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, 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,,, 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.

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