Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bell Media lays off employees Canada-wide amid restructuring

Bell Media says it’s embarking on layoffs as it restructures operations amid a challenging industry landscape.
The division’s vice-president of communications, Scott Henderson, said in an email that the company is not disclosing the number of people who will be impacted by the cutbacks.
He said more than two dozen Bell Media locations across the country are impacted and layoffs, which began Monday, are ongoing. (CP)

Ingrid Schumacher out at CHUM FM after 40 years

Ingrid Schumacher, one of Toronto’s longest serving radio personalities, has been terminated from CHUM FM Radio after 40 years there, the Star reports.
Schumacher has confirmed she had been let go last week by the station but said she has been given a severance package and will offer further comment after consulting with her lawyer.
“I wasn’t wrongfully dismissed or anything like that, I didn’t breach my contract, that much I can tell you. I was basically made redundant,” Schumacher told the Star Monday during a telephone interview with the Star's Bruce Demarra.
“All I can say is that I’m hopeful for my future. I’m a glass half-full kind of person and I have a very positive outlook in general in my life . . . I have a clear heart and clear head. Beyond that, I’m excited about what the future may hold for me. There is life after something like this for sure,” she said.

Monday, January 30, 2017

John Doyle: Lack of TV news coverage of Quebec City shooting a huge broadcast failure

"On Sunday night, English-language Canadian TV was missing in action for hours. Online reporting simply isn’t enough. Ever. And CBC-TV let the country down, badly. That’s not a false report or eccentric opinion. It stands up."
The John Doyle column

Friday, January 27, 2017

Politicians guiding journalism? No, thanks: Paul Wells

Excellent column by Paul Wells in the Star. Excerpts:
"There may be room for changes to tax treatment of businesses that seem different (newspapers and websites) but find themselves in the same business (news gathering). But government should be exceedingly cautious, and I see no evidence that it is at all. . .
" . . .ask any Liberal MP how much stock they put in stories about cabinet ministers showing up at party fundraisers, or about the prime minister’s vacations. I asked one this week, and she lit into me for “not telling the whole story.” Put those people in charge of deciding what journalism rises and what doesn’t? No thanks."
Link to the full column

Thursday, January 26, 2017

"The Shattered Mirror: News, Democracy and Trust in the Digital Age."

Edward Greenspon, president of the Public Policy Forum, today released.
 The Shattered Mirror: News, Democracy and Trust in the Digital Age.
He stated that it "shows a news industry in deep crisis and our democracy at a crossroads when it comes to the vital civic function of news."
  • The economic degradation of traditional media, which still produces most of the news, is deepening;
  • The development of digital-only news providers, who might be called on to fill the gap, is slow and uncertain;
  • Audience and attention fragmenting to the point of harming the shared base of knowledge and understanding on which a nation depends for its commonweal;
  • Digital news revenues going disproportionately to distributors over producers, particularly to a pair of global giants that employ no reporters and shun the responsibilities of publishers;
  • The streams of news that informs citizens becoming polluted by fake news laced with lies, hate and even possible manipulations by foreign powers.
The Report can be downloaded here

New York Times hires Catherine Porter

The New York Times has hired Toronto Star columnist Catherine Porter as the lead journalist in Canada, J-Source reports in a somewhat meandering story. Apparently its long-time correspondent Ian Austen will also continue,
while two Manhattan-based journalists with also be covering the country.
The J-Source story

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Postmedia gives notice of layoffs

Postmedia began serving notice of layoffs at two of its major papers — the Ottawa Citizen and the Montreal Gazette — on Tuesday.
The layoff notices include nine positions at the Gazette, and six at the Citizen. Debbie Cole, president of the Ottawa Newspaper Guild, confirmed one photographer, two reporters and one sections editor are among the six positions cut at the Citizen Tuesday.
The Financial Post is also reporting that “about six people” will receive similar notices at the Windsor Star.
In an interview, Postmedia’s vice-president of communications, Phyllise Gelfand, confirmed that the layoff notices were announced today and that they are part of the cost-cutting measures the company announced in October. (iPolitics)
Full story

Saturday, January 21, 2017

White House press corps should adopt a ‘talk to all of us or none of us’ policy: Royson James

Excerpt from Royson James' column:
"The Star’s Ford coverage proved to be at the leading edge of public service journalism. All the news outlets — jealous at the Star’s enterprise and zealous in smarmy attempts to curry favour with the Fords and gain an 'exclusive' or two — had to eat crow by the end.
"The chief magistrate was totally and woefully unfit to lead his subjects and might have fooled the masses had the Star not done its journalistic duty — bark at the first sign of trouble, verify the extent of the trouble the next day, provide ongoing context and analysis each day after."

Torstar at a crossroads -- long read in the Globe and Mail

James Bradshaw writes: (excerpt)
"Torstar has a chance for generational change, but also faces very real questions about whether it is sustainable in its current form. A voting trust comprising five families controls the public company through a special class of shares. As the value of the business has eroded dramatically, pressure is rising to make a sharp change of course – which could persuade the families to loosen their grip."
Full story

Friday, January 13, 2017

TVO receives $2M donation to fund new Ontario journalism hubs

Barry Green and his mother, Goldie Feldman, love discussing the latest TVO documentary they’ve watched or what was featured on The Agenda, the television station’s current events program, every week.
“I just feel that The Agenda and TVO are a provincial treasure, and by way of example, a national one,” he told J-Source.
And now, Green is financially supporting the channel. On Jan. 11, Green—the chairman of Greenrock Property Management Limited—and TVO announced an unprecedented donation to support journalism in Canada.
Feldman and the Barry and Laurie Green Charitable Trust are donating $2 million to TVO to support the establishment of TVO Local Hubs across the province. (J-Source)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Why the White House press corps has outlived its usefulness

Mathew Ingram writes in Fortune magazine:
'A number of important issues surround President-elect Donald Trump as he prepares to take office including potential conflicts of interest involving his business empire. Given that, it seems more
crucial than ever for the press to keep a close eye on him and the actions of his new administration.
"But is the traditional White House press corps the best way to do that?
Historically, the White House beat was seen as a plum assignment for the best in the profession. It was filled with a daily flood of newsworthy events, close-up meetings with the president, and access to behind-the-scenes color that informed the way the nation saw the president and his administration. "But much of that has changed in the era of always-on social media, to the point where some wonder whether the traditional press corps has outlived its usefulness.
 Full story

Journalist who broke news of Second World War, Clare Hollingworth, dies at 105

Clare Hollingworth, a British war correspondent who was the first to report the Nazi invasion of Poland that marked the beginning of the Second World War, died in Hong Kong on Tuesday. She was 105.
The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong announced her death, calling her a beloved member with a remarkable career including "the scoop of the century."

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Former Star religion editor and columnist Tom Harpur dead at 87

Tom Harpur, a theologian and former Star religion editor who journeyed on foot from Nazareth to Bethlehem, met Mother Teresa and provided spiritual guidance to Torontonians through his weekly columns, died this week at 87, the Sar reports.
Harpur joined the Star as religion editor in 1971, where he met his future wife, Susan, who worked in the Star’s legal department. They were married in 1980.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Norway to become 1st country to switch off FM radio

Norway is set to become the first nation to start switching off its FM radio network next week, in a risky and unpopular leap to digital technology that will be closely watched by other countries considering whether to follow suit, the CBC reports.
Critics say the government is rushing the move and many people may miss warnings on emergencies that have until now been broadcast via the radio. Of particular concern are the two million cars on Norway's roads that are not equipped with digital audio broadcasting (DAB) receivers, they say.
Sixty-six per cent of Norwegians oppose switching off FM, with just 17 per cent in favour and the rest undecided, according to an opinion poll published by the daily Dagbladet last month.
Full story

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Shift from traditional television to streaming picking up speed

The Globe and Mail's James Bradshaw writes:
"Video streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube are steadily eating into time spent watching traditional television, and a bigger shift could be in store as roughly half of all viewers have considered making more dramatic changes to their video digest.
"Growing numbers of TV customers are thinking either about shaving down their cable and satellite packages or ditching them altogether, posing a significant risk to the multibillion-dollar business model that sustains vast amounts of TV production.
"Traditional TV is still dominant, accounting for the lion's share of weekly viewing, but a trio of recent studies outlines a pronounced shift that promises to accelerate as younger viewers accustomed to getting TV shows, films and shorter-form video online eat into the market. . .
"About 3.4 million Canadian households, or 30 per cent of the total market, now have a dedicated streaming device attached to a TV set – such as Apple TV, Chromecast or Roku – compared with only 12 per cent three years ago, according to SRG's survey.
Link to full "subscribers only" story

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Megyn Kelly Is Leaving Fox News for NBC

Jim Rutenberg writes in the New York Times:
"Megyn Kelly, who arrived at Fox News 12 years ago as a television news neophyte but rose to become one of its two biggest stars, has decided to leave the network to take on a broad new role at NBC News for an undisclosed salary, NBC announced Tuesday afternoon.
"The NBC News chairman, Andrew Lack, wooed Ms. Kelly away from Fox News by offering her a triple role in which she will host her own daytime news and discussion program, anchor an in-depth Sunday night news show and take regular part in the network’s special political programming and other big-event coverage.
"The move will herald a seismic shift in the cable news landscape, where Ms. Kelly had become the second-most watched host — after Bill O’Reilly of Fox News — and often helped define the national political debate, especially over the last year as Donald J. Trump regularly attacked her, at times in viciously personal terms."
Full story

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017’s emerging media outlets face just as many challenges as old media: Salon

Salon magazine's take on saving the media (excerpt):
"It’s time for the elites in New York and Washington, the VCs and engineers in Silicon Valley, and the predominantly young white men launching 21st century news brands to do a gut check. They’d be well advised to fire their Growth Hackers and start prioritizing intellectual integrity over content farming. If they don’t, things will get much worse.
The bad news is this is highly unlikely to happen. The digital media ecosystem is completely rigged against ethical responsibility in ways that are potentially more destructive than the old media ecosystem."
The whole story

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