Thursday, December 29, 2016

Glowing Globe profile of Bell's president of production and content

Media reporter James Bradshaw writes:
"Under his (Randy Lennox's) watch, Bell also overhauled its popular morning show, ending Canada AM's 43-year run and replacing it with Your Morning, which has a format that's less anchored to Bell's news arm and a friendlier venue for product placement."
The full story

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Giller Prize winner Joseph Boyden’s indigenous ancestry questioned

Sean Fine of the Globe writes the most balanced story on the Joseph Boyden controversy. Excerpt:
"Award-winning Canadian novelist Joseph Boyden is defending his right to identify as an indigenous person, after an aboriginal publication raised questions about his background and name-callers on Twitter labelled him a 'pretendian.'
"'I once said that, ‘A small part of me is Indigenous, but it is a huge part of who I am,' the Giller Prize-winning author wrote in a statement published on Twitter. 'This remains true to me to this day.… I do belong.'
"The statement came in response to a 2,700-word article probing his background, published two days earlier on the website of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. The article says Mr. Boyden’s indigenous heritage “has been an ever shifting, evolving thing. Over the years, Boyden has variously claimed his family’s roots extended to the Métis, Mi’kmaq, Ojibway and Nipmuc peoples.' The article does not reach firm conclusions, but says it is difficult to pinpoint where his aboriginal heritage began on either his mother’s or father’s sides of the family.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Bell Media drops O'Leary -- finally!

Bell Media has announced that potential Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary will no longer appear on the company’s financial television network BNN or CTV News, the NatPost reports.
The media conglomerate hired the businessman and reality TV star away from the CBC two years ago, and he has since served as a commentator on economic and political matters across its platforms. In recent months, O’Leary has been flirting with the prospect of running for the Conservative party’s top job, creating a potential conflict of interest for Bell Media news properties covering the leadership race.
Bell Media’s announcement came after O’Leary unveiled an “exploratory committee” and website Friday morning. The team backing O’Leary includes, among others, former Stephen Harper cabinet minister Marjory LeBreton and former premier of Ontario Mike Harris.
Full NatPost story

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Hébert: Time changes coverage of Hill

Chantal Hebert writes:
"Once a staple of the holiday news season, the televised prime ministerial fireside chats are well on the way to joining the ghosts of Christmas past.
The CBC and Radio-Canada – among others – have opted out of the format, rightly concluding that the days when there was something special or, for that matter, newsworthy about deferentially serving up a prime minister to a festive nation had gone.
"So have the days when a government leader had to rely on a handful of major networks to reach a national audience. Interviews with the prime minister are a dime a dozen this December. On top of various year-end Parliament Hill interviews and a news conference, Trudeau has spent the past week on a year-end tour. At the end of last week, he was in Montreal taking questions from Radio-Canada viewers. This week he spent time in Vancouver and Calgary.
'There was a time when a contingent of Parliament Hill reporters would have tagged along. But trips outside the parliamentary precinct are so few now, as it is possible to catch Trudeau live in action from one’s computer at no cost to media organizations."

Thursday, December 22, 2016

NatPost columnist asks why Bell Media not cutting ties with Kevin O'Leary

Sean Craig writes in the National Post:
"Kevin O’Leary insists it’s only a matter of time before he makes his entry in the Conservative leadership race official, Bell Media says it will only end its on-air relationship with him if and when he formally enters the contest.
"The media company lured the businessman and reality television star away from the CBC in 2014, and he now appears frequently on its financial news network, BNN, as well as serving as a personal finance expert on CTV’s "The Marilyn Denis Show and contributing to Bell Media radio properties including 580 CFRA in Ottawa, CJAD 800 in Montreal and Newstalk 1010 in Toronto.
"O’Leary has frequently used those media appearances to make political pronouncements and to attack his potential political rivals, even while the company’s news properties are covering him and the Conservative leadership race."

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Expect the unexpected in media says Susan Delacourt

Susan Delacourt writes in iPolitics (Excerpt):
". . . the looming prospect of Trump’s presidency is also generating some surprising side benefits for U.S. media — a record number of New York Times reporters at the White House, for instance, and a boost in new subscriptions for the Washington Post and Vanity Fair.
In Canada, there’s no such Trump effect — not yet, at any rate, and probably not on the near horizon. As Beatrice Britneff has been telling us in her iPolitics analysis of parliamentary press gallery membership data, Ottawa’s political reporting pool is shrinking, down to levels we haven’t seen since the 1990s.
Every few weeks, it seems, we in the gallery are invited to another going-away party.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Stephen Kinzer says U.S. misleading media about Syria

Stephen Kinzer writes in the Washington Post:
"Coverage of the Syrian war will be remembered as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the American press. Reporting about carnage in the ancient city of Aleppo is the latest reason why.
"For three years, violent militants have run Aleppo. Their rule began with a wave of repression. They posted notices warning residents: 'Don’t send your children to school. If you do, we will get the backpack and you will get the coffin.' Then they destroyed factories, hoping that unemployed workers would have no recourse other than to become fighters. They trucked looted machinery to Turkey and sold it. . . .
"This does not fit with Washington’s narrative. As a result, much of the American press is reporting the opposite of what is actually happening. Many news reports suggest that Aleppo has been a 'liberated zone' for three years but is now being pulled back into misery. . .
"We have almost no real information about the combatants, their goals, or their tactics. Much blame for this lies with our media.
"Under intense financial pressure, most American newspapers, magazines, and broadcast networks have drastically reduced their corps of foreign correspondents. Much important news about the world now comes from reporters based in Washington."
Full story

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Alan Thicke dead at 69

Alan Thicke has died at the age of 69. He suffered the heart attack while he was playing hockey with his 19-year-old son Carter, entertainment website TMZ reported. Born in Kirkland Lake, Ont., Thicke wore many hats during his career, from hosting talk shows and writing for TV series and specials for comedians such as Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby, to composing the theme songs to The Wheel of Fortune, The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes.

The Vinyl Cafe's Stuart McLean suspends show to focus on cancer treatment

The Vinyl Cafe host and writer Stuart McLean is suspending his popular radio show to focus on his cancer treatment, CP reports.
In a post on his website, the bestselling author, journalist and humorist says that he had figured treatment would be "swift" when he was diagnosed with melanoma, a skin cancer, a year ago.
However, McLean says that his first round of immunotherapy treatment last winter was not completely successful, so he'll undergo another round in the new year.
"What can I say … things don't always go exactly as planned," he wrote.
Rather than air repeats of his program — which features stories, essays and music — McLean says he will instead step aside to make room for others to share their work.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Journalists seek asylum in Canada amid Turkish crackdown

The Star's Nicholas Keung reports:
"In March, shortly after the Turkish government took over Zaman, the country’s best-selling English daily, the paper’s political writer Arslan Ayan lost his job.
"In the days after a short-lived failed coup on July 15, more media outlets were shut down with more journalists arrested and jailed. Fearing repercussions from his critical writings of the regime, Ayan fled Istanbul to stay at his parents’ home in a small Turkish town.
"On August 1, he said, police came to the house and seized his books and computer. By the time his neighbours saw the return of the authorities the next day, Ayan had made it back to Istanbul to find a way out of Turkey.
"With a still-valid U.S. visa, he flew to New York on August 5 to join a contingent of Turkish journalists seeking protection abroad, and arrived Toronto via Montreal on October 10.
"Ayan is among at least 15 Turkish journalists who have fled to Canada in the last few months seeking asylum. Many have fled to Africa, to countries like Chad and Tanzania where visas are not required."

Friday, December 9, 2016

John Badham dead at 79

John Badham, long-time sports announcer at Ottawa’s CFRA and CHEX radio in Peterborough, has died at age 79. He had been battling cancer for a number of years.
Ottawa Citizen obit

Susan Delacourt on the shrinking Ottawa press gallery

Susan Delacourt writes in the Star:
"What if they held a press conference on Parliament Hill and no one showed up?
"Actually, that’s always been a possibility, but the chances of it happening are a bit greater these days, with the dwindling ranks of reporters on the Hill.
"This week, we learned some hard numbers. According to an iPolitics analysis of data provided by the parliamentary press gallery, the number of accredited journalists on the Hill is the lowest it has been in 22 years.
Gallery membership this month stands at 318, a sharp decline from its peak of 377 journalists in 2002. And as the iPolitics report notes, you have to back to 1994 to find membership numbers as low as they are today.
"To put this in some context: the House of Commons has 43 more members of Parliament than it had 22 years ago, to reflect Canada’s growing population in those two decades. The press gallery, on the other hand, has been cut by about 15 per cent."

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