Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ex-NY Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger dies

Former New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who led the newspaper to new levels of influence and profit amid some of the most significant moments in 20th-century journalism, died Saturday. He was 86.
Sulzberger, who went by the nickname “Punch” and served with the Marine Corps in World War II and Korea before joining the Times staff as a reporter, died at his home in Southampton, N.Y., after a long illness, his family announced.
During his three-decade-long tenure, the newspaper won 31 Pulitzer prizes, published the Pentagon Papers and won a libel case victory in New York Times vs. Sullivan that established important First Amendment protections for the press.

Old fashioned newspaper war looming in New Orleans

When The Times-Picayune decided to print three days a week, a nearby publication saw a chance to expand in the newspaper's backyard and fill a void that for some in the New Orleans area is as much a part of the morning routine as beignets and French coffee.
The Advocate of Baton Rouge, a family-owned daily published 70 miles north, will begin a daily New Orleans edition Monday, setting up an old-fashioned newspaper war. The battle for print readers comes even as more people get their news online and from cellphones, generally from newspaper websites. The move will be closely watched by a struggling industry.
Full story

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fox News apologizes after live car chase ends with driver shooting himself in the head

Fox News has issued an on air apology for its live broadcast of a car chase in Phoenix, Arizona, that ended with the driver shooting himself in the head.
In the footage Fox News aired on Friday afternoon, the driver pulls over, gets out of the car and runs erratically down a dirt road. Eventually, he pulls out what appears to be a gun, holds it up to his head and falls forward on the ground.
Host Shepard Smith immediately starts yelling “get if off, get it off,” until the network cuts to commercial. After the show resumed, Smith issued an apology on the air.

Eric Morrison named Sun Media’s new vice president of editorial

Eric Morrison has been named Sun Media’s new vice president of editorial and will lead the company in a reorganization of news operations on all platforms, Quebecor Media Inc. said today in a release.
Morrison is a veteran news executive, bringing with him years of experience from Canadian Press and CTV.
"Eric Morrison is one of Canada's most experienced news executives and is uniquely qualified to shape a modern, national newsgathering operation," Sun Media president and CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau said in the release. "This is an important step in Sun Media's drive to deliver high-quality news to Canadians, both in the multimedia environment and via our established newspapers, which continue to be the foundation of our operations."
Morrison cited the Sun Media newspapers’ commitment to community in the release. “Creating an effective news organization that will build on the strengths of the Sun Media network is an exciting mission," Morrison said.
Morrison was president of Canadian Press until June 2011, when he stepped down after 14 years at the head of the newswire service.  His resignation came at what CP called “the completion of a rigorous two year process for an historical reinvention of the news agency” that had included a change in ownership and a change to a for-profit business model. "He was the driving force behind technological innovations in areas such as web, mobile and video, which transformed CP into a multimedia news agency,” a statement from the board said at the time of Morrison’s resignation. “He was passionate about delivering on the organization's core mission of providing trusted, round-the-clock, real-time news and information in English and French for all media platforms."
The Quebecor release today also noted restructuring that would be taking place in the advertising and industrial branches of Sun Media.,

Terence Corcoran's sane comment on the Margaret Wente issue

"What we have in the Wente case is journalism ethics imposed by university academics in a field — journalism — that is a trade rather than an academic discipline, and through public editors that respond to ideological attacks. Ms. Wente, I suspect, now knows something of what it felt like during the Cultural Revolution in China, when ideological enforcers roamed the country to impose their views and expose running-dogs, remove people from their jobs and purge them from the system," Terence Corcoran writes in the National Post.
The whole column
 Blog exchanges between Terence Corcoran and blogger Carole Winio 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

J.K. Rowling alienates media as the launches first book aimed at adults

"Not only is she limiting interviews to a few chosen outlets, her handlers have also appended demands that they be able to read anything that’s written about her before it goes to press, so that she may rephrase anything she is quoted as saying (this is known as “quote approval”)." writes the globe's Russell Smith in a column about how J.K. Rowling has alienated the media.
The full column.

National Newspaper Awards to welcome submissions from online news outlets

The National Newspaper Awards announced that online-only news sites will now be eligible to compete for Canada's top journalism prize.
Eligible sites, such as Yahoo and the Huffington Post, publish original content on a regular basis and share characteristics with traditional daily newspapers without producing a physical publication.
The NNA board says websites that publish news for a specific geographic region will be eligible to compete in the local reporting category.
The National Newspaper Awards will be following a course set by the Pulitzer Prizes, which has been recognizing U.S.-based Internet-only news sites since 2008.
The NNA board says online news outlets are welcome to make submissions for the 2013 round of awards and must apply to enter by Dec. 1.
Scott White, chairman of the NNA board of governors and editor-in-chief of The Canadian Press, said the decision to recognize a more modern form of news outlet marks a positive step forward for the NNA program, which has been honouring Canada's best journalistic work for the past 64 years.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Globe's Margaret Wente accused of plagiarism

There are a series of complaints that the Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente is guilty of what is declared to be plagiarism. Incidents appear to have been accumulating somewhat under the surface of the news. This article in the NYTPicker deals sufficiently with specifics of one case from which a reader can make his own decision as to whether there has been plagiarism. There are, it should be added, enough complaints about Margaret Wente's various columns that it would be quite a job to personally find and read the specifics of each case. But it seems to add to the gravity of the accusation. -- Torontoist  Huffington Post

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

NBC backs down on program on murdered teen

National Post

BBC and reporter apologize to Queen

The BBC has been forced to issue an extraordinary apology after disclosing details of a private conversation a senior journalist had with the Queen in which she expressed concerns that a radical Muslim cleric was not in police custody - an embarrassing disclosure for a monarch who avoids public political statements.National Post

Margaret Wente dismisses plagiarism complaint

Margaret Wente makes the case that it isn't plagiarism when two people write about the same subject. Globe and Mail

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Vancouver Sun history in the paper's 100th year

Loving history of their employer from Shelley Fralic and Kate Bird. For older folks, it won't be news that woman have made progress in this craft and all the others since the 1950s. Worth a read.  Vancouver Sun

Friday, September 21, 2012

News orgs scan the not-for-profit landscape

About how Mother Jones is a not-for-profit organization. Globe and Mail

I Love Lucy set to spin even more money on Netflix

They've all been gone for a long time but the four characters from the cast of I Love Lucy are still making a lot of money for CBS. And the prospect of them making even more on net platforms such as Netflix and amazon is making the company bosses drool.  The last new episode of Lucy was broadcast more than  50 years ago.m  CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves says the program is still delivering about $20 million in revenue as of today. He is quoted as saying: "The world is a beautiful place, we're going to get paid more and more and more."  Above l to r., Vivian Vance and William Frawley as Ethel and Fred Mertz, Desi Arnez as Ricky Ricardo and Lucy herself.

James Murdoch to run Fox Networks Group

News Corp. plans to give James Murdoch oversight of the Fox Networks Group, which includes the Fox broadcast network and cable channels such as FX. The group doesn't include the Fox News channel. The new role isn't expected to be confirmed until later this year. Wall Street Journal

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The New York Times bans quote approval

Public Editor Margaret Sullivan got her wish: The New York Times has a clear policy on quote approval. The paper will no longer allow sources to edit quotes after an interview.
Quote approval “puts so much control over the content of journalism in the wrong place,” Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson told Sullivan. She quotes from a memo (see in full below) sent to staff:

So starting now, we want to draw a clear line on this. Citing Times policy, reporters should say no if a source demands, as a condition of an interview, that quotes be submitted afterward to the source or a press aide to review, approve or edit.
(That's from

Quote approval has been front and centre recently. The blogosphere went all atwitter because of  Michael Lewis' excellent story and interview with President Obama in Vanity Fair. Lewis said during a subsequent panel discussion that he submitted quotes to the White House but they only made minor changes. This set off a firestorm among the journalati. Actually, it is not unusual that world leaders want to see a transcript before publication.  We suspect they won't be in the New York Times from now on, just on TV where they can control their quotes. :)).

Reporters ordered to stay off Don Bosco property when Mayor Ford coaches football

Accompanied by a police officer, the principal of Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School told journalists standing on the public sidewalk outside the school Wednesday that they cannot set foot on the property.
Reporters have occasionally attended Don Bosco’s football games and practices in recent years to observe and speak with the Eagles’ coach, Mayor Rob Ford. The media presence has increased since the revelation last week that Ford aides who are paid by taxpayers help to manage the team using a city-owned car and cellphones.
Principals have the legal authority to order people off school property for any reason. But it is rare for members of the public to be denied access after school hours.
“We don’t understand why a high school principal would want to involve himself in preventing Toronto media from following up on a continuing story examining the allegations that the mayor is misusing taxpayers’ money,” said Star Editor Michael Cooke. “Watching a football practice or game with other spectators is not intrusive or distracting to the players or staff involved.”
Catholic school board spokesperson John Yan said the board is “trying to be fair to everyone” but that its priority is to protect Don Bosco students.Reporters at Don Bosco have sought to interview Ford and his aides, not Eagles players. But the board is concerned that players have become peripherally involved in the political drama after their practices.

Television ads produced by US Embassy condemn anti-Islam film and feature Obama

U.S. Embassy advertisements condemning an anti-Islam video appeared on Pakistani television on Thursday in an attempt to undercut anger against the United States, where the film was produced. Hundreds of youths, however, clashed with security officials as they tried in vain to reach the embassy in Islamabad amid outrage in many countries over the film's vulgar depiction of the Prophet Muhammad.
The ads reflected efforts by the U.S. government to distance itself from the video in a country where anti-American sentiment already runs high. Violence linked to the movie has left at least 30 people in seven countries dead, including the American ambassador to Libya. Two people have died in protests in Pakistan.

Israel's one-time largest newspaper Maariv is sold to publisher of hardline religious daily

One of Israel's main daily newspapers has been sold, placing the future of its 2,000 employees in jeopardy.
Israeli businessman Nochi Dankner sold the Hebrew-language Maariv for $19 million on Thursday. The new owner, Shlomo Ben-Tzvi, is the publisher of a hardline religious newspaper. He has said he will likely keep only 300 of Maariv's current employees.
Maariv was first published in 1948 with the establishment of the Israeli state. It was once the country's largest paper, but in recent years it has fallen behind Yediot Ahronot and Israel Hayom, the free daily, funded by the hawkish Jewish-American billionaire Sheldon Adelson.
Hundreds of Maariv employees protested against the sale Thursday. They said they will go on strike and wowed not to publish the newspaper on Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

French magazine runs cartoons that mock Muhammad

Calling itself a defender of free speech and a denouncer of religious backwardness, a French satirical newspaper on Wednesday published several crude caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, images viewed as a provocation by many Muslims and condemned by the French government as irresponsible at a time of violence and unrest across the Islamic world.
The French government had urged the weekly newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, to reconsider printing the illustrations, some of which depict Muhammad naked and in pornographic poses. The newspaper refused; after Charlie Hebdo arrived at newsstands on Wednesday, the government announced that French embassies, consulates, cultural centers and schools in about 20 countries would be closed Friday as a precautionary measure.

52% of us "indifferent" to NHL lockout: Survey

Professional hockey is apparently not quite as necessary to our national life as many might have thought. A survey by NRG Research indicates that 52 percent of those surveyed said it  is not important to them whether the NHL Players Association reaches an agreement so the hockey season can resume.  The survey includes the responses of 1,001 individuals drawn from each of Canada’s seven hockey cities. That means, maybe, that 48 percent are concerned or somewhat concerned about the lack of NHL action.  Montreal Gazette
Tell that to a sports writer!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Video uncovered by Jimmy Carter's grandson may sink Romney's presidential bid

The damning video of Mitt Romney telling a room of wealthy donors how he really feels about the freeloading 47 percent of Americans "who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it," among other candid things, has been floating around online in bits and pieces for three months, but didn't hit the big time until it was published by David Corn at Mother Jones today. Credited as a "research assistant" on the story is James Carter IV, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, who has been toiling online as an opposition researcher and is "currently looking for work," according to his Twitter bio. "I've been searching for clips on Republicans for a long time, almost every day," said Carter this evening. "I just do it for fun." But by connecting Corn with the mysterious uploader of the clip, Carter has uncovered his biggest story yet, one that could potentially affect the outcome of the election.

British fashion photog falls out of window at Fashion Week and dies

Peter Alexander, a British fashion photographer, died  after falling through a third-story window at a London Fashion Week party in Shoreditch over the weekend.
Alexander, 28, was attending an event hosted by fashion and beauty PR company Blow when he and a 20-year-old male model both tumbled out one of the townhouse's windows, which was open but was covered with a set of blinds. While the model landed on a parked car and is recovering in the hospital, Alexander is believed to have died on impact.
The photographer, who has shown his work in the UK, the U.S.A. and Iceland, reportedly had only been at the party for 30 minutes and was sober, a friend said.

Topless Kate photos draw injunction from French court

A French court has issued an injunction against a gossip magazine and its website halting further publication in France of topless photos of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge and wife of Prince William.
The court in Nanterre ordered the publisher of Closer magazine to hand over its digital copies of topless photos of Kate within 24 hours and prohibited any further publication of what it called a "brutal display" of William and Kate's private moments.
The ruling by the judge affects only Montedori Magazines France, Closer's French publisher.
The decision comes a day after an Italian magazine hit newsstands with a 26-page montage of the images, which were first published in the French magazine Closer on Friday, and the Irish Daily Star also published the photos over the weekend.
William's St. James's Palace has called the photos a "grotesque" invasion of privacy.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Didn't get your Globe today? "Mechanical problems," they say.

A note on the Globe web page:
"As a result of mechanical problems at our printing press in Vaughan, delivery of The Globe and Mail in some parts of the Toronto area has been delayed today. We apologize for the inconvenience."

The Yonge and Roxborough neighbourhood home delivery and stores didn't see a copy at all.
The road to suicide?  Will we miss the paper when it's gone?

Michelle Dubé named Co-Anchor at CTV Toronto

CTV Toronto announced today that Michelle Dubé has been named Co-Anchor with Ken Shaw of Toronto’s  #1 newscasts: CTV NEWS AT SIX and CTV NEWS AT NOON. Already well known to CTV News viewers as a reporter and a fill-in anchor, Dube will continue to file reports while co-helming newscasts.

I am proud and excited to join Ken, and spend time with our viewers each day, said Dube. “My goal is to deliver the news with the same professionalism viewers have come to expect from this newsroom. I also hope we can have some fun along the way.”

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mayor Ford slams media on his radio show

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford lashed out at the media Sunday, saying he half-expects to wake up to reporters spying on him.
During the season premiere of his weekly radio show on Newstalk 1010, Ford and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, complained they’ve been the target of reporters with an axe to grind.
“I rolled onto the bed on one side and thought the media would be underneath the bed, or looking in our windows,” the mayor said.
“They’re literally camped out three hours outside (football) practice and the kids are like, this is ridiculous. Anything good about Rob Ford, they’re not going to write about that.”
The Fords hammered newspaper coverage of the recent controversy surrounding accusations the mayor used city resources to run his charity football team and allegations he broke city hall’s conflict of interest rules.
“When you don’t have any credibility in some of the stories, ... they sit on their asses instead of looking into the story,” Councillor Ford said.
“They won’t stop. They don’t believe in democracy. They won’t stop because they don’t think you should have been elected. You’re saving hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Publisher offers 'deepest apologies' for publishing Kate Middleton's topless photos

The Irish publisher of the Daily Star on Sunday offered its "deepest apologies" for publishing topless pictures of the wife of Britain's Prince William but said it would resist efforts by its British partner to close the paper.
The Irish Daily Star on Saturday broke ranks with its British and Irish rivals by publishing shots of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge - the former Kate Middleton - that were originally printed in the French magazine Closer.
The pictures have reignited a debate over privacy and freedom of the press, especially in Britain, where media could face new regulations after a series of publishing scandals.
All British papers have refrained from publishing the photographs, including the Sun, the only British title to run pictures of William's brother Harry cavorting naked in a Las Vegas hotel last month.
Independent News and Media (INM), Ireland's biggest media company, on Sunday joined its British co-owner Northern and Shell in condemning the publication, which both owners said they had not authorised. "On behalf of INM, I wish to offer my deepest apologies," INM chief executive Joe Webb said in the Sunday Independent, another of the group's titles. "We are launching an internal inquiry to ensure there will never be a repeat of this breach of decency."
But he said he hoped to avoid the closure of the paper, whose future is under threat after Northern and Shell Chairman Richard Desmond said he was taking immediate steps to close down the joint venture. "We will be doing everything in our power to safeguard the 70 jobs at the Irish Daily Star," Webb said.
A spokeswoman for Northern and Shell on Saturday the paper would no longer be able to use the Daily Star name and that its future was a decision for INM.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Who will replace Christine Bentley on CTV Toronto's newscast?

CTV Toronto will announce the replacement for Christine Bentley on Monday, the company says. The much-liked Bentley has announced her retirement and Friday was her last day. Those guessing who might get the nod for the early evening anchor slot have many capable local news reporter/anchors to consider. Left, Tamara Cherry, a bright and young reporter who broke into her craft at the Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun. Centre, Michelle Dube is a Franshawe College graduate who found her way to CTV by way of Hamilton's CHCH.  Right, the durable and capable Andria Case is a CTV Toronto veteran who knows the role well. Of course, exercises like this are more like parlour games than the slightest glimpse into the minds of the Bell pashas who have mad the decision. They may parachute a surprise personality into the chair. No need to say that Monday's early evening news will be well-watched.

A journalist with rare access to Obama had to clear quotes

Michael Lewis, the best-selling author of “Moneyball” and “The Big Short,” was granted extraordinary access to President Obama for his latest article in Vanity Fair.
But with that access came one major condition.
Like other journalists who write about Washington and presidential politics, Mr. Lewis said that he had to submit to the widespread but rarely disclosed practice of quote approval.
During a discussion at Lincoln Center on Monday night with Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, Mr. Lewis volunteered to the audience that as a condition of cooperating with his story, the White House insisted on signing off on the quotes that would appear.
Mr. Lewis said that ultimately the White House disallowed very little of what he asked to use. And he described having access to the president that was unusually unfettered. About 95 percent of what he witnessed was on the record, he said.
What the White House asked to leave off the record, Mr. Lewis added, was usually of little relevance to his article anyway — like a discussion between Mr. Obama and his political strategists about their electoral strategy in Florida.
The full New York Times story

CBC challenges BCE-Astral deal

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. has unexpectedly stepped into the debate over BCE Inc.’s $3.4-billion acquisition of Astral Media at the last minute, insisting it be allowed to voice its objection to the company’s plan to launch a French news network as part of the deal.
Bell Media announced plans to use $20-million of the deal’s $241-million tangible benefit fund – money it is obligated pay as part of the deal to improve Canada’s broadcasting system – to fund the $40-million creation of an all-news network.
It would position Bell Media as a rival to CBC’s RDI service and Quebecor Inc.’s LCN, both of which offer 24/7 French news networks in Quebec. CBC argues that throwing another competitor into the mix – which Bell has already said will be a money loser – will distort the market and make it harder for established networks to thrive.
“BCE’s proposal to use tangible benefits monies to subsidize the launch of a … news service is extraordinarily self-serving and unprecedented,” the CBC wrote in a submission file to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. “No party has ever before suggested that benefits monies should be used to subsidize the launch of a totally new broadcasting service.”

Friday, September 14, 2012

Competition Bureau sues Rogers, Bell, Telus $10M each over texting services

Federal competition authorities are suing the country’s three biggest wireless providers for a combined $30-million, alleging the carriers allowed third-party companies to “mislead” mobile subscribers into hefty fees of which they then took a share.
In separate suits filed Friday in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Competition Bureau is seeking $10-million each from Rogers Communications Inc., BCE Inc. and Telus Corp. — the maximum penalty allowed under law.
The bureau is also suing the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, the sector’s lobbying body, for $1-million in an administrative penalty for “facilitating premium text services.”

Royals suing for ‘grotesque’ breach of privacy after French magazine published topless photos of Kate

Britain’s royal family began legal action against a French magazine on Friday for a “grotesque” breach of privacy after it published topless photographs of Prince William’s wife Kate Middleton.
Celebrity gossip magazine Closer published a dozen shots of the Duchess of Cambridge on holiday in southern France as she slipped off her bikini top, relaxed on a sun lounger and at one point pulled down the back of her bikini bottoms while William rubbed sun cream on her lower back.
“St James’s Palace confirms that legal proceedings for breach of privacy have been commenced today in France by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge against the publishers of Closer Magazine France,” the couple’s office said in a statement.
A court in Nanterre near Paris said the royal couple’s lawyer had filed a motion to expedite the procedure, and Closer‘s publishers would be heard on Monday.

Topless Kate Middleton photos in French mag upset royals

The French magazine Closer published a series of photos of Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, sunbathing topless on Friday, dealing a fresh blow to the royal family as it tries to move on from a scandal over naked shots of Prince Harry.
Closer, a weekly round-up of celebrity gossip, ran a five-page spread of photos of Middleton relaxing topless with Prince William on a balcony at a 19th century hunting lodge in southern France it said is owned by a son of the late Princess Margaret.
Under the headline “Oh my God!”, the photos show the Duchess removing her bikini top then relaxing on a sun lounger, apparently oblivious to paparazzi lurking nearby as the pair vacationed at the property in early September.
The publication reopens a debate over the privacy of Britain’s royal family and the freedom of the press just weeks after a U.S. website published grainy photos of William’s younger brother Harry cavorting naked in a Las Vegas hotel room.
More--but no pix!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Liberty Media about to take control of Sirius

Liberty Media in the U.S. has announced that it now has accumulated 49.7% of the common shares of Sirius. This week, Mel Karmazin pointed out to the Wall Street Journal that he tends to be an expensive employee and that he expects that once Liberty exceeds 50% ownership, it will replace the Board of Directors and is not likely to retain him. Karmazin has been busy selling off a lot of the millions of option shares he was granted at $0.43 after the company almost went down for the count in 2009. His total pay package will certainly total tens of millions by the time he cashes out completely, even if he doesn’t get the $200 million he thinks he so richly deserves for his services. Forbes

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Christine Bentley to retire from CTV News

Here is a memo sent out today announcing to staff the tretirement of CTV News anchor Chrristine Bentley.

This is a significant day in the history of our newsroom. After 35 years with CTV News, Christine Bentley has decided to step down from the anchor desk, and take on new projects outside of CTV. Christine will make the announcement on air in a few minutes from now, and this Friday’s 6:00pm newscast will be her last. Christine wanted you all to know about her decision before she makes it public.In 1977, Christine joined CFTO as an ambitious young reporter, fresh out of Barrie. She worked her way up to the Queen’s Park beat, eventually joining Ken Shaw at 11:30 PM on what was then known as Nightbeat News. Years later she and Ken re-teamed at suppertime, on Toronto’s #1 newscast. Today, Christine is a household name from Oshawa to Hamilton, and she is one of the most recognizable personalities in our city. She marks this career milestone knowing that she has helped keep CTV Toronto as strong as ever; both in quality and in the ratings.On a personal note, I want to thank Christine for her unfailing dedication to our viewers. You could not begin to count how many school plays, family celebrations and parents’ nights were missed, because she knew the viewers expected to see her on TV, night after night. Then there were the evenings and weekends where her presence at charity events helped raise millions. It was a huge commitment over many years. Paul Rogers, Senior Vice President

No questions on missing VP from Chinese media

The disappearance from public life of the Chinese leader in waiting, Xi Jinping, shows how closed China remains. Although the single party Communists make a show of openness, the 11-day vanishing of vice president Xi has the whole country on information lock down.  Has he had a back injury (as the thinnest rumour has said)? Is he on a bender? Lost in traffic? It's a reminder of the timidity and obedience of the media and the absence of any independent political opposition that no one in China will call the Communist Party on this pathetic performance.  RSMM  Voice of america

Toronto radio licence goes to the little guy

CRTC as the great leveller again as it awards the 88.1 frequency to David Bingley, a small radio operator from Barrie. It is apparently another stab at greater diversify in radio ownership. Tim will tell.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wrestling commentator has heart attack on air

A colourful figure in WWE wrestling, commentator Jerry Lawler has collapsed during a World Wrestling Entertainment event in Montreal.  A statement from the WWE said that Lawler suffered a heart attack at the announcers’ table and was taken from the Bell Centre to a hospital. Broadcast partner Michael Cole addressed the television audience and said that the situation is “serious,” but that Lawler was breathing on his own. Though the 62-year-old Lawler occasionally wrestles, he mainly works on WWE broadcasts as a commentator. Toronto Star

Sunday, September 9, 2012

CRTC tests Bell/Astral deal for market share

The story asks if this swallowing of Astral by omnivorous Bell breaks some sort of "threshold". Who knew there was a threshold?   Vancouver Sun.

USA Today plans major relaunch and new logo

USA Today is planning a major relaunch of its newspaper, website and mobile platforms, complete with a new "USA TODAY" logo.   Politico

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Amazon stirs up tablet price war with Apple

At an event in a Santa Monica, California airplane hangar Thursday, Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos introduced a family of new Kindle Fire tablets. While the devices included technologies that are already available in many other tablets, Amazon's new products stood out for their low prices, especially compared with Apple's popular iPads.
In particular, Mr. Bezos dropped the price of an entry-level Kindle Fire to $159 from $199. Apple's newest iPad starts at $499. He also introduced three versions of high-definition Kindle Fires at between $199 and $599. A $499 model, which includes 4G capability that enables a connection whenever there is a wireless signal and 32 gigabytes of memory is $230 cheaper than Apple's corresponding 4G iPad.
The new high-definition Kindle Fires are priced lower than competing tablets in part because of support from advertising. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Amazon was discussing ad-supported tablets.
Mr. Bezos rubbed in the price contrast by debuting a $49.99 annual data package for the Kindle Fire that includes 250 megabytes per month. A similar data plan for the iPad starts at $14.99 a month, or about $180 a year.
That means consumers with a new 4G Kindle Fire will snag "more than $400 in year-one savings" versus an iPad, said Mr. Bezos.

Friday, September 7, 2012

CBC looking for new ombudsman

Today's Globe and Mail careers section carries an advertisement for a new CBC ombudsman. The term of the present ombud, Kirk Lapointe, must be ending.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tom Brokaw rushed to hospital because he felt light headed after 'mistakenly taking Ambien'

Tom Brokaw has been rushed to a North Carolina hospital after a television appearance on Thursday morning but has reported that the brief scare was caused by him taking the wrong pill.
The 72-year-old former NBC Nightly News anchor felt light headed after filming a segment on MSNBC's Morning Joe news broadcast from Charlotte on Thursday.
While he didn't reveal what pill he was supposed to be taking, Brokaw shrugged off the emergency with his tell-tale wit, tweeting: 'All is well Early AM I mistakenly took a half dose of Ambien and made less sense than usual. Made a better comeback than Giants...'

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Television stations could start using drones to cover news stories

A drone originally developed for military use could soon be used by television stations and journalists as a news-gathering device.
The Schiebel Corporation’s Camcopter, which is used by the United Arab Emirates Army and the Germany Navy, could soon be used for broadcasting purposes, according to TV News Check.
“To me, the potential for using drones is just like the potential for using any other type of news-gathering equipment, whether it would be for helicopters or mobile news vans or hidden camera equipment,” Mike Cavender, executive director for the Radio Television Digital News Association, told TV News Check. “All those are tools of the trade and the drone to me is no different.”
According to Airforce-Technology, the Campcopter has electro-optical sensors which can “capture images, real-time data and videos” which can be operated from a control station on the ground or can be programmed.  Best shot from a reader is that most newsrooms are full of drones RSMM. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Canadian Screen Awards to replace Genies, Geminis

The new Canadian prizes for film, television and digital media will be known as the Canadian Screen Awards, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television announced today.
The first gala for the combined awards will be held March 3, and hosted by Canadian comedian Martin Short. CBC is the official broadcast partner.
The academy announced earlier this year that the Genie Awards for Canadian English-language film and the Geminis for Canadian TV would be combined. The decision came after extensive consultation with the film and television industries.
A new logo that will be reflected in the winning statuette was also unveiled Tuesday in Toronto.
The awards will be extended to digital media – though the academy did not specify how it would approach cellphone or internet video.
There's no word yet on the number of awards to be handed out for Canadian TV, film and digital achievement.
The Geminis had upwards of 100 categories and the Genie Awards more than 20.

Audience share data cloud BCE’s Astral bid

New data from Canada’s broadcast regulator have thrown fresh uncertainty over a controversial bid by BCE Inc. for Astral Media Inc., a transaction that if approved would see the country’s biggest telecom provider cement its position as the biggest owner of TV programming.
Figures released by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Tuesday show a combined BCE-Astral would hold 39.7% of the English-language television audience.
That figure, though technically permissible, puts the $3.38-billion deal within the threshold requiring heightened regulatory scrutiny through public hearings next week.
But the calculation excludes audience-share figures for networks and pay-TV channels Astral jointly owns, like HBO Canada, which would add another three percentage points to 42.7% — a level treading close to an automatic dismissal of the current proposal.

Astral jointly owns popular channels like HBO and Teletoon with Corus Entertainment Inc., with each holding a 50% interest in the properties. The question of whether audience numbers from those assets should be included when looking at an overall enlarged Bell Media will be a matter of fierce argument beginning Monday when the CRTC opens a public review of the deal in Montreal.

Canadians spent more time watching TV, listening to radio in 2011

Canadians' love affair with television programs remains undiminished, despite the proliferation of new online and wireless platforms that were supposed to threaten traditional media.
The CRTC's new report on the communications industry shows Canadians watched an average of 28.5 hours of TV last year, up 30 minutes from 2010, even though they had more media choices than ever before.
In fact, Canadians increased their TV program viewing even more -- if the 2.8 hours spent watching television shows online is included.
Radio listening was also up only more moderately, from 17.6 to 17.7 hours a week.
"Canadians are enthusiastic consumers of creative content, whether it is offered on television, radio or through digital platforms," said Jean-Pierre Blais, chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, in the annual report from the federal regulator.
"The fact that they are spending more time watching or listening to programming is good news for Canadian creators."
It's also good news for communications companies.
Broadcast revenues climbed 5.5 per cent to $16.6 billion from 2010, and revenues from telecommunications services increased by 2.5 per cent to $42.7 billion. On average, consumers spent an average of $180 a month on services.
Overall, the communications industry accounted for about 4.6 per cent of Canada's gross domestic product in 2011.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Longtime CBC broadcaster Bob Johnstone dead at 82

Veteran CBC radio personality Bob Johnstone died on Sunday of cancer at age 82, the CBC web page reports. He created a popular radio feature "Today in History" for CBC Toronto that was also heard across the country, He previously worked at the Toronto Star and was a reporter with CBC Television's the fifth estate.

Political conventions soar on social media, while TV viewership tumbles

TV viewership for last week's Republican National Convention dropped sharply from 2008, suggesting interest in this presidential race falls short of some past contests. But the convention was a hit online and on social networks, the latest evidence of the political conversation's gradual migration from traditional media to the Web.
The Nielsen Co. estimates that about 30.3 million viewers across 11 television networks watched convention coverage Thursday night when Mitt Romney delivered his prime-time speech accepting the GOP presidential nomination. That's a 23 percent plunge from the same night four years ago when nearly 39 million people tuned in to watch then-GOP nominee John McCain address the convention and the nation.
The erosion of TV viewership from 2008 was sharper still on Wednesday night when Romney running mate Paul Ryan drew about 22 million viewers for his acceptance speech. That's a 41 percent drop from 2008 when some 37 million tuned in for vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin's debut on the national stage.
The Republican convention drew an older audience on TV. Of the 22 million who watched Ann Romney speak on Tuesday night, Nielsen found that nearly 15 million were 55 or older. Only 1.5 million were age 18-34.
The 2008 election was an outlier from an otherwise consistent decline in viewership for political conventions over the past 20 years.
The full Associated Press story

Egypt's veiled presenter in breakthrough TV appearance

A woman presenter has appeared on Egyptian state TV in an Islamic headscarf for what is believed to be first time since it opened in 1960.
Fatima Nabil wore a cream-coloured headscarf as she read a news bulletin.
Under the regime of ex-President Hosni Mubarak there was an unofficial ban on women presenters covering their hair.
But the new Muslim Brotherhood-led government has introduced new rules, saying that nearly 70% of Egyptian women wear the headscarf.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Political campaign reporters are behind the curve

Sasha Issenberg analyzes in The New York Times how technology out distances reporters  covering political campaigns. Excerpt:

"Over the last decade, almost entirely out of view, campaigns have modernized their techniques in such a way that nearly every member of the political press now lacks the specialized expertise to interpret what’s going on. Campaign professionals have developed a new conceptual framework for understanding what moves votes. It’s as if restaurant critics remained oblivious to a generation’s worth of new chefs’ tools and techniques and persisted in describing every dish that came out of the kitchen as either 'grilled' or 'broiled.'”

Obama still ‘a huge Clint Eastwood fan’ after ribbing

President Barack Obama says the ribbing Clint Eastwood gave him at the Republican National Convention last week doesn’t mean he won’t watch his movies.
“I am a huge Clint Eastwood fan,” the president said in an interview excerpt released today.
“He is a great actor, and an even better director,” he continued. “I think the last few movies that he’s made have been terrific.”
USA Today asked the president about Eastwood’s participation at the GOP convention while Obama was traveling to Iowa on Saturday. The interview will be fully released on the publication’s website Monday and in print Tuesday.
Eastwood was a much-hyped mystery speaker at the three-day long event, rousing the crowd in a 12-minute oratory that included a satirical “interview” with Obama, in the form of an empty chair. The president said he didn’t hold a grudge against the blunt performance, which some considered borderline vulgar.
“One thing about being president or running for president — if you’re easily offended, you should probably choose another profession,” the president said.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

How Bravo went from highbrow docs to ‘Dallas’

The Gobe and Mail's Kate Taylor  on the remake of the Bravo channel:

"The Ewings of Southfork have been having a wild summer over on Bravo: rivalries between big oil and alternative energy, a wedding and two break-ups, various death-defying health scares and a campaign for the governor’s office. Yup, that’s the new Dallas , and its summertime run helped make Bravo, according to its press material, the fast-growing specialty channel in Canadian prime time.
"Wait a second. Isn’t Bravo the arts channel? Documentaries about ballet companies. Interviews with esteemed film directors. That kind of thing.
"Not any more. Since the channel was first brought into the CTV stable in 2006-2007, and more rapidly since Bell bought back CTV in 2010, Bravo has concentrated more and more on U.S. dramas and less and less on arts programming. Today the only shows listed on its website that suggest its roots as the “NewStyleArtsChannel” created by Moses Znaimer and CHUM in 1994 are the U.S. interview show Inside the Actors Studio and a Canadian reality series called Way Off Broadway. Gone are the arts magazines Bravo! News and Arts & Minds, documentaries about artists, concert shows and interview programs such as Spectacle: Elvis Costello with ... In their place are the Canadian co-produced historical drama The Borgias, and the U.S. crime dramas Suits and White Collar.
"It’s a loss that may finally get an airing at hearings this month when Bell goes before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to defend its acquisition of yet more specialty channels through its purchase of Astral. . . ."

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