugular.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Court orders Vancouver newspapers to produce riot videos and photos

The Vancouver Sun and Province will hand over all photos and video shot during the Stanley Cup riot to Vancouver police after a judge granted a police application, but the newspapers have decided to make every image available to readers first.
Nearly 5,500 photos taken during the riot can be viewed at pngphoto.com. These same images will be given to police on Monday as ordered by the court.

"We will reluctantly turn over the photos and videos to police, but remain concerned that the production order turns journalists into evidence gatherers for police," Sun deputy managing editor Harold Munro said. "Police should only make such demands on the media as a last resort," he said. "In this case, they have many thousands of photos and videos from the public that are still being reviewed."

On Dec. 16, a B.C. Supreme Court judge quashed an earlier production order because of errors made in the application by the Vancouver Police Department. A new, corrected application was granted by a judge on Dec. 21. The riot erupted after the Vancouver Canucks lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final to the Boston Bruins. Rioters set cars on fire, smashed windows and looted stores in downtown Vancouver, causing millions of dollars in damages.

As of Tuesday, police have recommended charges against 100 people.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Anne Sinclair, Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s wife, named head of Le Huffington Post

Anne Sinclair has been named the editorial director of Le Huffington Post — the French edition of the popular American news website, French newspaper L'Express reported on Wednesday. New York Daily News

Murdoch pays victims of hacking, instrusion

Admitting that News Corp. systematically hacked phones and spied on private people, Murdoch  pays damages.

Stricken photographer's health improves

A Halifax photographer suffering from a paralyzing illness says he's feeling much better these days. Darrell Oake, who was diagnosed with Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome late last year, is now well enough to visit home on weekends. His doctors have given him a pass to see his family this weekend.. CBC.ca

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A made-for-media marriage debacle

Andre Coyne scores media (and others) for making a big deal out of very little.

Japanese papers, readers have close relationship

An intimate relationship exists between newspapers and readers in Japan. That bond has long eroded in the West and it means that Japan's print media have been less damaged by the havoc wreaked by new media, analysts say. AFP link.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Big Buck among magazines on public dole

Winnipeg Free Press: Here's a good question to ask as the federal government begins to trim public service jobs. Why is the government still handing taxpayers' money to some of Canada's largest media corporations? The little-known Canada Periodical Fund doles out about $71 million a year to publications ranging from Newfoundland Sportsman to the Canadian Coin News, but it's not the legion of obscure publications that is most objectionable, even though the spending produces little broad value.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

CBS This Morning Draws Mixed Reactions

On Monday, CBS This Morning made its debut with anchors Gayle King, Charlie Rose and Erica Hill. The network hopes its revamped, third-rated morning-show -- and fresh new format -- will make tougher competition for NBC's top-ranked Today show and ABC's Good Morning America. Hollywod Reporter

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Star report offside re Harper-Putin hockey

Embarrassing. Some will say never let the facts get in the way of a story.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Electoral law grew old with Western maturity

The federal government will do away the law that prevents TV networks from broadcasting election results from any time zone where the polls are still open. The 1938 law has become less and less enforceable for all the digital reasons we know. Even before the insidious tweet, email had made a joke of this stricture. The intent was to prevent the completed results in the east from influencing western voters. That power, if it ever existed, seems to be long gone. This is especially so following the growth and maturity of the west since the time of Pierre Trudeau. Once one hits the Manitoba border, he's dealing with people who know what they want based largely on their position on the Pacific flank of the nation. The South Bayview Bulldog 

Shaw news venture "all about bandwidth"

Shaw Media's application to launch a Global BC-driven all-news channel in B.C. is more about scrambling for bandwidth than providing a new news outlet, a Simon Fraser University marketing professor said. Above, Jill Krop will front a prime time show on the new service. Vancouver Sun linked above

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Death of French journalist in Syria brings calls for independent probe of violence

The death of a French journalist in Syria brought new calls Thursday for an independent investigation of the violence in the country after a series of mysterious attacks since December killed scores of people despite the presence of Arab League monitors.
The prospects for such an independent probe are slim in Syria, where the government has barred access by most foreign media except on escorted trips.
The Arab League observer mission has been beset by problems and itself criticized as merely providing cover for the regime’s crackdown on dissent. Help from the U.N. is unlikely, in part because Syrian allies Russia and China are blocking action against Damascus.
 The French government, human rights groups and Syria’s opposition demanded an inquiry into the death Wednesday of Gilles Jacquier, 43, in a barrage of grenades in the restive city of Homs. The award-winning correspondent for France-2 Television was the first Western journalist killed in the 10-month-old uprising.

Shaw revenues, profits climb higher in Q1

Shaw Communications Inc. reported an increase in profit in its first quarter on higher revenues amid a volatile economic and competitive environment, the company said Thursday.
For the period ended Nov. 30, 2011, Shaw posted a profit of $202-million (43¢ a share) compared with $17-million (3¢) in the same period the year before.
The significant change in profit is due in part to a charge of $139-million to the CRTC related to the acquisition of Canwest, as well as other restructuring expenses worth $58-million.
Revenues are up 19% to $1.28-billion, largely due to the inclusion of Shaw Media, the broadcast assets of Canwest that include Global Television and other specialty channels, as well as customer growth and price changes in cable and satellite divisions.

Revenues in the cable and satellite divisions are up, but the media division posted a decline due largely to weakness in advertising.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Shaw Media plans to launch B.C.'s first all-day news channel

Shaw Media’s application to launch a Global BC-driven all-news channel in B.C. is more about scrambling for bandwidth than providing a new news outlet, a Simon Fraser University marketing professor said.
“There are pressures to control more bandwidth and bandwidth for TV is the creme de la creme and can easily be converted later to an Internet feed,” Lindsay Meredith said. “In the end, you can turn that into all kinds of different feeds. Down the line you have some flexibility ...”
Shaw Media announced its application to the Canadian Radio-Television Communications Commission yesterday. The as-yet-unnamed specialty channel will operate out of Global B.C.’s newsroom and is expected to launch this summer.
The channel’s final format is still being discussed, but it will provide headline as well as contextual news, and an evening prime time talk show hosted by veteran Global BC anchor Jill Krop, said Kenton Boston, Global BC station manager and senior director of Global national news who will be responsible for content on the new channel.

Corus Entertainment profit rises, raises dividend

Broadcasting company Corus Inc. on Tuesday reported higher earnings and revenue from its first fiscal quarter, giving much of the credit to a stronger advertising market.
“We are very pleased with our Q1 results and, in particular, the renewed signs of strength we witnessed in the ad economy,” Corus CEO John Cassaday said in a statement.
The Toronto-based owner of television stations such as YTV, Treehouse and W Network said net earnings amounted to $50.4-million in the quarter ended Nov. 30, or 61 cents a share. That compared to income a year earlier of $47.7-million, or 59 cents a share.
Revenue was up 6.6% to $236.9-million in the quarter. Its TV operations saw growth of 10% and radio revenue was down five per cent.
Corus also announced it was raising its dividend by nine cents a year, which would put it at 95.5 cents a share annually for Class A holders and 96 cents for Class B.

Facebook finds a new home inside a Mercedes Benz

Mercedes-Benz USA is bringing Facebook to its cars, with a special version of the service that is built-in to a new in-vehicle telematics system that will be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.
Accessing Facebook on the road is not the exactly the same as using the social network on a personal computer or a smartphone. The version of Facebook offered in Daimler AG’s Mercedes is stripped down to a limited set of features, specially designed for drivers and centered around the locations of friends and businesses.
But according to Facebook Vice President of Partnerships and Platform Marketing Dan Rose, the Mercedes version of Facebook reflects the social networking service’s expansion to a growing list of settings where screens and Internet connections are available.
“Now that cars have screens that are intelligent, you would expect that more and more car manufacturers will want to make those screens capable of allowing people to connect with their friends and take advantage of the social context that comes along with that,” Mr. Rose said in an interview.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bertelsmann takes full control of McClelland & Stewart

One of the last bastions of 20th-century cultural nationalism in Canada slipped into history when international publishing conglomerate Bertelsmann AG, owner of Random House and its Canadian subsidiaries, absorbed the final semi-independent remnant of iconic publisher McClelland & Stewart.
Under the direction of publisher Jack McClelland, the company broke new ground in the 1960s by proving that Canadian readers were eager to read Canadian writers – and, in the process, developed a list of authors whose names remain synonymous with the country’s literature around the world, including Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje and Farley Mowat.
M&S flourished under still-extant legislation that bans foreign takeovers of Canadian publishers. And while it will continue to publish under its own imprint, its federally approved disappearance as an independent company brings to a head widespread industry concern about the survival of that law and other policies that have historically supported Canadian publishers and authors.
Already a 25-per-cent owner of the company, Random House Canada announced Tuesday that it has taken sole ownership of McClelland & Stewart by acquiring the 75-per-cent share formerly held by the University of Toronto, which acquired it as a donation from former M&S owner Avie Bennett 11 years ago.

Internet porn billionaire to take over Le Monde

The Daily Telegraph reports that Le Monde's journalists' association, the paper's main shareholder, have voted for the daily to be taken over by three French investors who President Nicolas Sarkozy sought to block.
The consortium is made up of Pierre Berge, ex-partner of the late fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent, Lazard banker Matthieu Pigasse and internet tycoon Xavier Niel. Mr Niel made his fortune on internet pornography, chat lines and peep shows.
The trio have promised journalists at the paper a "blocking" vote on future changes and complete editorial independence.
The journalists' association voted 90 per cent in favour of their bid and rejected an offer by a group that includes France Telecom subsidiary Orange, the Nouvel Observateur group and Spain's Prisa, which owns El Pais newspaper. The newspaper is expected to make its final decision on the offer by the end of the month. Le Monde, France's flagship daily, is being crushed by a mountain of debt and put out a call to investors capable of injecting between 80 and 120 million euros to come to its aid.

Postmedia to lobby Ottawa for more foreign investment

The Globe and Mail's Susan Krashinsky reports that Postmedia is lobbying Ottawa to allow more foreign investment in the newspaper industry, a move that would have significant implications for the sector if it were successful. The Globe story says that lobbyist David Angus of the Ottawa firm Capital Hill Group Inc. filed a new registration last month listing Postmedia Network Canada Corp. as a client. The document says Mr. Angus will work on behalf of Postmedia in “seeking to allow foreign investment in Canadian newspapers,” according to the public registry of lobbyists. Postmedia, which publishes the National Post as well as urban daily newspapers, including the Calgary Herald and the Ottawa Citizen, is in the position of needing to find a committed owner in a difficult environment for print media. The company’s current investors, led by New York-based Golden Tree Asset Management LP and other funds, are expected to want to sell their stakes in the company within the next few years. Some, such as RBC Dominion Securities Inc. analyst Drew McReynolds, have speculated that Torstar Corp. could be a potential buyer. But others are not confident a Canadian buyer will emerge offering the right price.

Long-time Globe fashion writer Joyce Carter dies at 81

Long-time Globe and Mail fashion writer Joyce Carter died at her Toronto home on Nov. 3 at the age of 81. Globe obituary here:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Larry Solway, TV and radio broadcaster, dies at 83

 Larry Solway, hose deep booming radio voice brought him fame and sometimes controversy, has died at age 83 of complications arising from bladder cancer. Solway was best known for his days hosting radio and TV talk shows. He acted in film and theatre and had a brief stint in politics. In the 1960s he was at CHUM, hosting talk radio shows like Speak Your Mind, taking thousands of calls from Torontonians a year on all kinds of subjects with all kinds of opinions.He left CHUM in 1970 in a flurry of controversy over a series of explicit sex shows. The next year he wrote a book, The Day I Invented Sex, about the experience. In the 70s, he was a panelist on CBC’s quiz show This Is the Law, and hosted Talkback on CHIC radio in Brampton, Ontario. He dabbled in acting – playing small roles in films such as Meatballs and The Brood.

Public has right to view Cup riot trial proceedings: Vancouver Sun

The Vancouver Sun's Ian Mulgrew writes:
Forget about those courageous crusading prosecutors featured around the world on the Law & Order television franchise.
Here, Crown attorneys are shaking in their boots at even the prospect of appearing on camera if Stanley Cup riot trials are televised. Well, not exactly trembling with fear, according to their spokesman, simply exercising their privacy rights.
"There's no guarantee these images won't be used in a threatening matter in future," Crown Counsel Association president Simiran Lakshman insisted Thursday.
"They will live forever in cyberspace." He added that none of the prosecuting team has given permission to have their image captured and broadcast.
In his opinion, the province's 450 prosecutors have privacy interests that must be respected even though they are well compensated for serving the public in an admittedly not-always-popular role. Today, a senior Crown earns about $178,000 annually and over the next eight years of their contract that will rise to about $198,000. Premier Christy Clark makes $193,000. In my opinion, Crown attorneys who don't want the hassle of being recognized in the grocery store or at the hockey rink should consider career options.
Read more:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Literary Review of Canada celebrates 20 years

The Star reports on the 20th anniversary of the Literary Review of Canada:

"In a brutal modern media industry of ever-shrinking margins and shuttered publications, a small niche magazine has survived 20 years, all with limited newsstand availability and a small cache of loyal subscribers.
The community around The Literary Review of Canada, a non-fiction book review magazine, celebrates two decades in 2012. Many outside that community have wondered how they did it.
“I think it’s this sense of loyalty to the importance of books and ideas, and the sense of that being threatened,” said Helen Walsh, co-publisher of the periodical.."

To read more:

Friday, January 6, 2012

CBC ombudsman says "public cannot accept" Toronto police chief's version of mayor's 911 call

CBC ombudsman Kirk Lapointe claims that the public cannot accept Police Chief Bill Blair’s account of the 911 calls Mayor Rob Ford made after a This Hour Has 22 Minutes comedian surprised him in his driveway. LaPointe, found that the CBC did not violate its journalistic standards in its reporting on Ford’s calls — though he also says he isn’t sure that its stories, which relied on anonymous sources, were correct.

“On one hand, CBC News is a major media organization with a reputation for high-quality investigative and precision journalism as part of its public mission,” LaPointe wrote in a report released Friday. “On the other hand, the chief of police is a major public figure expected to perform impeccable service.

In this matter only one of them is right. It just isn’t clear whom.” Blair’s Oct. 28 statement on the calls should not be considered the definitive final word, LaPointe argued. Blair’s independence, he wrote, was compromised by Ford’s key role in setting the police budget. Police spokespesman Mark Pugash strongly criticized that assertion.

It is “offensive,” Pugash said, for LaPointe to suggest the police budget had any influence on Blair’s statement. “Chief Blair listened to the calls, the CBC did not. Chief Blair’s account is accurate and truthful, he stands by what he said, and Mr. LaPointe’s suggestion that the ongoing budget process makes the chief ‘not a disinterested party’ is completely wrong,” he said. LaPointe wrote that he could not determine whether the CBC’s stories were accurate without access to the tape of the disputed call. Absent that proof, he wrote, “there remain questions about this episode that may never be answered.”

Ford, who has rejected much of the CBC’s account, has the right to release the tape. He has declined to do so.

Criticism of the CBC’s reporting has centred upon a profane comment its reports claimed Ford had made to a police dispatcher on Oct. 24 when he called to ask why officers had not yet responded to his first call. Citing multiple anonymous sources, the reports claimed Ford had said, “You . . . bitches! Don’t you f---ing know? I’m Rob f---ing Ford, the mayor of this city!”

"Boardwalk Empire" bans Sun columnist

Sun columnist Sue-Anne Levy can be over the top sometimes in her columns but, hey, we have freedom of the press here in Toronto even under her friend Rob Ford as mayor. She has written columns critical of the sweetheart deal the previous City administration made with the Boardwalk restaurant down on the lake shore near the Beaches.

The owners were given a 20-year lease for a promise to renovate the charming spot on the argument that franchises must be kept out. Now it turns out they are negotiating with Tim Hortons. Sue-Anne has been critical of the deal and now, the owner, George Foulidis, has sent her a lawyer's letter banning her from the premises.

As Sue-Anne tells it: "By way of a letter from his pricey Prince Arthur Ave. law firm Foulidis has informed me I will no longer be allowed to walk through the doors of his pub/eatery/gin joint — call the establishment on a prime piece of public lakefront land whatever you want. In the Dec. 13 letter to my editor-in-chief James Wallace, lawyer Brian Shiller indicates that I am not only “banned” from the Boardwalk Cafe but if I do drop by, the police will be “notified” and a request made to escort me from the premises and be charged with trespassing. (Note from editor--we would hate to be the cop who gets that call :)) )

"Shiller, the same lawyer who is handling Foulidis’s libel suit against Mayor Rob Ford, suggests I could have been charged under the Trespass to Property Act when I attended the pub on Dec. 3 — conveniently not mentioning that I was there to cover a public meeting about a public lease on public land. . ."

You can read the whole thing here:

Legendary photographer Eve Arnold dies aged 99

Eve Arnold, the U.S. photographer who has died aged 99, was one of a small group of pioneering women who in the middle of the last century, following Dorothea Lange, Margaret Bourke-White and Lee Miller, ignored the conventions of the time and became photojournalists.

Financial Times obit:

German president, newspaper trade blows on whether he tried to prevent publication of a report about a loan

Germany’s president and its biggest-selling newspaper traded blows Thursday over whether he tried to prevent it from publishing a report on a controversial private loan, adding to the embattled head of state’s troubles. President Christian Wulff has faced intense pressure to explain himself since it emerged that he left an angry message Dec. 12 on the voicemail of Bild newspaper’s editor-in-chief Kai Diekmann — the day before the story appeared. Wulff insisted in a television interview Wednesday, in which he repeatedly stressed the importance of transparency, that he hadn’t tried to block the report and had merely asked for it to be delayed a day so that “we could talk about it, so that it could be correct.” But Diekmann expressed “astonishment” about that in a letter Thursday to Wulff. He wrote that Bild had already agreed to a one-day delay on Dec. 11, and that Wulff’s spokesman — whom the president fired just before Christmas without giving reasons — provided and then retracted responses before Wulff called Diekmann. He said Bild wanted to publish the text of the message “in order to clear up misunderstandings regarding the actual motivation and contents of your call” and asked for Wulff’s approval “in the spirit of transparency you have spoken of.”

Former News of the World editor takes the helm at New York Daily News

Colin Myler, the final editor of the News of the World who has been a key figure in the unravelling phone-hacking scandal in the UK, has crossed back over the Atlantic to take the helm of the New York Daily News. Myler's appointment as editor-in-chief of New York's biggest-selling tabloid gives him a chance to wreak revenge on the Murdoch family, with whom he has had strained relations in recent months as the hacking scandal unfolded. Rupert Murdoch, who effectively sacked him when he shut down the News of the World in July 2011, also owns the great rival of the Daily News, the New York Post. Martin Dunn, a former editor of the Daily News, said Myler was "obviously very upset at what transpired at News of the World. This will be a great opportunity for him to take his journalistic skills into battle with the Murdoch family in Rupert's own backyard."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

NYT discovers seminal rule of journalism

Here is a story published in the New York Times that more or less discovers that candidates who do better than expected get more media attention. To which most journalists would say: "And?"  It's an old joke that a dog biting a man isn't news. If the man bites the dog, well that's different. So candidates who are not expected to do well rightly, it seems, get a lot of attention if they surprise us all and win. It would be news if they didn't. As always, we invite comment. .     

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

FP hints Stymeist will chair RIM board

The Financial Post is suggesting that Research in Motion  is preparing to shake up management at the company by appointing Barbara Symiest as Chair of the Board-of Directors. She is already an independent director who joined RIM's board in 2007,  Stymiest was CEO of the Toronto Stock Exchange before moving on to become chief operating officer at the Royal Bank of Canada. . CBC.ca

Italian papers facing shutdown as subsidies end

From the Guardian media blog  the flash that newspapers including Liberazione, a communist daily, L'Unita, the paper founded by Antonio Gramsci, Il Manifesto, an independent left-wing paper  and Avvenire, a popular Catholic daily may face closure because the government must cut off subsidies to them. .It says the bulk of the closures will involve local papers across the country.

Members quit press council, causing it to fold

The Manitoba Press Council has folded after more than a quarter-century of service as a newspaper watchdog. The council announced its demise on Monday, citing a decision by its newspaper members to pull out.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch takes to Twitter

Rupert Murdoch has begun the new year by setting up in a new field of communications -- he's started tweeting. The media mogul, who is recovering from perhaps his most difficult year in the business, is posting on Twitter under the handle rupertmurdoch. Bloomberg Businessweek

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ford tells the Sun that Star story was all wrong

Journalists will be interested in this story as an alternative to the implicit concern expressed in the Toronto Star story (see post below) about a Christmas Day call to 911 from the mayor's home.  It is a very favorable story, of course, but it contains statements said to be fact which might, as the Star put it, "raise questions" Some might find a lot to read between the lines in this quote from an unnamed source:  "In fact, a source close to the investigation told me that while alcohol was an issue none was consumed by the mayor".  See what you think. 

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