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.'”

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