Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Media people and the Order of Canada

TVO's Steve Paikin, National Post columnist George Jonas and fashion media personality Jeanne Bekker all joined the ranks of recipients of the Order of Canada. Many other media personalities, including the CBC's Don Newman and Joe Schlesinger are already sporting one on their lapels. The latter two are retired.
Maybe the question needs to be asked whether journalists should accept this honour while still active. Or, for that matter, whether they should be appointed to the Senate.
Whatever happened to the independent press in this country?
BTW: Mike Duffy never got one.

TIME splitting from Warner; abandoning "church and state" separation of news and ads

Time Inc., the largest magazine publisher in the United States, with properties like People, Sports Illustrated and Fortune, is preparing for one of the most pivotal periods in its 91-year history.
Within the next six months, its parent, the media conglomerate Time Warner, hopes to spin off Time Inc. into a separate public company. But if the plan succeeds, Time Inc. will become independent at a difficult moment. Not only do the magazine industry’s fortunes continue to sag, but Time Inc. has also shown signs of instability. It has churned through three chief executives in the last three years, and lost a star editor, its former editor in chief Martha Nelson.
To combat these negative forces, Time Inc. will abandon the traditional separation between its newsroom and business sides, a move that has caused angst among its journalists. Now, the newsroom staffs at Time Inc.’s magazines will report to the business executives. Such a structure, once verboten at journalistic institutions, is seen as necessary to create revenue opportunities and stem the tide of declining subscription and advertising sales. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

70 journalists killed in 2013, including 29 in Syria: Report

At least 70 journalists were killed on the job around the world in 2013, including 29 who died covering the civil war in Syria and 10 slain in Iraq, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The dead in Syria included a number of citizen journalists working to document combat in their home cities, broadcasters who worked with media outlets affiliated with either the government or the opposition, and a handful of correspondents for the foreign press, including an Al-Jazeera reporter, Mohamed al-Mesalma, who was shot by a sniper.
More from the Associated Press

Friday, December 27, 2013

Geoff Stirling, broadcast pioneer, dies at 92

Newfoundland and Labrador broadcasting and publishing pioneer Geoff Stirling died last Saturday at the age of 92 in his home in Torbay, Newfoundland. Stirling owned wide-ranging media outlets in Newfoundland, Ontario and Quebec. He founded the weekly newspaper The Sunday Herald in St. John's in 1946. Stirling started CJON, the second commercial radio station in Newfoundland and Labrador, and also launched CJON-TV, the first provincial television station, back in 1955. Stirling was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2001. .

Senate ethics – what about Press Gallery ethics? --Preston Manning

An excellent column by Preston Manning in today's Globe.

"A great deal of media attention has been paid these past few months to the ethics, or alleged lack thereof, of senators Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy. Much less attention has been paid to the likelihood that the ethics of both are at least partially rooted in their training and experience as prominent members of the media. . . .

"The Press Gallery’s constitution consists of 50 clauses, only one of which deals with ethics. Its focus, however, is quite relevant to the Duffy case.
Section 10 of that constitution provides for the expulsion of a member by a majority vote of the members for only one reason: '… that such member uses his membership or the facilities of the Gallery to obtain a benefit other than by journalism …'
"Accordingly, if a member were to use his position as a member of the gallery to lobby for a federal appointment – a benefit being sought 'other than by journalism' – he should have been subjected to an investigation by the gallery, a membership meeting to discuss and vote on the allegation, and expulsion on ethical grounds if the allegation had been substantiated.
"It is therefore appropriate to ask whether section 10 of the gallery’s constitution – the only one dealing with ethics – has ever been applied? If so, when and to whom? And if not, why not, especially in the case of Mr. Duffy, who (as is well known) had been lobbying for a federal appointment  . . ."

The whole column (subscription may be required)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Attack on reporter Tetyana Chornovil fires up Ukraine demonstrations

Protesters demanded Ukraine’s interior minister resign on Thursday after an opposition journalist known for documenting the extravagance of the country’s political elite was chased down in her car and savagely beaten in a midnight attack. Clutching pictures of Tetyana Chornovil’s badly bruised face, hundreds marched on the Interior Ministry in the capital, Kyiv. The attack on the 34-year-old restored passion to protests that have been losing steam more than a month after the government spurned a pact on closer ties with the European Union, turning instead to former Soviet master Moscow.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Star reporter Jennifer Quinn wins Amnesty International media award

Toronto Star reporter Jennifer Quinn is the winner of one of three Amnesty International Canada media awards for outstanding coverage of human rights issues.
Quinn traveled to Jamaica for the print feature “A dangerous place to be gay,” which ran in August. In it, personal stories illustrate the devastating discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jamaicans, including evictions, violence, substandard healthcare and police abuses. The story also details the ongoing legal battle waged by activists against Jamaica’s archaic laws.
The three Amnesty International Canada media awards were announced Thursday. The CBC radio show As It Happens won in the video/audio category for a broadcast documentary on Syria’s civil war, and Victoria Times Colonist reporter Katie DeRosa won in the local/alternative print category for a series of newspaper articles on human smuggling in Southeast Asia and Australia.

Sun News must be available to all cable and satellite customers, CRTC says

The CRTC says cable and satellite companies must give their customers the option of subscribing to any Canadian news service they want, either in bundles or a la carte, no later than next spring. Thursday’s announcement means upstart news services such as Sun News Network must be available to all cable and satellite subscribers by May 18, 2014. The move comes after the CRTC last summer rejected Sun News Network’s bid for mandatory-carriage status, which would have forced cable and satellite companies to carry it on all basic digital and analog services.

Rob Ford apologizes again, Daniel Dale drops lawsuit

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford issued a second apology late Wednesday, retracting in more detail statements he made earlier regarding Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale that had prompted legal action.
"I wholly retract my statements and apologize to Mr. Dale without reservation for what I said," Ford said in a statement. 
"There is absolutely no basis for the statement I made about Daniel Dale taking pictures of children or any insinuations I made," Ford added.
Ford went on to retract other statements, including that Dale had been found "lurking" or "leering" near his property.
Within minutes, Dale indicated via Twitter he was dropping his legal action against Ford. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Harper snubs CTV, Trudeau shuns Sun News in year-end interviews

Throughout this month, our federal party leaders will be doing the media rounds to talk about the year that was.
But don't expect to see Prime Minister Harper on Canada's largest private broadcaster.
According to the Ottawa Citizen's Glen McGregor, Harper will, for the second year in a row, snub CTV.
Pre-Harper, the PM on CTV was a holiday tradition. According to a 2008 press release, the network has hosted 'A conversation with the prime minister' since the days of Lester B. Pearson.
The cynics and conspiracy theorists among us might wonder if the network's breaking coverage of the Senate expense scandal had anything to do with the PMO's decision.
CTV's Robert Fife was the one who broke the story about Nigel Wright's $90,000 gift to Sen. Mike Duffy.
MacDonald denied that CTV's coverage had anything to do with their decision not to be interviewed.
Team Harper aren't the only ones doing the snubbing.
According to Liberal insider and Sun News personality Warren Kinsella, Justin Trudeau won't speak to them — the newspaper chain Kinsella calls "the biggest" in the country.
(Historical note: Pierre Trudeau used to give only one interview at Christmas -- to the late Bruce Phillips, CTV's Ottawa bureau chief. It often made news.)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rob Ford apologizes to Daniel Dale; Dale says apology "inadequate" and proceeding with lawsuit

Rob Ford has apologized to Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale for insinuating that he is a pedophile. “I did not mean to insinuate anything,” Ford told City Council on Tuesday morning. Ford said he would apologize to Dale personally, if possible. The move came after Dale launched legal action last week against the mayor, as well as Vision TV, which broadcast an interview earlier this month in which Ford made the comment.
Link to full Star story and video

Despite the statement from the mayor, Dale says he finds the mayor's apology inadequate and plans to pursue the lawsuit.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Syrian rebels promise to work for journalists’ safety

The leaders of Syria’s main Western-backed moderate rebel faction said they would do everything in their power to protect journalists on assignment in the country and work to secure the release of those who have already been abducted.
The letter from the Supreme Military Council, the military wing of the Syrian National Coalition, came in response to an appeal from several major international news organizations calling for urgent action against rebel groups targeting journalists for kidnappings. Syria has become the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, and the number of abductions has soared to an unprecedented level over the past year.
Link to AP story

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Toronto Star reporter serves libel notice on Rob Ford after Conrad Black interview; asks for an apology

Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale has served Mayor Rob Ford with a libel notice over comments the mayor made during a televised interview earlier this week, the Globe and Mail reports.
Dale published a statement Thursday saying he served the notice against both the mayor and Vision TV – which aired the broadcast – as the first step of a defamation lawsuit. He’s asking the mayor to retract the “false insinuation that I am a pedophile,” the statement said.
During the Monday night interview with Conrad Black that aired on Vision TV, Ford described a May, 2012, incident where he confronted  Dale in a public space behind the mayor’s house.
“He’s taking photos of little kids,” Ford told  Black in the interview. “I don’t want to say that word, but you start thinking ‘What’s this guy all about?’ ” On Tuesday, when urged by councillors to apologize for the comments, Mayor Ford told reporters he stood by his remarks.
But  Dale called the mayor’s account of events “categorically false.”

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Former late-night CTV Ottawa anchor Leigh Chapple dies

CTV Ottawa's former late-night news anchor, Leigh Chapple, was found dead in her home Tuesday morning.
In an email to staff Tuesday, CTV Ottawa station manager Richard Gray said Chapple, 58, made many friends at the station during her 36 years there.
"Friend to so many in the building, Leigh was part of the CTV Ottawa/CJOH TV family for 36 years starting out as personal assistant to Max Keeping before moving on-air first as a reporter then later becoming an anchor," Gray wrote.
"Leigh retired May 4, 2012, to spend more time with her husband, another former colleague, Dean Holmes."
Chapple’s cause of death is not yet known.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rob Ford, Toronto Star battle hits incredible new low as paper says mayor called reporter a pedophile

Just when you thought it wasn’t possible for the relationship between the Toronto Star and Rob Ford to get worse, the mayor reached a new level of inflammatory rhetoric Monday night when he insinuated that he thought a Star reporter was a pedophile, the National Post reports.
“”I have little kids. When a guy’s taking pictures of little kids,” Ford said. “I don’t want to say that word but you start thinking, ‘What’s this guy all about?’”
Dale, who was in the park behind Ford’s house to research a story, has denied the mayor’s allegations, saying he was never on the his property and that the mayor threatened him in the encounter. Toronto police said last year there was “no evidence” Dale did anything wrong and did not press charges.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Rogers merges Canadian Business and Profit

Canadian Business will absorb Profit next year for an "all-encompassing business magazine" with a projected readership of more than one million, Masthead magazine reports.
Duncan Hood retains his role as editor-in-chief. Ian Portsmouth, formerly publisher and editor of Profit, is now publisher ofCanadian Business.
The amalgamated Canadian Businesslaunches January 16. The title will publish monthly with two bonus Profit-themed issues targeting entrepreneurs, totalling 14 editions a year. Each regular edition will also include a 'Profit' section.
Canadian Business, founded in 1928, previously published bi-weekly with some combined, expanded or premium issues. Profit, launched in 1982 targeting entrepreneurs and executives at small to mid-sized companies, was published six times per year.
"The new frequency and enhanced content of the new Canadian Business allows us to do more of what we do best – provide intelligent analysis, context, and thoughtful features to the business community," said Hood in a Rogers release. "The Profit section within Canadian Business will continue to deliver the actionable information that entrepreneurs need, while offering a larger audience access to the latest thought-leaders in innovative thinking."

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The strange and changing world we live in

The Globe and Mail’s media reporter, Steve Ladurantaye, is joining Twitter Canada.
The announcement was tweeted by Kirstine Stewart, the managing director and head of Twitter Canada.
According to his Globe bio, Ladurantaye joined the newspaper in 2007. He has also reported for the Peterborough Examiner and Kingston Whig-Standard. He won a National Newspaper Award for explanatory journalism in 2006 and was nominated in the breaking news category in 2010.
Stewart, it will be remembered, left a top job at C BC to join Twitter.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sun Media to lay off 200, 50 from editorial ops

Sun Media has announced it is laying off 200 employees across its newspapers. About 50 will come from editorial operations. The company laid off about 500 employees almost one year ago. Sun Media CEO Julie Tremblay said the cuts were necessary to remain competitive. “It is very tough to announce job cuts,” she said. “But as distressing as they are for the employees involved, these restructuring initiatives are necessary to maintain our leading position and ensure the corporation’s sustainability. “We truly regret this decision’s impact on the professionals who are leaving our organization. We thank each and every one of them and we wish them every success.” 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Patrick Brazeau lands a gig as Parliament Hill reporter for Frank magazine!

Disgraced Senator Patrick Brazeau has found work as a freelance reporter for the Halifax edition of Frank Magazine, the Natioanl Post reports.
Despite having no prior journalism experience, Brazeau — who is also facing charges of assault and sexual assault stemming from an incident in February — is joining the Halifax edition of Frank Magazine as a free-lance reporter.
Brazeau openly solicited work on Twitter after he and fellow former Conservative caucus members Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin were suspended by the Senate in early November over their questionable expense claims.
Frank, the satire and gossip magazine — not to be confused with the entirely distinct Ottawa version of the same name — announced its newest hire Monday.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Veteran journalist William (Bill) Stevenson dead at 89

Veteran journalist and author William (Bill) Stevenson. has died at age 89, his family announced.
Stevenson had a lengthy career as an author and journalist. Last year he published a memoir Past to Present: A Reporter’s Story of War, Spies, People, and Politics. 
Stevenson worked for the Toronto Star and CBC and is the author of a number of books, including the best sellers, A Man Called Intrepid and 90 Minutes at Entebbe, an account of the  Israeli raid to rescue hostages at the airport in Entebbe, Uganda.
Stevenson leaves his widow, Monika Jensen-Stevenson, a former producer at 60 Minutes and at CTV's W5 and their daughter, Alexandra. He also leaves two daughters and a son from his first marriage.
A funeral service will be held at St. Paul's Anglican Church on Bloor Street on Monday at 2pm

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Rogers to rule over iconic 'Hockey Night in Canada'; CBC job cuts loom

The best story about what it all means is by  Cassandra Szklarski of  The Canadian Press:                        

"Canada's hockey TV landscape underwent a seismic shift Tuesday as Rogers Communications wrested control of NHL multimedia rights with a blockbuster 12-year, $5.2-billion agreement that will preserve "Hockey Night in Canada" but limit CBC's role in the iconic broadcast.
"The deal, the largest in NHL history, gives Rogers national rights to all NHL games, including the playoffs and Stanley Cup final, on all of its platforms in all languages.
"'It will be the NHL like never before,' Rogers Media president Keith Pelley promised at a packed news conference Tuesday, touting a 'transformational day'  for the industry, as well as Rogers' position as a sports broadcasting titan.
A sub-licensing agreement with CBC allows the public broadcaster to continue airing Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights for four years, while TVA in Quebec earned all of the Canadian French-language multi-media rights.

Katie Couric Named Yahoo's 'Global Anchor'

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced on Monday that Katie Couric has been named "Global Anchor" for Yahoo.
The announcement came after news broke on Friday that Couric would be leaving ABC News prematurely due to reports of a new deal with the Internet corporation.
As Global Anchor, Couric's new responsibilities include reporting "live world events" and anchoring "groundbreaking interviews" to be featured on the website's homepage, a Yahoo spokesperson said in a press release on Monday. Starting in 2014, Mayer said that the new host would lead the company's efforts toward "a new chapter of digital journalism."

CBS News' Lara Logan Taking Leave Of Absence Over Discredited '60 Minutes' Benghazi Report

Jeff Fager, chairman of CBS News and executive producer of 60 Minutes,  informed staff Tuesday that Lara Logan and her producer, Max McClellan, would be taking a leave of absence following an internal report on the news magazine's discredited Oct. 27 Benghazi report.
On the Oct. 27 broadcast, Logan interviewed Dylan Davies, a security officer who claimed that he witnessed the terrorist attack on the Benghazi compound that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11, 2012. Davies, who had trained Libyan security guards for the State Department, claimed he scaled a 12-foot wall that night, knocked out a terrorist with his rifle and later saw Stevens dead in the hospital.
But four days later, The Washington Post reported that Davies had told his employer shortly after the attack that he never reached the compound that night, an account that conflicted with the one he had given to “60 Minutes," as well as included in a memoir. The memoir was published by a conservative imprint that is a subsidiary of CBS, a financial relationship that was not disclosed at the time of the broadcast.

NHL signs 12-year TV, Internet deal with Rogers; CBC keeps ‘Hockey Night in Canada’

Rogers Sportsnet is in. Hockey Night In Canada has survived. And TSN is out as a national broadcaster of the National Hockey League, the Star reports.
The blockbuster 12-year, $5.2 billion deal reached by the National Hockey League with Rogers Communications keeps CBC and Don Cherry as part of the Saturday night landscape. The Sports Network (TSN), however, is cut out of this mammoth deal, which is the largest media rights deal in NHL history and the largest in Canadian sports media history.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Media should ask if Ford really has anything to say

It's time for reporters and media bigshots to start asking if Rob Ford has anything left to say. Today, we saw Stephen LeDrew struggle through another "exclusive" interview with Mr. Ford. It replayed all the wrong-headed indignation, disingenuous apologies and silly sentimentality the city has been swimming in for weeks.  Mr. Ford has nothing to say to anyone. Think about it.  He has now had his duties removed at City Hall. Locks have been changed, for heavens sake. It's over for Mr. Ford as mayor and he is the only one to blame. He says he knows this but his appreciation of what he has done is sliver thin.  But now it doesn't matter that he can't figure it out. The media should re-think whether Rob Ford continues to be worth hours of aimless babbling. He is not.

Sun News kills Ford Nation show after one episode

Less than 24 hours after its debut on Monday night, the conservative cable news channel axed Ford Nation, its highly touted TV talk show starring Rob and Doug Ford, despite record ratings for the network, the Globe's Simon Houpt reports.
"Sun News had announced the show only last Thursday, saying it would provide a regular outlet for the Fords to speak directly to both supporters and detractors," he writes.
Earlier this month, the brothers had parted ways with Toronto’s Newstalk 1010, their home for a regular two-hour Sunday afternoon radio program since February, 2012.
While Ford Nation pulled about 155,000 viewers, according to overnight ratings, it is a victim of the brutal economics of cable TV and the Fords’ relative inexperience with the medium: Monday’s episode took five hours to record, and another eight hours to edit, making it an unusually expensive endeavour for a niche network that is in only about 40 per cent of Canadian households.

Contract up, Maria Bartiromo is leaving CNBC

Maria Bartiromo
CNBC says veteran anchor and reporter Maria Bartiromo is leaving the business news channel. Bartiromo's contract ends Nov. 24, concluding 20 years with CNBC, the channel said Monday. The New York Times and others reported Bartiromo is joining Fox Business Network. The Fox network said it had no immediate announcement to make Monday. The Drudge Report was first to report Bartiromo's move. "After twenty great years of having a front row seat to some of the most important economic stories in the world, it's hard to sum up the gratitude and appreciation I have for the team that helped make it happen," Bartiromo said in a statement. "I am incredibly proud of what we have been able to accomplish." Her representative did not immediately respond when asked to comment on reports that she's going to Fox Business. ABC

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Globe and Mail makes its videos embeddable

Globe and Mail video
Even as Canadian newspapers continue to apply their paywall policies, some publications have moved to make their work available for free. The Globe and Mail is among the latest paper noted to begin stressing the making of its own videos and permitting other publishers or private persons to access the embedding code so the video may be seen on other websites or blogs. The availability of good video is a source of interest for readers of any site. The Globe, like some other publishers, has apparently concluded that the promotional value of being seen elsewhere, plus the technical "hit" or page view registered when a reader clicks on a Globe video, is worth the price of giving away news. It is a reverse notion to the paywall strategy. The most recent wave of Canadian paywalls appears to be in transition. The Postmedia papers are applying the paywall rigidly. The Toronto Star (which also permits some embedding) and the Globe and Mail now seem to apply the paywall blackout less frequently. It is a tough call for papers. In recent remarks the Star publisher said it was too soon to decide on the sucesss of the paywall. It was, he said, about what the paper had expected.  He did not state numbers nor address the potent issue of how paywalls might decrease page views, an essential element of how much a paper may charge for online advertising.  

Star will lay off ad department, outsource to Metro

The Toronto Star announced a series of restructuring plans that include outsourcing the newspaper’s advertising sales to Metro English Canada. In addition, layoffs will take place in the editorial, and finance and administration departments. Between 75 and 100 people, including union, non-union and management staff, will lose their jobs. The restructuring is part of “a continued effort to create a sustainable business model for the Toronto Star of the future,” publisher John Cruickshank said in an email to staff on Thursday. By outsourcing advertising to Metro, the free commuter daily also owned by The Star’s parent company, Torstar Corp., marketers will get combined access to both audiences through a single point of contact, Cruickshank said. Pre-press, layout, and other sales support work will also be outsourced. Switchboard and messenger positions will also be eliminated, along with a handful of accounting jobs. In the newsroom, some editorial assistants will be laid off. The company will “seriously consider” any alternatives the union may wish to present,” though it hopes “to conclude that process quickly,” Cruickshank said. “We are taking these steps as a matter of business necessity but with a deep sense of regret for the loss of many valued friends and colleagues.” Toronto Star 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mayor and brother to have new show on Sun News TV network

The Ford brothers have agreed to terms with Sun News to pick up where they left off with their much-listened-to show The City on Newstalk 1010. That show ended its run last week, the Sun's Joe Warmington reports.
AIRING MONDAY AT 8PM ET - Rogers 142/567, Bell 506, Shaw Digital 177, Shaw Direct 149, Bell Fibe 518/1518

CP labels Liberal candidate who oversaw cuts at Reuters as hypocritical

Bruce Cheadle of The Canadian Press writes:
"A high-profile federal Liberal candidate campaigning in Toronto on a platform of restoring the middle class oversaw the decision to move two dozen full-time media jobs from that city to India. Chrystia Freeland was the head of Reuters Digital in New York when Thompson Reuters moved its Toronto digital newsroom to New York and shipped the bulk of its work to the Bangalore operation.
"The December 2011 move put about 25 Toronto staff under Freeland’s supervision out of work, including 17 permanent and five temporary unionized employees. Thomson Reuters won’t say how many employees remain — only that the company has 'a fully staffed and functioning newsroom in Toronto . . ."

"A common refrain from former Reuters employees is a sense that Freeland didn’t go to bat for them when their jobs were on the line. Aviva West spent three years as a full-time contract editor who worked every weekend at the Toronto operation. “'We had zero contact with (Freeland),' said West. “'She was in charge of consumer news, and that’s what we were doing in Toronto, programming 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Reuters.com. We never, ever saw her.'”
The full story

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

CNN names Brian Stelter the new host of its Reliable Sources weekly media show

CNN has named The New York Times media industry reporter Brian Stelter host of Reliable Sources, the network’s weekly show that focuses on the top media stories and news analysis each Sunday at 11:00amET on CNN/U.S, the Times reports.
Stelter will also serve as a senior media correspondent for CNN Worldwide, reporting on trends, personalities, and companies across the media spectrum — from news to entertainment. He will report daily on CNN/U.S., CNN International, CNN.com, CNNMoney.com, and across CNN’s vast mobile and social landscape, feeding and flowing into his show and creating a multiplatform, global media beat for CNN.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"60 Minutes" apology deemed "inadequate"

Lara Logan was scheduled to deliver a report on Sunday’s “60 Minutes” about disabled veterans who climb mountains. Instead, she appeared in front of the newsmagazine’s trademark black backdrop and issued an apology. Logan said that Dylan Davies, one of the main sources for a 2-week-old story about the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, had misled the program’s staff when he gave an account of rushing to the compound the night the attack took place. “It was a mistake to include him in our report. For that, we are very sorry,” Logan said. The apology lasted only 90 seconds and revealed nothing new about why CBS had trusted Davies, who appeared on the program under the pseudonym Morgan Jones. Off-camera, CBS executives were left to wonder how viewers would react to the exceptionally rare correction. While veteran television journalists spent the weekend debating whether the now-discredited Benghazi story would cause long-term damage to the newsmagazine’s brand, some media critics joined the liberal advocacy group Media Matters for America in calling for CBS to initiate an independent investigation of missteps in the reporting process. However, the apology was deemed inadequate by a wide range of commentators Sunday night. Craig Silverman, of the correction blog Regret the Error, predicted that it would not “take the heat off CBS News.”

Monday, November 11, 2013

Chatelaine loses editor-in-chief to Good Housekeeping

Jane Francisco, the editor-in-chief of Chatelaine, is leaving the women’s publication to lead New York-based mega-magazine Good Housekeeping. Hired in 2009, Francisco became Chatelaine’s fourth editor-in-chief since 2004. Francisco’s three predecessors had only lasted about a year each. Her move to New York City was announced Monday in a statement from Hearst Corporation, the American media company behind Good Housekeeping.

ABC News correspondent has on-air mammogram, finds out she has cancer

ABC News correspondent Amy Robach says she has breast cancer, a month after she was given a mammogram on the air for a Good Morning America story. Robach said Monday she’ll have both breasts surgically removed Thursday. Writing on an ABC health blog, she said, “I will go into surgery where my doctors will perform a bilateral mastectomy followed by reconstructive surgery. Only then will I know more about what that fight will fully entail, but I am mentally and physically as prepared as anyone can be in this situation.” She was asked by producers to have the mammogram for a story because she was 40, an age where women are encouraged to be more vigilant checking for breast cancer. “So on Oct. 1, I had my first mammogram, in front of millions of people,” she wrote. “After breathing a big sigh of relief once it was done, my breath was taken away only a few weeks later. “I thought I was going back in for a few follow-up images, only to find out in a matter of hours that I had breast cancer.” She said a doctor told her the mammogram saved her life.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Mayor's radio show cancelled

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, his brother Councillor Doug Ford and NEWSTALK 1010 have mutually agreed to end the brothers’ weekly radio show, CTV reports.
CFRB confirmed in a statement Friday that the radio station and the Fords have "mutually determined to conclude broadcasts of The City, ending with last week's show."
"Of course, Mayor Ford and Councillor Ford remain welcome at any time as guests on NEWSTALK 1010," the statement said.

CBS says misled by source in 60 Minutes’ Benghazi story, will apologize to viewers

CBS News said Friday that it was misled by a 60 Minutes source who claimed he was on the on the scene of a 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya when it now turns out there are serious doubts about whether he was.
Reporter Lara Logan said that 60 Minutes would correct its Oct. 27 report on Sunday’s broadcast. A video copy of that story was taken off the 60 Minutes website late Thursday.
Logan had interviewed Dylan Davies, a security contractor who claimed he took part in fighting at the mission, and gave him the pseudonym Morgan Jones. But the Washington Post reported the contractor’s real name four days later, and said that Davies had written a report to his employers telling them he was not at the site.
A book written by Davies has been suspended by its publisher.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The faces of the Rogers layoffs

Three news women among those laid off at Rogers

Three of Toronto's best-known women broadcasters are among the 94 people laid off by Rogers Media this week. Left, Barb DiGiulio is a veteran of 22 years with Rogers. Her inside reporting for the Fan 590 earned her the station's nickname Barb Wired. Also getting a pink slip was 680 News entertainment reporter Gloria Martin (centre) and news reporter Ann Doose (right).  Things must be tough at the Rogers broadcast shops. In May, Rogers made similar cuts, laying off more than 60 workers across its media operations and shutting down its 24-hour breaking news station CityNews Channel in Toronto. Recently, Rogers announced a digital all-you-can-read subscription service called Next Issue Canada that allows subscribers to pay a monthly fee for access to new and old issues of its magazines.  (Courtesy South Bayview Bulldog)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Torstar Corp reports loss of $70 million in Q-3

Torstar Corp. reports a third-quarter loss at September 30, 2013 of $70.8-million. That is a decline in revenue of 7.7% -- down to $328 million from last year's $355 million.  The losses occurred in both the media division and the publishing division, Harlequin. The romance novel arm of Torstar was a a gold mine for the firm for decades. The digital reader revolution has had a killing effect on Harlequin sales, as it has had with other publishers. The newspaper business continues to suffer from diminishing advertising sales. The Toronto Star's publisher, John Cruickshank said it is too soon to gauge the success of the online paywall recently placed on the Star's website. He said the revenues gained from this move were about what had been expected but he did not speak on how the decision had impacted the number of so-called unique visitors to the site, the measure used to establish online advertising rates. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Rogers Communications lays off 94 in media operations

Rogers Communications has let go 94 employees from its media division, or about 2 per cent of the workforce, the Star reports.
Rogers Media includes magazines such as Maclean’s, Chatelaine, Today’s Parent and Canadian Grocer. It also encompasses City-TV, OMNI, Sportsnet, and a string of radio stations.
Rogers spokeswoman Andrea Goldstein said the layoffs are spread widely across the media division.
“I’m unable to provide details,” she said. “What I can confirm for you is that it wasn’t concentrated in one specific area, or one asset, or one level of the company.”
The Toronto Blue Jays and the Rogers Centre were spared from the cuts, she said.
Keith Pelley, president of Rogers Media, had made the announcement in a statement that gave no details.

Rogers withdraws magazines from digital libraries

 Visitors to Canadian libraries will no longer have access to free digital magazines from Canada’s largest publisher, The Globe's Steve Ladurantaye reports.
Magazines Canada, an industry trade group, advised Canadian publishers to walk away from an agreement with the company whose software makes the publications available because of delivery problems. Rogers Media complied, and its magazines are no longer available on the popular Zinio app.
The news comes as Rogers Media prepares to offer consumers a Netflix-like app, that will provide access to all of its magazines as well as dozens of high-profile American titles for a monthly fee. But Rogers insists the decision to pull its titles from the library wasn’t its own, and referred inquiries to trade association Magazines Canada

Monday, November 4, 2013

Footprints in sand helped lead to arrests in killings of French journalists

AP reports that the French troops who found the bodies of two slain French radio journalists in northern Mali followed footprints in the sand near the corpses to hunt their abductors, part of a search that eventually led to five arrests on Monday, a Mali military official said.
He added that the kidnappers’ vehicle had broken down, possibly prompting their decision to kill the captives.
The director of Radio France Internationale confirmed multiple arrests had been made. What remained unclear was who the kidnappers were, and whether they had ties to ethnic Tuareg separatists or al-Qaeda militants active in the region.
The slayings of Ghislaine Dupont, 51, a senior correspondent, and Claude Verlon, 58, a production technician, stunned France and were an unheard-of assault on Western journalists in Mali, where a French-led military operation this year aimed to clear out Islamic extremists who had taken over the vast north.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Two French journalists kidnapped and killed in north Mali

Gunmen abducted and killed two French radio journalists on assignment in northern Mali on Saturday, French and Malian officials said, grabbing the pair as they left the home of a rebel leader, the Associated Press reports.
The deaths come four days after France rejoiced at the release of four of its citizens who had been held for three years by al-Qaida's affiliate in North Africa.
It was not immediately clear who had slain the French journalists. France launched a military intervention in January in its former colony to try and oust jihadists from power in Kidal and other towns across northern Mali. Separatist rebels have since returned to the area.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Colin Perkel (of CP) reviews a just published history of the news agency

"One of the most profound influences in the formation of the Canadian identity has been the country's largely unknown and unsung national news agency, according to a just published book," Colin Perkel writes.
"In his detailed historical account, author Gene Allen traces the American-midwifed birth and first seven decades of Canada's single most important news supply company, The Canadian Press, familiarly called CP.
"The book, "Making National News: A History of Canadian Press," spans a period from the early 1900s to 1970 — when new-fangled multiplex telephone systems rendered the telegraph as the primary news-distribution network essentially obsolete.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Police investigate radio host John Down's arrest

Toronto police have opened an internal investigation into the January arrest of radio host John Downs, who says he was taking pictures of a bloody scene when police arrested him, the Star reports.
Downs took to the airwaves to tell his story Monday night. He said he was arrested on a Friday in January after he stopped to take photos of a scene where emergency crews were working. He said he was charged with public intoxication, but the charge was later dropped in court.
It has since come to the attention of Toronto police, who have opened an investigation into the matter.
“In this case he came to us with information and Professional Standards has taken it up and they’re in the process of investigating,” said Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash. He declined to elaborate on the situation, citing the ongoing investigation.
Downs co-hosts Friendly Fire on Newstalk 1010. with Ryan Doyle.

Monday, October 28, 2013

News of the World hacking trial begins

The Globe's Paul Waldie reports:
"It’s a scandal that has shaken London’s newspaper business, caused widespread public outrage and brought down one of Britain’s best-selling tabloids. And now a criminal trial has begun in London into the heart of the allegations: that senior editors at Rupert Murdoch’s media empire allowed staff to hack cellphones to get stories, bribe public officials and block a police investigation.
"The trial is among the most sensational in years in Britain and is expected to not only probe the inner workings of the once mighty News of the World, which closed in 2011 because of the allegations, but also expose the complicated ties between reporters, politicians and the police at some newspapers.
"Among the eight defendants on trial are Andrew Coulson, a former News of the World editor who was also once a communications adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron, and Rebekah Brooks, a former editor of the News of the World and the Sun who also served as chief executive of Mr. Murdoch’s British newspapers. . ."

Not many tweets on Twitter IPO

Twitter Inc has set a relatively modest price range for its closely watched initial public offering, but some financial advisers say their clients are not clamoring to invest in the social media phenomenon, Reuters reports.
"Nary a tweet," says William Baldwin, president of Pillar Financial Advisors in Waltham, Massachusetts, when asked about client interest in the deal.
Out of 29 broker-dealers and independent advisers contacted by Reuters, 23 said they are not recommending Twitter shares. Only one said he would recommend it - and only to certain clients. Five others said they would wait to snap up the stock if it plunges after it begins to trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
While retail interest might be low, tech industry analysts say there is expected to be a good appetite for Twitter stock from institutional investors at the current valuation. Actual institutional investor sentiment still remains unclear. Retail investors typically account for 10 to 15 percent of IPOs.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Tough times for National Post, PostMedia papers

Postmedia Network Canada Corp. posted a $36-million loss in the last quarter, citing weakness in all of its major advertising categories. The publisher of metropolitan newspapers has been restructuring for a year as it tries to get a handle on decreasing print revenue and increase its digital revenue. Postmedia is perhaps the most vulnerable of all the Toronto daily publications -- including the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star -- which face the 21st Century digital newspaper curse. For many years, analysts have predicted a rationalization of this business which would see fewer daily papers in Toronto. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Harper fires back at Duffy over Senate expenses

Prime Minister Stephen Harper defended himself in question period on Wednesday against accusations made yesterday by Senator Mike Duffy in the ongoing Senate expenses scandal.
Harper denied Duffy's allegation that he was more concerned about the perception of Duffy's expenses in the media than whether they violated parliamentary rules because the expense rules were “inexplicable to our base."
"The issue is not a matter of perception … you can not claim an expense you did not incur. That is not right, that is not proper, and that will not be tolerated in this party," Harper said during question period on Wednesday.
Harper reiterated his position that he knew nothing about the $90,000 cheque Nigel Wright, the prime minister's former chief of staff, gave to the senator to repay his ineligible expenses.
"Any assertion that I was in any way consulted, or had any knowledge of Mr. Wright's payment to Mr. Duffy, is categorically false," Harper said.

Good entertainment, isn't it? Wonder when they will get back to running the country?

Privacy Commissioner to launch probe into Bell data collection

After receiving several complaints, the federal privacy commissioner’s office is launching an investigation into Bell Canada’s attempt to collect data on users’ TV and web habits and telephone patterns, the Star reports.
Following strong customer reaction and criticisms from a consumer group and the federal New Democratic Party, Bell sent out a news release Wednesday explaining why the company wants to collect this data beginning on Nov. 16. Bell says the move will benefit customers who will see ads targeted to their interests.
Bell stands to gain from the changes, as the telecom giant will be able to better compete with world players like Facebook and Google, the company said in the release.
The program is designed to deliver “online advertising that’s most relevant to” customers, according to Wade Oosterman, president of Bell Mobility and Residential Services.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mike Duffy: The PM ordered me!

Senator Mike Duffy launched a strident defence on Tuesday in the Senate against a motion that would see him suspended, along with Senators Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau from the chamber, and their pay and benefits cut.
Describing a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his then-chief of staff Nigel Wright, Duffy described Harper as saying: "'It's not about what you did. It's about the perception of what you did that's been created in the media. The rules are inexplicable to our base' … I was ordered by the prime minister [to] pay the money back, end of discussion."

Monday, October 21, 2013

Duffy declares war!

The Prime Minister’s Office pressured Sen. Mike Duffy to repay ineligible housing expenses and fed him talking points on the matter in an effort to make a story that had become a political liability go away, Duffy’s lawyer charged Monday.
During an almost hour-long press conference in Ottawa, Donald Bayne told reporters that both Senate leadership and the Prime Minister’s Office had cleared Duffy’s housing claims for his home in Prince Edward Island.
But as scrutiny over senators’ living and travel expenses grew, the PMO began orchestrating a campaign to get Duffy’s expenses out of the headlines, Bayne said.
“He’s become too hot politically,” Bayne said. “He’s gone from being one of their greatest political assets to one of their greatest political liabilities.”
Bayne read from a handful of emails and memorandums during his news conference, but said they were only the “tip of the evidentiary iceberg.”
Read more on the CTV site

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Rob Ford defends radio show after complaint by Toronto councillor Paul Ainslie

Mayor Rob Ford and his brother are defending their weekly radio show, saying it is about “reaching out to the community,” not scoring political points, the Globe and Mail reports..
Responding to a complaint made last week by Councillor Paul Ainslie to Canada’s broadcast ethics regulator that requested the show be pulled off the air, the brothers said they planned to “take the high ground.”
“Our show is not two hours of knocking the heck out of someone,” said Etobicoke Councillor Doug Ford. “What we are doing is informing the people.”
Ainslie’s letter to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council argues the weekly show on Newstalk 1010 is being used by the mayor and his brother “to damage and attack the integrity of others with impunity.” The letter also says the brothers are using public airwaves to “actively campaign for political office and use it as a bully pulpit to unfairly have advantage over potential opponents in the upcoming 2014 election.”

Saturday, October 19, 2013

It’s mistake to think PM doesn’t care about media: Susan Delacourt

The Star's Susan Delacourt writes:
"Less than two weeks ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent a shiny makeup compact to a U.S. journalist. "This week, his party was picking fights with reporters on Parliament Hill and then slamming them in fundraising letters to the Conservative base. "Clearly, this is a prime minister with mixed feelings about the media.
"That’s not news — in my 25-plus years here, no prime minister has displayed any overt fondness for reporters.
"But while other prime ministers regarded journalists as a necessary evil, Harper has spent considerable time and energy trying to prove they are unnecessary. And unlike other prime ministers, he has more tools at his disposal to detour right around the pesky media pack.  . . "

Toronto Councillor Paul Ainslie wants Ford brothers’ radio show off the air

The Star reports that Toronto Councillor Paul Ainslie says the weekly radio program the mayor co-hosts with his brother “should be removed from the airways immediately.” In a letter to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council on Friday, Ainslie said The City with Mayor RobFord, which airs on CFRB-AM Newstalk 1010 on Sunday afternoons, has breached the council’s code of conduct. Ainslie maintained that the Fords “are using the public airwaves as a bully pulpit to advance their own political gain … contrary to the spirit and intent of providing these two individuals access to the public airwaves.” “This is two full hours where the mayor can rant to his heart’s content and talk about anything he wants … and I think it has to end,” Ainslie told the Star. “I’m prepared to stand up and make my concerns known.”

Pamela Wallin ready to fight possible Senate suspension

The Star reports that Sen. Pamela Wallin is preparing to fight a bid by her former party to have her suspended without pay — a gambit her lawyer calls an affront to Canadian democracy designed to help the Conservatives change the channel. “It is backroom politics at its transparent worst and it’s designed to create the impression of a clean slate for the Tory convention in Calgary next week,” lawyer Terrence O’Sullivan said in an interview Friday. Senate motions are set to be debated that would suspend Wallin, Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau for “gross negligence” for the rest of the parliamentary session, which could last two full years. The three former members of the Conservative caucus were found by the Senate to have filed improper expense claims following independent audits.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Harperites ban journalists from PMs speech; cameras only, please!

After barring reporters from covering one of Prime Minister Stephen Harper speeches, the Conservative Party is decrying a “new low for the Ottawa media elite” because some TV cameras refused to film the event if reporters weren’t allowed inside, the Globe and Mail reports.
In an e-mail to Conservative supporters, the Conservatives’ director of political operations, Fred DeLorey, sought to explain why a speech Mr. Harper made to his caucus Wednesday won’t be seen “on the evening news.”
“You won’t believe what the Press Gallery just did in Ottawa,” Mr. DeLorey began. “Some media decided to boycott an important speech by our Prime Minister – one where he laid out his vision for our country, before today’s Speech from the Throne.”
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister’s Office announced cameras would be welcome inside Wednesday morning’s speech, but not reporters. In the past, both had. And the PMO has clashed recently with people trying to ask questions. One CTV cameraman was reportedly nearly banned from an overseas trip after shouting an impromptu question during one Harper event, while during the summer the RCMP whisked away a reporter who tried to seize a microphone during Mr. Harper’s Northern trip to ask a question.
On Wednesday, some TV stations refused to send in cameras without reporters. Most other media, including newspapers, were never offered the chance to come in at all – and therefore never given any opportunity to cover the speech live, much less boycott it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Complaint against Toronto Star Ford story dismissed

The Globe and Mail reports that the Ontario Press Council has ruled the Toronto Star was right to publish a report about a cellphone video that appears to show Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine, without actually having a copy of the video in its possession.
The news organization was called before the council to justify its use of anonymous sources and to explain why it published the story about the video without further proof. The council said the paper did everything it could to verify the video’s contents, and had an obligation to report what its reporters saw despite the lack of evidence. “[The] council is of the view that the Star reporters were thorough in analyzing the video and came to a reasonable conclusion in deciding that it was a video of Rob Ford,” the council wrote in its decision.
More (subscription may be needed)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Paris Herald-Tribune is gone!

Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo
The New York Times Co. has rebranded its Paris-based daily, the International Herald Tribune, as the International New York Times — a bid to lure readers abroad amid the upheaval of the digital era facing traditional newspapers.
Before the Times bought it the paper was known as the Paris Herald-Tribune. It was immortalized in the French New Wave movie "Breathless," starring Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo. (see pic) Executives say the rechristening Tuesday aims to get the most out of its brand, and complete a gradual fusion of the newspapers' editorial staffs in recent years. The Times took control of the IHT a decade ago by buying the stake of its co-owner, The Washington Post.
Worldwide subscribers to the Herald Tribune — with a print circulation of 224,000 and distribution in about 135 countries — woke up Tuesday to a similar-looking newspaper. Novelties include a new masthead, enhanced Page 2, and opinion pieces by dozens of new international columnists.
Europe editor Richard W. Stevenson said the rebranding is really about going digital and reaching out to readers abroad.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Les Pyette headed to News Hall of Fame

From Joe Warmington's column in the Toronto Sun:
"(Les) Pyette knows talent and nurtures it.
"Pop culture has always been his secret weapon.
"Stories on how people are affected by politicians were more interesting to him than the politicians. He likes stories about how a trainer taped up a player’s knee to help him score the winning goal better than a piece on the final score of a game.
"He despises press releases or press conferences but instead loves stories from the street about cops, firefighters, paramedics, the homeless, the heroic or brave.
Mostly, he likes to be first."
The whole column

Pay-Per-Channel comes to Canada as CRTC rules on flexible pricing

A pair of rulings from Canada's telecommunications regulator paves the way for "a la carte" TV services that would allow consumers to purchase only the channels they want, instead of buying specialty bundles from their cable or satellite operators, the Huffington Post reports.
The news will likely be welcome to many consumers who complain they are forced to pay for TV channels they don't want in order to gain access to a few they do want.
But under the new rules set out by the CRTC, viewers can expect to pay more per channel if they buy them individually, the Globe and Mail reported Friday.
Bell Media president Kevin Crull told the paper that many customers who now pay around 30 cents per channel for 250 channels may see their per-channel costs go up to as much as $1.50.
Cable and satellite providers won't be required to provide a-la-carte TV services. Telus, which was involved in a separate dispute with Bell over pricing and packaging, said in a statement to Huffington Post Canada that its ability to sell theme packs at set prices was affirmed by the CRTC ruling.
One of the main sticking points ironed out by the CRTC had to do with sports channels. Though they tend to be popular, channels like TSN and SportsNet are generally part of bundled TV packages, and research suggests that if a-la-carte TV were to happen, these channels would see a large drop in subscriptions.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Former Star photographer Boris Spremo named to Canadian News Hall of Fame

For photographer Boris Spremo, induction into the Canadian News Hall of Fame is the crowning achievement of a decades-long award-winning career.
Over 37 years, the former Toronto Star photographer won 285 national and international awards for his work, including four National Newspaper Awards. In 1997, he was awarded the Order of Canada.
“After all these awards, I thought it was the peak,” said Spremo, 77. “This is now the peak of my work.”

Friday, October 11, 2013

York University sues Toronto Life over sex-assault article

York University is pursuing libel action against Toronto Life after the magazine ran an article in its October issue characterizing York’s campus as “a hunting ground for sexual predators,” the Toronto Star reports
York served a libel notice — the first step in launching a libel lawsuit — to the publisher of the magazine and the author of the article, award-winning journalist Katherine Laidlaw late last month.
The unusual action has defamation law experts questioning whether as public institutions, universities are allowed, or should be allowed to sue for libel.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sen Duffy said to have awarded $65,000 contract to TV technician friend

The RCMP is alleging that Sen. Mike Duffy awarded $65,000 in contracts to a friend who did little tangible work — the latest wrinkle in the case against the former Conservative.
The Mounties filed a production order in an Ottawa court to gain access to bank account records related to the allegation.
Between 2009 and 2012, Senate documents obtained by police show that Duffy employed former TV colleague Gerald Donahue to do writing, media monitoring and consulting.
But Donahue told police that he didn't do any writing, and never produced any tangible document, report or work product.
The RCMP points out that Donahue was a TV technician until 1997, with no consulting experience.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bill Eppridge, photojournalist, dead at 75

Bill Eppridge, one of the greatest photojournalists of his generation and the photographer who famously captured Robert Kennedy’s assassination in Los Angeles in June 1968, died on October 3, 2013. He was 75.

Born in Buenos Aires on March 20, 1938, Eppridge moved with his family to the United States early in his childhood, settling first in Richmond, before moving to Nashville, and finally, Wilmington, Del. He began his long relationship with photography early in life, spurned by an unlikely motivator: sibling rivalry.
“I have this older sister who has always been a very fine artist. She draws, paints, sculpts — and I can’t draw a straight line. I wanted to do something so I could compete with her. So I went to her and asked her to show me how to use a camera,” Eppridge told the Danbury News Times in 2011.
By high school, Eppridge was shooting for his school newspaper and yearbook. By age 15, he earned a spot as a sports photographer at the local paper, the Wilmington Star.
After initially studying archaeology at the University of Toronto, Eppridge transferred to the University of Misssouri’s famed journalism school, where he graduated in 1960.
Upon graduation, Eppridge immediately found good fortune: a photo of his was awarded first prize in the pictorial category of the 1959 NPPA Pictures of the Year competition. Coupled with his achievement of being named the College Photographer of the Year, Eppridge was offered an internship at LIFE — the start of a storied career with the famous magazine.

Friday, October 4, 2013

John Honderich says the federal Conservatives have gone to unprecedented lengths to control the news agenda.

The federal Conservatives have gone to unprecedented lengths to control the news agenda, says Torstar Corporation Chair John Honderich. “What the Harper government has done to restrain the flow of information and hold press conferences is simply outrageous,” he told a group of Ryerson University MBA students on Wednesday. The class had invited Honderich to address their second annual lecture series held at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management. One student asked why media outlets, including Torstar-owned Toronto Star, had not fought harder against media protocol introduced in 2008 which muzzled government scientists. “A lot of stories were done and this issue was given great prominence, but guess what? The public doesn’t care,” countered Honderich. He pointed to a recent attempt by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to ban a CTV cameraman who lobbed a question at him during a photo op. “We’ve got to a situation where a Prime Minister’s office thinks they can ban a photographer because he asked, by the way, a very legitimate question…. “…They have been able to manage and control the flow of news and what’s going on more than any federal government ever has.”

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The PMO wanted to prevent a CTV camera from boarding Harper's plane to Malaysia because he had the temerity to ask Stephen Harper a question last week.

The Star's Tim Harper writes: Until someone in Stephen Harper’s office found a hidden stash of maturity Wednesday afternoon, Dave Ellis was going to be prevented from doing his job. Ellis is a CTV photo journalist with 28 years’ experience. His crime? He asked the prime minister a question in New York last week. He was asking a question on a breaking news story for the benefit of his viewers. For that grave offence, Harper’s office was prepared to prevent him from boarding the prime minister’s plane Thursday morning bound for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where Ellis was to provide the television pictures to all Canadian networks during Harper’s week-long trip, which includes an APEC summit. In the face of opposition from the press gallery Wednesday, the PMO backed down and Ellis will be allowed to do his job, said Harper’s communications director, Jason MacDonald. “I’m not going to get into the issue . . . all that matters is he will be on the trip,’’ he said. Battles between media and the prime minister should, as a rule, be left in-house because readers are not particularly interested in our problems doing our jobs. More

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Denis Brodeur, sports potographer, dead at 82

Denis Brodeur who enjoyed a lengthy career as one of Canada’s most successful sports photographers, has died at age 82.
He shot the Montreal Canadiens for several decades, first as a newspaper man and then as the team’s official photographer.
Brodeur was one of two photographers to capture the iconic image of Paul Henderson celebrating the winning goal of the 1972 Canada-Soviet summit series. In 2006, he sold his archive of 110,000 photos to the National Hockey League for US$350,000.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

One-third of Canadians watch TV online, CRTC says

One-third of Canadians watched television online in 2012, according to a new report by the CRTC, a trend likely driven in part by the growing popularity of services like Netflix.
The CRTC's annual Communications Monitoring Report, which looks at trends in pricing, finances and consumption in the country's telecommunications sector, says 33 per cent of Canadians watched television on the internet in 2012, with typical users watching three hours per week. That's up slightly from 2.8 hours in 2011.
Six per cent of Canadians watched programming on a tablet or smartphone, while four per cent report watching television programming exclusively online, the report said.
“It is interesting to note that Canadians’ habits are evolving. More Canadians than ever are watching and listening to content on their computers, smartphones and tablets, yet the vast majority of programming is still accessed through traditional television and radio services," said Jean-Pierre Blais, CRTC chairman, in a news release about the report.

Reporters should blush about bus-train coverage

It is now more than a week since the bus-train collision that killed five people on September 18, 2013. Typically for Ottawa, the investigation of what happened has fallen into a dark corner where it  lies unseen and  it seems largely forgotten by the media. There has been no information about the condition of the bus, no detail about the lifestyle of the bus driver, nothing about his mobile device or whether he carried one, nor about the party he attended the night before the crash, nor how much sleep he had. Nor has there been any word about the so-called black box on the bus and whether it held a shred of useful information. Reporters worthy of the name should be blushing. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

CBC taps PR lady as head of English language services

The CBC has tapped an executive from outside the media world to steer its English-language services through a tumultuous broadcasting environment, the Globe and Mail reports.
Heather Conway, a former head of the public relations firm Edelman Canada, who two years ago was appointed to the newly created position of chief business officer at the Art Gallery of Ontario, replaces Kirstine Stewart, who left CBC in the spring to become the first head of Twitter Canada.
The choice of Ms. Conway as the public broadcaster’s chief English-language programmer is an unlikely one. She spent six years at the TV production and broadcasting company Alliance Atlantis in marketing and communications, but did not directly oversee any programming.
More (subscription may be needed)

Lloyd's List to cease printing, go digital only

Editors at shipping newspaper Lloyd's List, first produced in London in 1734, said the newspaper would no longer appear in print after Dec. 20. The Telegraph reported Wednesday that Lloyd's List, which covers the industry that handles goods on the move, has been published by Informa since 1998. At this point, however, the newspaper has 16,624 paying online customers and only 25 print-only subscribers left, the newspaper said.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Netflix's growing popularity poses challenge for CRTC

The Globe's Steve Ladurantaye reports that Netflix Inc.'s explosive Canadian growth has seen the online service activated in about 17 per cent of Canadian homes, the country's broadcast regulator estimates in a report to be released later this week that underlines the rapid changes shaking the television industry.

An annual report from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says the streaming video service grew by 70 per cent in 2012 in Canada, which translates into about 2.5 million households. The actual number is likely higher, given that the data is almost a year old and does not account for the surge in Netflix popularity with the launch of original shows such as Emmy-winning House of Cards.

"[Netflix] has to be the simplest value proposition anywhere," said Kaan Yigit, president of Solutions Research Group."One price, no commitment, cancel any time and it works on practically any device."

"We're looking at a communications environment that is radically different from what it was only 10 years ago," CRTC vice-chairman Peter Menzies told the annual conference of the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance on Monday.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Putin, Iranian leader take their messages to op-ed pages

In just the past week, two world leaders – Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran's new President Hassan Rouhani – have launched major diplomatic initiatives toward the United States, not through the United Nations or their consulates, but on the editorial pages of American newspapers.
Is it just a coincidence or the beginning of a new trend?
Putin said the idea to write an op-ed piece for a U.S. daily came to him “completely by chance.” He said he wanted to convey his opinion on what would happen after limited airstrikes on Syria in a direct, unfiltered way to the American people and their representatives in Congress.
The op-ed appeared in The New York Times on Sept. 11, the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and he later praised the paper for publishing it just as he wrote it. But it didn't matter to Putin which paper published his writing. 
Still, Putin seems to have started a trend: On Friday, the name of Iran’s president appeared as a simple byline on The Washington Post’s Opinion page: “Why Iran Seeks Constructive Engagement” by Hassan Rouhani. 
And while Putin’s editorial was placed in The Times by Ketchum, an international public relations and marketing agency, the Post’s editors said they had worked directly with Iranian officials. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sun News request to CRTC spurs broad media opposition

The Globe and Mail's Steve Ladurantaye reports that a fight is brewing in Canada’s television news industry as the CBC and cable, satellite and IPTV (Internet protocol television) companies bristle at changes they say could keep Sun News Network on the air at their expense.
The CRTC is reconsidering how Canadian television news channels are offered to consumers, to address complaints by Sun News that existing arrangements offer no way to increase carriage fees from the cable and satellite companies that bring its signal into Canadian homes. The regulator aims to bring in new rules by the end of the year.
The CBC is against any changes, arguing that they are “not in the public interest.”
“It would make no sense to disadvantage one Canadian news service to enhance the position of another,” the CBC wrote in a submission to the CRTC, which said it would consider submissions and decide whether to make changes by the new year.
Among the changes under consideration by the regulator is a rule that would make every Canadian news channel available to every Canadian subscriber on an opt-in basis. Sun News is losing about $17-million a year, and says it needs such changes to compete with services such as the long-established CBC News Network and CTV News Channel, which have broad distribution.
Rogers Communications Inc. “does not believe that the proposed framework is necessary or prudent,” the company stated. Shaw Communications Inc. said any changes would “harm consumers and the entire broadcasting system with no benefits, other than a ‘benefit’ to Sun News.”
Bell Media, which owns CTV News Channel, is generally in favour of the changes but also would like to see more specific requirements for news channels receiving prime placement on Canadian television dials.
Link to full Globe story (The Globe has a paywall)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rogers names new vp of programming

Hayden Mindell has been promoted from director of programming to the top series development and production post at Rogers Media.
Mindell was named vp of TV programming and content on Tuesday, replacing Malcolm Dunlop, who departed as executive vp TV programming and operations on Aug. 30.
Mindell, who joined Rogers Media in 2001, moves from serving as Dunlop's right-hand man to overseeing programming for Rogers Media's conventional and cable TV assets, which include five City local TV stations and another five OMNI-branded multicultural TV stations.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Media to get redacted version of search warrant with possible links to Rob Ford

An Ontario judge has ruled that a law prevents him from releasing wiretap information contained in search warrants used to arrest several people with possible links to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, the Canadian Press reports.
Police used dozens of search warrants as part of "Project Traveller," a massive gang investigation that led to more than 40 arrests in the city's northwest this spring.
Several media outlets including The Canadian Press, the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, CBC, CTV and Postmedia have been involved in a court battle to access the warrants and the information officers submitted to obtain them.
The documents have been sealed or heavily redacted.
In a hearing last week regarding one warrant, lawyers for the Crown said most of the text must be blacked out because the document contains references to wiretaps.
Lawyers for the media, however, argued the information should be released, given that evidence presented in a criminal or civil proceeding is exempt from the prohibition.
In a ruling issued Monday, Ontario court judge Philip Downes said the process officers underwent to request the warrants does not count as a criminal or civil proceeding.
He ordered the Crown to hand over only a redacted version of the warrant.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Roger Ebert to be succeeded by Richard Roeper as paper’s film critic

The Chicago Sun-Times says it will replace Roger Ebert with the late famed movie critic’s former colleague Richard Roeper. The newspaper announced Thursday it has officially named Roeper its movie columnist, making him the centerpiece of its movie coverage. Ebert died in April at age 70, after a long battle with cancer. Roeper appeared alongside the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic for eight years on the television show “Ebert and Roeper.”

PM Harper names new director of communications

Jason MacDonald, who has been spokesman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt for the past year, has been named director of communications for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He replaces Andrew MacDougall, who held the position for more than two years and announced his decision to leave the post last month. MacDougall confirmed MacDonald's appointment on Twitter Thursday morning. MacDonald is a former chief of staff at CBC Television and ran for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives in Ottawa South in the 2011 provincial election.

Rogers reaches across ocean for new phone CEO

Guy Laurence            Nadir Mohammed 
Rogers Communications has appointed the chief executive of Vodafone U.K. as the successor to its outgoing president and CEO. Guy Laurence, 52, will become top executive of Toronto-based Rogers in December as the Canadian wireless giant prepares for a critical auction of federal wireless licences. He succeeds Nadir Mohamed, who had previously announced his intention to retire as the head of the wireless, cable and media company. "The board unanimously chose Guy as the best leader to succeed Nadir and to take the company forward," said Alan Horn, chairman of the Rogers board of directors.

In Fort McMurray, rock radio tunes out Neil Young over ‘Hiroshima’ remarks

Neil Young can keep on talking in the free world, but Fort McMurray won’t be listening. A local rock radio station stopped playing the Canuck singer’s music for a day after he compared the northern Alberta oil-sands city to Hiroshima after the atomic bomb.On-air personality Chris Byrne at Rock 97.9 then asked his listeners if the ban should be extended indefinitely. Neil supporters were in the majority, but when station staff looked at their e-mail addresses, most came from out of town. So with local opinion firmly against him, Young has been pulled from the station’s playlist. No more Heart of Gold in the heart of the oilsands.“We’re going to continue with our ban,” said Byrne, who said he used to play two or three Young tunes a day.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Postmedia to sell properties in B.C. and Alberta to cut costs, reduce debt

The publisher of some of Canada’s largest English-language daily newspapers says it plans to sell two properties in British Columbia and Alberta in a bid to reduce costs and pay down debt. Soon to go on the market will be the Kennedy Heights printing plant in Surrey, B.C., and the Calgary Herald building, announced Postmedia newspapers Monday. The Kennedy Heights plant produces the Vancouver Sun and the Province. TC Transcontinental Printing will begin producing the Calgary Herald in November, and Postmedia said it has asked union representatives in Vancouver to “develop alternatives” to the Kennedy Heights plant.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Star, Globe defend stories about the Fords

The Ontario Press Council hearing has wrapped up its hearings in which the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail defended themselves against complaints from the public that they have been unethical in their coverage of Mayor Ford and his brother, Doug Ford. The OPC efforts were divided into two inquiries, morning  and afternoon with the Star first and the Globe after lunch. The Star responded to the concerns with reporter Kevin Donovan saying he and his colleague Robyn Doolittle sincerely believed that the video they saw was real. The Globe defended its use of anonymous sources for an investigative piece by Greg McArthur and Shannon Kari that looked into Mayor Rob Ford’s family’s alleged drug dealings. The council's decision is always subject to the writing of its conclusions released at a later date.  

Rolling Tweets from Fords press hearing

The Toronto Star is being asked to answer for stories about Mayor Ford and his brother Doug at a hearing of the Ontario Press Council today. Rolling tweets link below indicates it is well underway. The council will hear two complaints, one about the Star's "crack video" story and one on the Globe and Mail's anonymous sources-flashback to the high school days of Doug Ford. The Globe's hearing will be held beginning at 1 p.m. The independent press council says the two complaints will stand in for the dozens filed against the newspapers over their coverage of the Fords. At issue, the council says, is whether the newspapers "engaged in irresponsible, unethical investigative reporting." Rolling Tweets 

Star and Globe to defend stories on Fords and drugs

The Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail will answer questions on two separate stories involving the Ford brothers and drugs in public hearings held by the Ontario Press Council on Monday, the Star reports.
The Star will defend its story about a video of Mayor Rob Ford appearing to smoke crack cocaine, while the Globe will speak to its report alleging that Councillor Doug Ford dealt hashish as a young man.
Both the mayor and his brother were invited to file complaints with the press council so they could participate, but both had not as of Friday evening. The hearing would have been an opportunity for the Fords to comprehensively refute the allegations in a public forum.
Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Doug Ford declined to participate in the forum.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Town Crier about to be relaunched by new owners -- the paper's former employees

Jennifer Gardiner knew the end was near for The Town Crier when the paycheques stopped.
After 30 years of selling ads for the chain of community newspapers, she knew things weren’t going well for the papers and their parent company, Multimedia Nova Corp. The days were clearly numbered – readers complained about distribution, suppliers weren’t being paid and ad sales were down as salespeople quit in frustration.
But the papers were still profitable, and Ms. Gardiner would sit around talking with co-workers about how things would be different if they could take control of the nine papers themselves and leave Multimedia Nova to the stable of ethnic newspapers that comprised the bulk of the company’s revenue.
She’s about to find out if that’s true: She is one of five employees who have bought the chain of community newspapers at an auction after the sudden bankruptcy of Multimedia Nova this summer. The papers have been serving nine of Toronto’s toniest neighbourhoods, with editions targeted at Bloor West Village, Leaside-Rosedale and the Beach, but were shuttered in May because of troubles at the parent company.
(from the Globe and Mail)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Campaign journalism in the age of Twitter

Interesting New York Times piece:

"In Timothy Crouse’s seminal campaign book, “The Boys on the Bus,” the crusty political reporters settle on the story that they will tell the world at the end of the day.
"For modern political reporters, the end of the day never arrives. There is no single narrative, only whatever is going on in the moment, often of little consequence, but always something that can be blogged, tweeted or filmed and turned into content.
In a study he did while at the Shorenstein Center at Harvard last spring, Peter Hamby, a political reporter at CNN, writes about the extent to which reporters in the bubble — on the bus, on the plane, at the rope line — have become 'one giant, tweeting blob.'”

Friday, August 30, 2013

TheScore launches newsroom, upgrades popular mobile sports app

The Globe's Steve Ladurantaye writes:

In an old Toronto office building with crooked floors and plenty of exposed brick, dozens of journalists are clumped together cranking out news updates for millions of sports fans around the world.
The 35-journalist newsroom at theScore Inc. is unique in the country – it exists solely to provide content to cellphones and tablets. Deadline is marked in 30 second increments – there is no traditional daily product to produce. It has been built to complement the company’s wildly popular app, which has been a leading source of game-related data for millions but struggles to keep users around once the final whistle blows.
The newsroom goes live Thursday after a months-long hiring spree in an industry that has been shedding jobs rapidly, as the free app’s 4.5 million users are offered an upgrade that will integrate news to the relentless stream of facts and numbers they’ve grown accustomed to receiving. A year after splitting the company’s digital operations into a new company after selling its television station to Rogers Communications Inc., theScore CEO John Levy is back in the news game.
“We’re developing something that is like nothing else around at any other media organization,” he says. “We’re giving people news the way they want to consume news – nobody seems to be beating us to that golden space.”
The company is operating in an odd niche. It doesn’t own any broadcast rights, but is dependent on live events to drive traffic to its app. It’s a media company, but doesn’t have any legacy business to protect as it targets the mobile market.

More (subscription may be needed)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

CRTC raises flag over ties between Corus, Shaw

Canada’s broadcast regulator is raising some tough questions about the relationship between Shaw Communications Inc. and Corus Entertainment Inc. as it prepares to review Corus’s $494-million acquisition of several television channels from BCE Inc., the Globe and Mail reports.
Corus is attempting to buy a group of cable networks, including Teletoon and Cartoon Network (Canada), that would build on its position as Canada’s largest provider of children’s programming.
The CRTC will hold a hearing into the deal in November. But before it can decide whether to approve it, the regulator is looking for proof that Corus is indeed independent from Shaw Communications. Both companies are controlled by the Shaw family of Alberta through special voting shares. Shaw Communications spun off Corus in 1999, and both have maintained separate listings on the Toronto Stock Exchange since then.

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