Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Revolution at The Washington Post - a must read!

Joey Marburger writes in the Columbia Journalism Review:
"Is it an underhanded compliment to be called the most innovative company in the newspaper business?
"The Washington Post will happily take it. In the three years since Amazon’s Jeff Bezos bought the Post for $250 million—now seen as a steal for one of the great brands in publishing—the Post has reinvented itself with digital speed. Its Web traffic has doubled since Bezos arrived, and it far outstrips The New York Times (and even BuzzFeed) in the number of online posts its reporters file every day. So successful has the Post become in the digital game that it now licenses its content management system to other news outlets, a business that could generate $100 million a year.
"It is a moment to savor for a once-iconic family business that has spent much of the last decade in retreat. When Bezos bought the Post in 2013, its news franchise had been decimated by Politico (which will soon celebrate its 10th anniversary); it had lost its editor; and its digital business had four years earlier joined the mothership from an office in Arlington.*
"Today, the office has the feel of a tech startup well-blessed by the VC gods. Video screens scrolling Web analytics hang above the newsroom. Reporters roam the place carrying laptops."

Monday, November 28, 2016

Tom Clark to leave Gobal and maybe retire?

"With mixed emotions, Global News is announcing that Tom Clark, chief political correspondent and host of The West Block will end his career in journalism on Jan. 1, 2017," Global says on its web page.
Before joining Global. Clark spent several decades at CFTO.
 “After 45 years it’s still fresh, the prospect of the next story still exciting. But I don’t want to stand in the way of a younger generation having that same remarkable life and opportunity," Global's web page quotes him as saying.

CBC asks for $400M more in funding to go ad-free

The CBC is asking for an increase of roughly $400 million in government funding to go ad-free on all platforms, the Star reports.
A proposal paper posted to the national broadcaster’s website outlines how the CBC/Radio-Canada wants to follow the example of the BBC, the United Kingdom’s national broadcaster, and be fully funded by the federal government instead of partially relying on ad revenue.
“The BBC offers a compelling example of how a strong, stable, well-funded public broadcaster can serve the interests of domestic audiences and diverse communities, support the global ambitions of its creative and cultural sectors, and provide a strong foundation for Britain’s creative economy,’ the paper says.
The CBC/Radio-Canada currently receives $1.215 billion in government funding, but to go ad-free, the paper proposes the amount go up to $1.633 billion, or a $418 million increase.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

FinPost reports layoffs at Huffington Post

The Huffington Post Canada, the media and news website owned by the Canadian subsidiary of AOL Inc., has laid off seven staff, including the only two journalists at its British Columbia bureau, two casual employees and one manager, according to sources who spoke to the Financial Post.
Last week, AOL announced plans to lay off 500 employees, or approximately five per cent of its workforce. AOL is itself a subsidiary of Verizon Communications Inc, which bought it for US$4.4 billion last year.
“I am not going to comment on specific roles or people,” said Caroline Campbell, a spokesperson for AOL. “I can say AOL[‘s lay off announcement] did impact a small percentage of our global workforce.”

Friday, November 25, 2016

NatPost gearing up to go digital only - iPolitics

A memo circulated by the National Post’s editor-in-chief last week reveals that the Toronto newsroom is restructuring to become a “digital-only operation,” iPolitics reports.
“We are, of course, continuing to publish print products from this newsroom, but the amount of attention that it occupies will be isolated to a much smaller portion of this operation,” Anne Marie Owens wrote.
At a staff meeting on October 31, Owens told the newsroom there’s no schedule for cancelling the production of newspapers — but indicated that is on the horizon, according to sources present at the meeting.
Full story

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Postmedia executives receive $2.3-million in retention bonuses

The Globe and Mail's James Bradshaw writes:
"Amid another year of dramatic restructuring at Postmedia Network Canada Corp., the company’s five most senior executives were awarded nearly $2.3-million in retention bonuses.
"The payouts, which are outlined in company disclosures filed on Wednesday, are tied to a recent debt restructuring that wiped out more than $268-million (U.S.) in debt, thereby reducing the company’s interest payments by about $50-million (Canadian) each year.
"Canada’s largest newspaper chain has endured a trying 2016 fiscal year that saw the company merge competing newsrooms in major cities, cut hundreds of jobs, offer staff buyouts and close a printing plant in London, Ont. The filings show that the five executives were not awarded regular short-term incentives because they missed a consolidated operating-profit target of $125-million, recording just $82.3-million for the fiscal year."

Former CBC producers and execs calling for ad free CBC; submit poroposal to heritage minister

The blog Canadaland reports that a group of high-ranking former producers and executives at CBC, calling themselves Public Broadcasting in Canada for the 21st Century, have submitted a proposal to the Heritage Ministry, calling for an ad-free CBC.
The signees include Bernie Lucht, the former Executive Producer of the CBC Radio show Ideas, and Jeffrey Dvorkin, former Managing Editor and Chief Journalist for CBC Radio, and former ombudsman of NPR Radio. Dvorkin currently runs the University of Toronto’s Journalism department. They write:
It has become obvious to many that requiring our public broadcaster to apply the practices of the private sector to its civic and cultural mission has not resulted in the creation of a large body of distinctive, informative and inspiring social and cultural capital for Canadians. While French services and English Radio have fared better, it has turned CBC English television into what its own executives have described as a “publicly subsidized commercial network.” 

Ontario court sides with Bell in dispute over VMedia streaming service

The Globe and Mail's media reporter James Bradshaw writes:
"An Ontario court has barred upstart television provider VMedia Inc. from streaming a basic set of live TV channels online, but left the door open for the federal broadcast regulator to decide otherwise.
"VMedia, a Toronto-based startup, launched an app in September that offers a package of basic channels delivered through the Roku media player, instead of a traditional cable box.
"The service was advertised as a new, low-cost way for viewers to get channels such as CTV, CBC or Omni.
"But Bell Media, a division of communications giant BCE Inc. that owns the CTV networks, took issue with the app, arguing it was “a clear copyright violation” and should be shut down. VMedia refused, insisting it was allowed to retransmit the over-the-air signals free of charge under the Copyright Act.
"Both sides asked the courts to decide the matter, which could have wider implications for broadcasting technology at a time when increasing numbers of viewers are ditching traditional TV in favour of online services such as Netflix and CraveTV."

Monday, November 21, 2016

Donald Trump’s media summit was a ‘f—ing firing squad’

Donald Trump scolded media big shots during an off-the-record Trump Tower sitdown on Monday, sources told The New York Post.
“It was like a f–ing firing squad,” one source said of the encounter.
“Trump started with [CNN chief] Jeff Zucker and said ‘I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed,’ ” the source said.
“The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing down,” the source added.
A second source confirmed the fireworks.
Full story

Friday, November 18, 2016

Alison Smith hosts new foreign affairs show on CPAC

CPAC's release says: "Premiering this Sunday, CPAC’s new foreign affairs program helps you understand Canada’s role in the world – and how the world sees us.
Sundays at 10:30am ET / 7:30am PT and 8pm ET / 5pm PT.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Shomi shutdown under fire by CRTC chief

CP reports that the head of Canada's broadcast regulator blasted Rogers and Shaw for shutting down its video streaming service, Shomi — a platform he sees as the future of content.
It was a “shock” to hear the companies were throwing in the towel on the platform so soon after it launched, said CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais in prepared remarks for a speech in Ottawa on Wednesday at the annual conference of the Canadian chapter of the International Institute of Communications.
“I have to wonder if they are too used to receiving rents from subscribers every month in a protected ecosystem, rather than rolling up their sleeves in order to build a business without regulatory intervention and protection,” he said in his prepared remarks.
Blais said the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has been watching the development of streaming services, like Shomi and CraveTV, with some interest since they entered the market.
He called such services “the future of content” in his prepared remarks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Ottawa pressed to curb CBC’s growing digital presence

The Globe and Mail's Daniel Leblanc reports:
"Private media companies are decrying the CBC’s growing presence on the Internet and in the digital advertising market, calling on Ottawa to rein in the Crown corporation in order to salvage the production of local news and investigative journalism across the country.
"At hearings of the Canadian Heritage committee of the House of Commons, the CBC is increasingly described as a great disruptor of the media landscape, with its recent budget increase of $675-million over five years coming as losses are growing and newsrooms are closing in the private sector.
"The attacks place the public broadcaster in the same category as foreign Internet giants such as Google and Facebook, which many say are eating into advertising budgets of publishers and broadcasters in Canada while contributing little to the creation of Canadian content.
"The CBC is specifically facing criticism over the expansion of its presence on the Internet, including the recent creation of an opinion section on its website with columns and op-eds that are in direct competition with several newspapers."

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Mike Bullard charged with criminal harassment

 Mike Bullard has been charged with criminal harassment in connection with the alleged stalking of a television reporter he had dated, the Star reports.
The five charges — criminal harassment, obstruction of justice and breaching conditions to stay away from the woman — were laid in three batches between September and November. The first set of charges led to Bullard losing his job at Bell Media. The former standup comedian and television talk show personality has been host of Beyond the Mic With Mike Bullard on Newstalk 1010 since 2010.
In an interview Monday, Bullard said the charges stem from “a bad breakup” and it is “a very personal thing between me and her.” Bullard is due in court Wednesday to receive additional disclosure from the Crown attorney assigned to the case.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Canadian abandoning cable TV in record numbers

The lure of a $25 basic TV package has not helped stem the tide of Canadians cancelling their cable subscriptions. And critics believe the added pick-and-pay channel options coming next month may not help much either, the CBC's Sophia Harris reports.
Canadians continued to cut the cord in record numbers following the launch of the CRTC-mandated basic TV plans on March 1.
This is according to Mario Mota, with Boon Dog Professional Services, an Ottawa-based research and consulting firm. Mota crunched subscriber numbers for Canada's seven major publicly traded TV providers, including Bell, Rogers, Telus and Shaw.
He found they lost a combined total of 98,476 TV customers in their first two fiscal quarters during the period of March through September.
That's a loss of 13 per cent more customers than the same period in 2015.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Trump bucks protocol on press access

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump is keeping Americans in the dark about his earliest conversations and decisions as president-elect, bucking a long-standing practice intended to ensure the public has a watchful eye on its new leader.
Trump on Thursday refused to allow journalists to travel with him to Washington for his historic first meetings with President Barack Obama and congressional leaders. The Republican's top advisers rebuffed news organizations' requests for a small "pool" of journalists to trail him as he attended the meetings.
The decision was part of an opaque pattern in Trump's moves since his victory Tuesday. He was entirely out of sight on Wednesday. His aides said he was huddled with advisers at his offices in New York. His team has not put out a daily schedule, or offered any detailed updates on how he has spent his time. They have not acknowledged phone calls or other contact with world leaders.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Erin Davis announces retirement after nearly 30 years as CHFI host

Longtime CHFI morning host Erin Davis announced Wednesday she was signing off the air after a nearly 28-year radio career, the Star's Sammy Hudes reports.
Davis was joined in-studio by her husband Rob as she delivered a tearful on-air message to thank listeners and her “Rogers family.”
“Our hearts are full of sadness and gratitude, of hope and even of some excitement,” said Davis. “There are a lot of reasons to go and to stay and I want you to know the hardest part of leaving is not sharing every morning with you, the friends that I’ve never met and the many that I have, the people that have been so good, so very good to our little family over the years.”
Davis’ final show will take place Dec. 15, broadcast live from Casa Loma.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The war against the media will go on past the U.S, election, John Doyle writes

The Globe and Mail's John Doyle writes:
"You’re nuts if you think it’s over, this U.S. presidential election. What it has sown will be reaped. Apart entirely from the possible ramifications of Donald Trump braying about a rigged election, there is the matter of his poisonous position on the media.
"The vitriol unleashed by Trump has been going on for so long that it’s easy to forget how uniquely vicious it is. There was some shock and dismay last week when Trump called out NBC’s Katy Tur at a rally, claiming she failed to report the size of the crowd. Here’s a reminder – 10 months earlier Trump tweeted that Tur “should be fired for dishonest reporting,” and in August of 2015 Trump was singling out Univision TV reporter Jorge "Ramos for derision at public events. The sheer volume of his attacks on the media mean that the attacks will echo long after Tuesday’s vote is counted.
"According to pundit Darrell Delamaide writing for MarketWatch, a financial information website that’s a subsidiary of Dow Jones & Co., blatant bias against Donald Trump may hasten the end of mainstream media. The gist of the argument, a common one, is that 'getting Clinton elected is something of a collaborative effort' for the traditional media."

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Rolling Stone guilty of libel in campus rape story

A federal jury on Friday found Rolling Stone magazine liable of defaming a University of Virginia administrator by publishing a story it later retracted about an alleged gang rape at the school, Reuters reports.The decision followed a three-week trial in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville, Virginia, where the administrator, Nicole Eramo, sued the magazine, owner Wenner Media and reporter Sabrina Erdely for $7.9 million. The jury returns on Monday to determine damages in the case.
Erdely was found liable of actual malice, a key element in libel law, in six statements in the November 2014 story, "A Rape on Campus." Rolling Stone and Wenner Media were each found liable of actual malice in three statements, according to court documents.
To prove defamation, it must be shown that a media organisation published what it knew to be false, or did so with reckless disregard for the truth.
The magazine had reported that a female student identified only as "Jackie" was raped at a university fraternity in 2012. The story sparked a national debate about sexual assault on U.S. campuses.

CNN gets big boost in Canada from election coverage

CP reports that CNN has seen ratings soar in Canada in the run up to the presidential election. For the final presidential debate on Oct. 19, CNN saw its share of Canadian viewers climb above the 1.5 million mark in overnight estimates. Broken down into half-hour periods, CNN pulled an estimated 1.2, 1.3, 1.5 and 1.1 million viewers between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. ET.
That dwarfs the overnight estimates registered by CBC News Network, which drew 428,000, 400,000, 300,000 and 194,000 on the same day and times. Further behind was CTV News Channel, clocking in at 112,000, 117,000, 125,000 and 108,000 estimated viewers.
Only a Major League Baseball playoff game between Toronto and Cleveland on Sportsnet (2.7 million) and an episode of “Survivor” on Global (1.6 million) beat CNN in Canada on that night.
About a year ago, on an average October weeknight, CNN trailed the two Canadian news outlets.
On Oct 27, 2015, CNN drew about 45,000 viewers in Canada, compared to 272,000 for CBC News Network and 64,000 for CTV News Channel.
CNN is also on a roll in the United States. For the first time in 15 years, CNN has beaten Fox News in key metrics (available on fewer cable and satellite packages, Fox News ratings are negligible in Canada) and has topped MSNBC for 28 straight months. It also just enjoyed its most-watched month in 11 years.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Superbowl ruling will cost Bell one-third of advertising revenue writes the Globe's Susan Krashinsky

The Globe and Mail's Susan Krashinsky writes:
"The decision by Canada’s federal broadcast regulator to bring U.S. Super Bowl commercials to all Canadian televisions in February will erase at least one-third of Bell’s advertising revenue for the big game, according to sources. . . .
"Bell has been selling Super Bowl ads under the assumption that its leave to appeal would also include a stay, which would maintain the signal-swapping in 2017. That did not happen, and Bell will now revise its agreements with advertisers, since it is highly unlikely the appeal will move quickly enough to be resolved before February. That means Bell will see a significant drop in the money it makes off big game ads next year."

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Torstar posts profit, ad revenue declines continue

The Globe and Mail's James Bradshaw reports:
"Growing revenue from digital ventures propelled Torstar Corp. to a razor-thin profit in the third quarter, though the downward trend in advertising returns continued unabated.
"The boost to the newspaper publisher’s bottom line came largely from the company’s 56-per-cent stake in VerticalScope, a company that operates hundreds of online forums catering to niche interests, and which drove a 32-per cent increase in revenue for the company’s digital ventures segment.
"Across the company, which publishes newspapers including the Toronto Star and the free Metro dailies, digital revenue was up 17.9 per cent, excluding the impact of closing digital marketing firm Olive Media in 2015. But revenue from print advertising, which remains a much larger source of revenue, fell sharply again, down 16.1 per cent from a year earlier."

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

UN offers The Rebel press accreditation for climate conference after environment minister’s intervention

The United Nations has bowed to pressure from Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and three Canadian journalist advocacy groups, offering The Rebel — the right-wing news and opinion platform published by political commentator Ezra Levant — media accreditation at next week’s Conference of the Parties (COP 22) in Morocco, the Financial Post reports.
Earlier this month, the UNFCCC rejected an application by The Rebel to send three journalists to cover the conference, which takes place from November 7 to 18, on the grounds that “advocacy media outlets do not qualify for accreditation.”
In an e-mail sent Monday, a representative of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat informed the media outlet that it could offer two slots to cover COP22.
The UNFCC explicitly cited letters it received from Environment Canada, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CFJE), PEN Canada and the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) as motivation for the reversal of its decision.

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