Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Torstar reports stable second-quarter earnings

Torstar Corp., publisher of the Toronto Star, reported stable earnings in its second quarter despite continuing challenges in print advertising, the company said.
Segmented adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, commonly known as EBITDA, were $32.5 million for the three months ended June 30. That’s down $1.1 million from $33.6 million in the second quarter of 2013, Torstar said Wednesday.
Total segmented revenue was $237.3 million for the quarter. That’s down $18.1 million, or 7.1 per cent, from $255.4 million in the year-earlier period.
Net income attributable to equity shareholders was $19.7 million, or 25 cents per share, in the quarter, up $1.7 million from $18 million in the year-earlier period, the company said.


Thomson Reuters rides cost cuts to higher earnings

Thomson Reuters Corp., the provider of financial data and news, reported second-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as cost cuts buoyed results.
Earnings excluding items were 51 cents a share, exceeding the 46-cent average of predictions compiled by Bloomberg. The New York-based company said it plans to repurchase as much as $1 billion of its shares by the end of 2015.
A cost-reducing plan for the financial and risk business, announced in October, helped boost results, Reuters said.
The news provider reaffirmed its 2014 outlook, including revenue comparable to last year and a margin for adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 26 per cent to 27 per cent. That margin improved to 27.8 per cent in the second quarter from 27.6 per cent a year earlier.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tweeting from courtroom impresses Nova Scotia top judge

A top judge in Nova Scotia says he is surprised at the positive impact live-tweeting inside the courtroom has had after the province’s judiciary recently relaxed the rules on the use of Twitter in the courts.
Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court allowed reporters to live-tweet proceedings during the trial of Lyle Howe, a Halifax lawyer convicted of sexual assault.
“I couldn’t get over how well it had worked,” Kennedy said in an interview, describing it as the closest thing to gavel-to-gavel coverage he has seen.
“I didn’t think it was going to be as accurate as it turned out to be. I have to say that I was very impressed.
“I’d come back (to my office) occasionally and go on the computer after I’d been to the courtroom — I’d tell my colleagues that I used to have to come back here to find out what happened,” he said, kidding.
Full CP story

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Toronto architect documents Sammy Yatim shooting with iPhone

The Toronto architect, who had returned from a business trip at 10 p.m., had no intention of committing an act of citizen journalism when he took out his iPhone, with its powerful 30 frame-per-second video camera. “My reason for filming was nothing more profound than showing my friends on Facebook what a crazy thing had happened outside my house,” he said last week. “I wasn’t trying to document or be altruistic.”
Link to full Star story

Friday, July 25, 2014

Andrew Cochran to oversee implementation of CBC News strategy 2020

Andrew Cochran
J-Source reports that Andrew Cochran, CBC’s senior managing director for Atlantic Canada, is taking on a new role, overseeing the implementation of the public broadcaster’s Strategy 2020 for news operations. 
Editor-in-chief and general manager Jennifer McGuire said in a memo to staff that Cochran will be responsible for all CBC News strategies and will represent CBC News’s interests in real estate projects and regulatory issues. He will start his new role on Aug. 11 in Toronto.
Cochran got his start at CTV where he produced Canada-AM while still in his early 20s. He later established his an independent production company before joining CBC.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

BBC Arabic reporter attacked near Gaza

Reporter Feras Khatib, who was wearing a protective vest that indicated he was a member of the press, was shoved midway through his report, apparently by an Israeli, according to BBC Arabic. The attacker was quickly shoved away from Khatib by an unidentified man in a "PRESS" vest.
In an e-mail, a BBC Arabic spokesman said the attack took place during a live report in the Israeli city of Ashkelon. Khatib "was manhandled by an angry Israeli," the statement said, adding: "Feras was unharmed and will continue reporting as normal." The spokesman said the attacker "left immediately after the incident."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

AP photog's killer gets death sentence

A Kabul court announced Wednesday that the Afghan police officer charged with killing Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding veteran AP correspondent Kathy Gannon has been convicted and sentenced to death.
It was the first court hearing in the case and, under Afghan law, the verdict and sentence are subject to several stages of review.
Full AP story

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

CBC and other media seek access to Omar Khadr for interview

The CBC is joining the Toronto Star and documentary producer White Pine Pictures in taking the federal government to court today to ask that former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr, who is now being held in Canada, be allowed to be interviewed by media for the first time.
Toronto-born Khadr, who has been in custody for 12 years and is now 27, has been willing to talk. But Correctional Service Canada, which operates the federal prisons, and Public Safety Canada have repeatedly blocked media access.
More from the CBC web page

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Russian media's wild stories about jet downing

Russians awoke on Friday to news reports that bumbling Ukrainian troops had shot down a Malaysia Airlines jet after mistaking it for President Vladimir Putin’s official plane. Another theory: The Ukrainians intentionally shot down the jet at close range as a “planned provocation.” Or maybe there wasn’t a crash at all, and the bodies were those of passengers from Malaysia Air flight M370, which disappeared in March. Bloomberg 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

John McCallum, former Ryerson journalism professor, was ‘larger than life’

Former Ryerson journalism professor John McCallum died July 7 in Toronto at age 90. McCallum taught many of today’s prominent Canadian journalists during his time as a professor of newspaper journalism at Ryerson. He oversaw the production of the student paper the Ryersonian, and also wrote a daily critique of the paper, called Petals and Pebbles — a practice he introduced to newsrooms in China when he first went there in the 1980s.
Star obit

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mike Duffy’s lawyer ‘confident’ suspended senator will be cleared of criminal charges

Mike Duffy
Suspended senator Mike Duffy will vigorously defend himself, his lawyer said Thursday in Ottawa after 31 criminal charges were laid against Duffy for fraud, breach of trust and even bribery.
“We are confident that when the full story is told, as it will be, and shown to be supported by many forms of evidence, it will be clear that Sen. Duffy is innocent of any criminal wrongdoing,” Donald Bayne said in a written statement.
The charges stem from Duffy’s expense and travel claims, consulting contracts handed out over four years, and bribery allegations related to a $90,000 payment from Nigel Wright, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mike Duffy is my father, Peruvian woman claims in a lawsuit

Beleaguered Senator Mike Duffy faced fresh controversy Tuesday after Maclean's magazine published an interview with a Peruvian woman who claims to be his daughter.
The magazine reported that the woman, Karen Duffy, was born to Duffy after an affair with a convicted Peruvian drug smuggler who served time at a Kingston, Ont., prison.
The Maclean's story says the alleged affair lasted for a few months in the early 1980s while her mother was on parole at an Ottawa halfway house. 
Link to full CBC story

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dean Beeby joins CBC Ottawa bureau

Dean Beeby
Acording to various Twitter feeds, long-time Canadian Press Ottawa staffer and deputy bureau chief Dean Beeby has joined CBC Ottawa. Beeby is the author of several books and has broken many stories.

Kirk LaPointe plans to run for Vancouver mayor

Kirk LaPointe announced Monday that he will be a candidate for Vancouver's mayor under the banner of the Non-Partisan Association.
LaPointe, 56, said he is "now in control of the NPA" and had scrutinized all of the candidates for city council, park board and school board. He said those names will be rolled out over the coming days and weeks.
LaPointe said he was motivated to challenge Vision Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson for the top office at City Hall because he wants to open the city to more scrutiny.
LaPointe has served as CBC's Ombudsman. was managing editor of the Vancouver Sun and, briefly, the head of news at CTV.

Journalism professor plans to run for Liberals in 2015 to stop Harper regime ‘eroding’ democracy

Carleton University journalism professor Allan Thompson will announce Monday that he wants to run as a Liberal candidate in the next federal election, the National Post reports.
Thompson, who covered federal politics during his 17-year career with the Toronto Star, will seek the Liberal nomination in the rural Ontario riding of Huron-Bruce, where he grew up. The riding is currently held by second-term Conservative MP Ben Lobb.
The limits on the media’s access to federal politicians under Stephen Harper’s government is part of the reason he decided to enter politics, he says.
“It’s a big step to cross the line and seek out a career in politics,” said Thompson, who still considers himself a journalist. “Part of the motivation is the Harper regime has to come to an end. It’s doing damage and really eroding some of the pillars of our democracy.”

Sunday, July 13, 2014

MuchMusic left with skeleton staff after job cuts, source says

The Financial Post reports tha this past Wednesday at 10 a.m., Catherine MacLeod, senior vice president for specialty channels for Much’s owner Bell Media, called a meeting with production teams from Much, MTV Canada, M3 (formerly known as MuchMoreMusic) and the entertainment channel E!, and broke some stunning news, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Eight shows on those channels are ceasing production, which means the loss of 91 jobs. It also means the virtual end of Canada’s music-video-channel era. Save a skeleton staff that will continue to produce the Much and M3 countdowns, Much will accelerate a tactic it had increasingly come to rely on over the last decade: packing its schedule with syndicated content — shows like South Park and Tosh.O — instead of original programming, the source said.
Bell Media confirmed that the Much and M3 countdowns will continue, while eight other shows will cease production, but declined a request for an interview to discuss the company’s broadcast strategy.
Amy Doary, a spokeswoman for Bell Media, also confirmed that hosts Lauren Toyota, Leah Miller and Scott Willats have lost their jobs. Broadcaster and music historian Alan Cross said the news isn’t particularly surprising. In the age of YouTube, sitting in front of the television waiting for your favourite video to come on is an anachronism, he said. “It’s very hard for a lot of these established entities to take the plunge into sophisticated new media ventures when you’re dealing with month-to-month, quarter-to-quarter, year-to-year results demands,” Mr. Cross said. “It’s the curse of the incumbents. You know you have to change, but you still have to service your current business, because you’ve got so much invested in it.”
The full story

Rehab no free pass to zero accountability: Star's Public Editor

Did the Star cross an ethical line in reporting information from confidential sources with inside information who said that the mayor was kicked out of group therapy and that management was concerned Ford continued to use drugs or alcohol during his time in rehab?
In the face of a shameful record of lies and denials, and worldwide notoriety for his drug and alcohol issues, can Ford or anyone else really expect that what happens in rehab will stay in rehab, that the Star would not report credible information that contradicts the mayor’s message?
Indeed, this is information that Toronto citizens deserve to know. And certainly, no one should think that rehab is a free pass to zero accountability.
The full story

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Toronto council bans invite-only media events

A week after Mayor Rob Ford excluded media outlets from his return-from-rehab speech, Toronto City Council has voted overwhelmingly to ban invite-only media events on city property.
Council voted 38-3 to require politicians and city officials to allow the entire City Hall Press Gallery to attend all media events at city facilities. They also prohibited employees of the city bureaucracy, such as the audio-visual team, from supporting events that do not permit the whole gallery to attend.
Ford and Councillors Mike Del Grande and John Parker voted against. Councillor Doug Ford skipped the vote after he joined the other three in voting against holding the final vote on the matter.
The motion was tabled by Councillor Paula Fletcher, an opponent of Ford. She said politicians can invite whomever they like if they hold their events on private property.
Now Magazine and Metroland Media, both members of the press gallery, were banned from Ford’s speech last Monday. Ford also excluded other interested outlets that are not gallery members, such as the website Torontoist and the Associated Press wire service.

Globe and Mail reaches last-minute deal, averting strike

The Globe and Mail and its unionized staff have reached a last-minute tentative deal, less than an hour before employees were set to walk off the job, the Star's Vanessa Lu reports.
Negotiations went down the wire after Unifor Local 87-M, which represents journalists, sales and administrative staff, set a 4 p.m. Wednesday strike deadline in hopes a hard deadline would result in a settlement.
“There is a tentative agreement,” said Shawn McCarthy, a reporter who speaks on behalf of the unionized staff, in an email. “No details yet and we still have to vote.”
The union’s bargaining committee is unanimously recommending the tentative deal. A ratification vote will likely be called for Thursday and the strike deadline has been suspended until further notice.
A walkout by Globe journalists would have been a first, as they have a strike-free record. The last strike at the Globe was in 1964, when composing room employees walked off the job in a move that led to decertification of the International Typographical Union.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

There soon may not be any more newspapers, but we’ll always need news-- Jan Wong

Jan Wong in 2012
Jan Wong's musings about journalism:
"Journalism is democracy’s milk. The free flow of information nourishes the citizenry and helps them make informed decisions about where to live and work, which bridge is closed for two weeks and who’s invading whom.
"News matters. As Phillip Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, once said, “Journalism is the first rough draft of history.”
"Unfortunately the delivery system is broken. In my journalism-as-milk analogy, today’s newspaper owners are the farmers fretting over the survival of their family farms. The reporters are the cows."
the full column in the Halifax Herald

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Ex-journalist is Rob Ford's new communications guy

Jeff Silverstein
Jeff Silverstein, 53, is the newly hired communications director on the re-election campaign for Toronto’s mayor, the Globe's Ann Hui reports. Silverstein, a former journalist who now specializes in PR and reputation management, has staked his name on “honest, open and transparent” communication, especially in times of crisis – experience he will tap into for the campaign.
“I was interested in this opportunity because I saw that he was coming back from rehab and he was going to have some communication issues,” Mr. Silverstein said when approached by The Globe on Friday. “I wanted to work with him,” the Globe reports.
Silverstein spent more than a decade in broadcasting, including as a producer for CTV’s W5. He has also worked as a freelance writer, including for The Globe and Mail.
Link to Globe story

Friday, July 4, 2014

Shaw Media applies for all news channel

Shaw Media has made application, to the CRTC, to launch a national, English language news channel to be called Global News 1, Broadcaster magazine reports.
Global News 1 would fall under "Category C" guidelines, which cover existing all-news channels i.e.  CBC News Network, CTV News Channel, RDI and the Sun News Network.
 Speculation has it that Shaw would utilize news inputted from the local Global stations it presently owns.  .
Shaw recently made recommendations to the CRTC over changes to how it classifies news channels.  In its submission it stated the CRTC  should "introduce minimum thresholds to ensure that only truly national news services benefit from must-carry privileges."
The list of requirements it believes the regulator should enforce include reporters posted in at least nine of the thirteen provinces and territories, additional people based overseas reporting from a Canadian perspective, and at least 16 hours per day of original news coverage.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Globe and Mail and union resuming contract talks

The Star's Theresa Boyle reports:
"The Globe and Mail and its union have agreed to head back to the bargaining table for one day of mediated talks next week.
" The agreement was announced Wednesday night, after unionized workers overwhelmingly rejected management’s latest proposal for a contract settlement.
" Staff from editorial, advertising sales and circulation voted 92.3 per cent against the offer. It was rejected in a vote of 274 to 23.
"Unifor Local 87M requested that the two sides resume negotiations. ' “The company has agreed to one day of mediation with Unifor, on July 8th, 2014,'
"Sean Humphrey, vice president of marketing for the Globe, said in a written statement.
"Unifor issued its own statement, saying: 'Although the union is in a legal strike position, further discussions between the union and the company are scheduled for July 8. In the meantime, unionized journalists, ad reps and administrative staff will continue to work.'
" Fears have been mounting that labour strife at the paper could lead to a strike or lockout. A fence was erected around the newspaper’s offices on Front St earlier in the day, leading many to believe that management was bracing for the worst.
Full Star story

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Grid weekly magazine in Toronto is closing

The Grid magazine is ceasing publication, the Toronto Star reports.
The award-winning weekly newspaper, aimed at Toronto’s young and vibrant downtown core, was unable to generate sufficient revenue despite a strong and loyal following, the publication’s owner said in a statement.
“It is with considerable regret that I am announcing today the closure of The Grid,” John Cruickshank, president of Star Media Group said in a statement.
Thursday will be the last day of publication.
Launched in May 2011, The Grid quickly earned a solid reputation as a top-quality, innovative city magazine for the downtown Toronto core, the company said in a statement.
Year after year, The Grid has won national and global awards, ranging from National Magazine Awards to Canadian Online Publishing Awards and awards from the Society for News Design. It is truly a world-leading publication from both a design and content perspective, in digital and in print.
Star story

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Journalists should take a stand against Rob Ford’s bullying behaviour: Royson James

The Star's Royson James writes:
"Media in this town are a gutless lot: the scribe on the beat, the editor, the news director. And Rob Ford brings out the worst in us.
"How else to explain Monday’s malodorous decision that saw the mayor allow only a hand-picked list of reporters to his first news conference since entering rehab for alcohol and drug abuse.
"Instead of refusing to be part of the odious infomercial (Ford did not take questions following his confession-cum-campaign-speech), the chosen reporters dutifully filed into the mayor’s office — some of them tweeting out excuses for the mayor’s mean-spirited censure.
"In a contemptible scene outside the mayor’s office 30 minutes before the staged event, Ford’s bouncer-driver read off the list of reporters Ford picked for his redemption newser.
"So much for returning from rehab a changed man. What we got is the same menacing magistrate. What it felt like was something from a fascist state."
The whole column

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