Monday, March 31, 2014

YouTube ramping up competition for advertisers

In a renewed effort to lure a bigger share of the advertising dollars that now flow to major TV networks, Google's YouTube is making a number of concessions long sought by marketers, ad executives say. Most prominently, in discussions ahead of this spring's TV ad-selling season, YouTube has told marketers it will offer audience guarantees to advertisers that make advance commitments, according to people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports. YouTube will guarantee to air ads across its channels until they reach a certain percentage of the target audience that the marketer is trying to reach, according to several of the people. More

Thursday, March 27, 2014

No more interns at Toronto Life, The Walrus

The Ontario Ministry of Labour has begun cracking down on unpaid internships at magazines, prompting both the publisher of Toronto Life and The Walrus to shut down their programs, the National Post reports.
St. Joseph’s Media, the publisher of Toronto Life and Fashion Magazine, says it is shutting down its long-running unpaid internship program this Friday after an inspector from the Ontario Ministry of Labour said they were in violation of the province’s Employment Standards Act.
The inspector, who checked the Toronto Life newsroom twice in the last seven weeks, said the company did not satisfy the criteria required to take on unpaid interns, said Doug Knight, president of St. Joseph’s Media.
As well, the ministry inspector told St. Joseph’s Media the Ontario government would be targeting all the magazines in Ontario starting April 1, he added.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

White House protests Saudi’s denial of visa to journalist

The White House on Tuesday protested a decision by Saudi Arabia to deny a visa to a Washington-based reporter for an Israeli newspaper who planned to cover President Obama’s trip to the Arab kingdom this week.
The reporter, Michael Wilner, the Washington bureau chief for The Jerusalem Post, was the only White House correspondent rejected by the Saudi government before Mr. Obama’s visit to Riyadh, the Saudi capital, on Friday and Saturday. The rejection of Mr. Wilner’s visa added another point of tension to a trip already marked by friction over Syria, Iran and Israeli-Palestinian peace.
“We were very disappointed by the Saudi decision,” Benjamin J. Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, told reporters aboard Air Force One. “We expressly reached out to the Saudi government through multiple channels when we became aware of this issue. We made it clear how important it was to us that this journalist, like any other journalist, have access to cover the president’s trip. And we’ll continue to raise our concerns with the Saudis about why this journalist was denied a visa and about our very strong objections to their decision.”

2 CNN reporters arrested while trying to break into World Trade Center

Two CNN journalists were arrested for trying to sneak past security at the World Trade Center in New York City on Tuesday in an attempt to report on recent security lapses at the site, police said.
Yon Pomrenze, 35, and Connor Fieldman Boals, 26, first tried to talk their way in through the main gate to the center in lower Manhattan, much of which is still a construction site, according to the police account. One was holding a video camera, the other had a video camera strapped to his head.
The two men, identified as CNN producers, were filming a report on recent security breaches at the World Trade Center, a spokeswoman for the news network said.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Harper’s ’24/7 videos require up to four staffers to produce; hardly anyone watches

As many as four public servants from the Privy Council Office are engaged in the publishing of weekly video clips that celebrate Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s accomplishments, the National Post reports.
The Prime Minister’s Office can’t say how much it costs to produce the promotional “24 Seven” videos every week. Viewership numbers for the videos are small, the PMO’s written response to a question from the opposition shows.
Viewership peaked for the clips in their first edition, covering Jan. 2 to Jan. 8, when 10,172 people watched the English version on YouTube and another 14,342 watched through a proprietary software used on the website.
The numbers have been in sharp decline since, with only 100 watching the Jan. 23-29 English version on YouTube and 19 in French.
Full version

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Egypt's president says jailed Egyptian-Canadian journalist will get fair trial

In an unexpected gesture, Egypt's interim president assured the family of an imprisoned Egyptian-Canadian journalist that the man would get a fair, speedy trial and necessary medical treatment while his case was dealt with.
The guarantees came in the form of a letter received by Mohamed Fahmy's family on Sunday -- a day before his trial was set to resume in Cairo.
"I want to reaffirm in this regard the independence of the Egyptian judiciary and my confidence that your son will get all his legal rights," wrote President Adly Mansour.
"This will not stop me from exerting every effort necessary and possible to reach a fast resolution to this case, that guarantees justice in line with the law."
The letter was preceded by a hospital visit Fahmy was allowed on Saturday for a badly injured shoulder, a move which itself was triggered by a call three days earlier from the office of the president.


Broadcaster Ruth Fremes touted values of home cooking (Globe obit)

Ruth Fremes died in West Palm Beach, Fla., on March 2 after a brief illness. She was 84.
Globe obit by Simon Houpt

Friday, March 21, 2014

Peter Bregg the first photojournalist to win CJF lifetime achievement award

Peter Bregg
Peter Bregg is the first photojournalist to win the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s lifetime achievement award.

AFP journalist, his wife and two children killed in Kabul attack

Sardar Ahmad
A staff reporter for the Agence France-Presse news agency, his wife and two of his three children were among nine civilians killed in an attack on a hotel in the Afghan capital, the news agency said Friday.
The incident began when four teenagers entered the Serena Hotel in central Kabul on Thursday and started shooting randomly, according to police.
AFP said journalist Sardar Ahmad started working for the news agency in 2003 and went on to become its senior reporter in Kabul, "covering all aspects of life, war and politics in his native country" and specializing in security issues. He also founded the Kabul Pressistan private news agency, AFP said.

National Post editor Stephen Meurice resigns

Stephen Meurice’s departure comes a day after the Globe and Mail announced its editor-in-chief John Stackhouse was leaving. He’ll be replaced by the CBC’s David Walmsley.
This week’s changing of the guard at the Globe and the Post are just the latest shuffles in the country’s shifting media landscape.
Earlier this year, Canadian Press editor-in-chief Scott White resigned and moved to Postmedia.
The Globe also lost managing editor Elena Cherney to the Wall Street Journal and Report on Business editor Derek DeCloet to Rogers Media.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Author Heather Robertson dead at 72

Award-winning author and journalist Heather Robertson died of cancer Wednesday morning, her 72nd birthday, the Winnipeg Free Press reports.
Born in Winnipeg, Robertson began her career at the Winnipeg Free Press, and published her first book, Reservations are for Indians, in 1970. She went on to publish three more works of non-fiction in the 1970s and early 1980s, detailing the plight of Western farmers, homesteaders in Western Canada, as well as Winnipeg bank robber Ken Leishman.
Robertson shifted to fiction in the 1980s, penning a trilogy revolving around real people during the years of former prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. Willie, A Romance, the first of the trilogy, garnered Robertson the Books in Canada Best First Novel award.
In the 1990s, Robertson turned back to non-fiction, writing on topics such as the wives of prime ministers, hospital care, Lake of the Woods and more while writing for magazines such as Chatelaine, Saturday Night and Macleans. Among her awards was an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Manitoba in 1998.
Robertson lived in King City, Ont. She is survived by her husband, Andrew Marshall.

David Walmsley appoined editor-in-chief of the Globe; Stackhouse out

David Walmsley
The Globe and Mail has appointed David Walmsley as its editor-in-chief, replacing John Stackhouse, who has held the post since 2009. The appointment is effective March 24.
Walmsley worked at the Globe from 2006 to 2012 as national editor and managing editor before moving to back to the CBC where he had previously worked. He also held posts at the National Post, the Toronto Star and at British newspapers.
Before being appointed editor-in-chief, Stackhouse worked at the Globe for many years, starting as a reporter.
 “David is rejoining The Globe and Mail at a pivotal time for our industry,” said Globe publisher Phillip Crawley.
“David is known for his passion for journalism, his open style of leadership, and his ability to adapt to a fast-changing news environment. He will provide a new perspective, as we evolve our business.”
Stackhouse won five National Newspaper Awards while at the Globe, for feature writing, business reporting and international reporting.

Two dead as TV news helicopter crashes in Seattle

A news helicopter crashed into a street and burst into flames Tuesday near Seattle's Space Needle, killing both people on board, badly injuring a man in a car and sending plumes of black smoke over the city during the morning commute.
The chopper was taking off from a helipad on KOMO-TV's roof when it went down at a downtown intersection and hit three vehicles, starting them on fire and spewing burning fuel down the street.

Monday, March 17, 2014

National Newspaper Awards nominations announced

Link to the complete list

CP's Scott White goes to PostMedia

CP’s editor-in-Chief Scott White is going to the newly created position of VP, Content Strategy & Business Development at PostMedia.
A company announcement says White “will lead the development of content strategies for native advertising and branded content across all platforms and explore new partnerships and opportunities in these content verticals.”
“White will work very closely with Functional Leaders as we ready the launch of product 2.0, ensuring that strategic content and resource initiatives are put securely in place.”
(If anyone can translate that job description into English, it would be welcome. Hopefully, he will bring his copy of the CP style book with him.)

E starts March 24.

Parliament Hill media to push back against access control

Hill Times
The Parliamentary Press Gallery is pushing back against the Harper government’s unprecedented and sweeping control over access to government officials and information.
Journalists unanimously passed a motion on March 7 at the Parliamentary Press Gallery’s Annual General Meeting asserting the right of journalists to ask questions “in all photo-ops and availabilities with the Prime Minister, Cabinet ministers, and all Parliamentarians, to fulfill our functions as journalists in a democratic society.”
Journalists support the motion in theory, but say it isn’t a boycott. However, they also don’t want future governments to take any pages out of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) unprecedented control over access to his entire government since winning office in 2006.
The Prime Minister does not hold press conferences in the National Press Theatre, there are no longer Cabinet “ins,” or “outs,” there is tight information control across government departments, agencies, and Cabinet ministers’ offices, and the Prime Minister has taken to doing interviews with non-journalists that are nationally televised.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Kevin O'Leary quits Dragons Den to join U.S. show Shark Tank

Kevin O'Leary joins former Dragon Robert Herjavec on the U.S. show Shark Tank.  Michael Wekerle, a tech media investor, and Vikram Vij, a restauranteur, will join the CBC show, replacing O’Leary and Bruce Croxon, another Dragon who is leaving.
“I am really pleased to be getting the opportunity to work with Michael and Vikram. We are delighted that the two new Dragons are top calibre entrepreneurs,” said Tracie Tighe, executive producer of Dragons’ Den, in a statement.
Dragon's Den is the CBC's top rated show after Hockey Night in Canada.
After struggling initially, Shark Tank, produced by reality producer Mark Burnett (Survivor), is showing solid ratings, hitting almost 8 million viewers last week.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

CBC should stop journalists from taking speaking fees: CBC Ombudsman

A new CBC Ombudsman review found that the public broadcaster should not be allowing its broadcasters to accept speaker fees, in light of recent "perception" controversies that both Rex Murphy and Peter Mansbridge were paid for appearing at oil-friendly conventions, the Vancouver Observer reports.
"I hope CBC management will reconsider the practice of paid speaking engagements for its journalists and, and at a minimum, consider how any relevant activity and payment can be on the public record," wrote Esther Enkin, CBC Ombudsman, in a letter written yesterday.
Though both Murphy and Peter Mansbridge were cleared of any wrongdoing, Enkin said "taking money leads to a perception of a conflict of interest" -- especially when the money is from "powerful lobby groups".
On Murphy in particular, she added, "[he] is not a spokesperson for anyone, nor is his personal integrity in any way in question here."
The Ombudsman's remarks were in a March 12 response letter to John How, of Terrace B.C., who shared it with the Vancouver Observer.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lev Tahor court transcript access to be decided Friday

A Superior Court judge will decide by week’s end if the media can access a transcript and other materials from a secret hearing held in her courtroom last Wednesday in which she ordered that 14 children belonging to the controversial Jewish Lev Tahor sect be immediately apprehended.
Judge Lynda Templeton, who sits in London, held a hearing via conference call on Tuesday to revisit her earlier decision to exclude media from last week’s proceedings.
A regional superior court justice had already decided not to hear an appeal of her original decision, and the Star had planned to file an appeal with the Court of Appeal when Templeton decided to revisit the order.
Lawyer Iris Fischer, representing several media outlets, argued that it is in the public interest and in accordance with the open court principle that media access the transcripts, saying journalists would still of course respect the publication ban on the identities of the children who are the subject of the child protection order.

No broadcast, no tweets as doc testifies at Pistorius trial

Professor Gert Saayman was the tenth witness to take the stand at the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius in Pretoria, South Africa. He told the court he had ethical issues with his testimony being broadcast live.
Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said that Saymaan would provide graphic details on Reeva Steenkamp's condition after the shooting and the State was opposing the televising of this testimony.
Nel also said they would prefer to wait for a grief counsellor be present in court before starting.
A short adjournment was called to allow the media to oppose this application.
Saayman told the court there were three reasons why his testimony should not be broadcast.
1. The very personal findings and graphic details that emerge in an autopsy. These details have the potential to compromise Steenkamp's dignity. “It is our duty to preserve the dignity of the deceased,” said Saayman.
2. By such public and contemporaneous screening of the information, it is possible to impinge on the rights of friends and relations of deceased.
3. It goes against the good morals of society. Unaware people - including children - may be exposed to this kind of explicit information.
On behalf of the media opposing the application, advocate Nick Ferreira said broadcasters and other publications would compromise, that no exhibits would be published and that testimony would not be broadcast live, instead recorded and summarised.
He noted that their were potential risks in broadcasting the testimony, but he also cited the media's rights to freedom of expression, and that banning Saayman's testimony in advance could be jumping the gun, depending on what his testimony entailed.
Judge Thokozile Masipa on Monday ruled in favour of an application for all live broadcasts, including the use of Twitter, to be switched off for the duration of the testimony from state witness and pathologist Professor Saayman.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Swedish journalist shot to death in Afghanistan

A Swedish journalist was shot to death on Tuesday while he was talking to a translator on a street in Kabul, the second killing in two months to strike foreigners in an affluent and well-guarded area of the Afghan capital. Nils Horner, 51, who also had British citizenship, had worked for Swedish Radio SR since 2001 as a foreign correspondent mostly in Asia and the Middle East, including Afghanistan and Baghdad. Police said they were investigating whether it was an insurgent attack targeting a foreigner or whether the motive was personal. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied the group was responsible for the attack, which came two months after the Islamic militant movement staged a suicide bombing and shooting assault against a Lebanese restaurant that killed 13 foreigners and eight Afghans in the same area.

The Shopping Channel’s new look: high fashion

In a bid to reach some lofty financial goals, The Shopping Channel is moving in an unlikely direction: upscale, the Globe and Mail's Marina Strauss reports.
At the end of the month, the channel, owned by media giant Rogers Communications Inc., will introduce Canadian fashion design star Kimberley Newport-Mimran – the other half of the Joe Mimran (creator of Joe Fresh) power couple – and her high-end Pink Tartan line. She will appear on air for an hour at a time pitching a $395 floral trench coat and $125 “air-knit” T-shirt.
Pink Tartan joins premium L’Occitane en Provence beauty products and Sam Edelman footwear, which TSC has already launched, in addition to its usual middle-of-the-road clothing and jewellery brands.
“We clearly saw that the customer had an appetite for this,” said TSC president Steven Goldsmith, a veteran of the U.S. shopping channel wars who arrived at the sleepy Canadian competitor 16 months ago with the goal of shaking it up.

Monday, March 10, 2014

George Stroumboulopoulos to host Hockey Night in Canada; ROB editor Derek De Cloet to Rogers Publishing

Two moves by major media personalities were announced today. George Stroumboulopoulos, host of a nightly talk show on CBC, will join a new NHL broadcast team this fall and Derek DeCloet, editor of the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, will become director of content strategy at Rogers.

Stroumboulopoulos will become one part of a frontline “dream team” that will include Hockey Night in Canada fixtures Don Cherry and Ron MacLean and Sportsnet personalities Darren Millard and Jeff Marek, Rogers has announced.
Rogers will air the games on its multiple channels across the country but the Hockey Night in Canada franchise will continue for the next four seasons on CBC in a deal that provides the public broadcaster with an outlet to promote its other programming even though it will no longer own the show or sell its commercial time.
DeCloet will be director of content strategy for Rogers Publishing, leading the editorial operations of their consumer magazines, including Maclean's, Canadian Business, Chatelaine, MoneySense and Sportsnet Magazine. .

Ali Moustafa, Toronto-born journalist, killed in Syria

Toronto photojournalist Ali Moustafa, 29, and seven others were killed Sunday when a pair of explosive devices were dropped in a rebel-held part of Aleppo, Syria.
The photographer’s sister, Justina Rosa Botelho, confirmed her brother’s death after viewing a photo of his corpse that was sent to her by activists.
The Associated Press reported that a military helicopter dropped a so-called barrel bomb on the Hadariyeh area of Aleppo, on Sunday. After reporters and others moved in to survey the damage, a second bomb was dropped, leaving Moustafa mortally wounded.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Pierre-Karl Peladeau to run for PQ in Quebec election

Media mogul Pierre-Karl Péladeau has been added to the Parti Québécois, a star candidacy aimed at boosting the party's standing in the business community.
Mr. Péladeau will run in the riding of Saint-Jérôme, just north of Montreal.
Mr. Péladeau was, until recently, president of Quebecor Media Inc. which controls the Journal de Montréal, TVA television network and Videotron cable company.
He stepped down to become the company vice-president in order to sit on the board of Hydro-Quebec when appointed by Premier Pauline Marois.
Mr. Péladeau explained on Sunday that he joined the PQ to help Quebec achieve political independence.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Your porn is not Canadian enough, CRTC warns erotica channels

For failing to broadcast sufficient levels of Canadian-made pornography — and failing to close-caption said pornography properly — a trio of Toronto-based erotica channels has earned a reprimand from the Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunications Commission, the National Post reports.
Wednesday, the CRTC issued a broadcast notice saying AOV Adult Movie Channel, XXX Action Clips and the gay-oriented Maleflixxx were all failing to reach the required 35% threshold for Canadian content.
Based on a 24-hour broadcast schedule, that translates to about 8.5 hours of Canadian erotica a day.
The notice was issued as a result of Channel Zero’s efforts to renew licences for all three erotica channels. The regulator will review the “instances of apparent non-compliance” at an April 28 hearing in Gatineau, Que.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Anchor for Russian propaganda channel dramatically quits in protest live on the air

Russia Today anchor and correspondent Liz Wahl announced her resignation live on air Wednesday, saying she couldn't "be part of a network that whitewashes the actions" of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Wahl began her remarks by referencing comments another personality on the government-funded TV network made criticizing Russia's invasion of the Ukrainian region of Crimea.

"Last night RT made headlines when one of our anchors went on the record and said Russian intervention in Crimea is wrong and indeed, as a reporter on this network, I face many ethical and moral challenges," Wahl said.
Wahl noted her grandparents were Hungarian refugees who fled Soviet oppression, and that she could no longer work for the station. She also cited her "partner" who works as a "physician at a military base."
"He sees every day the firsthand accounts of the ultimate prices people pay for this country," Wahl said of her partner. "That is why, personally, I cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin. I’m proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth. And that is why, after this newscast, I’m resigning."


Old Maple Leaf Gardens to be Ryerson media lab

This September, the old Maple Leaf Gardens, known today as the Mattamy Athletic Centre, will get new tenants, the Star reports.
For 60 Ryerson students, part of Ryerson's new BA in sport media program, Mattamy will be their nerve centre, home to classes, production studios and the sporting events they'll be covering live while learning the ins-and-outs of producing media.
“It's an incredible place to go to school,” says Charles Falzon, the chair of Ryerson's Radio and Television Arts School of Media and one of the architects of the new BA.

The Star story

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Putin faces reporters directly at newser!

Vladimir Putin at a news conference today at his country residence. It's hard to imagine any western leader without a podium or table between him and reporters.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Editor-in-chief Scott White ending 35-year career with The Canadian Press

Scott White
Scott White, CP's editor-in-chief, is ending his 35-year career with the national news agency, a CP story by Colin Perkel says.
White, 55, was a steady hand on the tiller in recent years as the organization endured an often rocky transformation from non-profit co-operative to for-profit company in an era of dwindling media revenues.
White, who recently completed an executive MBA program, said he has a new job but did not disclose details. His resignation is effective March 21.
Full story

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