Monday, October 31, 2016

Montreal police spied on La Presse journalist Patrick Lagacé

Montreal’s police force is under fire after revelations that investigators spied on a newspaper columnist in order to find out which of its members was leaking information to the media, the Star's Alan Woods reports..
Internal affairs investigators with the Montreal police were able to get a series of warrants that allowed them to see who was calling or being called by journalist Patrick Lagacé.
Some of the warrants also allowed investigators to remotely activate the GPS on his iPhone, meaning his movements could be followed in real time.
It is case so blatant that it has unified normally warring political parties, been denounced by the mayor of Montreal and even sparked a critical tweet from famed American whistleblower Edward Snowden, who knows a thing or two about electronic surveillance.

CRTC to review differential pricing practices on Internet service

The Globe and Mail's Christine Dobby reports:
"Canada’s telecom regulator will take a close look at its policy on net neutrality as a public hearing begins this week on Internet pricing practices that allow access to certain content for “free” but charge customers regular rates for other data usage.
"The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) kicks off a five-day hearing on Monday at its Gatineau, Que., headquarters, tackling the topic of “differential pricing,” which is when an Internet provider charges one price for customers to access some content and a different price to download or stream other content.
"The proceeding was spurred by multiple complaints over Videotron Ltd.’s Unlimited Music program, which lets subscribers to the Quebec company’s premium wireless plans stream select music services such as Spotify and Google Music without any impact on their monthly data bucket."

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Twitter cuts staff, kills off Vine app amid pressure to grow

Twitter, seemingly unable to find a buyer and losing money, is cutting about 9 percent of its employees worldwide. the Associated Press reports.
It is also killing off Vine, a mobile video app where people share short video clips that play in a loop. While beloved by users and a pioneer in its own right, Vine, which launched in 2013, never took off with the masses and has lost its luster as of late.
Twitter has failed to keep pace with rivals Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram and in recent months, rumors abounded that it would be acquired. In a conference call with analysts on Thursday, CEO Jack Dorsey quickly brushed aside what he called "recent market speculation." He said the company is committed to growing long-term shareholder value, and that he doesn't plan to comment "any further on this topic."
Shares of Twitter, which have tumbled 27 percent in the past month as possible suitors have wandered away, rose 34 cents, or 2 percent, to $17.63 in afternoon trading on Thursday.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Former director of HR sues CBC, alleging senior management conspired to fire her

The Financial Post reports that a former human resources executive for the CBC has filed a wrongful dismissal suit against the broadcaster, alleging that senior HR staff conspired to fire her while she was on medical leave and that CEO Hubert Lacroix breached his duties in refusing to review the matter, according to court documents.
The suit is one of at least four pending cases against the CBC alleging wrongful dismissal, and reveals allegations of infighting in the HR department in the months following the revelations that several women had publicly accused former CBC star Jian Ghomeshi of sexual abuse and inappropriate workplace behaviour.
Serena Thadani-Anthony served as Executive Director of HR from January 2015 to December 2015 in an interim capacity, after her predecessor Todd Spencer was fired in the wake of the Ghomeshi scandal. She previously served as senior director of HR.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Corus profit plummets in fourth quarter

The Globe and Mail's James Bradshaw reports that Corus Entertainment Inc. saw its fourth-quarter profit wiped out by a soft advertising market and the continuing cost of merging Shaw Media assets acquired earlier this year into the business.
The results represent the first full quarter with contributions from the media properties Corus bought from Shaw Communications in a $2.65-billion deal earlier this year, and offer a mix of worrisome and hopeful signs.

Local TV news coverage more important than station finances: CRTC chairman

The head of the country’s broadcast regulator says TV stations have a responsibility to produce local news, even if it hurts their bottom line, CP reports.
Jean Pierre Blais is telling a Commons committee that financial profits aren’t everything – the marketplace of ideas and information is equally important.
The chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission made the remarks in front of the heritage committee studying the future of local media.

Blais says that while digital platforms offer an alternative source of coverage, they don’t have the funding and expertise in gathering information possessed by professional TV news outlets.
The chairman also laments that a “disturbing number of television stations” have cut staff, centralized operations and reduced the length of their newscasts.

Postmedia reports wider loss, plans more job cuts

Postmedia Network Canada Corp. said Thursday that it plans to reduce its salary costs by 20 per cent through voluntary staff buyouts, adding that layoffs are possible if its target isn’t met, as the media company announced its net loss for its most recent quarter nearly doubled.
The company says staff have until Nov. 8 to apply for the buyouts. The cuts will come from all levels and operations in the company.
Postmedia announced the cost-cutting measure as it reported a fourth-quarter loss of $99.4-million or 35 cents per diluted share. That compared with a loss of $54.1-million or 19 cents per diluted share for the same period a year ago. Revenue for the quarter ended Aug. 21 totalled $198.7-million, down from $230.2-million.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Broadcast legend Irv Weinstein has Lou Gehrig's disease

The Buffalor News reports that legendary WKBW-TV (Channel 7) news anchor Irv Weinstein has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, the progressive neurodegenerative disease more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
In a telephone interview Friday, the 86-year-old Weinstein said from the assisted living apartment in Mission Viejo, Calif., that he shares with his wife Elaine that he was diagnosed a few weeks ago.
The diagnosis came after months of tests taken after he had problems keeping his balance and fell 10 or 11 times.
“I went to several neurologists and took every test they could give and this process took a couple of months and by simply eliminating all the possibilities they gave me a diagnosis of ALS,” explained Weinstein.
(Weinstein had a significant audience in Toronto. People enjoyed his tabloid style delivery - ED).

Saturday, October 15, 2016

BuzzFeed will team up with Twitter on U.S. election night

The Huffington Post reports that BuzzFeed and Twitter are teaming up for a U.S.  Election Night broadcast streamed exclusively on the social media platform. “We’re going to be doing this live from inside the platform that is the beating heart of the election,” Smith told The Huffington Post.
Twitter, which has been a second screen for viewers of major sports and politics events on television, is increasingly providing live video within its platform.
Full story

Monday, October 10, 2016

Interesting article about how The New York Times is adapting to the digital age

Ken Doctor writes in the Nieman newsletter (except):
Just within the last year, the Times literally reinvented itself on mobile with a model-setting news app, well suited to take advantage of all the attention smartphones drive. With more than 55 percent of its digital audience now coming from mobile, it seems to have left the disappointing desktop era behind, with its own website still a less-than-satisfying representation of the printed Times. But its 2016 progress must only serve as prologue, as CEO Mark Thompson has laid out a fast march to 2020, including the doubling of most things digital. With Times readers now supplying nearly $6 of every $10 in Times revenue, the company’s bond with its audience gains even greater importance. And that makes Dean Baquet’s strategic editorial leadership all the more essential.
The whole article

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Windsor Star editor-in-chief Marty Beneteau is retiring

Marty Beneteau, a former Windsor Star reporter who rose through the ranks to become the paper’s editor-in-chief, publisher and regional vice-president at parent company Postmedia, will retire Oct. 14.
Beneteau, 58, started his journalism career at the Sault Star in 1979 and moved to the Windsor Star in 1980 as a junior reporter.

Federal government OK's tax credit for TV talk shows

The federal government has quietly moved to make talk shows eligible for a lucrative tax credit, the CBC reports.
While her office can't say how much the retroactive tax credit will cost Canadian taxpayers, Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly is praising it as a move that will create jobs.
"Talk shows are important platforms for our local talent and give a voice to Canadian diversity. This genre provides a platform to discuss current issues and promote Canadian arts and culture," Joly said in a statement emailed to CBC News. "Opening the tax credits to the talk show genre will certainly stimulate job creation in the sector."
Full CBC story

Friday, October 7, 2016

Thomson Reuters to expand in Canada with new technology hub

The Globe and Mail's James Bradshaw reports:
"Thomson Reuters Corp. is undertaking a major expansion to its Canadian operation with a plan to build a technology hub that will add 400 high-tech jobs in downtown Toronto over the next two years.
The blueprints for the news and information giant’s new Toronto Technology Centre, to be unveiled Friday, will increase its Canadian head count by a third in the short term. The company expects to add 1,500 jobs in the longer term, mostly by hiring from the local market."

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Dutch photographer Oerlemans killed in Libya

Dutch photojournalist Jeroen Oerlemans has been shot dead by a sniper in Sirte, Libya, according to a report on Sunday on the website of the Belgian newspaper he had been working for, Reuters reports.
Knack said it had been informed of Oerlemans' killing by the journalist with whom he was on assignment. The paper did not say when Oerlemans had been killed, but said he had been wearing a bullet proof vest.
Oerlemans had been reporting on fighting between government and Islamic State troops.
In 2012 Oerlemans was briefly kidnapped by Islamic radicals in Syria, along with Briton John Cantlie, but both were rescued by the Free Syrian Army.

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