Saturday, June 30, 2012

Catholic television pioneer may be headed for sainthood

Televangelist Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is one step closer to becoming the first American-born man -- and the first Emmy-winner -- to be canonized a saint, after Pope Benedict XVI declared him "venerable" last week. That means he lived a life of "heroic virtue" and can be considered for beatification and canonization. A claim of a miracle for beatification is already pending at the Vatican. It involves a stillborn baby who was revived an hour later. But as a back-up, Ven. Archbishop Sheen's advocates have a case involving a newborn that was documented in Pittsburgh. Canonization is a formal declaration by the Catholic church that someone lived an exemplary life and is in heaven, able to pray for those still on Earth. Archbishop Sheen, was born in Illinois in 1895 and died in 1979.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Craig Oliver, Chantal Hébert, Ralph Klein named to Order of Canada

Craig Oliver, Chantal Hébert and one-time reporter Ralph Klein are among the appointees as Officers of the Order of Canada.
CBC story on all of the appointments

Senator Patrick Brazeau picks fight with APTN reporter over story about sexual harassment allegations

Senator Patrick Brazeau, in the news this week for calling a parliamentary reporter a bitch, launched another Twitter attack on a journalist on Thursday, this time over a story about allegations of sexual harassment.
Subsequently, Brazeau took his twitter account offline.
The APTN national news story references a lawsuit in federal court between Mr. Brazeau and a former junior staffer at the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, who alleges the Conservative senator, at the time the Congress’ national chief, sexually harassed her when he was drunk.
Alisa Lombard, the complainant, alleges her boss tried to kiss her after a drunken Christmas party. Her cell phone later received 15 missed calls she feared were from Mr. Brazeau.
According to the story, the Canadian Human Rights Commission decided not to hear Ms. Lombard’s complaint because the Congress isn’t within its jurisdiction. Ms. Lombard wants the Federal Court to overturn that decision.
Angry about the story’s contents, Mr. Brazeau criticized reporter Jorge Barrera about it on Twitter.

Elliot Lake city staff call police after reporter tries to request Algo Centre Mall documents

A reporter who tried to file a Freedom of Information request for documents related to the Algo Centre Mall at Elliot Lake City Hall on Friday was told to leave the building immediately.
When Global News reporter Jennifer Tryon asked why, staff at the city hall in northeast Ontario called the police.
“Tried to file an Freedom of Information request at #Elliot Lake city hall, was told “leave immediately,”" Ms. Tryon wrote on Twitter.  “I asked why, they called the OPP.”
City clerks felt “somewhat intimidated by the insistent nature of the request being made,” Ontario Provincial Police Constable Marc Despatie told the National Post.
“They decided to call the police and we’re duty-bound to respond.”
Shortly after the incident, the city of Elliot Lake issued a two-line statement that said any documents related to Algo Centre Mall “are now part of ongoing investigations.”
“The City is providing these documents to investigators,” the statement said.
Even though documents related to the mall investigation have been turned over to the OPP, members of the public can still make Freedom of Information requests, Const. Despatie said.
Const. Despatie, who responded to the incident, said he explained to one of the clerks the situation didn’t necessarily warrant an emergency call to police.

Vancouver Province buckles on video after Enbridge complains: cartoonist

The Vancouver Province pulled a video satirizing Enbridge's claims about its Northern Gateway pipeline off its website after the company threatened to pull advertising, says the cartoonist who created the animation.
But the paper's editor-in-chief denies the company complained or made any threats.
Dan Murphy, who draws editorial cartoons and creates videos for the newspaper's website, said he learned of the threat from a newsroom supervisor shortly after the video was posted on the Province's site Friday morning.
"Enbridge was going to pull a million dollars worth of advertising if it (didn't) come down," Murphy said.

Canada’s telecom giants face $18-billion class action suit over system access fees

An old fee that’s made untold millions for the country’s big cellphone providers may now end up costing them billions, while wireless users everywhere could find a few bucks put back in their pocket.
The Supreme Court of Canada refused Thursday an appeal by Rogers Communications Inc., BCE’s Bell Mobility and Telus Corp. and others, who were asking the top court to throw out a case over controversial “system access fees.”
The decision means a class-action suit originally filed in a Saskatchewan court in 2004 can proceed — with 30,000 people already having joined the case, according to lawyer Tony Merchant.
 For years, mobile providers charged subscribers up to $9 a month for “access” to their network. The fees, sometimes labeled as administration costs, were charged on top of monthly usage rates.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

CNN seared for instant mistakes on Obamacare

(CBS News) The Supreme Court ruled today to uphold the individual mandate portion of President Obama's Affordable Care Act. All media outlets were sharply focused on the historic decision and attempts to satisfy appetites for instant news brought a string of mistakes in on-air and online reporting. CBS News

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Vote to split Fox from print at News Corp

The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by News Corp. says tonight that its parent will hold a vote of the board Wednesday on whether to split the corporation into two subsidiaries -- television/film and print. The scheme has been discussed before but today there was a fever in the market as word of a vote was at hand. Shares jumped more than eight percent. 

Reimbursed for having to share seat with corpse

A Swedish reporter has been reimbursed by Kenyan Airways for having to sit beside a dead person during part of the flight from Amsterdam to Tanzania. In the beginning, her seat mate was clearly in rough state but still alive, said Lena Pettersson, a reporter for Swedish State Radio. There was quite a scene apparently as the man out and out died, an unfortunate incident which caused the airline to return about half of Ms Pettersson's fare. It gives a whole new meaning to deadheading. The airline did not ask for credit on the story, which might have been worth something. 

Postmedia sells Don Mills HQ for $24 million

Postmedia Network  said today it has agreed to sell its Toronto head office for $24-million, money it will use to pay down its debt. The property at 1450 Don Mills Rd. is home to Postmedia corporate headquarters and the National Post. The sale to property developer Rose and Thistle Group Ltd. is conditional on Postmedia leasing another property within 30 days.

Star writer Paul Hunter joins Leafs wall of fame

Paul Hunter is recognized by his peers for more than 20 years of Leafs’ coverage, Toronto Star.

Media gains fresh interest in Elliot Lake

The collapse of the roof at the Algo Mall on Saturday afternoon appears to have been of only passing interest to the international media. As word of trapped survivors came, interest increased.  Today, with the passage of time and the dramatic questions about the rescue effort, interest is widespread with many television services arranging live reports from Elliot Lake.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bell/CTV walk away from Olympic talks

With huge losses still left over from CTV's business fiasco at the 2010 Vancouver games, the consortium of Bell Media and the CBC say they have walked away from negotiations to land the 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games. National Post. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

How much Aaron Sorkin is too much?

Star writer notes the opininated speechifying we have come to frequently ignore. That is, stuff you just don't hear in a real newsroom.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

CP24 wins breaking news award

CP24 has won the Gord Sinclair Award for Live Special Event coverage during the annual Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) awards gala in Halifax Saturday night. The award was given for the station's work the last municipal election in Toronto. CP24.

Tongue-in cheek news from David Frum

News exports are tanking, conservative thinker contends  Linked to the National Post.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sun Media closes Montreal Mirror freebie

Sun Media announces its English language free newspaper the Montreal Mirror will stop publishing with the current issue. Sun places blame on the growing popularity of digital news.

Canadian Civil Liberties Awards

Civil Liberties Awards given.

Citytv -- Everywhere including Saskatchewan

Rogers Media has received approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to acquire Saskatchewan Communications Network. The deal is expected to close later this month, with Citytv Saskatchewan to launch on July 1. Citytv Saskatchewan marks the first official expansion for the brand in recent years, as Citytv moves towards a national footprint for its premium programming. As previously announced, Citytv will be expanding to the Montreal market, pending regulatory approval, and Citytv programming recently became available long-term in three key markets in Western Canada – Kamloops, B.C., Prince George, B.C., and Medicine Hat, AB. Broadcaster

Petition supports Manitoba's only French newspaper

More than 3,000 Canadians have signed a petition asking Heritage Minister James Moore to restore a subsidy for Manitoba's only French-language newspaper.
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair tabled the petition in the House of Commons Wednesday. It calls on Moore to correct a new formula for the Canadian Periodical Fund, which inadvertently reduces the subsidy La Liberté receives by $50,000 to $60,000 a year.
The Old St. Boniface Residents' Association collected the signatures over the last two weeks.
The issue has arisen because Ottawa decided in 2010 to replace the old Publications Assistance Program with the Canadian Periodical Fund. The program helps magazines and non-daily newspapers.
The new formula bases the subsidy on total subscriptions while the old one based it on the number sent by mail.
La Liberté sends the vast majority of its 6,000 subscriptions through Canada Post.
In 2009, the last year of the PAP, La Liberté received $110,000. In 2011, during the transition period to the CPF, the paper received $120,000. This year it will receive $100,000 and in 2013 it will drop to $60,000.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Paula Todd tracks down Karla Homolka in the Caribbean; publishes an e-book

A new e-book says Karla Homolka is now a mother of three living in the Caribbean.
The publishers of Finding Karla say the 46-page book by journalist Paula Todd details Homolka’s new life as a wife and mother.
A news release about the book says Todd, following an obscure lead, boarded a plane to the island of Guadeloupe this spring.
More from the NatPost

Rogers applies to bring MLB Network channel to Canada

Rogers Communications Inc., corporate parent of the Toronto Blue Jays, has applied to the CRTC to bring the MLB Network baseball channel to Canada.
In its application to the federal broadcast regulator, the company says the new channel would complement the games already broadcast in Canada, akin to what the NFL Network does for football games.
“We believe the uniqueness of the MLB Network service, with its attractive and unique programming, will respond to consumer demand and help drive additional analog customers to our digital platform,”
Rogers said in its application. The cable company also said it is already competing with unregulated online services that broadcast baseball games.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ben Mulroney gets weekend gig with Good Morning America

Ben Mulroney will juggle his etalk duties with a new on-air role on the weekend edition of ABC’s Good Morning America.

Since launching his TV career as an entertainment reporter on Canada AM in 2001, Mulroney has earned a reputation as a smooth-talking host with good hair. The GMA announcement follows Mulroney’s two recent stints as co-host of the popular syndicated morning talk show Live! with Kelly Ripa.
Born in Montreal and raised in Ottawa, the son of former prime minister Brian Mulroney will make his debut on the New York-based program this Saturday and Sunday morning, filling in for regular anchor Dan Harris.

The coming boom in ghost writing: Barbara Kay

NatPost columnist sees new opportunities for some of those j-school grads the universities are cranking out into a zero job market. Excerpt:
"My cousin and sister predate the Boomer generation by a few years, but it occurs to me that as successful Boomers start retiring, the next big thing in publishing may be a tsunami of amateur memoir writing. Call them Boomoirs. . . .
"That’s good news for young journalists, struggling to establish a sustainable beachhead in our profession’s economically straitened times. Who’s a demanding Boomer with high standards but no writing experience gonna call when he has a story to tell? Ghostwriters! (Cue theme song.) . .
(Interesting thought but we are not sure it's a chore for j-school grads, However, we know a few "retired" scribes who have taken this up as a post-employment career.)

Newspaper photographer says Alec Baldwin hit him outside marriage license bureau in NYC

A newspaper photographer filed a complaint with police on Tuesday accusing actor Alex Baldwin of punching him outside a marriage license bureau.
No charges had been filed, and the actor vehemently denied throwing any punches.
Daily News photographer Marcus Santos said that Baldwin became enraged as he and other photographers were snapping pictures of the 54-year-old actor and his fiancee, Hilaria Thomas, outside the lower Manhattan office where marriage licenses are obtained.
Santos told the newspaper, "I knew he was going to attack me. I stepped back, and he kept coming." He claimed the actor shoved him before punching him "one time, right in the chin."
A statement on Tuesday from Baldwin's publicist accused the photographer of being the aggressor.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Malcolm Kirk named president of The Canadian Press

 Malcolm Kirk, formerly executive vice-president of digital media with Postmedia Network Inc., has been appointed president of the Canadian Press, the news agency announced.
Kirk – a veteran of newspaper front offices in Vancouver, Calgary and San Francisco – replaces Jim Jennings and Neil Campbell, the co-architects of a strategic review last year that culminated in their being named co-presidents last September. 
Mr. Jennings and Mr. Campbell joined the troubled news service as emissaries of a new ownership group that includes the parent companies of The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and Montreal’s La Presse newspapers.
The pair presided over a broad restructuring that brought with it staff reductions and a thorough search for new sources of revenue – as well as the return in May of Postmedia’s stable of newspapers after a five-year absence.

Sarah Hampson interviews Dan Rather

Globe columnist Sarah Hampson interviews Dan Rather who is in Toronto to talk about his new memoir, Rather Outspoken, My Life in News.
"The most detailed reporting in the book focuses on how he was 'pushed out' of CBS News in 2006 and the subsequent lawsuit he filed against the corporation," she writes.
The column.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Newspaper for British expats hopes to make mark in Canada

Vancouverites Matthew Millar and Alexandria Mitchell are launching of a national British newspaper in Canada that aims to tap into the country’s British expats and countless anglophiles.
The couple have licensed the publishing rights to a Canadian edition of the 30-year-old California-based Union Jack and are celebrating their first print run this month.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Facebook to pay $10 million to settle users’ lawsuit

Facebook Inc. has agreed to pay $10 million to charity to settle a lawsuit that accused the site of violating users’ rights to control the use of their own names, photographs and likenesses, according to court documents made public over the weekend.
The lawsuit, brought by five Facebook members, alleged the social networking site violated California law by publicizing users’ “likes” of certain advertisers on its “Sponsored Stories” feature without paying them or giving them a way to opt out, the documents said.
A “Sponsored Story” is an advertisement that appears on a member’s Facebook page and generally consists of another friend’s name, profile picture and an assertion that the person “likes” the advertiser.
The settlement was reached last month but made public this weekend. Facebook declined to comment on Saturday.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Reporter heckles Obama in rare White House disruption

A reporter caused an unusual disruption at the White House on Friday when he interrupted President Barack Obama mid-sentence while making a statement, challenging his decision to give young illegal immigrants a chance to stay in the United States.
“Why do you favor foreigners over American workers?” the man, who later identified himself as Neil Munro from The Daily Caller website, yelled out from among the reporters listening to Obama’s remarks in the White House Rose Garden, which were televised live.
Obama, clearly irritated by the disruption, stopped reading from his statement and said, “It’s not time for questions, sir.” Munro later interrupted him again, causing Obama to say: “I didn’t ask for an argument. I’m answering your question.” 
The Daily Caller was founded by Carlson, a conservative commentator, and Neil Patel, who was an adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Humber + U of Guelph looking for a web page jockey

Humber and the University of Guelph looking for Web Communications Specialist for their joint web page.

With Jack Layton biopic CBC prvides ammo for its haters

As Scott Stinson at the NatPost notes:
"The CBC has commissioned a Jack Layton biopic. For the segment of the Canadian population that loves to accuse the public broadcaster of a liberal bias, Smilin’ Jack: The Jack Layton Story is a giant ball of catnip.
"A laudatory film about the late NDP leader? Outrage! Taxpayer dollars! Why not Irish Eyes: The Brian Mulroney Story or Shawinigan Handshake: The Jean Chrétien Story or Sweater Vest: The Stephen Harper Story?
"And, really, in announcing the biopic this week, the broadcaster left itself open to a bit of ridicule with a description of Mr. Layton that would not have been at all out of place at last spring’s NDP convention. It said Mr. Layton became “one of this country’s most treasured federal politicians” and it referred to him and his wife as “a beloved political power couple.”
“'Above all,' the press release concluded, 'SMILIN’ JACK’ is the touching story of a man who reached the hearts of many Canadians, and fought for rights that would ultimately change the face of this country.”

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Freed Israeli soldier a new sportswriter

Covering tonight’s second game of the NBA finals in Oklahoma City will be a first-time sports columnist and by all accounts a basketball fanatic: former Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who spent five years in captivity in Hamas-controlled Gaza.  Globa and Mail

Star is said to be "taking a look at paywalls"

The Globe and Mail reviews the Toronto Star's current view of the world by way of those who analyze  business. It says the Star is taking "a closer look at digital paywalls" but has ruled out buying other newspapers in an attempt to consolidate the market despite “a growing urgency” to work with competitors to cut costs.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Times Colonist wins prestigious Michener Award

Victoria paper exposed how hard up people were required to move into even less hospitable homes. Toronto Star's Kevin Donovan won a Citation of Merit for the ORNGE expose.

Monday, June 11, 2012

TV story-teller Glenn Cochrane dead at 84

Glenn Cochrane, the consummate newsman,  humorist and story-teller has died in Toronto at the age of 84.  A memo issued by Paul Rogers, head of CTV's Toronto News, told the word: "I’m very sorry to report that our former colleague Glenn Cochrane passed away last night at Toronto East General Hospital. I’m sure those of you who worked with Glenn will agree that he was one of a kind ; a great story-teller and so much fun to work with. For many years, our newscast ended with a signature Glenn Cochrane story, designed to leave the viewers smiling. Glenn retired 19 years ago, but I don’t think a week goes by that someone in the newsroom doesn’t bring up his name and reminisce about one of Glenn’s stories, or practical jokes. Our thoughts and condolences go out to Glenn’s wife Jean. I will pass along funeral information when it becomes available."  Glenn began and finished his 25-year television career at CFTO-TV Limited  His keen sense of fun and informed views endeared him to a generation of the many millions of people who followed CFTO's World Beat News and Night Beat News. On his retirement, the station presented special coverage of Glenn's time on the air. When asked why CFTO was making such a fuss about his retirement, Glenn tickled his audience by saying: "I guess they want to mske sure I don't come back." Publisher's notes on Glenn record that he previously had a long career as a journalist in Toronto and the surrounding area with the Hamilton Spectator and Canadian Press before joining CFTO-TV. Glenn was named Beaches Citizen of the Year in 2001, and has received many other honours, including an Award of Merit from Heritage Toronto for his book Glenn Cochrane’s Toronto.

Auto Trader ceases publication

Declining sales have caused owner Trade Corp. to cease publication of its flagship car advertising magazine, Auto Trader. The magazine has been published from coast-to-coast since the 70s.  It's been decided that printing should stop and  readers are being referred to an online site  Globe and Mail. .  

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Aaron Sorkin's "Newsroom" reviewed

If it matters that make-believe news people engage in quick witted dialogue and earnest lectures, take a read. Hollywood Reporter 

Worhington reviews complex case of Jan Wong

Appearing in the Huffington Post under a byline with the seldom-acknowledged credit of Co-founder of the Toronto Sun, Peter Worthington is understannding of Jan Wong's illness. He also recounts the bare knuckles nature of her  labours, both journalistic and otherwise.

Babstock wins poetry prize but dumps on the craft

He wins $65,000 prize for collection of poems but prefers that his son "get a real job".  CP video.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Jean-Pierre Blais new head of CRTC

Jean-Pierre Blais has been appointed chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the Prime Minister's Office announced on Friday. The appointment takes effect June 18 and is for five years.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Murray Whyte, Michael Valpy, Peter Kuitenbrower, CBC's "The Current" among journalism prize winners

Murray Whyte, Toronto Star’s visual arts writer, has won a prestigious journalism fellowship from Massey College.
Whyte was awarded the Kierans-Janigan Fellowship at the 15th annual Canadian Journalism Foundation awards gala in Toronto Thursday evening. It is one of six William Southam Journalism Fellowships handed out Thursday for a year of post-secondary study at the University of Toronto.
The Kierans-Janigan award is funded in honour of one of Canada’s greatest arts journalists, the late Val Ross of the Globe and Mail.
CBC Radio One’s The Current won the Excellence in Journalism award in the large media category.
This year’s Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy, worth up to $100,000 and sponsored by the Atkinson Charitable Foundation, the Toronto Star and the Honderich family, was awarded to Michael Valpy, former longtime Globe and Mail writer and columnist.
Peter Kuitenbrouwer, Toronto columnist at the National Post, received the Webster/McConnell Fellowship, named after two Montreal-based foundations.
 CBC Radio One’s The Current won the 2012 Canadian Journalism Foundation Excellence in Journalism Award in the large media category,

Walrus, The Grid, Maclean's score in Magazine Awards

Anyone read these?
Here is a list of winners

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Google deploying planes over cities for 3D maps

Google Inc is deploying a fleet of small, camera-equipped airplanes above several cities, the Internet search company's latest step in its ambitious and sometimes controversial plan to create a digital map of the world.
Google plans to release the first three-dimensional maps for several cities by the end of the year, the company said at a news conference at its San Francisco offices on Wednesday.
Google declined to name the cities, but it showed a demonstration of a 3D map of San Francisco, in which a user can navigate around an aerial view of the city.

Digital revenue at U.S. newspapers stalling

Digital advertising revenue at U.S. newspapers rose just one percent from a year ago, the fifth consecutive quarter that growth has declined, according to the Newspaper Association of America.
A flood of excess advertising space, the rise of electronic advertising exchanges that sell ads at cut-rate prices, and the weak U.S. economy are all contributing to the slowdown, publishing executives and observers say.
For an industry savaged by the erosion of print advertising dollars, significantly boosting digital revenue is necessary for survival. But the double-digit online growth rates that many newspapers used to enjoy -- and on which their hopes for a prosperous future rest -- could be a thing of the past.
At the New York Times Co digital ad revenue at its news sites, including and, fell 2.3 percent to $48.5 million in the first quarter from a year earlier. At the Washington Post Co, the decline was even worse, with revenue dropping 7 percent to $24.2 million, mainly at the website of its namesake newspaper and online magazine Slate.

Toronto Star has new managing editor

Toronto Star news editor Jane Davenport has been appointed managing editor of the paper, the newspaper announced.
Davenport, 36, has been running the Star’s night news desk for the past two years. She replaces Joe Hall, who is retiring after a 37-year career at the Star, including 13 years as managing editor.
Davenport joined the Star in 2008 as deputy national editor. She was appointed to the position of news editor in 2010. Prior to joining the Star, she was national editor and assistant city editor at the Gazette in Montreal, Sunday and weeklies editor at the Halifax Daily News and managing editor of Metro in Halifax.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ray Bradbury dead at 91

Ray Bradbury, one of the world’s best-known and best loved science fiction writers, has died at the age of 91.
Bradbury, the author of such acclaimed works at Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, died earlier today in Los Angeles, his biographer and family have confirmed.

Labatt learns silence is golden

The Globe and Mail's Susan Krashinsky reports on Labatt's hamhanded effort to "protect its brand" when newspapers posted an image of accused killer Luka Magnotta drinking its beer.

"Brands need to think carefully about when they use their lawyers to handle a matter such as this and when they turn instead to their public relations team, said Janice Mandel, president of Toronto-based String Communications and former head of corporate affairs for Procter & Gamble Canada.
“'For PR and law to work effectively together, it is helpful for lawyers to understand how a story can gather steam, whether it's in the media, or on Twitter or Facebook – particularly as an issue or crisis is unfolding,'” Ms. Mandel said.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Barbara Walters apologizes for conflict of interest in helping Syrian president's aide

Barbara Walters has apologized for a conflict of interest in trying to further the career of an aide to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

Britain’s Daily Telegraph reports that Ms. Walters tried to help Sheherazad Jaafari, 22, the daughter of Syria’s UN ambassador and a top press aide to  Assad.
The paper says she attempted to secure Ms. Jaafari a place at New York’s Columbia School of Journalism as well as an internship with Piers Morgan’s CNN program.
Ms. Walters and Ms. Jaafari first came into contact when the broadcaster was trying to get an interview with Mr. Assad, said The Telegraph. Ms. Jaafari helped prepare Mr. Assad for the interview.

Labatt's backs off threatened suit over alleged killer's beer photo

Labatt's backtracked Tuesday on a fight to get a photo of Luka Rocco Magnotta holding its beer off a newspaper's website, but not before becoming the butt of morbid social media jokes.

The brewer sent a letter to the Montreal Gazette on Monday, asking the paper to remove from its website a photo it found "highly denigrating" to its brand.
Karyn Sullivan, a lawyer for Labatt, wrote in the letter that the company was "disturbed" the Gazette had not removed the photo -- taken from Magnotta's Facebook page -- of the alleged killer holding a bottle of Labatt Blue, despite several prior requests from Labatt.
"We will continue to look into all options available to ensure removal of this image, including all legal avenues if required," Sullivan wrote.
"Nevertheless, we hope that a publication such as the Montreal Gazette would understand that this matter is of utmost importance to our company, and, given the number of other options available not containing a brand image, would remove the image of its own volition."
The Gazette said it would not take the photo down, as it is not in the habit of altering or censoring photos unless legally required to do so, for example in the case of a victim of sexual assault.
"Our editorial decisions are governed by what is newsworthy and what is in the public interest and it's not dictated by commercial considerations," Gazette lawyer Mark Bantey said.
Labatt backed off Tuesday, with the vice-president of corporate affairs saying the company won't be pursuing the issue.

Magnum photog Raymond Depardon chosen to shoot official portrait of new French president

The choice of a photographer to shoot an official portrait of a new president is a bit on an event in France. Francois Hollande, elected last month, chose documentary photographer and film maker Raymond Depardon who works for the prestigious Magnum agency.
Depardon, who is 70, photographed the president in the garden of the Elysee palace. The photo will be displayed in government offices throughout France.
Much to the annoyance of online photo forums, Hollande's office declined to reveal any technical details of the shoot, such as what cameras were used.
The event was deemed newsworthy enough to be covered by other journalists, including television cameras.
Here is a sequence from the shoot

Four men given 12-year terms for plot against Danish newspaper

Four men were each handed 12-year prison terms Monday by a Danish court for plotting an attack on a Danish newspaper that published controversial caricatures of prophet Mohammed. The four were arrested in December 2010 in a joint operation by Danish and Swedish police. All four lived in Sweden; three were Swedish nationals, one was Tunisian. The prosecution said the plot was linked to the caricatures of the prophet published in 2005 by the Jyllands-Posten. One of the 12 cartoons depicted Mohammed with a bomb in his turban.

BBC replaces hosts of Jubillee coverage following critcism

The Daily Telegraph thundered:
Finally! BBC replace disastrous presenting team with Huw Edwards and Simon Schama to give Diamond Jubilee coverage the gravitas it deserves
  • Viewers described Huw Edwards as 'a broadcaster showing the respect and knowledge of the event'
  • ...But then Fearne Cotton asks Paloma Faith about Jubilee sick bags in cringeworthy interview this afternoon
  • Matt Baker, heavily criticised for Thames pageant coverage, did not feature in today's broadcast
  • BBC executive Ben Weston, who is in charge of the coverage, blamed the weather for the standard of the coverage
  • Stephen Fry suggested after Sunday's broadcast it was the 'most mind-numbingly tedious' programme in the BBC's history -- Read all about it!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Former ‘Family Feud’ host Dawson dies

Richard Dawson, an actor and TV host best known for his work on the game show “Family Feud” and sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes,” has died from complications of esophageal cancer. He was 79.
The British-born actor died on Saturday at Ronald Reagan Memorial hospital in Los Angeles, his son Gary Dawson said on Sunday.
Dawson appeared on numerous TV shows in the 1960s, but it was his job as the emcee of “Family Feud” where his wit and charm served him best as he helped make the program a big hit of the 1970s.

Newspapers the soul of small towns

A bit of nostalgia (mixed with self-promotion) from the Sun's Mark Bonokoski.
Click to read

Sunday, June 3, 2012

French president's mate renews her contract with Paris Match

Freench media report that Valerie Trierweiler, the companion of newly-elected French president Francois Hollande, has renewed her contract with the magazine Paris Match where she has worked for 22 years.
The journalist and the French president are not married but live together. She will write a column on cultural subjects twice a month.
 "I do not have a personal fortune but I do not consider that a handicap,"she told and interviewer last month. "On the contrary. I need to make a living. I have three children. My financial independence, like for millions of French women, is a concrete reality and a priority."

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Toronto Star goes retro for a two-page prom shoot

The very talented Toronto Star photog Lucas Oleniuk was assigned to shoot a high school prom with a Polaroid camera. He dug up some Polaroid film that expired in 2007 but it was no longer usable. He switched the assignment to film, using a 4x5 camera.
 The results are nice but one has to wonder whether the same thing could not have been done with a digital camera. Do photo editors and papers try too hard to be retro?

Correction in Saturday's Globe and Mail

'A photo caption in last Saturday's book section pages incorrectly identified Carl Oberg as Heinrich Himmler."

(Seems they can't keep their Nazis straight-ed)

Alternative media forms vying for TV audience: Nielsen

Alternative forms of media are vying for the audiences and advertising revenue that the Television Broadcasting industry traditionally won over. According to industry survey firm Nielsen, about 97.0% of households will own a television in 2012, which is down from 99.0% of households in 2011. In addition, industry participants are demanding that companies pay broadcasters a fee for retransmitting their programming in response to a consumer shift to cable services (which 90.0% of households with televisions subscribe to, according to Nielsen)

Buffett questions New Orleans newspaper changes

Billionaire Warren Buffett is questioning the wisdom of changes the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper plans to make this fall.
Last week the Times-Picayune and three major Alabama dailies owned by the Newhouse family's Advance Publications announced plans to cut back to three printed issues a week. The newspapers will shift their focus to online news.
Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway just bought 63 newspapers from Media General for $142 million, said he was surprised by the New Orleans announcement.
"It seems to me that three days a week is simply unsustainable over the longer term. Either a publication is a newspaper or a periodical and I think three days a week crosses the line," Buffett said in his letter.
Buffett said he's puzzled about why the economics of publishing the Times-Picayune seven days a week don't make sense, because he thought the newspaper had a high penetration rate in New Orleans -- a strongly defined community.
New Orleans musician Evan Christopher says Buffett's reaction is in response to an open letter he wrote to Buffett about the changes at the Times-Picayune. Advance Publications plans to make similar changes at The Birmingham News, the Press-Register in Mobile and The Huntsville Times.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Stursberg to the CRTC?

There is a  rumour making the rounds that the Harper government plans to appoint Richard Stursberg as the new head of the CRTC. Stursberg is the ex-CBC honcho who recently wrote a book, Tower of Babble, about his stint at the Corp. Only time will tell -- to coin a phrase.

Kevin O’Leary denies fund woes, disputes redemption value

Kevin O'Leary runs a number of mutual finds and hosts several programs on the CBC, inclusing the Lang/O'Leary Report.
The Globe and Mail says that last week it was reported that annual redemptions from these funds hit $500-million.  O’Leary is now disputing this total, citing a redemption value of $253-million instead.
The $500-million total was initially calculated by Mark McQueen at Wellington Financial , and was later verified by The Globe and Mail using each of the O’Leary funds’ annual reports found online.  O’Leary says these public documents are misleading.
Five of his funds, typically those with the phrase “Yield Advantaged” in their name, employ a nifty swap strategy that lowers the tax burden for investors. To do this, each is actually made up of two separate funds, meaning there are 10 funds in total. The two funds in each strategy are referred to as “top” and “bottom” funds in industry lingo, and although both have financial statements, Mr. O’Leary explained that only the redemptions from the top fund matter. 
One of the programs O'Leary hosts in Redemption, a series that gives 10 ex-convicts a chance to set up their own business with his money.
Full Globe story

Glamorous presenter of France's leading prime time newscast forced out after slump in ratings and series of gaffes

Laurence Ferrari, 45, had been a surprise choice to take over the most prominent news-reading role in the country four years ago. At the time, it was rumoured that she had had a brief flirtation with Nicolas Sarkozy, the then president.
Now, just three weeks after he was voted out of office, she has also left her job.
Once regarded as a bright, exciting and very feminine face of television, the ratings for the broadcast on TF1 began declining soon after her debut. Her habit of smiling after delivering news of a tragic event grated with viewers and critics. Furthermore, her interview technique did not please bosses.
Her fate was perhaps sealed when new president Francois Hollande gave his first television interview on Tuesday to France 2, a rival channel.
Ms Ferrari said she had decided to leave to join a minor cable channel. "I wanted a freer, less formatted kind of broadcast," she said.

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