Friday, August 31, 2012

Rules barring loud TV ads go into effect Saturday

New CRTC rules that go into effect Saturday require digital broadcasters to ensure that television programs and the ads that break them up all come in at the same volume level.
Aggravatingly loud TV commercials have been a consumer bugaboo in Canada for years.
Last year, the CRTC received some 7,000 "Yes" responses when it asked viewers if they thought the ads were too loud.
The regulator called it an unusually high response to a request for comment, one that was 10 times higher than the number of complaints it had received in the previous three years combined.
"Broadcasters have allowed ear-splitting ads to disturb viewers and have left us little choice but to set out clear rules that will put an end to excessively loud ads," then-CRTC chairman, Konrad von Finckenstein, said a year ago.
The agency produced draft rules last December and gave broadcasters time to respond. In May, it said September would be the deadline to muzzle the commercials.

Toronto film fest concerned over missing Syrian filmmaker

The Toronto International Film Festival is among global industry interests expressing concern about Orwa Nyrabia, a Syrian filmmaker and festival organizer who disappeared last week en route to Egypt.
Nyrabia is believed to have been detained by Syrian security services as he prepared to board a flight from Damascus to Cairo.
On Thursday, a TIFF news release expressed its concern about Nyrabia, who has not been seen since Aug. 23.
“Nyrabia belongs to the emerging generation of Syrian filmmakers passionate about world cinema and passionate about freedom. We are extremely concerned by his arrest — filmmakers must be allowed to express themselves through their films, without fear of reprisal,” the release said.
Nyrabia's wife, Diana El-Jeiroudi, issued a statement last week saying she had had no contact with him and had heard from the airline that he did not board the plane. Film industry professionals in Europe and New York have also called on Syrian authorities to account for his whereabouts.
Nyrabia and his wife formed the first production company in Syria independent of the government and founded Dox Box, a festival that brought international documentaries to Syria.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sun Media sues cops over raid on reporter's home

Sun Media's flagship French newspaper is suing Quebec provincial police for raiding a health reporter's home following his investigative report into unsecured medical files. Toronto Sun

Malcolm Browne, AP Vietnam correspondent

Montreal Gazette

Monday, August 27, 2012

After Samsung, will Apple now sue Google

Apple's victory over Samsung sets the stage for it to take on Google. Google is increasingly making its own hardware thanks in part to its acquisition of Motorola Mobility. And the jury in the Samsung trial found that features built into Android, and not just features added by Samsung, violated Apple patents — potentially forcing Google to adjust its software. New York Times

Score Media takeover to boost tech-savvy viewers?

FP Tech Desk

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Elizabeth Murdoch attacks News Corp values

Tensions within the world's most powerful media family were dramatically laid bare on Thursday when Elisabeth Murdoch set out her own vision of media leadership, emphasising humanity over profit and criticising her father's News Corporation for operating with an absence of values Guardian

Friday, August 24, 2012

Anchor's canoodle gaffe an Internet favorite

CTV Vancouver Island news anchor Andrew Johnson blundered into an embarrassing gaffe when he suggested -- on the air -- that he and his fellow employee, weather host Astrid Braunschmidt, would have a little canoodle after the program. Ms. Braumschmidt's good-natured but firm response that they would be doing no such thing, tipped him off to his improper use of canoodle.  The old-fashioned word is a verb and means to kiss and hug amorously. The embarrased Burgundy said he thought it meant to chat.

Rogers Communications to acquire Score Media

Rogers Communications Inc. will buy Score Media Inc., an independent broadcaster whose main strength lies in its mobile apps that are among the most popular in the world.
Score stock was halted in mid-afternoon after gaining as much as 46 per cent on speculation that the long-rumoured deal was close to completion. Neither company would comment, but sources close to the deal said it would be announced after markets close on Friday.

Former journalist, Senator Joyce Fairbairn, suffering from Alzheimer's

The National Post comments on Senator Joyce Fairbairn's illness and the political implications:
 "Senator Joyce Fairbairn will take a sick leave before Parliament resumes sitting in the fall. The Liberal senator, who represents Alberta, has been showing signs of disorientation and memory issues for some time, the (Ottawa) Citizen notes. It has now been reported that Senator Fairbairn is suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s Disease, and is not expected to ever resume her duties in the Senate. Senator Fairbairn has slightly more than two years left to serve before reaching mandatory retirement age in 2014. She will continue to draw salary and benefits until that time." 
Ms Fairbairn was a journalist on Parliament Hill before being appointed to the Senate by Pierre Trudeau.

Murdoch's Sun defies royals, prints naked Harry pics

Rupert Murdoch's Sun tabloid on Friday became the first British newspaper to defy the royal family by printing pictures of Prince Harry cavorting naked in Las Vegas, stoking a debate about what papers can print in the name of press freedom.
While newspapers across the globe have published the images of Queen Elizabeth's grandson naked with an unnamed woman after they appeared on a U.S. gossip website on Wednesday, the British media had decided not to do so until this point.
Instead they had agreed to comply, some more reluctantly than others, with a request from lawyers acting for the royal family to respect the privacy of the prince, who is 27 and single.
But the Sun decided to break ranks on Friday, publishing a photo over much of its front page of the naked prince covering his genitals with his hands while an unclothed woman hides behind his back in his Las Vegas hotel room.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Globe ME David Walmsley leaves for CBC

From J-Sourse: David Walmsley will leave his post as managing editor of The Globe and Mail to become CBC’s director of news content.
While Walmsley has been at The Globe since 2006, the move marks a return to the national broadcaster for him. Prior to his time at The Globe, he held the role of managing editor of CBC News Ottawa and before that, executive producer of newsgathering for CBC News.
"CBC News is a world-class outfit, to which I am delighted to be returning," Walmsley said in a CBC release. "Its commitment to newsgathering, at home and abroad, and its digital expansion convey the ambitions of this organization and determination to adapt for the future, and I am thrilled to be a part of it."
A memo to staff from editor-in-chief John Stackhouse described Walmsley's accomplishments during his time at The Globe, which included handling coverage of the Afghan war and multiple national and provincial elections, earning recognition for him and the newspaper as seen in Michener nominations and National Newspaper Awards.
“For many of us, David was both sage and guru, a man of both soothing calm and relentless passion for journalism. And then there's his wit and Irish charm,” Stackhouse wrote in the memo. “I, personally, will miss his profound daily insight on our people and our work.”
Walmsley’s departure from The Globe has set off a number of changes in senior management.
Replacing Walmsley as managing editor will be Elena Cherney. Cherney has been, until now, the newspaper’s Report on Business editor, and is described by Stackhouse in a separate memo to staff as a “natural leader -- an enthusiastic supporter of our journalists, a moral compass for every newsroom she touches.” Cherney has previously worked as a reporter for The Montreal Gazette, the National Post and The Wall Street Journal, and was managing editor of ROB before moving into the editor's role.

Scandal-loving British media shy from naked Prince Harry

The country’s scandal-loving tabloids devoted many pages Thursday to the story of Prince Harry’s naked romp
in a Las Vegas hotel suite. But all heeded a warning from royal officials that printing the images, already seen by millions on the Internet, would infringe on the prince’s privacy.
So while Ireland’s Evening Herald ran the stark-naked prince on its front page, British newspapers made do with pictures of holiday Harry in bathing trunks and fedora hat.
The Sun tabloid came up with the most creative solution, getting a staff member named Harry and a 21-year-old female intern to recreate the naked pose under the headline “Harry grabs the crown jewels.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Donkeys used as WiFi hotspots to add web surfing to Holy Land tour

An Israeli attraction meant to immerse tourists in an authentic, ancient biblical experience has outfitted its donkeys with wireless routers.
At the historical park of Kfar Kedem in northern Israel, visitors decked out in biblical robes and headdresses ride donkeys through the rolling hills of the Galilee, learning how people lived in Old Testament times.
Now they can also surf the web while touring the land of the Bible on one of the oldest forms of transportation. A device slung around the donkey’s neck like a feedbag is actually a Wi-Fi router.
The full Associated Press story

China’s state-run news agency being used to monitor critics in Canada: reporter

“They tried to get me … to write a report for the Chinese government on the Dalai Lama using my press credentials as a way of getting access I wouldn’t otherwise have,” Mr. Bourrie, a long-time freelancer who has written for several major Canadian newspapers, said in an interview with the National Post. He alleges there are individuals within Xinhua who are acting as spies, seeking to “monitor [practitioners of the spiritual movement] Falun Gong, the Dalai Lama and any other critics of the Chinese government in Canada. That, I know for sure,” Ottawa free-lancer Mark Bourrie told the National Post about his gig with the Chinese News agency Xinhua.
Full story

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Four Postmedia papers launch paywalls

Four of Canada’s highest-profile newspapers threw the switch on paywalls Tuesday, asking their readers to pay for the content they are reading online.
By the end of the day The Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Province, Vancouver Sun and National Post will all have caps on the number of articles readers can access per month before being asked to pay.
“You can’t spend millions of dollars on content and just give it away,” Postmedia Network Inc. chief executive officer Paul Godfrey said last week when discussing the chain’s plan to charge for online content. “Otherwise, you’re not going to stick around.”
The papers will initially charge 99 cents a month for full access to their sites and iPad apps. Afterward, it will cost $7.95/month or $79.50/year for the Vancouver papers. The Citizen will charge $9.95/month or $99.50/year.
Anyone who doesn’t pay will still be able to read breaking news on each paper’s site, but will be limited to 15 non-breaking news articles each month.
Print subscribers will have full access to all of the paper’s digital products.

At rural newspapers, some publishers still resist moving online

In 1968, Dick Graham bought a small weekly newspaper in Ferry County, Wash., one of the most remote and sparsely populated counties in the Pacific Northwest.
Forty-four years later -- give or take a few months -- broadband Internet is arriving.
Graham and his century-old newspaper, The Republic News-Miner, have cast a wary eye toward the web and raised a legitimate question: Should rural newspapers go online?
Graham, now 75, has resisted.
"I'm old-fashioned," he said. "I don't put nothing up for nothing."
Long shielded from the pressure of Internet news competition, as well as classified competitors like Craigslist, rural newspapers have reportedly fared far better than their metropolitan counterparts. While newspapers in population centers saw growing competition from online startups in the past decade, rural newspapers have faced relatively little competition.
 Full story

Monday, August 20, 2012

Canadian Association of Journalists Montreal chapter votes to disband

The Canadian Journalism Project web page reports that the Canadian Association of Journalists  has virtually shut down its Montreal chapter.
In an Aug. 11 meeting, the executive committee of the Canadian Association of Journalists’ (CAJ) Montreal Chapter discussed a number of issues then voted to disband the executive committee immediately. As it stands now, the executive committee of the CAJ’s Montreal chapter is disbanded — but that doesn’t mean the chapter is necessarily closed.
“Certainly if there were a group of members what wished to gather in the Montreal area and hold another organizational meeting and select a new executive, under our bylaws, that would all be acceptable. In fact, we would encourage that,” says CAJ president Hugo Rodrigues.
The minutes of the Aug. 11 meeting give an idea of what happened. They are written in French and when translated into English using Google Translate, become somewhat convoluted. Rodrigues explains that a member of the executive put forward “a number of different opinions” on the chapter’s relationship with the association at large and with Rodrigues himself.
This is not the first time the local chapter has taken issue with the association. In August of last year, Roger-Luc Chayer — the president of the Montreal chapter at the time — resigned, partly blaming a CAJ press release responding to the issue of the “professional journalist” in Quebec.

You are not alone if you cannot follow that story.
The moral seems to be that organizing journalists is like herding cats unless it involves a union that deals with money and workplace issues.
In the old days there were press clubs and people hashed this stuff out over a beer. But, hey, it isn't the old days anymore!  -- ED.

Star reporter makes grisly discovery in Scarborough creek

The Star's Dale Brazao tells of finding body parts:
"In my heart I knew what I had found, but I was hoping I was wrong. .
"I had gone down into the West Highland Creek to take a photograph of the police search team I was told was making its way up from Sheppard Ave. E. I didn’t find the team. . . .
"It appeared to have something in it. Garbage, most likely, I thought.
"I looked around for a stick and poked a hole in the end of it. What I saw made me sick.
"I saw bone, I saw skin, and I saw fatty tissue.
"The smell was worse. . ."
If you want to read it all, click here

Ramadan TV Gently Pushes Saudi Boundaries

Women are driving in Saudi Arabia.
 Not on the streets. That would be illegal. But on a recent episode of “Hush Hush,” a new comedy on Saudi state television, a lilac sedan comes to a halt and a woman climbs out of the driver’s seat.
A group of goofy, lascivious men (three stooges in red-checked kaffiyehs) try to pick her up by offering to repair the car. From beneath a black hijab and opaque abaya, glints of the woman’s contempt show through. “Who says my car broke down?” she says coolly. “I’m waiting for my friend.”
 A matching Barbie-pink car pulls up and two women glide away, leaving the Saudi dolts deflated and agog. It’s a fantasy, of course, a comic trial balloon. “Hush Hush” was created for Ramadan, the Muslim holiday season that ended this weekend, and the state-sanctioned sketch makes the case for female drivers in a jokey way that heartens modern-minded viewers without provoking traditional ones. The woman is never shown actually driving; the camera cuts away before she grasps the wheel.

Myanmar ends direct media censorship

Myanmar abolished direct censorship of the media Monday in the most dramatic move yet toward allowing freedom of expression in the long-repressed nation. But related laws and practices that may lead to self-censorship raise doubt about how much will change.
Under the new rules, journalists will no longer have to submit their work to state censors before publication as they for almost half a century. However, the same harsh laws that have allowed Myanmar’s rulers to jail, blacklist and control the media in the name of protecting national security remain unchanged and on the books.
For decades, the Southeast Asian nation’s reporters had been regarded as among the most restricted in the world

Sunday, August 19, 2012

WikiLeaks founder speaks from embassy balcony to avoid arrest in London

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared in public Sunday for the first time since he sought refuge inside Ecuador’s embassy in London, thus evading arrest.
British police officers stood guard as Assange urged the United States to “renounce its witch hunt” against the whistle blowing website, which has leaked thousands of classified documents.
“The United States must vow that it will not seek the prosecution of our staff or our supporters,” Assange told onlookers. “The U.S. administration’s war upon whistleblowers must end.”
Reading from a written statement, Assange urged the U.S. to halt an FBI probe into WikiLeaks.
Assange retreated into the embassy two months ago in an attempt to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on sexual misconduct allegations.
Full story, including a video

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Paul Godfrey: Rewriting a dire news story

"Mr. Godfrey has given up on the idea that the money that left the newspaper industry is ever coming back – one U.S. study has suggested that for every $7 newspapers are losing in print advertising sales, they are only picking up $1 in online revenue – and he’s trying to hack at the business until the books balance, without actually ruining his newspapers."

The story of the other Black

When media mogul David Black bought his first news-paper, the Williams Lake Tribune, from his father Alan and partner Clive Stangoe more than 40 years ago, he spent two years doing every single job in the place.
 Interesting feature in the Vancouver Sun:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Aggressive China media moves into Africa

China continues its African business and cultural charm offensive.  In Kenya, a $200 million ring road around Nairobi is being built and partly financed by Beijing. The international airport is undergoing a $208 million expansion supported by the Chinese, whose loans also paid for a working-class housing complex that residents have nicknamed the Great Wall apartments. But the thing ordinary Africans notice most is the new presence of English language radio and television from the Chinese state broadcaster, CCTV.  Earlier this year, CCTV  Africa launched a live broadcast and now it's said Beijing plans to add an hour to prime time satellite service. Jackal News

Latest shot at Bell-Astral deal comes from j-prof

The reasoning of Dwayne Winseck, a journalism professor at Ottawa's Carleton University,

National Post will move to Greenwin Square

The National Post newspaper and the offices of its parent company, Postmedia Network, will move to the Greenwin Square property on Bloor Street East. Greenwin Square is both an office tower and a shopping mall which sits on the south side of Bloor between the Mt Pleasant extension and Sherbourne Street. It is an imposing building of some 19 storeys.  The move is necessary because Postmedia's present home at 1450 Don Mills Road has been sold to raise capital. It is expected to fetch about $24 million dollars, cash badly needed by Postmedia . The newspaper chain also owns the Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Herald and Montreal Gazette.  The lease runs for 15 years beginning at New Years.  Postmedia has continued to lose money in the ever more difficult newspaper business and has debt of approximately $500 million

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fareed Zakaria Didn’t Plagiarize!

A spirited argument here for the case that Fareed Zakaria did not commit plagiarism. It's quite compelling. One loose end which may be relevant: Although Zakaria did not claim Dr.Winkler's research for his own, he also did not say that he had lifted the words from the column by Ms Le Pore. As we said in a previous post, this is a soft type of plagiarism at worst. What Zakaria left uncredited is the donkey work Ms LePore put into reading Dr. Winker's book. Small stuff.  Edward Jay Epstein

Mark Towlhey is mayor's new chief of staff

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has named his top policy adviser Mark Towhey as his new chief of staff.

Monday, August 13, 2012

"F-bomb, sexting , flexitarian, life coach"

Merriam-Webster has picked about 100 additions for its 2013 dictionary. Among those that made the cut: Earworm, mash-up, sexting and f-bomb. How about flexitarian, obesogenic, energy drink and life coach? They're in too. The company ranged over every human activity to update the 114-year-old dictionary. It gathered evidence of usage over several years in everything from media to the labels of beer bottles and boxes of frozen food. So who's responsible for lobbing F-bomb far and wide? Kory Stamper, an associate editor for Merriam-Webster, said she and her fellow word spies at the Massachusetts company traced it back to 1988, in a Newsday story that had the now-dead Mets catcher Gary Carter talking about how he had given them up, along with other profanities.  Huffington Post.

Natalie Stechyson wins Michelle Lang Fellowship

Ottawa-based journalist Natalie Stechyson has been chosen as the 2012 recipient of the Michelle Lang Fellowship in Journalism. Stechyson, 29, is the third journalist to receive the fellowship, which is named after the award-winning journalist and reporter for the Calgary Herald. Lang, who was on assignment for Postmedia News, was the only Canadian journalist killed while covering the war in Afghanistan. She lost her life Dec. 30, 2009, in Kandahar. Postmedia

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fareed Zakaria admits to plagiarism

The celebrated American journalist Fareed Zakaria has been suspended from his job at Time magazine and CNN after he conceded that an accusation of plagiarism was valid. He is quoted as follows: "Media reporters have pointed out that paragraphs in my Time column this week bear close similarities to paragraphs in Jill Lepore's essay in the April 22nd issue of The New Yorker. They are right. I made a terrible mistake. It is a serious lapse and one that is entirely my fault. I apologize unreservedly to her, to my editors at Time, and to my readers." The snaring of Zakaria in the plagiarism net seems a stunning development. Reports on the incident say Zakaria was apparently using language from the column which described historical conditions with respect to guns and gun control. The material did not, apparently, repeat critical analyses or exclusive information about an individual or event. It  might be called soft plagiarism. No such lesser offense is currently understood when plagiarism is charged. It is never to be condoned but in background writing plagiarism is easily committed. As it stands, plagiarism is a journalistic capital crime, with punishment meted with zero tolerance  The offense, as always, is not in the use of the material but in the failure to attribute it. . The Guardian

“Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at UCLA, documents the actual history in Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America. Guns were regulated in the U.S. from the earliest years of the Republic. Laws that banned the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813. Other states soon followed: Indiana in 1820, Tennessee and Virginia in 1838, Alabama in 1839 and Ohio in 1859. Similar laws were passed in Texas, Florida and Oklahoma. As the governor of Texas (Texas!) explained in 1893, the ‘mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law-abiding man.’”

“As Adam Winkler, a constitutional-law scholar at U.C.L.A., demonstrates in a remarkably nuanced new book, “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America,” firearms have been regulated in the United States from the start. Laws banning the carrying of concealed weapons were passed in Kentucky and Louisiana in 1813, and other states soon followed: Indiana (1820), Tennessee and Virginia (1838), Alabama (1839), and Ohio (1859). Similar laws were passed in Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma. As the governor of Texas explained in 1893, the ‘mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law-abiding man.’”

Olympians remember late Randy Starkman

Olympians past and present remembered Randy Starkman Saturday at a joyous breakfast tribute to the late Toronto Star reporter. Story.

Google's search engine becomes new antipiracy weapon

In its blog, Google outlined a new measure designed at penalizing sites that generate too many complaints from copyright owners.
"We will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site," Google said in the blog post. "Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results."
This appears to be among the most significant antipiracy measure Google has ever adopted.

Pioneer of television celebrates turning 100

An engineer who helped pioneer the early days of television celebrated his 100th birthday yesterday.
Andy Andrews worked alongside TV inventor John Logie Baird.
Mr Andrews was present at both the first public television service broadcast in 1932 and the night the inventor’s laboratories burned down at Crystal Palace four years later.
"We often thought about the impact it would have, but we all hoped it would have a great cultural value.”
However, Mr Andrews says he is not sure his colleague would have been impressed with today’s television.
Mr Andrews, who was born in Middlesex on August 15, 1932, celebrated his birthday with a party at the Henry Cornish Care Centre in Chipping Norton yesterday.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Quebecor's Q2 profits hurt by weak newspaper advertising despite telecom gains

Quebecor reported Thursday lower than expected earnings for the second quarter as it was hurt by a weak advertising market for its news media business.
The Montreal-based media company earned a profit attributable to shareholders of $67 million or $1.05 per diluted share for the period ended June 30 compared with $55.2 million or 85 cents per share a year ago.
However, the results were boosted by $64.5 million in one-time gains related to financial instruments and a restructuring, offset by a $22.7-million increase in amoritization for the most recent quarter.
The company's adjusted profit from continuing operations fell to $48.7 million or 77 cents per share from $60 million or 93 cents per share a year earlier.
Revenue increased by $33 million to just under $1.09 billion.

Pulse Newsreader Now Available on the Web

Newsreader app Pulse is expanding beyond the confines of mobile apps and bringing an HTML5 version of its service to the Web.
News junkies can now peruse the latest stories from their favorites magazines, newspapers, and blogs on their PCs, not just their mobile devices via
Akshay Kothari and Ankit Gupta launched Pulse two years ago on the iPad as a business class project at Stanford University. By June 2010, Steve Jobs was singing Pulse's praises during the introduction of the iPhone 4, and it has since expanded to the iPhone, Android devices, and the Kindle.

Hillarious column by the Globe's Russell Smith

"Many people ask me how to get a novel published in Canada. With the fall publishing season coming up, and a lot of new books and authors about to be released, it’s time to reveal some tips.
"First, remember that it is always 1955 in Canlit. That is not to say that every prizewinning novel must be set exactly in that year, but that it helps to imagine that you are writing in that year. Imagine that you are writing by hand or at the very least on a manual typewriter (even if you are writing on a cellphone and playing Call of Duty and checking your ex-lover’s hacked Facebook messages and the updates from Comic-Con every 30 seconds). . . ."
The whole amusing read

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Anti Bell-Astral takeover web page now working

The web page seeking public support for opposing the Bell takeover of Astral Media is now working. See it here saynotobell Three cable companies -- Cogeco, Eastlink and Qubecor -- have launched a campaign against the takeover. (see post below) A number of consumer groups have joined in opposing the move.

CBC filming Jack Layton movie

Filming is underway on a movie about Jack Layton's life starring Rick Roberts as the late NDP leader and Sook-Yin Lee as his wife, NDP MP Olivia Chow..
Smilin' Jack: The Jack Layton Story is being shot in Winnipeg. The cast also includes Wendy Crewson and Erin Karpluk, who stars on CBC's Being Erica.
 Layton died of cancer last summer, only months after leading the NDP to its most successful election result in its history.
(Seems a bit soon for a movie about the guy. Watch for the backlash. -- ed) 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

N.Y. Times photog arrested on assignment in the Bronx

A freelance photographer for The New York Times was arrested on Saturday night while on assignment with two reporters who were conducting street interviews in the Bronx. 
The photographer, Robert Stolarik, 43, who has worked regularly for The Times for more than a decade, was charged with obstructing government administration and with resisting arrest. He was taking photographs of a brewing street fight at McClellan Street and Sheridan Avenue in the Concourse neighborhood.
Mr. Stolarik was taking photographs of the arrest of a teenage girl about 10:30 p.m., when a police officer instructed him to stop doing so. Mr. Stolarik said he identified himself as a journalist for The Times and continued taking pictures. A second officer appeared, grabbed his camera and “slammed” it into his face, he said.
Mr. Stolarik said he asked for the officers’ badge numbers, and the officers then took his cameras and dragged him to the ground; he said that he was kicked in the back and that he received scrapes and bruises to his arms, legs and face.
The Police Department said in a statement that officers had been trying to disperse the crowd and had given “numerous lawful orders” for both the crowd and Mr. Stolarik to move back, but that he tried to push forward, “inadvertently” striking an officer in the face with his camera. 
(Were the cops watching a G20 replay? -- ed.)

Cogeco, Eastlink, Quebecor launch campaign against Bell takeover of Astral Media

Three major cable companies have taken out a full-page ad in the Globe and Mail and other newspapers to oppose Bell Canada’s acquisition of Astral Media.
The ad is signed by Louis Audet, president and CEO of Cogeco; Lee Bragg, CEO of Eastlink; and Pierre Karl Peladeau, president and CEO of Quebecor Inc.
“If approved by Ottawa, this giant new company would own a staggering 79 channels, 107 radio stations, and more than 100 websites. Its TV viewing audience would be twice as large as its nearest competitor,” the ad says.
The ad lists reasons for its opposition that includes higher ad rates that woud get passed on to consumers, creation of fewer original programs and an ability for Bell to charge “whatever it wants” to consumers.
It asks readers “to tell Ottawa” if they agree with the message.
The group’s web page does not seem to be operational as of Tuesday morning.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Apple won’t include YouTube app in new mobile software

Apple Inc’s new version of its iPhone and iPad software will not include a pre-loaded app for Google Inc’s popular video website, YouTube, Apple said on Monday. It was the latest sign of the growing rivalry between the technology companies the once were closely aligned but now are vying for supremacy in the fast-growing mobile computing market.
Earlier this year, Apple said it would dump Google’s mapping software from its mobile devices.
“Apple and Google are the mobile operating systems for the future and this is where the battleground is going to lie,” said Needham & Co analyst Kerry Rice.
“If it’s going to be a two-horse race, you certainly don’t want to give the other horse any kind of lead,” he said.

Olympic coverage earns mixed reviews at halfway mark

The Globe and Mail's Bruce Dowbiggin has this assessment:
" . . . The best decision made by the Canadian consortium, of course, was to continue the tradition of going live with events. Canadian viewers are again afforded the luxury of watching live events combined with NBC’s slick evening packages.

"More than halfway to the finish, how has the broadcaster done? So far, it’s mixed. The consortium’s decision to go live has been a boon, but it has a downside. There is nothing more difficult in television than riding the tiger of live TV. For that reason, NBC prefers its safety net of taping events. All the mock sessions in a studio can’t simulate absorbing the frantic pace of events and synthesizing them into a coherent narrative. Especially when the announcers have little or no résumé covering their events before.

"Unfortunately, many of the consortium’s on-air talents – particularly the analysts– are attractive former Canadian athletic heroes parachuted into their chairs instead of the veteran voices that typified CBC coverage. Growing your own timber is fine, but don’t ask your pitchers to start their careers in the World Series.

" The most problematic area for the consortium has been in the field. In the hurly-burly of breaking events, analysis has too often been replaced by a noxious mix of cheer-leading and banal self-realization pap. . . "
Full story

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Who says newspapers are dead?

A 54-year-old motorist is facing a charge after he allegedly tried to solve a newspaper puzzle while cruising along Highway 401.
The incident happened around 9: 45 a.m. Wednesday in the westbound lanes of the 401 near Communication Road in Chatham-Kent.
OPP said an officer noticed a man looking distracted behind the wheel of a red Ford F-150 pickup truck.
The driver had a newspaper on the steering wheel.
According to the officer, the motorist was so absorbed in his puzzle that it took more than a minute for him to realize a police vehicle had come alongside him.
The pickup truck pulled over and the officer investigated.
Daniel Irons of St. Thomas, Ont., has been charged with one count of careless driving.

The battle for Olympic information between new and old media

The London Games are a battleground between the traditional forces of broadcasting and the social-media insurgents who represent the future of information technology. Supposed allies in a bright future of profit and information delivery are struggling for the soul of the Olympics, reports Bruce Dowbiggiu in the Globe and Mail.
In Canada, where virtually all events are broadcast live, the conflict has been muted. But the American network NBC has been unrepentant in its plan to embargo the highlights of the day’s most important action, repackaging it later that night in a heavily edited form loaded with commercials to pay for the estimated $1-billion (U.S.) NBC gave the International Olympic Committee for the rights.
The rights include shutting down signals from outside the United States, to protect NBC’s monopoly. Sometimes NBC has tripped on its own locked-down formula, showing a promo about Missy Franklin’s gold medal for the next day’s Today show, before the network had revealed the result to its audience.
Full story

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Is that an ad or a news story – and does it matter?

Excellent story by Ira Basen in the Globe and Mail about online "infostrories" -- stories and publications telling "brand" stories.
"That story about snow tires at the top of the Google results page could come from the auto section of a newspaper, but it could just as easily come from a site published by a tire manufacturer whose engineers can share their expertise, without the pushy tactics that turn off both customers and search engines."

Friday, August 3, 2012

Facebook says 83 million accounts may be fake

Facebook's share price dipped below $20 on Thursday after reporting slowing growth and an admission of an alarming number of fake accounts. In a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the social media company said that as many as 83 million of its accounts are fake. More.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What will CNN do to hold viewers?

Time Warner CEO Jeff  Bewkes says the company is determined to make CNN more watchable without letting opinion creep into the news presentation. He said he is  unsatisfied with CNN's low ratings and will seek to turn around the cable news network with programming that is more compelling and stays non-partisan. Bewkes didn't have any specifics to offer so his committment seemed to fall a little flat.  Reuters

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

CBC pays unknown sum to air 2014, 2018 games

The game was too rich for Bell Media, apparently, but CBC was good for the dough (yours) as it purchased rights to the 2014 Winter Games and the 2018 Summer Games. Terms are undisclosed. Earlier, a consortium of Bell and CBC tried to buy the games jointly. The idea was to get them for a reasonable price by avoiding a bidding war. The IOC apparently didn't like that and the partnership withdrew from negotiations. So the winner now is clearly seen to be -- not the CBC -- but the IOC. We're betting when the details come out, we will see a cash amount that will make CTV's 2010 Winter Games folly look cheap. We say this despite the alternate surmising in the linked story here of Ian Lee of Carleton University. He says the IOC paid a price for overplaying its hand. We would bet he's wrong but unlike the CBC, we would be playing with our own money. Toronto Star

Attack on Mexico paper ups plan to intimidate

The three masked men took less than a minute to burst into the offices of a major Mexican newspaper in northern Mexico, subdue the security guard, drench the reception with gasoline and set the building ablaze. Story says its part of of the cartels ruthless campaign to intimidate the media. 

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