Monday, August 31, 2015

Long election campaign financial burden on media: Globe and Mail

Excellent story by the Globe's James Bradshaw on the costs of covering the long campaign. Excerpt and link:
"This long march to Oct. 19 has prompted a rethinking of the value of trailing party leaders daily, and a renewed focus on stories found away from tightly scripted events. And while newswires and the CBC – with its public mandate and funding – are stalwarts on the party buses, other outlets are saving money and setting their own schedules, which will shape what voters read, see and hear."
Full story

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mohamed Fahmy sentenced to three years in prison

A court in Egypt sentenced Al-Jazeera journalist and two of his colleagues to three years in prison on Saturday, the latest twist in a highly publicized case that has sparked global condemnation of the Egyptian government. Canadian citizen Mohamed Fahmy, who served as the acting Cairo bureau chief of Al Jazeera English, was present in court along with Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed. Australian correspondent Peter Greste was deported earlier this year and convicted in absentia.
Judge Hassan Farid began his verdict by addressing, “the great Egyptian people.”
He went on to say that the defendants “are not journalists” and that they were using unlicensed equipment, operating without proper permission and broadcasting material harmful to Egypt. Baher Mohamed received an additional six months in prison and a fine of 5,000 Egyptian pounds. Fahmy’s lawyer, Amal Clooney, who had flown into Egypt the night before to attend the session, said she would be holding a series of meetings with Egyptian officials where she would ask for a pardon or deportation for her client.
Full Toronto Star story

CBC drops local TV affiliates in Oshawa, Peterborough and Kingston

CBC has ended its relationship with a number of local over-the-air television stations, exposing deep rifts in Canada’s broadcast landscape. The CRTC announced Thursday that CHEX-TV in Peterborough, Channel 12 in Oshawa and CKWS-TV in Kingston would be ending their affiliation with CBC and entering into a “program supply agreement” with CTV beginning Aug. 31. All the stations are owned by Corus Entertainment.
“We are very pleased to be partnering with Bell Media to bring our audiences and advertisers CTV’s stellar lineup of news, sports and entertainment programming,” said the stations’ general manager, Dave McCutcheon, in a release.
The move was first made public in May, but the CRTC first had to contend with opposition, both from a diehard CBC viewer and from a broadcast competitor.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

TV staffers' killing dubbed "first social media murder"

Gun homicides are not unusual in the United States, but what happened in Roanoke, Va., yesterday is rare — killings on live television that were then immediately posted on social media feeds.
The clips of on-air journalist Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward being gunned down while on their station's morning show and filmed from two perspectives, including the killer's, went viral.
Some are calling it a turning point in the internet age: National Review writer Charles C. Cooke's online piece called it "America's first social media murder."  (CBC web page)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Virginia TV journalists killed in on-air shooting; suspect shoots self

Two television journalists were shot and killed in Virginia on Wednesday morning while conducting a live interview, and authorities said the suspect appeared to be a disgruntled current or former employee of the TV station. Reuters reports.
Police pursued the suspect and in the late morning, an ABC local affiliate and CNN reported the suspected shooter had shot himself, but it was not known if he was dead or alive. The suspect was identified as Vester Flanagan, 41, according to a dispatcher for the Augusta County, Virginia, Sheriff's Department.
After the shooting of the journalists, someone claiming to have filmed it posted video online that appeared to be from shooter's vantage point.
The videos were posted to a Twitter account and on Facebook but were removed shortly afterward. One video clearly showed a handgun as the person filming approached the woman reporter.
The shooting occurred at about 6:45 a.m. EDT during an interview being broadcast live from Bridgewater Plaza, a Smith Mountain Lake recreation site with restaurants, shops, boating and arcades and holiday rentals.

Bell Media president overhauls senior ranks, promises more departures

The Globe and Mail's James Bradshaw reports:
"With a shakeup in its senior ranks, Bell Media is seeking to be more agile with a leaner executive team and cleaner reporting structure as it adapts to a period of rapid change for the industry.
"Gone are Phil King, the influential president of CTV, sports and entertainment, and three other senior figures who oversaw television and radio. Arriving in their place is Randy Lennox, a well-connected figure from the entertainment business, to a new role leading production, radio and local TV.
"The restructuring lets Bell Media president Mary Ann Turcke, an engineer by training with a background in sales and field operations, put her stamp on the division. It streamlines management by giving her direct reporting lines to key figures who previously worked for Mr. King, and shuffles out some of those who were closest to her predecessor, Kevin Crull."

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

CTV and sports programming president Phil King to leave Bell Media

Phil King, the head of programming for the CTV network and a long-time TSN executive, is departing from Bell Media as part of a reshuffling in the company’s senior ranks, the Globe and Mail reports.
Since 2010, Mr. King had been president of CTV and sports programming for Bell, one of the most prominent jobs in Canadian media. He later added entertainment to his portfolio, and was in charge of shopping for shows to fill CTV’s prime time lineups, with oversight of TSN as well.

CP veteran Stan Mulcahy

Stan Mulcahy worked for 32 years with Canadian Press in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto, taking early retirement in 1990. Before joining CP, he had worked at the Northern Daily News in Kirkland Lake, the North Bay Nugget and the Toronto Star. After retirement he did freelance public relations for several Toronto companies before moving to Paris in 1998.
The death announcement

Monday, August 24, 2015

Retired CBC broadcaster Marguerite McDonald dead at 73

The CBC web page reports that Marguerite McDonald, the inaugural host of CBC Radio's political affairs show The House, died today in Ottawa at age 73.
A former nun and school teacher, McDonald had a long and storied career as a trailblazing journalist and a trusted CBC broadcaster, both in television and radio.
The full CBC obit

CBC Radio programming resumes after hour-long network outage

CBC Radio is back on the air after a technical problem caused a network outage across Canada for an hour this morning, the network's web page says.
Both CBC Radio One and Radio Two were off the air in many part of the country, starting at 9:40 a.m. ET. and ending before 10:40 a.m.
The outage was caused by an issue with the satellite feed.

100+ people apply for J-Source job!

"Thanks to the 100+ people who applied for the associate editor job. Those selected for an interview will hear from us in the next day or so," says a J-Source tweet!
Previous post

David Ellis, former Star and Sun editor, dead at 70

David Ellis, a former Toronto Star and Sun editor known for his love of seemingly impossible, needle-in-a-haystack stories, died suddenly on Saturday. He was 70.
Star story
Sun story

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Interesting Financial Times piece about the BBC's future

"The BBC’s plight is not unique: public broadcasters around the world are struggling to navigate the new age of media. In the US this month, PBS lost the best rights to Sesame Street after 45 years because it could only cover about one-tenth of the show’s cost. Weeks earlier, Europe’s public broadcasters were outbid for the rights to air the Olympics by Discovery Communications, the owner of Eurosport.
"In the UK, as the BBC’s wings are clipped, its rivals are preparing for lift-off. Amazon’s streaming service has signed Jeremy Clarkson, recently ejected from the BBC’s motoring programme Top Gear for punching a producer. Clarkson, his two co-presenters and their (other) producer will be paid about £160m for three series of a new show on Amazon. The BBC’s total budget for all its presenters, actors and performers — from Gary Lineker to the extras on EastEnders — is £188m a year."
The whole story

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Margaret Atwood's National Post column on Harper hair disappears, then reappears

A column by Margaret Atwood that poked fun at Stephen Harper's hair disappeared for several hours from the National Post website Friday, raising the ire of the Twitterverse and prompting the award-winning author to wonder if she'd been censored, the CBC reports.
Atwood's piece was back on the newspaper's main page late Friday after being taken down mid-afternoon. The Post said in an email it was held for fact checking.
The column poked fun at Harper, using as an entrypoint the Conservative attack ads that take aim at Justin Trudeau with the phrase, "Nice hair, Justin."
After it was removed from the website, Atwood tweeted at the newspaper asking if she had been censored for what she called a "flighty little caper on hair," drawing hundreds of retweets and responses.

Postmedia’s pivotal moment: Cutting $650-million in debt

James Bradshaw, the  Globe's media rporter, writes:
"For some time, Postmedia has been caught in a cash-sapping cycle. Despite owning daily newspapers that reach 6.3 million Canadians weekly, revenue has steadily fallen and the company has had to constantly cut costs to keep generating cash flow to service its total long-term debt – which stands at $652-million and mostly dates from the company’s 2010 emergence from the bankruptcy of CanWest Global Communications Corp.
"Now, Postmedia has reached a pivotal moment as it looks to refinance its steeply priced debt, on which it pays sky-high interest rates of 8.25 to 12.5 per cent and which has cost the company more than $60-million annually in interest payments. Much of the debt comes due in 2017 and 2018, but company executives are looking to refinance the loans in the next year or perhaps even sooner, in the hope of securing lower rates."
The full story

Thursday, August 20, 2015

J-Source seeks new associate editor

Bruce Gillespie, J-Source's editor in chief, writes that the web page's associate editor, Chantal Braganza, will join TVO’s Current Affairs and Documentaries team.
She will be handling online current affairs coverage and edit TVO's new "Shared Values" section, which looks at issues of inclusivity, social justice and diversity.
Applications for the J-Source job are due by 4:30 pm on Wednesday, August 19.
More details here:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Memo puts a chill on public servants' use of social media: unions

Kathryn May of the Ottawa Citizen reports:
Memos such as one recently sent to Justice department employees will put a chill on public servants’ use of personal social media accounts to engage in political activities during the federal campaign, union leaders say.
They say the tone of the memo in question – sent on behalf of Bruno Thériault, director general of Justice Canada’s workplace branch – is heavy-handed, intimidating and sends the message that public servants should avoid using social media altogether during the election.
“Recent memos being sent to federal public service workers go too far and seem designed to discourage our members from exercising their legitimate rights,” said Robyn Benson, president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC).
The union is preparing its own memo telling members how they can legitimately use social media during the writ period. The Association of Justice Counsel, which represents Justice department lawyers, said it also will raise concerns at its next meeting with management.
“There is no question in our minds that the department is targeting political activities,” said Sandra Guttman, the association’s general counsel.
“Any public servant reading it would certainly be reticent to use any form of social media whatsoever at the risk of being investigated and disciplined. One might also infer from the message that the department may be monitoring computers in the workplace and online activities of its employees.”

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Axel Springer CEO Mathias Doepfner steps boldly into the future of media

Interesting interview with the chief of Germany's Axel Springer empire by the Globe and Mail's Joanna Slater:
"Axel Springer’s flagship publication is Bild, a tabloid offering a daily fare of provocation, insult and entertainment that dominates the German market. The company also publishes the highbrow conservative daily Die Welt and owns a portfolio of specialized websites focusing on everything from finance to sports to classifieds. It’s a partner or investor in a host of new media ventures, including Politico Europe, Business Insider and
"Like publishers elsewhere, Mr. Doepfner is trying to reduce the company’s reliance on print advertising and to boost revenue generated by digital media. Axel Springer has made big strides: digital products accounted for 60 per cent of the company’s €1.58-billion ($2.29-billion) in revenue in the first half of this year, up from 54 per cent in the same period last year. Especially promising are the classified-advertising properties under the Axel Springer umbrella, where revenue jumped 57 per cent in the first half."

Friday, August 14, 2015

Woodbridge buys BCE’s 15% stake in The Globe and Mail

The Woodbridge Co. Ltd. has taken full ownership of The Globe and Mail, acquiring the 15 per cent stake in the news organization from BCE Inc. that it did not previously own, the Globe and Mail reports.
Woodbridge, the private holding company of the Thomson family, and the communications giant announced on Friday they had reached a deal. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.
“We are pleased to complete the acquisition of all of the shares of Canada’s preeminent national news organization and reconfirm our commitment to the critical role that The Globe and Mail plays in Canada,” said David Binet, president and chief executive officer of Woodbridge.
Through Woodbridge, the Thomson family has been The Globe’s majority owner, holding an 85-per-cent stake in the paper acquired after BCE agreed to take full ownership of broadcast company CTV Inc. for $1.3-billion in late 2010. The newspaper and broadcasting properties had been jointly owned under CTVGlobemedia – a large private media company forged a decade earlier by BCE and the Thomson family under the prior name Bell Globemedia.
Until Friday, BCE had continued to own 15 per cent of The Globe, and occupied a seat on the newspaper’s board of directors.
The Globe will keep its governance structure, though its board will no longer include a representative from BCE. In a memo to staff, Phillip Crawley, The Globe’s publisher, said the sale will not affect day-to-day operations.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Judge tosses Charter challenge against cops posing as journalists

The Star's Wendy Gillis reports:
Two OPP officers working for the make-believe news company “United Press Associates” spied on protesters at Ipperwash Provincial Park.
In another case, a provincial cop posed as a reporter to gain better access to demonstrators at another aboriginal protest.
In a third, a female OPP officer pretended to be an independent author to pick the brain of a convicted killer.
Media groups went to court against the police pretenders, arguing that such actions violate the Constitution by creating a chilling effect on freedom of the press.
The deceptive practice, the journalists argued, could threaten their work because it might cause suspicion about who they really are. It could also make it more difficult for reporters to earn the trust of sources, meaning they might lose out on getting vital information in the public interest, the groups argued.
But in a recent decision, Ontario Superior Justice Benjamin Glustein dismissed the application brought forward by the CBC,
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the Radio-Television News Directors Association of Canada (RTNDA), which sought a declaration from the court that cops pretending to be journalists was an unjustified violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

CTV journalist Tom Walters charged one year after Ferguson protests

Tom Walters
CTV journalist Tom Walters is facing charges almost a year after being arrested while covering the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, the Star reports.
Walters, who is the network’s Los Angeles bureau chief, was charged with interfering with a police officer, according to CTV News.
Walters had been covering the violent protests that gripped Ferguson last summer when he was arrested after asking a police officer a question on West Florissant Avenue.
His arrest was caught on tape, and he was detained almost nine hours before being released without charges.
Now he is being summoned to a St. Louis, Missouri court later this month to face charges for allegedly “failing to comply with officers’ lawful commands to disperse from West Florissant Avenue,” CTV News reports. “CTV News strongly condemns the charges filed by St. Louis County against CTV News correspondent Tom Walters while he reported on the protests in Ferguson, Missouri last August,” CTV News President Wendy Freeman said in a statement.
“Tom has the full support of CTV News as we fight these charges. Almost a year ago, Tom was arrested and detained for eight-and-a-half hours for simply doing his job. As an organization that covers news both in Canada and internationally, CTV News is unwavering in its commitment to defending the rights of all journalists.”

The debate circus continues . . .

The CBC reports that Tom Mulcair says he'll take part in the foreign policy discussion to be hosted by the Munk Debates, but it's far from clear who else will be on stage with him.
The party agreed to a revised invitation from the Munk Debates that proposed a bilingual debate. One of Mulcair's conditions was that there be an equal number of debates in English and in French. The presence of Conservative Leader Stephen Harper was another criterion.
But it wasn't immediately clear whether Harper or Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau would agree to the revised terms of the Munk Debates.
(Why can't they all just get along? :)) )
More on the CBC web page

Monday, August 10, 2015

Megan gets apology and says “that’s good enough for me”

The Bayview Bulldog picked up the denouement from the CBC web page and said:
Megan Batchelor gets an apology from the teen who ran into her space and kissed her on the cheek while she was trying to do a report. She carried on gamely but then complained to the police. Here she says the apology was a thorough one and says what the kid told her is good enough for her.  Of course, for the CBC type with her, this is a story not a personal embarrassment, and he presses on with questions about what it felt like when when she was kissed. Pooey. A sincere apology may be enough for Megan but not for the grinding mills of 24 hour news, it seems.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Stranger kisses CBC reporter on air; complaint filed with police

CBC reporter Megan Batchelor was covering a music festival in Squamish, B.C. on Friday when a man kissed her on the cheek while she was doing a live hit for the a 6 p.m. newscast. The video shows that the man came up from behind, kissed her on the cheek and took a selfie. The CBC quotes Batchelor as saying she was “rattled” by the encounter. The CBC says that a complaint has been filed to the RCMP and the network is asking anyone who knows the identity of the man to contact police.
Link to video

Saturday, August 8, 2015

'Cracks’ appearing in cable industry as Internet newcomers woo away viewers

From the Financial Post:
"Once the unquestioned leader in the delivery consumer video entertainment,  cable companies are facing unprecedented challenges from a slew of Internet-based newcomers like Twitch, Netflix and others, and the pressure is showing.
“'We are seeing some cracks in the industry,' Jeff Fan, an analyst at Scotia Capital, told an industry conference in Toronto on Monday. Market revenue growth has slowed and for the first time the percentage of Canadian households subscribing to cable services has started to decline, Mr. Fan told a panel discussion on the future of TV."

Friday, August 7, 2015

Ontario cabinet minister Michael Chan sues Globe and Mail for $4.55 million

Ontario cabinet minister Michael Chan is launching a $4.55 million libel suit against the Globe and Mail over stories suggesting he is a risk to national security because of his ties to China, the Star reports.
In a 27-page statement of claim released Friday, Chan said he is seeking to clear his name after the newspaper refused last month to retract its articles, including one that cited concerns about his rapport with a former Chinese consul-general in Toronto.
Any proceeds would go to PEN Canada, a non-profit organization that champions freedom of expression for writers, and the Markham-Stouffville Hospital Foundation, said Chan, who represents Markham-Unionville in the legislature and is Premier Kathleen Wynne’s minister of citizenship, immigration and international trade. Globe officials could not immediately be reached for comment but editor-in-chief David Walmsley said in June that “we stand by the stories.”

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Chantal Hebert's excellent column on tonight's leaders debate

"In the role of chief opposition prosecutor of the government, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair has done an outstanding job in the House of Commons. At Thursday’s debate, he will have to morph into just as effective an advocate for his own cause.
"Two-thirds of voters are open to supporting a party other than Harper’s. Mulcair’s mission is to give those who have not in the past even considered voting for the NDP a licence to do so."
The whole column

Chinese Canadian Post editor says she was fired over Chan critique

The Globe and Mail's Craig Offman  writes:
"The editor-in-chief of a Chinese-language newspaper says she was forced out of her job for publishing a column that criticized the conduct of Ontario cabinet minister Michael Chan.
"In a statement released to The Globe and Mail, the former editor of the Chinese Canadian Post, Helen Wang, said she was ousted after the Toronto-based periodical received complaints from the Chinese consulate in Toronto and pro-Beijing groups that back the minister."

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Evan Solomon has new gig on radio

Evan Solomon has landed a new gig hosting a one-hour political talk show on SiriusXM Canada, CP reports.
The satellite radio company says the show, called ‘Everything Is Political: Campaign 2015 with Evan Solomon,’ will premiere Thursday at 6 p.m. and will follow the run up to the federal election in October.
Solomon anchored CBC News Network’s daily political series “Power & Politics” and CBC Radio’s weekly “The House” until CBC cut ties with him in June.
SiriusXM says the show will air on Thursdays in August before airing daily on weekdays in September until Nov. 5.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Chris Hyndman, CBC lifestyle show host has died

Chris Hyndman, CBC lifestyle TV show Steven and Chris has died, a spokesman for the public broadcaster confirmed.
He was co-host of the show with Steven Sabados, who was also his real-life partner.
They were co-stars of the original Designer Guys show in 1999 as well as Design Rivals and So Chic before launching their afternoon talk show.
Hyndman was in his mid-40s.
A 2013 profile of Hyndman and Sabados by Xtra, then Toronto’s gay newsmagazine, called them “Canada’s gay-lifestyle TV guru couple” whose show Steven and Chris was “a bona fide hit for CBC” and aired in more than 70 per cent of the market on ABC’s Live Well Network.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Mexican news photographer found slain

A photographer for the Mexican investigative magazine Proceso, who had fled his home state after being harassed, was among five people found slain early Saturday in an apartment in Mexico City, according to the magazine.
The body of Ruben Espinosa, who collaborated with Proceso and other media, was identified by a family member at the morgue Saturday afternoon, Proceso reported. .
Espinosa had recently gone into self-exile from the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, where he felt under threat.
He was found dead with four women, three of whom lived in the apartment in the middle-class Narvarte neighborhood near the center of the city, according to the Mexico City prosecutor's office.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Maclean's on the debate -- worth a read!

"The Maclean’s debate will be the first in the history of Canadian elections that is not organized by several television networks pooling their resources as a consortium. It will not be the last. The consortium model made sense when broadcast technology was exotic and cost a mint. It still makes sense for the networks, but there is no need for anyone else to grant them a permanent oligopoly. Already, other news organizations—and, in the case of the Munk Debates, a different kind of organization entirely—have announced they’ll welcome leaders in debates this year, too."
The full story

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