Thursday, February 27, 2014

Murphy, Mansbridge under fire for oil industry connections

The Daily Brew reports that critics are pillorying Mansbridge over his paid speaking engagements before energy-industry audiences.
The flap blew up following a tweet by environmentalist Sierra Rayne a few days ago.
Rayne followed that up with tweets about other appearances at oil and gas events.
Podcast site Canadaland confirmed Mansbridge's 2012 speech before the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) from the group's Facebook page which said he "articulated that energy has moved to the forefront of news, economic, environment, safety."
The information came just a couple of weeks after the flap over Mansbridge colleague Rex Murphy's paid appearance in front of a group of energy executives last fall. The TV commentator and host of radio's Cross-Canada Checkup lambasted oilsands critics and called development of the industry a "national endeavour," as the Calgary Herald reported at the time.
Full story

Charles Bury, long-time Sherbrooke Record editor, dies at 67

Charles Bury, who died of liver cancer on Feb. 1 at age 67, was a country newspaper editor whose commitment to fairness and belief in the power of journalism to do good inspired the dozens of reporters he mentored at The Record in Sherbrooke, Que., and won him the admiration of the politicians he held to account.
Globe obit

Hubert Lacroix apologizes for $30K expenses error

From the CBC web page: "Lacroix was also questioned about a paid speaking engagement by Mansbridge, the CBC's chief correspondent. Liberal Senator Terry "Mercer asked whether the engagement complied with the CBC's conflict of interest policy.
"Lacroix said all of Mansbridge's speaking engagements are cleared with senior CBC management ahead of time.
"'And each one is looked at to make sure there is no conflict of interest with respect ... to editorial coverage and to make sure that our rules are respected," Lacroix said.
"He knows that he never offers up his opinion or takes a position on anything that is in the news when he makes those speeches.'"

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Piers Morgan's CNN show to end

The New York Times reports that three years after taking over for Larry King, Morgan has seen the ratings for “Piers Morgan Live” hit some new lows, drawing a fraction of viewers compared with competitors at Fox News and MSNBC.
It’s been an unhappy collision between a British television personality who refuses to assimilate — the only football he cares about is round and his lectures on guns were rife with contempt — and a CNN audience that is intrinsically provincial. After all, the people who tune into a cable news network are, by their nature, deeply interested in America.
CNN’s president, Jeffrey Zucker, has other problems, but none bigger than Morgan and his plum 9 p.m. time slot. Crossing an ocean for a replacement for Larry King, who had ratings problems of his own near the end, was probably not a great idea to begin with.
Full story

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Edmonton journalist and filmmaker missing in Cambodia

Canadian officials say they were working with Cambodian authorities to try to find an Edmonton filmmaker and journalist who disappeared in the country late last week, the National Post's Stewart Bell reports.
Dave Walker has not been seen since he left his guesthouse in the northwest city of Siem Reap on Friday afternoon. He left behind his laptop, phone and passport. Cambodian police are investigating.
The 58-year-old had co-founded a film company in Cambodia but his friend Peter Vronsky said he wondered whether Mr. Walker had been “silenced” by someone who felt threatened by his efforts to trace former Khmer Rouge.
During the 1970s, the Khmer Rouge waged a genocide in Cambodia, killing more than a million people as it tried to impose hardline communist ideology in the country. Several Khmers have gone on trial in recent years.
Mr. Vronsky said Mr. Walker had a long interest in tracing what had happened to the various Khmer officials. Among his projects was a screenplay titled The Man From Year Zero, about former Khmer Rouge war criminals living in exile in North America.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Media outlets urge judge to release Justin Bieber jailhouse video apparently showing singer in ‘states of undress’

The Associated Press and other media outlets urged a judge Tuesday to grant access to police videos made shortly after pop singer Justin Bieber’s arrest last month on driving under the influence and other charges. The news organizations said in a motion filed in Miami-Dade County court that the 19-year-old has no legal basis to prevent release of the videos, taken at the Miami Beach police station after he was booked Jan. 23. Bieber’s attorneys have asked a judge to allow them to review the videos before their potential release. Attorney Deanna Shullman, who represents the AP and the other news organizations, said in the filing that Bieber cannot legally compel a state agency to withhold a public record and that his attorneys have not identified any exemption that would apply. In addition, she said the law would permit only certain portions of the videos to be withheld or redacted if they were exempt or deemed confidential.  Link to full story

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Juicy Heenan Blaikie tale rivets lawyers, scribes

The breathtaking National Post account of what went wrong at the now fallen law practice of Heenan Blaikie is getting the most sincere form of review from lawyers and writers across the country. They can't stop talking about it.  Who knew that Heenan Blaikie retirement recruit Jean Chretien and Heenan partner Jacques Bouchard set out in 2010 to do business with African dictators. Mining, arms -- it seems like a rich field. The story, written by Staff Writers Theresa Tedesco and Brian Hutchinson, quotes many sources as saying the venture was so distasteful to the Straight John attorneys in charge of the Toronto office that it led to a crisis of confidence among partners there. Ultimately, some of them quit.  In the end, say the Post's sources, it caused the collapse of the firm. "Wow." was the one word plaudit handed to his Post colleagues by Globe and Mail  reporter Adam Radwanski in a tweet Saturday. The Twitter chitter chatter goes on and on about the Tedesco-Hutchinson spellbinder. National Post (may requjire subscriptjion)

Globe's Peter Desbarats obit

Globe and Mail obit of Peter Desbarats (subscription may be needed)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Media do an about-face on Sochi: Forget the twin toilets, we love Russia

The Globe and Mail's Simon Houpt writes:
"After weeks of critical coverage of Russia and its shambolic Winter Games, the international media has now largely left that story behind in favour of a narrative that is likely much more pleasing to the organizers: the competitions themselves. The jokes about twin toilets and live wires in showers have been supplanted on front pages around the world by photos of beaming athletes."
The whole story

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tom Brokaw reveals cancer diagnosis; doctors are 'optimistic'

Former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw is being treated for cancer, but doctors are very encouraged by the progress he is making, NBC said Tuesday.
Brokaw, 74, was "diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer affecting blood cells in the bone marrow, in August at the Mayo Clinic," the network said.
"His doctors are optimistic about the outcome of the treatment he is receiving, and Brokaw said he remains 'the luckiest guy I know,'" it said.
Brokaw sat in the anchor chair of the "NBC Nightly News" from 1982 until he stepped aside in 2004 to serve as a special correspondent for the network. He joined NBC as a reporter in 1966.

Veteran journalist Peter Desbarats has died

Veteran journalist and former dean of the journalism school at Western University died on  February 11 after a battle with Alzheimer's disease. The funeral will be held on Friday in London, Ont.
death notice

A full-sized obituary is scheduled to be published in Saturday's Globe and Mail.

Monday, February 10, 2014 and Getty Images out to change women's portrayal in stock photos

The New York Times reports:
"There is the businesswoman, wearing a suit and glasses and holding a briefcase. There is the mother, smiling as she pours milk into her children’s cereal bowls at the breakfast table. There is the multitasker, holding a laptop in one hand and a baby in the other.
"These stock images are familiar to anyone who has seen an advertisement or flipped through a magazine or brochure illustrating working women and families. And their ubiquity is hurting girls and women by feeding into old-fashioned stereotypes, says Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook executive who has become an advocate for women achieving leadership roles.
"To try to remedy the problem, Ms. Sandberg’s nonprofit organization,, is to announce on Monday a partnership with Getty Images, one of the biggest providers of stock photography, to offer a special collection of images that it says represent women and families in more empowering ways.
The full story

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Star's Joe Fiorito on the copyright dispute between Uof T and the writers' union

Excerpts from Fiorito's column:
 "The fuss has to do with the new copyright act. If I may boil it down hard, several institutions of higher learning — the U of T chief among them — have concluded that it is permissible to photocopy as much as ten per cent of a book for free.
"The union is arguing that it is OK to pull a quote, or even a paragraph or two, from a book; beyond that, you’d better pony up.
"The principle of payment for copying published work, I remind you, is not unlike the payments made by radio stations when songs are played on air. . .
" . . most writers in Canada live below the poverty line, and the payments are a boon to many. The money arrives in the mail, unannounced, once a year, an important reminder that writing is a profession.
"And that is why half a dozen union members, bundled up against the cold, were handing out information pamphlets and also free university degrees to any student who would stop on a cold day and put out a mittened hand.
The whole column

Novice CBC sports reporter "just happy to be here," a refreshing change

Carly Agro, novice reporter with CBC Sports in Sochi writes:
"I’ve been in Sochi for about 24 hours and I think I need to set the record straight.
"Not everyone’s story from Sochi is a horror story. My accommodations are clean and comfortable. I have plenty of hot water that yes, I can wash my face with.
"I feel safe and despite what my travel guide says, lots of the locals are smiling back at me. Yes, there is still obviously still work to be done, but there are plenty of people around who look very busy trying to finish the unfinished. . . ."
The full story

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Journalists press Ottawa to help free Canadian jailed in Egypt

A coalition of journalists is urging Canada’s government to step up pressure on Egyptian officials to release three journalists, including a Canadian, who have been jailed in Egypt for more than a month.
A joint statement from eight organizations, including Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, calls for the “immediate and unconditional release” of Mohamed Fahmy, a 40-year-old Canadian journalist working for Al Jazeera English in Cairo, and two of his colleagues.
At a news conference in Toronto on Thursday, groups representing journalists joined with filmmaker John Greyson, who was himself jailed for 50 days in Egypt last fall, calling the arrests an attack on free expression and pressing the federal government to be more vocal in lobbying for the journalists’ release.
The whole Globe and Mail story

CBC president warns of ‘dark clouds on the horizon’

The Globe's Simon Houpt writes: "On the eve of the CBC’s biggest broadcasts in years, its president says poor ratings for the current TV season and lower-than-expected revenue are creating “dark clouds on the horizon” that could spur a fundamental overhaul of the public broadcaster.
"In a memo issued to employees last week, CBC president Hubert Lacroix said he had informed the broadcaster’s board that “we are projecting significant financial challenges: a weak advertising market across the industry, lower-than-expected schedule performance in the key 25-54 year-old demographic on CBC Television, lower than expected ad revenues from Espace Musique and CBC Radio 2, and the loss of the NHL contract (and its anticipated ripple effect on our ability to sell the rest of our television schedule next year and beyond) have combined to create an important revenue shortfall for the whole of CBC/Radio-Canada, starting with the next fiscal year.”

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Who needs newspapers or TV?

(From the CBC web page) --The federal government will introduce legislation to overhaul its Citizenship Act on Thursday, the prime minister announced in a post on Twitter Monday.
In a weekly video roundup of government news called 24 Seven, Stephen Harper wrote "BREAKING: Chris Alexander will introduce Citizenship reforms this week."
Harper's tweet included a link to a 45-second video of Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.

More layoffs at PostMedia

Various Tweets report layoffs at PostMedia that appear to have thrashed its Ottawa bureau. Laid off were : Tobi Cohen, Mike de Souza, Andrea Hill, Rhonda Cunning and  Kirsten Smith. Remaining Ottawa reporters will join the Ottawa Citizen, says a Tweet from ex-PostMedia, now CTV, Don Martin.

Al Jazeera urges Canada’s broadcast regulator to lift restrictions on its Arab-language channel

Al Jazeera has asked the CRTC to release its Arab-language channel from controls put in to prevent the spread of hate speech, claiming that the burden of closely monitoring the channel’s programming has kept cable and satellite operators from offering it to viewers.
The network — which also operates Al Jazeera English, a channel that has aired in Canada since 2010 — wants the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to amend a decade-old ruling it says has kept the Arabic service off the air.
The CRTC approved Al Jazeera Arabic for distribution in 2004 on the condition that television distributors edit out hate speech or images from the controversial channel. The Doha, Qatar-based network faced intense opposition, due to its reputation for programming believed to be anti-Semitic and anti-Western, and for airing videos featuring Al-Qaeda figures, including propaganda videos of hostages kidnapped by Islamist militants. No Canadian cable or satellite providers have picked up the network since then.
The CRTC has called for comments on the application by March 17 and two Jewish groups that intervened when the service first sought Canadian distribution are now again considering their position on the network.

Have 24-hour TV news channels had their day? (Interesting story in the Guardian)

The former director of BBC News, Richard Sambrook, and its ex-head of strategy, Sean McGuire, argue that digital technology has left rolling news channels outmoded.
They write:
"It's January 1991. Peter Arnett is reporting from the Al-Rashid hotel in Baghdad as the first air strikes of the Gulf war hit the Iraqi capital. He's live on CNN. Audiences around the world are gripped. The 24-hour news channel has come of age.
"Fast forward to January 2011. Tahrir Square, Egypt. Citizen journalism ensures that pictures of demonstrations and the resulting crackdown are beamed directly to a global audience.
"The next year, 8 million people tune in live to YouTube to watch Felix Baumgartner jump from outer space. Many times that audience log in to watch it over the next few days. Spin on to April 2013 and the Boston marathon bombings. CNN stumbles in front of a huge and anxious audience claiming an arrest had been made when it hadn't. "Live blogging – with its speed, transparency of sources, and pared-down format – comes into its own. . . ."

Australian paper tones down coverage of actor's death after Twitter protest

The original online coverage on the Sydney Daily Telegraph's website
The Sydney Daily Telegraph changed its online coverage of the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman following protests on Twitter.
After people condemned the headline, "Kids grieve for junkie actor dad", as disrespectful, the paper changed it to "Revealed: Seymour Hoffman's last hours".
That's reader power for you and, it should be said, a good example of editors responding appropriately to feedback (or a backlash - take your choice).

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Photographer James Nachtwey injured in Bangkok

James Nachtwey
American photojournalist James Nachtwey was among several people injured in clashes in Bangkok today ahead of contentious national elections set for Sunday, the WSJ blog reports.
“I got hit in the leg with a bullet during a gunfight,” he told Southeast Asia Realtime. “There’s an entry and exit. I’m walking now. I’m okay.”
Nachtwey, who has documented conflicts across the globe since the 1980s but was not on assignment in Bangkok, said it was “hard to tell” where the bullet came from, and it was unclear who shot him.
“I consider myself extremely lucky,” he said.
The 65-year-old photographer said medics cleaned his wound on the site of the clash but he told them to let him out of the ambulance when it started to drive away. He said he visited a hospital later to have the wound attended to.
“I’ll be able to work tomorrow,” he said.
Nachtwey has been a contract photographer for Time Magazine since 1984, done work for the Magnum Photos cooperative and was a founding member of the VII photo agency.

American Apparel’s newest lingerie model Is 62 years old

The blog reports:

"If you’re a follower of American Apparel’s often provocative ad campaigns, you’ll certainly recognize Jacky O’Shaughnessy, the 62-year-old “advanced” model who’s posed for the brand in years past. While she has modeled a line of basics for the LA-based label, her previous work for American Apparel was clothed, and her new campaign is, well, not.
"According to a post on the brand’s Facebook page, O’Shaughnessy is the newest face of AA’s line of lingerie, and her portrait is accompanied with the tagline, 'Sexy has no expiration date.' In her case, this is most certainly true — she’s 6-feet-tall and has some of the most gorgeous white hair we’ve ever seen — and we’d even venture to say that she puts many of the retailer’s younger models to shame.
"Yes, American Apparel has done a lot of wild things to make a statement over the years — including outfitting its mannequins with giant merkins and printing graphic illustrations of vaginas on T-shirts — but this is one we can firmly stand behind."

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