Thursday, May 31, 2012

Liberty Media out to control Sirius-XM

Billionaire John Malone's Liberty Media said Thursday that it will convert nearly half of its preferred shares of Sirius XM Radio into common stock and nominate a slate of candidates to the company's board, as part of its ongoing push to take control of the satellite radio company. CBS Money Watch

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Shaw to start Noon News in Toronto.

Shaw will up the ante in the news market by producing a program with somewhat softer stories to contrast with other news at that time.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Star brings Hollywood treatment to City Hall beat

Meaningless but quite amusing caper with Robyn Doolittle apparently inspired by cat burglar films. She may have a future.

Postmedia takes days off in four cities

Ruthless cuts in publication are taking place at Postmedia. The Citiizen, Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald will stop publishing on Sunday. Once again, for the fourth summer in a row, the National Post will take a holiday on Mondays. All reporrted by the Globe and Mail without a trace of Schadenfreude. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Roadkill every 30 minutes on the ones"

Stay with us, we're coming right back with your road kill report after this short break. The Toronto Star might be on to something here as a way of creating neighborhood interest. Map out how your part of the city is doing at accidentally killing raccoons and such with your car.  On the other hand, unless you see it as a way of  "Making Roadkill History" it may not be your cup of tea, so to speak.  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Warrren Buffet Local News 101

In an article in the Catholic Online,  Mr Buffet is quoted as follows: "(Newspapers) only fail when there are dailies competing in the same town, a publication forfeits its position as the primary source of locally important information or the market doesn't have a sense of identity."  It's fun to try to apply this formula to specific papers. Does the Times-Picayune market lack a sense of identity?  This was the Christian Science Monitor's problem  for sure. How about The Rocky Mountain News?  Or was it the failure to be the primary source of local news?  Detroit Free Press? More likely the primary source thing. The element of immediacy in this analysis seems very challenging.  RSMM 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ownership rules bad for papers: Paul Godfrey

Canada’s newspapers are getting a raw deal from outdated government regulations that give foreign-owned competitors an advantage in the fight for digital advertising dollars, says one of Canada’s top newspaper executives.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Romanian weatherman fakes a windstorm

A Romanian TV weatherman has been caught faking a windstorm to juice up his weather report. The reporter was filing a story about heavy winds along the Black Sea coast, which were gusting at more than 60 mph. At least, the winds were blowing that hard before the weatherman began filing his report. But by the time he went live, the winds had apparently had died down. So in an attempt to recreate the stormy conditions, the reporter had a production assistant begin kicking sand in his direction. The reporter then told viewers, "The wind blows with incredible power; there are moments when it is impossible to stand up here. The wind blows the sand at over 60 km per hour. It blew away the beach umbrellas and the tourists had to leave in a hurry." However, the production assistant failed to get out of camera range, meaning that his "special effect" efforts were caught live on camera. And this guy is working for the right station. His boss hasn't reprimanded the pair. Instead, they released a statement claiming the footage "was not doctored" but that the whole affair was nothing more than "a bad joke made by the cameraman." No shame. 

Astral shareholders approve sale to BCE but block premium to founding family

The failure of Astral Media shareholders to endorse a special $25-million premium to company founder Ian Greenberg doesn't constitute a failure, chairman Andre Bureau said Thursday.
Shareholders overwhelmingly approved the $3.4-billion acquisition of the TV, radio and billboard company by telecommunications giant BCE Inc.
But inadequate support from shareholders prompted the company to withdraw a planned vote on the payment to Astral's president and CEO.
Even without the extra payout, Greenberg and his family will receive more than $100 million for their Astral shares.
They will receive $54.83 for each Class B share, compared to $50 available for Class A shares held by the public. BCE is also paying $50 million to get their hands on 65,000 "special shares" held by the family at $769 a piece.

New Orleans paper said to face staff cuts, may cut publication frequency

The New Orleans Times-Picayune, which distinguished itself amid great adversity during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, is about to enact large staff cuts and may cut back its daily print publishing schedule, according to two employees with knowledge of the plans.
Newhouse Newspapers, which owns the Times-Picayune, will apparently be working off a blueprint the company used in Ann Arbor, Mich., where it reduced the frequency of the Ann Arbor News, emphasized the Web site as a primary distributor of news and in the process instituted wholesale layoffs to cut costs.

Piers Morgan accused again on hacking

One of Britain's most respected journalists said on Wednesday that former tabloid newspaper editor Piers Morgan showed him how to hack into phones 10 years ago, the latest twist in a scandal that has so far centered on Rupert Murdoch.
Morgan, now a CNN talk-show host, has consistently denied authorizing phone hacking during his time as editor of the Daily Mirror.
The criminal practice has damaged Murdoch's reputation, led to the closure of his News of the World newspaper and prompted a judicial inquiry into media standards.
On Wednesday, the BBC's Jeremy Paxman told the inquiry that Morgan had boasted to him at a lunch in 2002 about how easy it was to access the voicemail messages of mobile phones.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

White House gave Hollywood filmmaker access to team that killed Bin Laden

The White House made "a planner, operator and commander of SEAL Team Six" that killed Osama bin Laden available to a Hollywood director and screenwriter working on a movie about the successful raid, according to Pentagon and CIA records obtained by the conservative group Judicial Watch.
 The group released hundreds of pages of documents on Tuesday, secured under a Freedom of Information Act request, that it says show transcripts of meetings and communication between government agencies, Kathryn Bigelow, the Academy Award-winning director of "The Hurt Locker," and screenwriter Mark Boal.

Lawsuits and subpoenas add to Facebook IPO fiasco

Facebook Inc. chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg, and several banks led by Morgan Stanley were sued by shareholders, who claimed the defendants hid the social networking leader’s weakened growth forecasts ahead of its $16-billion initial public offering.
The defendants were accused of concealing from investors during the IPO marketing process “a severe and pronounced reduction” in Facebook revenue growth forecasts, resulting from increased use of its app or website through mobile devices. 

Huffington Post gets its first publisher amid broader AOL changes

In his company's most recent earnings call, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said he wanted to restructure the company in a way that made individual content brands within the AOL portfolio more responsible for their businesses.  Today AOL is making a series of changes that seem designed in part to do that, starting with the appointment of Janet Balis as the Huffington Post Media Group's first publisher. She had been senior VP for sales strategy, marketing and partnerships for AOL Advertising since October.

Inventor of wireless TV remote control dies at 96

Eugene Polley, inventor of the first wireless channel changer, a precursor to the remote control that surfers use to navigate the 500-plus channels offered by modern television, has died. He was 96.
Polley died  Sunday at a hospital in Downers Grove, Illinois,  according to Zenith Electronics, where he worked from 1935 to 1982. For years after Polley's Flash-Matic debuted in 1955, it was considered a luxury option. Its ascendancy is tied to the explosion of cable television, said a spokesman for Zenith.

Few new media professionals consider advertising on Facebook effective

A just-released survey by DigiCareers reveals that while Facebook is used by nearly (92%) all New Media Professionals, less than one quarter (23%) believe advertising on Facebook is effective.
"With more than three quarters (77%) of New Media Professionals believing Facebook 'meets a consumer or human need,' Facebook needs to determine how to leverage its communication-centric platform to shift perceptions and deliver higher levels of advertising performance for brands and advertisers," said Mike Carroll, Director of Sales and Marketing for DigiCareers.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chicago police accused of targeting journalists covering anti-Nato protest

A group of independent journalists who were detained at gunpoint while covering the Nato summit believe they may have been intentionally targeted by police.
At least four journalists – including a Getty photographer – were arrested covering the event, and a number of others suffered injuries while working.
While the overall arrest count following the summit was relatively low and some journalists said authorities were accommodating, the treatment of some members of the media has raised concerns.
Late Saturday night Tim Pool, Luke Rudkowski, Geoff Shively and two friends were driving to an apartment where they had been staying in Chicago. The group had spent the day live streaming and documenting anti-Nato protests.
As they approached a stop sign, roughly a dozen police vehicles – marked and unmarked – reportedly surrounded their car with lights flashing. Using their cellphones Pool and Rudkowski activated their live stream feeds.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Facebook shares fall sharply

Shares of Facebook were down around 12 per cent early Monday, their second day of trading on the Nasdaq market, with one analyst suggesting underwriters were too rosy in their estimates of demand for the stock in its IPO last week.
Facebook was trading at $33.75 US, down $4.48 from its close on Friday, the day it went public.
The drop is even more dramatic measured from the company's opening price on Friday. When it started trading publicly around 11:30 a.m. that day, it changed hands at $42.05.
The IPO had been priced at $38.

Marc Strange, creator of CBC hit The Beachcombers, dies of cancer

Marc Strange, writer and actor, best known as the co-creator of the long-running CBC smash-hit drama The Beachcombers, has died of cancer. He was 70 years old.
He was was born on July 24, 1941 in Vankleek Hill, Ont., near Ottawa.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Facebook and Twitter postings cost CFO his job

To his Facebook friends and Twitter followers, Gene Morphis was like the rest of the world, using social media to vent about day-to-day frustrations of his job.
But Mr. Morphis wasn't like most employees. He happened to be an officer of a public company. On Monday, his musings cost him his job.
Mr. Morphis was chief financial officer of fashion retailer Francesca's Holdings Corp. The Houston-based company fired him because he "improperly communicated company information through social media," the company said.

Mr. Morphis has maintained a publicly viewable profile on Facebook, authored a blog called "Morph's View" and maintained a Twitter account under the handle "theoldcfo." Online, he discussed everything from Christmas to college basketball, and occasionally company doings. It was those posts that landed him in trouble.
The company said it launched an internal investigation with the assistance of outside counsel after discovering the activity on Friday afternoon. The company said Mr. Morphis was "terminated for cause."
Mr. Morphis was Francesca's CFO since October 2010, earning a total of $566,720 in 2011 and $1.2 million the prior year. He previously held CFO positions, at David's Bridal and the Rowe Companies, and was listed as being 63 years old in an SEC filing last month.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg marries one day after $104bn IPO

The 28-year-old billionaire's wedding took place a day after Facebook's initial public offering on the Nasdaq stock exchange on Friday.
More than 280,000 people "liked" Mr Zuckerberg's status change, which was accompanied by a photo of the smiling couple in wedding attire in a small, verdant outdoor setting with a string of lights behind them.
In the photo, the famously casual Mr Zuckerberg is wearing a dark blue suit and tie, a departure from his trademark "hoodie," while Ms Chan has on a sleeveless white dress with lace overlay.
The pair wed in an intimate backyard ceremony in Palo Alto, California, according to People magazine.
The couple had planned the exchange of vows for four months, but surprised their guests, who thought they were to celebrate Chan's recent graduation from medical school, the magazine reported.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Facebook suit over subscriber tracking seeks $15 Billion

Facebook, whose shares began trading yesterday, was sued for $15 billion in an amended complaint by subscribers who claim the company invaded their privacy by tracking their Internet use.
In the complaint filed May 17 in federal court in San Jose, California, the plaintiffs say Facebook improperly tracked users even after they logged out. Twenty-one cases making similar claims have been consolidated before the court. The latest filing seeks to proceed on behalf of U.S. residents who subscribed to Facebook from May 2010 to September 2011.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Buffett snaps up 63 newspapers for $142-million

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is making another bet on the newspaper industry, with a deal to buy the majority of Media General Inc.’s  papers for $142-million in cash.
Berkshire will also loan $400-million to the company and provide a $45-million credit line. Media General will issue warrants for approximately 4.6 million Class A shares, representing 19.9 per cent of its existing shares outstanding.
Media General’s shares soared 38 per cent to $4.33 in mid-morning trade, touching their highest level in six weeks. The company had said in February it was exploring the sale of the papers.
The 63 daily and weekly newspapers scattered throughout the U.S. Southeast, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, will be operated under BH Media Group, a new subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Howard Dean fender-bump during phone-in

Former Vermont governor Howard Dean was involved in a fender-bender at a rather improbable moment: in the middle of an interview with a Montreal radio station.  This just in.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Search for Dean for Humber Media Studies

An ad in today's Report on Business announces a search for a Dean for the School of Media Studies at Humber College. This is a position that has been held for many years by William Hanna.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Margaret Wente on journalism non-jobs

Education for unemployment. A lament that J-schools don't produce gainful employment for graduates: "Sociology professors are always complaining that I pick on sociology too much. But really, I could pick on journalism too. Journalism schools have spread like mushrooms in May. Some of them are excellent. They also provide high-quality employment for aging journalists, including some very, very dear friends who, I hope, will think of me some day if I ever get laid off. What these schools do not provide is jobs in journalism. That’s up to the job market, which, you may have noticed, is undergoing an epic tsunami.

I do not know what fraction of journalism students actually wind up in journalism. My impression is: not many. Journalism schools should be made to collect this information and post it prominently on their websites. Of course if they did, a lot of students might choose pharmacy instead.

I’m not saying that those of you who’ve majored in journalism or sociology have wasted your time. What I’m saying is that you’ve been sold a bill of goods". Education for unemployment

Rebekah Brooks to face criminal charge

The once incredibly powerful chief of the Murdoch papers in Britain will be charged with perverting the course of justice in connection with the phone hacking inquiry.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Larry Kramer named publisher of USA Today

Interesting background of this news veteran. Mr. Kramer, 62, has four decades of experience in the media industry, much of it developing online publications. He was founding president of CBS Digital Media and helped create the financial news site, which is now part of News Corp. Earlier, Kramer worked at the San Francisco Examiner and The Washington Post.

BCE hit with lawsuit over pre-pay expiry

BCE Inc, Canada's biggest telecommunications company, faces a C$100 million ($99.8 million) lawsuit challenging the legality of expiration dates for its pre-paid wireless services. Bloomberg News

Time cover a disservice to 3-year-old boy

There is much discussion of breast feeding and the benefits it brings to children who keep at it longer.  What journalists should ponder is the social impact not of breastfeeding but of being displayed on the cover of an international magazine as Time showed him. And it's no good to say this view is prudish.  For this lad one really must wonder whether the nutritional benefits of  breastfeeding will be worth the cruel ridicule he may well face in just a year or two. Got a view? Leave a comment. 

Cabinet secretary says U-K PM too close to media

David Cameron's links with the media were too close, former cabinet secretary Lord O'Donnell has said. The peer - who retired from the key post at the end of last year - said he had tried to ensure ministers worked through the civil service and maintained a distance from the press. The Independent

Ken Gallinger's "subscriptions" article

We twitted Ken Gallinger of the Star over this column in an earlier post. It is now online so he can make his case about paid subscriptions without heckling.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

1923 Leica camera sold for $2 million

The Leica 0-Series camera, which was built in 1923, was sold after a furious bidding war with hopeful buyers placing bids via the phone, the internet and in the auction room itself. Only 25 of the cameras were produced in 1923 as test pieces for the 35mm film market. Only 12 of the cameras are now known to have survived. The Telegraph.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Star thinks "freeloaders" should buy subscription

The Toronto Star's Ken Gallinger has a column in the print edition today extolling the business value and the ethics of subscribing to a newspaper. The business part of the discussion is for the Star. The ethics part is for you, dear reader. Mr. Gallinger begins by referring to a "freeloading reader". This is apparently anyone who reads the Star for free in the Second Cup or wherever else he finds it deposited. The column points out the subscriptions are important because it pays the bills and makes advertising more valuable. Advertisers  don't want the business of freeloaders. But wait a second. It isn't the reader who dumps free papers in every place where people gather for a few minutes. And there's nothing to even suggest that if the free newspapers disappeared that anyone would care. The Star's problem is not that readers are freeloaders or unethical in any way. The Star is just caught in a changing world where there are new ways of consuming news. 

Outside media seeping into N. Korea

Thoughtful piece by Matthew Pennington of the Associated Press on how the outside world is seeping into North Korea. It appears to be a function of omnipresent nearby signals from outside and materials like DVDs that are doing the job. A study has found that nearly half of North Koreans have watched a foreign DVD, the most commonly used type of outside media. About a quarter of people have listened to a foreign radio news broadcast while in North Korea or watched a foreign news station. Nearly one-third of television watchers whose sets were fixed to state-run programming had modified them in order to capture a signal from outside stations detectable along the Chinese and South Korean borders.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Vietnam-era camera giant Horst Faas dead

Well-remembered genius with a camera is dead at 79. Link to the National Post contains a large collection of his most compelling pictures.

Texas reporter fired for stripping sues

Fired for stripping. Reporters used to be given assignments to do things like this.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Globe and Mail readers thrash paying for online content

It is an understateement to say that Globe and Mail readers did not take to the idea of paying for online content. While we have not read all 492 comments, the trend seems to be firmly -- and sometimes viciously -- against. Here are a few samples: 



8:07 PM on May 10, 2012
Oh no!

Now where will I go to read the same Canadian Press articles that every other newspaper in Canada runs mixed in with PMO press releases?

8:07 PM on May 10, 2012
Hey, here's a cost saving idea so that the site can remain free: The G&M should replace all of their staff, starting with their editorial management, with temporary foreign workers and pay them all 15% less than before.

That's all they've been promoting lately; everybody there must think that it's a dandy idea.

8:00 PM on May 10, 2012
Congratulations on your bankruptcy. You will find your web traffic is decimated by this move and any financial gain you receive through the paltry number of subscribers will pale in comparison to the lost adverts currently on the site.

No successful internet site charges for content. those that try soon become pretty unsuccessful. Learn from history, not the accountants.

Globe and Mail seeks cost savings through temporary layoffs

The Globe and Mail told employees this afternoon that it needs 80 employees to volunteer for 3-month layoffs this summer in order to save costs.
If not enough people volunteer, the newspaper will aim to reach that target through involuntary layoffs, according to several Globe and Mail and union sources.
“The company is looking for immediate cost savings and has asked for voluntary temporary layoffs over the summer. The union is hopeful that there will be enough volunteers to meet the company’s needs,” said Sue Andrew, the Globe and Mail unit chair of the Southern Ontario Newspaper Guild. SONG, which is a branch of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union, also represents editorial staff at the Star.
The target figure of 80 employees is company wide, not just in the Globe’s editorial department.
The company said employees applying for the voluntary leave wouldn’t necessarily have their requests granted, and would be open to flexible work agreements such as part-time schedules.
The newspaper also announced that it will  begin charging for online content this fall.

Arnaud Maggs wins $50,000 Scotiabank Photography Award

Veteran Toronto photographer Arnaud Maggs is the winner of the 2012 Scotiabank Photography Award, at $50,000 Canada’s richest photography prize. Maggs, 86, received the honour at a gala Wednesday evening in Toronto, prevailing over two other finalists, Fred Herzog of Vancouver and Montreal’s Alain Paiement.
His Wikipedia biog

Newspapers seek new savings as digital ad sales slow

Print advertising is falling as large national companies reduce their ad budgets and turn to online services, and publishers have worked to develop digital strategies to replace the lost revenue.
 But advertisers have opted to direct more money toward advertising services offered by companies such as Google Inc. and Facebook Inc., which offer advertisers the ability to reach tens of millions of possible customers, albeit in a less targeted way than news agencies.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

No charges against "peering" reporter

Police investigators have “found no evidence” that Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale was on Mayor Rob Ford's property or looked over his fence last week and will not be charging him in connection with his well-publicized confrontation with Rob Ford.
“I closed off the investigation,” Det. Tricia Johnston told Dale in a phone conversation Wednesday afternoon. “There’s nothing left to do.”
“You’re not being charged.”
Police closed the investigation late Wednesday afternoon after they accepted Dale’s offer to allow investigators to view any photos, videos and emails on his BlackBerry, which has been in police custody since the incident took place last Wednesday night

Broadcasters ordered to dial down TV ad volume

Canada’s broadcast regulator has been asking TV providers to turn down the racket in loud commercials, and now it is making that an order. (The Globe and Mail's Susan Krashinsky reports).
On Tuesday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission published changes to some of its regulations that govern the broadcasting industry. Controlling the volume of commercial messages is now part of the rules that the companies that own TV channels, distribution systems such as cable and satellite services, and video-on-demand offerings, must follow. 
 The change to the rules comes after the CRTC gave notice last September, that the TV industry had one year to use international standards to control loudness in ads they put on television. TV companies must have the loudness under control by the start of the fall TV season this coming September.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sun News Network bolstered by $3-million cash boost

Sun News Network received a $3-million investment from its co-owners in the last quarter as losses accelerated at the upstart network, amid struggles to attract the subscriber base needed to woo large advertisers.
The television network’s financial information is reported through TVA Group Inc. Quebecor Inc. subsidiary that owns television and magazines in Quebec. It doesn’t break out the network’s revenue, but said that Sun News was not profitable.

CBC sends 14 executives to Banff festival

A cost-conscious CBC is sending 14 executives to the Banff World Media Festival next month, almost twice the number of delegates going from Bell Media/CTV/Astral (eight), exactly twice that of Shaw Media/Global/Alliance (seven) and almost four times the number (four) being sent by Rogers/Citytv, The Star's Rob Salem reports.
This year’s total of 14, says CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson, is, in light of government cutbacks, about one-third less than the CBC’s usual Banff contingent.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Big launch for Jan Wong's self-published book after publisher bails out

Jan Wong is walking proof that you can't keep a good reporter down. Disowned and fired by the Globe and Mail, her publisher, Doubleday Canada, bailed out on her memoir about her depression so she published it herself. The launch was at the North York public library and she drew an overflow crowd who lined up to buy Out of the Blue. She was interviewed by the CBC's Matt Galloway and screened a video that is available on her website.

Postmedia to shed 25 jobs, signs back up with Canadian Press

Postmedia Network Inc. announced Monday 25 jobs had been slashed after the company decided to shut down its Ottawa-based wire services and sign a contract with The Canadian Press.
Canada’s largest-circulation newspaper chain issued a memo to its staff announcing a “strategic decision” had been made to cut its Ottawa bureau’s breaking news staff — and refocus the bureau on “more fulsome reporting and commentary on national politics.”
About 25 of the 58 employees at Postmedia’s Ottawa bureau were issued layoff notices, according to spokeswoman Phyllise Gelfand. Those layoffs will take effect “over the next few weeks.”
Under the new agreement announced Monday, CP will feed Postmedia’s 10 daily newspapers and with international and breaking news content from both its own wires and the Associated Press.
The move comes just five years after the company, formerly CanWest, cut ties with CP to create its own national and international wire services, based in Ottawa.
“It was the right decision at that time,” the memo said. But “managing and producing commodity news is not a strategic benefit for our business.”

Ottawa insider seen as candidate for CRTC chair

The Globe and Mail reports  industry players believe that veteran public servant Jean-Pierre Blais will be named  to become the new chair if the CRTC. Mr. Blais’s record suggests he would be a relatively cautious hand at the helm of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, telecom industry sources say. 

CBC moves to find tenants for extra space in Toronto headquarters

The CBC has allowed premium office space to sit empty in its downtown Toronto headquarters for years, despite a tight office market that has seen rents climb 60 per cent since the end of the recession.
Commercial real estate brokers in the city estimate the surplus space in the Canadian Broadcasting Centre could be leased for approximately $12-million a year. The broadcaster’s Front Street building was built in 1992, but aside from a short window when it opened it has never been fully occupied.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Jan Wong self-publishes "Out of the Blue," a memoir of workplace depression

 The CBC web page says:
Jan Wong, the reporter who once inspired terror in celebrities with her popular Lunch With columns, has now turned that penetrating eye on herself to tell a harrowing, but sometimes funny, story about her spiral into clinical depression. It led to the loss of her job at the Globe and Mail, where she had spent 20 years as a reporter, but ultimately to renewed health and re-invention.
The book is self-published and chronicles Wong's depression, which started after a controversial article she wrote in 2006 about the Dawson College shootings. She became the target for hate mail and a death threat. The Globe and Mail published an editorial expressing regret for the controversial portion of Wong's article.
The stress was the catalyst, she says, for her clinical depression. She got into a struggle with her newspaper and its insurer over the processing of sick leave benefits. In the end, the newspaper fired her.
Link to the CBC story that includes a Q and A
Jan Wong's book will be launched at the North York Central Library on Monday May 7, at 7 pm. Copies of the book will be for sale at the event.

Interesting roundup of opinions on tablets as newspaper saviors

In a story by Jason Magder, The Gazette presents a variety of  opinions on whether tablets are the next path for newspapers.
"About one-fifth of Americans now own a tablet, so newspapers have rushed to embrace the format, with more resources being poured in to create iPad or Android tablet editions. But will the new newspapers simply become apps? Can tablets alone save the industry?
"Ken Doctor, a former executive with Knight Ridder newspapers, believes tablets can help newspapers transition away from ink and paper. Now an industry analyst, he said tablets have helped to bring about a shift in the mentalities of readers, making it acceptable to pay for news.
"'Kind of by historical coincidence, the tablet came out at the same time newspapers started experimenting with paywalls,' Doctor said."

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Want a less gushy story on Conrad's release? -- take a look

 Mark Sweeney of The Guardian wrote:
Former Daily Telegraph owner Conrad Black has been released from prison in the US after serving about three years for defrauding investors and obstruction of justice.
The 67-year-old Canadian-born British citizen and peer, who famously threw a $42,000 birthday for his wife and is said to have told investors, "I can have a 747 if I want", was released from a low-security federal prison in Miami on Friday.
Black, whose media empire once included the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, Chicago-Sun Times and Jersusalem Post, was immediately taken into custody by US immigration officials and now faces deportation.

AP apologizes for firing journalist who broke embargo on end of WWII

In the second world war's final moments in Europe, Associated Press correspondent Edward Kennedy (pictured) gave his news agency perhaps the biggest scoop in its history. He reported, a full day ahead of the competition, that the Germans had surrendered unconditionally at a former schoolhouse in Reims, France.
For this, AP publicly rebuked him, and then quietly fired him.
The problem: Kennedy had defied military censors to get the story out. The British prime minister, Winston Churchill, and President Harry Truman had agreed to suppress news of the capitulation for a day, in order to allow Stalin to stage a second surrender ceremony in Berlin. Kennedy was also accused of breaking a pledge that he and 16 other journalists had made to keep the surrender a secret for a time, as a condition of being allowed to witness it first hand.
Sixty-seven years later, AP's top executive is apologising for the way the company treated Kennedy.
"It was a terrible day for the AP. It was handled in the worst possible way," said the agency's president and chief executive, Tom Curley.
Kennedy, he said, "did everything just right". Curley rejected the notion that AP had a duty to obey the order to hold the story once it was clear the embargo was for political reasons, rather than to protect the troops.
"Once the war is over, you can't hold back information like that. The world needed to know," he said in an interview.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Black, Amiel share tender moment in garden

Conrad Black and his wife, Barbara Amiel Black, appeared in the garden of their Post Road home this afternoon on Black's homecoming from prison. They smiled, played with the family dogs and then stole a kiss (centre) as news media recorded the tender moment. These pictures are from publicly embeddable video from the CBC which can be seen at this freestanding page.  Also available is the CBC story at length at this address.   

Exclaim's owner is underground we exclaim !#&@

Appearing on restaurant and gelato bar counters in Toronto is Exclaim, seen online varioulys as or in the "What the..." version above. Actually, this is the nameplate of the current issue. It contains a mix of music and entertainment news. Sort of like NOW without the Bolshy politics or the sex acrobats on the back pages. Question is, who owns Exclaim? Many may know this but it is not on the magazine's public radar, even in the microscopic type. The revelation there is that 1059434 Ontario Inc is the big boss. In other small type is an acknowledgement of the Ontario Media Development Corporation (or OMDC, as Exclaims puts it, just to be extra obscure). So some of your money is in there. Not necessarily bad, but really, what is all the shyness about?

Former press baron Conrad Black home from U.S. prison

Conrad Black was released from a Florida prison on Friday and flown to his home in Canada, which has granted a him temporary resident permit despite his criminal record. Black arrived by car at his mansion in Toronto, kissed his wife Barbara Amiel, and walked around the leafy grounds with the couple's two large dogs, with spring flowers blooming in the background.
Black, convicted by a U.S. court of fraud and obstruction of justice, was clearly enjoying his freedom, and the couple acknowledged the photographers and television cameras recording their movements from beyond the fence of their imposing home.
Black, 67, gave up his Canadian citizenship, and with it his automatic right to live in Canada, to become a member of the British House of Lords.
But Canada's Department of Citizenship and Immigration granted him a one-year permit to live in Canada even though his conviction in the United States gave him a criminal record.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

BCE profit jumps 14%, driven by strength in wireless and media divisions

Proof again that there's no substitute for owning everything.

The mayor, the media and the tussle over turf

Globe and Mail on the strange meeting of Rob Ford and Daniel Dale.

Encounter between Mayor Ford and reporter

Make what you will of Star reporter Daniel Dale's encounter with Mayor Ford.  The comments published with the story reveal a wide variety of interpretations

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

CBC issues redundancy notice to senior legal counsel Danny Henry

 Danny Henry, senior legal counsel at CBC and a noted advocate for press freedom in Canada, will be leaving his job with the broadcaster after being issued a redundancy notice, sources tell the Canadian Journalism Project.
Henry will leave the CBC after serving the broadcaster with legal counsel for 34 years.
“Danny has made a tremendous contribution to freedom of expression in this country,” Toronto Star lawyer Bert Bruser said in an email. “This is a very silly thing the CBC has done.”
 During his time at the CBC, Henry has worked on cases that fundamentally changed the media landscape in Canada. One example is the 1994 Dagenais v. CBC Supreme Court decision that gave freedom of the press equal importance as the right to a fair trial.

CNN Lowest-Rated Month In More Than A Decade

According to Deadline Hollywood (link above) it is the poorest April in more than a decade:
"John King USA at 6 PM was down 41% in the 25-54 demo, Erin Burnett Outfront at 7 PM was down 34%, Piers Morgan was down 14% at 9PM, and Anderson Cooper 360 was down 8% at 8 PM and 28% at 10PM. In primetime, CNN had its lowest rated month in nearly two years, since August 2010, in both total viewers (508,000, down 16% from last year) and adults 25-54 (149,000, down 22%). Meanwhile FNC (1.9 million, 395,000 in 25-54) was flat in total viewers from last April and down 9% in 25-54. MSNBC (754,000; 236,000) was down 5% and 9%, respectively."

Genies and Geminis to be combined

After years of being lobbied by the entertainment industry to merge the Genie and Gemini awards, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television announced yesterday it will combine the two into one gala event that will air next March.
“It’s all about creating a better show that commands attention,” says ACCT chief executive Helga Stephenson. “It’s about making a show that reflects the national and international success of the indigenous film and television sectors. We have this huge industry that needs a bigger platform to showcase our talent,” adds Stephenson, who had been the academy’s interim CEO before taking on the job full-time on Tuesday.

Walrus, ROB lead magazine nominations

The Walrus has a leading 34 nominations heading into this year's National Magazine Awards, which are celebrating their 35th anniversary.
A team of 228 judges considered nearly 2,000 submissions across 45 categories before narrowing down the pack to 362 contenders from 81 publications.
The three finalists for print magazine of the year are Maisonneuve, Outdoor Canada and Sportsnet, while The Grid, Today's Parent and Toronto Life are competing for best digital magazine. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Phone-hacking panel slams Rupert Murdoch as unfit

Rupert Murdoch should take responsibility for the phone-hacking scandal that shook News Corp. and is unfit to lead the company, says a report from a British parliamentary panel.
The British Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport committee accused Murdoch's company of covering up evidence and misleading Parliament about the scale of phone hacking at one of its tabloids, and said it doubted Murdoch's protestations that he was unaware that hacking was widespread at the now closed News of the World.
If that were the case, "he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies," the report by the panel of 11 lawmakers said.
"We conclude, therefore, that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company."
 The report went on to roast the company's directors — including the 81-year-old media tycoon and his son James — for their lack of leadership.

Conrad Black to be allowed back into Canada after prison release

Conrad Black will be returning to Canada upon his release from a Florida prison later this week, sources confirmed Tuesday.
The Montreal-born former press baron who has been serving time in a Miami-based penitentiary on one count of fraud and obstruction of justice, has secured a temporary resident permit from Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration department allowing him to remain in the country for up to a year.
“He was granted the permit,” confirmed a source familiar with events who asked not to be named. However, no one in Lord Black’s camp will confirm details of when he will return to Canada, or how.
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, asked about Lord Black in Parliament, said it was a private matter about which he could not comment. But he said he had given instructions that public servants would decide on Lord Black’s application independently of any input from him or his office.
Link to NatPost story

CBC not renewing Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune

Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, two popular U.S. game shows, will not be returning to the CBC primetime lineup in the fall of 2012.
But “Corrie” fans rest reassured: the U.K.’s beloved kitchen sink drama, Coronation Street — almost 52 years old and still going strong — is staying put.
Christine Wilson, the CBC’s director of content planning, confirmed the embattled network — facing cuts in federal funding that will rise to 10 per cent by 2014 — has decided to drop the shows from its schedule.
“Neither Jeopardy! nor Wheel of Fortune are going to be returning to our schedule. The licence fees on those programs were . . . relatively expensive,” Wilson told the Star.
Both shows began airing on CBC in the fall of 2008, reportedly costing as much as $20 million annually in broadcast licence fees, a figure a CBC spokesperson would not confirm.

CBC’s Scott Oake shares story of his son’s fatal addiction

Known to millions as the host of Hockey Night in Canada, Scott Oake has been keeping something quiet for more than a year now: the loss of his eldest son Bruce to a fatal spiral of addiction.
Thirteen months ago, Bruce died in Calgary of an accidental drug overdose at the age of 25. After a brief leave to grieve, the CBC sportscaster returned to the broadcast booth to complete the 2011 playoffs and 2011-12 regular season. But the pain remains.
Link to Bruce Dowbiggin's story 

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