Thursday, January 31, 2013

Globe seeking new books editor: Quill and Quhire

Quill and Quire

Chinese hackers in sustained attack on NYT, WSJ

 The New York Times says Chinese hackers have carried out sustained attacks on its computer systems, breaking in and stealing the passwords of high-profile reporters and other staff members. According to The Times, one of the biggest and most respected U.S. newspapers, the cyberassaults took place over the past four months, beginning during an investigation by the newspaper into the wealth reportedly accumulated by relatives of the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao. CNN

Conrad Black will become a Znaimer Zoomer

Improbable business associates Conrad Black and Moses Znaimer will collaborate on a talk show featuring Mr. Black. The ever resilient Mr. Black reached the deal with Mr. Znaimer's ZoomerMedia to host his own weekly, 60-minute current affairs talk show to be called "The Zoomer -- Television for Boomers With Zip".  Zoomer is a term applied by ZoomerMedia to seniors by way of complimenting them. The program will offer the  point of view of those aged 45 and over. Can't wait. 

"Star must fawn over Olivia Chow"

Sometimes it seems as if the newspaper wars are just as intense as ever. This is a National Post outburst against the Star. Quite gentle really. Kelly McParland 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Star Speaker Series guest promotes value of print

Earl J. Wilkinson is the head of a 5,800 member association of media representatives in town for the Toronto Star Speaker Series.  Happily, Mr Wilkinson is a big fan of print over digital, at for the moment. His explanation of the North American frenzy over the Internet is "perception". Okay. Toronto Star

Conrad Black will be a Znaimer Zoomer

Improbable business associates Conrad Black and Moses Znaimer will collaborate on a talk show featuring Mr. Black. The ever resilient Mr. Black reached the deal with Mr. Znaimer's ZoomerMedia to host his own weekly, 60-minute current affairs talk show to be called "The Zoomer -- Television for Boomers With Zip".  Zoomer is a term applied by ZoomerMedia to seniors by way of complimenting them. The program will offer the  point of view of those aged 45 and over. Can't wait. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Iranian journalists arrested in raids on papers

Security officials in Iran have raided at least four newspapers and arrested several journalists in what appears to be concerted action aimed at intimidating the media in advance of the presidential elections in June.   Guardian

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Andrew Coyne: Sun TV’s bid for cable shows its invincible sense of entitlement to public money

Andrew Coyne writes: "The Sun is back before the CRTC, asking to be put on basic cable.
"Well, asking is not quite the word. The network, never shy about self-promotion, seems almost an infomercial for itself these days. Network personalities have been drafted to explain the urgent public necessity of making Sun mandatory carriage, that is of taxing everyone with cable or satellite service. Viewers are directed to a website, where they can send an email to the CRTC in support of its application."
The whole column

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Amazon launches Kindle ereaders in Canada

Amazon launched its line of Kindle Paperwhite ereaders in Canada on Wednesday but the company’s Kindle Fire tablets will still not be available in the country.
“We’re announcing today that the Kindle Paperwhite is available in Canada for the first time,” said Peter Larsen, vice-president, Kindle, “We are super excited that our best selling and most advanced ereader will be available (Wednesday), and customers can buy it off in Canadian dollars.”
In addition to much faster shipping, the device will be available at many retailers, including Staples, The Source and Shoppers Drug Mart.
“We don’t have anything to announce on the Fire today, but we’re working as hard as we can to launch the Fire lineup across the world as fast as we can,” he added about the company’s tablet.
The cost is one of the big draws for the Fire, which retails for $159 in the U.S. and beyond.

ING pulls commercial after mental health backlash

A commercial for ING Direct that asked if consumers are “suffering from RSP” has been pulled after it was criticized for making light of mental illness.
The commercial, which launched earlier this month and was produced by Toronto agency John St., was shot in the style of a pharmaceutical ad. Blue-toned images of a man lying listless on the couch and staring into space in his backyard, played with dramatic music and voice-over statements such as “I hadn’t been feeling like myself for a while,” and “I wasn’t sleeping.”

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sun News petitions the CRTC for mandatory distribution

A financially hobbled Sun News Network has asked the CRTC to force cable carriers to distribute the channel.
Currently Sun News isn’t a part of many analog or basic cable packages. In a filing first submitted to the CRTC last May, the Quebecor-owned network says Rogers’ decision to move it from channel 15 to channel 144 cut viewership in half.
Sun News proposes the CRTC grant the network mandatory distribution, which would obligate carriers to make the channel available on basic cable and boost the network’s beleaguered bottom line.
The filing points out that Sun News is now available in 5.1 million Canadian households, compared with 11.6 million for rival CBC News Network.
Between reduced reach and diminished viewership Sun News estimates it lost $17 million in 2012.

Video game pioneer Atari files for bankruptcy protection

The U.S. operations of iconic but long-troubled video game maker Atari have filed for bankruptcy in an effort to break free from their debt-laden French parent.
Atari Inc. and three of its affiliates filed petitions for Chapter 11 reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York late Sunday.
Its leaders hope to break the American business free from French parent Atari S.A. and in the next few months find a buyer to take the company private. They hope to grow a modest business focused on digital and mobile platforms, according to a knowledgeable person not authorized to discuss the matter privately.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Barbara Walters hospitalized after fall at British ambassador’s home

Barbara Walters has been hospitalized after falling at an inauguration party at the residence of Britain’s ambassador to the United States.
ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider says the 83-year-old Walters fell Saturday night on a step at the residence of Peter Westmacott. Walters had a cut on her forehead.
Schneider said Sunday that Walters went to a hospital “out of an abundance of caution” and for a full examination. He says Walters is alert “and telling everyone what to do,” which is “a very positive sign.”

Wife of Allan Slaight makes $50 million donation to Princess Margaret

Princess Margaret Hospital announced a $50-million gift on Monday.
The donation, which has been pledged over 10 years, is from philanthropists Emmanuelle Gattuso and her husband, broadcast tycoon Allan Slaight. Ms. Gattuso is a breast cancer survivor who was treated at Princess Margaret in Toronto.

Western University Students' Council vs. student newspaper

The University of Western Ontario's daily student paper, The Gazette, is facing threats to its press freedom from its publisher, the Western University Students' Council, according to front-page reports today penned by the paper's editor-in-chief Gloria Dickie.
Part of the story surrounds the USC's decision to move the Gazette's office from the 1,900 sq. ft. space it currently occupies in the University Community Centre to a space nearly half that size in order for a new multi-faith space to move in. The decision comes after a school year in which Dickie reports there has been a tense relationship between the USC and the Gazette.

B.C. TV production industry in trouble; wants tax credits increased

It’s been clear for some time that the production industry in B.C., worth $1.18-billion in 2011, was heading for trouble. As the Canadian dollar rose, Ontario and Quebec improved their tax credits. B.C. did not keep up. This province offers a credit of 33 per cent on labour costs, but in Ontario and Quebec, the rebate is 25 per cent of the total spend.
Even a temporary levelling of the playing field would make a difference, says Peter Leitch, chair of the Motion Picture Production Industry

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hearst magazines to appear on iPad before print

A a new deal between Hearst and Apple takes the emerging trend of tablet reading into new territory by offering iPad versions of the publisher's titles on Apple's App Store before they appear in print.
The Apple Newsstand feature is called "Read Them Here First," and covers the entire stable of Hearst's magazines, including Esquire, Popular Mechanics, Marie Claire, The Oprah Magazine, Road & Track, Cosmopolitan, Elle, andHGTV Magazine. First discovered by AllThingsD, the feature was quietly rolled out earlier this week, with Hearst only mentioning it via Facebook and Twitter links to the story.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sunday Times wants to recover $1.6 million from Lance Armstrong

The Sunday Times said it would vigorously pursue a one million pound ($1.6 million) legal action against Lance Armstrong after the American cyclist admitted using banned drugs.
"We watched Lance Armstrong's interview with interest and noted his numerous admissions regarding taking performance-enhancing drugs," a Sunday Times spokesman said.

"The Sunday Times believes that our case for recovering the 1 million pounds ($1.6 million) he obtained from us by fraud is now even stronger. We will be pursuing that case vigorously."

The newspaper paid Armstrong in 2006 to settle a legal case after it had questioned what was behind his Tour de France wins in an article published in 2004.

The newspaper, part of Rupert Murdoch's media business, also wants to recover interest and legal costs incurred in the case.

Armstrong confessed to doping during his seven Tour de France wins in an interview with Oprah Winfrey broadcast late on Thursday.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Rogers buys Mountain Cable, Shaw spectrum


TV execs say violent programs are merely escapism

Paywalled story in which television executives choose not to see how violent programming has much to do with the way kids think or behave overall. Globe and Mail

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Why was phony murder-suicide story published?

This story about a phony murder and suicide focuses on the lightning nature of the social media at transmitting stuff that isn't true. That's real, but the angle is a side issue. Anyone interested in how the media (social and otherwise) really works might ask why the fabrication was published at all when police said they knew nothing of it. In fact, social media didn't really latch onto this tale, if this report is accurate, until it was published in the local Korean language daily. You be the judge.  Toronto Star

Possible NYT layoffs rattle media

New York Magazine says there will be high-level layoff at the New York Times.  Politico 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Asper's Fantasy Sports specialty channel approved by CRTC

Fight Media Inc. has been given approval by the Canadian Radio televisoin and Telecommunications Commission to operate a fantasy sports TV channel, allowing viewers to create, trade and discuss players on imaginary teams.
The English language Cat B channel, named The League, will provide real-time fantasy statistics and fantasy pool standing and rankings.
No more than ten per cent of the channel’s programming during a broadcast month can be comprised of live pro sports coverage, but studio call-ins and talk shows will allow viewers to discuss their fantasy picks and drafts.
Fight Media is controlled by Leonard Asper, son of the late Izzy Asper, founder of CanWest Global. Closely held Fight Media already operates Fight Network, a specialty channel devoted to "combat sports" such as mixed martial arts.
The CRTC will issue a licence once at least one distribution deal has been inked, and a launch date for service has been announced

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Global News team kicked off reserve

A television crew has been kicked out of of Attawapiskat and the woman who is acting as the chief while Theresa Spence is on a hunger strike says no outside media will be allowed into the Northern Ontario first-nations community until further notice.
A team from Global News in Toronto was given their marching orders on Tuesday by Acting Chief Christine Kataquapit.

China reporters, newspaper managers spat cools off

Communist Party-backed management and rebellious staff at an influential weekly newspaper stepped back Wednesday from a contentious standoff over censorship that spilled over to the wider public and turned into an unexpected test of the new Chinese leadership’s tolerance for political reform.
Hopes among supporters of the Southern Weekly that the dispute would strike a blow against censorship appeared to fizzle with a tentative resolution. Under an agreement reached Tuesday, editors and reporters at the Southern Weekly will not be punished for protesting and stopping work in anger over a propaganda official’s heavy-handed rewriting of a New Year’s editorial last week, according to two members of the editorial staff. One, an editor, said propaganda officials will no longer directly censor content prior to publication, though other longstanding controls remain in place.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Elliot Lake mall owners denied confidentiality request; move was opposed by major media

The owners of a mall that collapsed in northern Ontario last summer have lost a bid to keep financial documents submitted to a public inquiry secret.
In a ruling Tuesday, Commissioner Paul Belanger also rejected a confidentiality request from a professional engineering association related to complaints and disciplinary measures taken against engineers involved with the Algo Centre Mall.
CTV, CBC, The Globe and Mail and Shaw media opposed the confidentiality requests at a hearing in Ottawa on December 17.
The Commissioner's ruling issued today

Monday, January 7, 2013

Media allowed to use electronic devices in Ontario Superior court

Effective February 1st, 2013, the Superior Court of Justice (Ontario) is adopting a new protocol concerning the use of electronic devices in court. Under the Protocol on the Use of Electronic Devices in the Courtroom, counsel, paralegals, law students and clerks, self-represented parties and media or journalists are permitted the use of electronic devices in silent mode, subject to certain restrictions. Members of the public continue to be prohibited from using electronic devices in the courtroom unless the presiding judge orders otherwise.
Link to the policy directive

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Does the giant Consumers Electronics show have a future? BBC columnist doubts it

For years, the Jauary Consumers' Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas was the place to be to see the future in the electrnocs and gadget world. But tech columnist David Pogue has doubts that this will continue.
He writes:
"CES is not open to the public. It’s attended exclusively by electronics representatives, investors, and members of the media. Its function: for tech companies to display the new gadgets they’ve been working on - and to beg the press to write about them.
"And we do. Every January, we, the press, dutifully report the industry’s latest message. This will be the year we surf the web on our TV sets! This will be the year for 3D television! This will be the year someone besides Apple has a hit tablet!
But as time goes by, it’s becoming clearer that CES isn’t serving anyone very well. Not the public, not the press, not even the manufacturers. And that is down to four reasons."
Click on the link to read the reasons

Rex Murphy on the sale of Al Gore's TV network "Current" to the "uncomfortables"

Current was to be the great munition in the war to persuade the world of the perils it faced. But despite the best wishes of Matt Damon and half the cast of Charlie’s Angels, the channel never went anywhere. Some claimed it had a viewership of only 40,000. Olberman did what he does best: got fired.
Now comes the latest news that Al has sold Current, for the magnificent sum of $500-million, $100-million of which is his alone. Not bad for a TV station with less reach and inferior programming to most billboards.
To whom did the Lord of the Upper Atmosphere sell? Why to al Jazeera — which is to say, effectively to the ruler of Qatar, a wealthy country that has nothing else to sustain it but the sale of its huge petroleum resources.
Qatar is about oil, oil and more oil. It is a global warmer’s hell.
The whole NatPost column

Friday, January 4, 2013

Extinction tourism: Work at a newspaper while you still can

From WIRED Magazine:
Why on earth would a seasoned, decorated photographer take a job at a local, small-town newspaper in the northern reaches of Norway?
That’s what we asked Jonas Bendiksen after he announced on Magnum’s blog that he’d be working at the Bladet VesterĂ¥len newspaper, with a circulation of only 8,000, in the town of Sortland. In his blog post, Bendiksen writes, “We’ve heard it repeated countless times over the last decade: Newspapers are dying. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I do know I don’t want to die without ever having worked for one of these fine purveyors of information.”
But it turns out his decision is not simply a bout of extinction tourism brought on by nostalgia – it’s a personal challenge.
“I’ve fantasized for a long time about doing something like this,” says Bendiksen. “In much of my work, I’m often drawn to global, epic-scale issues – things that affect millions of people. I found that I was inspired to spend some time scaling down, and trying to look over time at a really small area, where nothing too obvious or dramatic was going on and to just see daily life in a fairly quiet place, one day at a time.”

Al Jazeera acquires Al Gore's Current TV

Al-Jazeera, the Pan-Arab news channel that struggled to win space on American cable television, has acquired Current TV, boosting its reach nearly ninefold to about 40 million homes. With a focus on U.S. news, it plans to rebrand the left-leaning news network that cofounder Al Gore couldn't make relevant.

The former vice president confirmed the sale Wednesday, saying in a statement that Al-Jazeera shares Current TV's mission "to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling."

The acquisition lifts Al-Jazeera's reach beyond a few large U.S. metropolitan areas including New York and Washington, where about 4.7 million homes can now watch Al-Jazeera English.

Al-Jazeera, owned by the government of Qatar, plans to gradually transform Current into a new channel called Al-Jazeera America by adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus beyond the five it has now and hiring more journalists.

(Current TV is the former Newsworls International in whihc CBC was a partner before it was sold to Al Gore.)

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