Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mary Ann Turcke leaves Bell Media, former music exec replaces her

Bell Media is once again juggling its executives as president Mary Ann Turcke departs for a job with the National Football League and Randy Lennox, who spent three decades at Universal Music Canada, steps into her role, the Globe's Christine Dobby reports.
Ms. Turcke is relocating to Los Angeles to become president of digital media and the NFL Network and Bell said Monday that Mr. Lennox, the long-time music executive who joined the company as president of broadcasting and content in September, 2015, is taking over her role immediately.
The NFL and Bell Media, a division of Montreal-based telecommunications giant BCE Inc., have worked closely together in recent months to fight a regulatory ruling that barred Bell from substituting its own television signal and Canadian ads over the U.S. signal during this year’s Super Bowl.
Ms. Turcke, an engineer by background who has been with BCE for 12 years, assumed the top job at Bell Media in April, 2015, following Kevin Crull’s dismissal after he intervened in news coverage at the company’s television stations.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Ottawa Press Gallery opposes fingeprinting, criminal background checks

The Parliamentary Press Gallery is opposing a plan to fingerprint and conduct criminal background checks on journalists who cover Parliament Hill.
The gallery announced its formal opposition on Friday during its annual meeting.
Press gallery president Tonda MacCharles, who covers Ottawa for The Toronto Star, said the 150-year-old organization already has a process to accredit journalists “based on the need for access to the Commons and committee venues.”
“No one has shown us any historical case where a journalist has posed a risk to security, nor any threat assessment that shows this is a problem,” she told CTV News in a statement. “On principle, the gallery opposes the idea that parliamentary journalists should be vetted by the RCMP. We don't know why this is necessary, nor how in practice it would work, and we believe it has the potential to breach our freedom to report, a violation of our constitutional right to do so.”

Saturday, February 25, 2017

No Trump at White House Correspondents Dinner

President Donald Trump will not attend the White House correspondents’ dinner this year. the Washington Post reports.
Trump announced his decision on Twitter late Saturday afternoon. The dinner is scheduled for April 29.
He tweeted: I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The story of mobilizing 100,000 National Guardsmen to deport immigrants not so fake

David A. Graham writing in the Atlantic, analyzes the origin of the story that Trump's spokesman denied (well, sort of). Excerpt:
"Friday morning, the Associated Press dropped a bombshell report: “Trump administration considers mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants,” the new agency’s Twitter account announced.
"The hubbub that followed, as the White House denied the report, is a case study in the strange dance between the press and the Trump administration, and the complicated environment of information asymmetry, and misinformation, that characterizes the current moment in American politics. "And it shows how the Trump administration deflects genuine reporting by caricaturing it, sometimes clumsily, as 'fake news.'. .
". . . the memo was in fact real. The full text was available online within about 90 minutes of the original AP tweet. It is hardly a skimpy document—it’s full of bullet points, legal citations, and footnotes. And it also offered some clarity. . ."
The full story

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Ben Tierney, long time Southam foreign correspondent, has died at 81

Ben Tierney, who worked his way up from a copy boy at the Calgary Herald to become globe trotting correspondent for Southam News, has died at age 81. He worked bureaus in Paris, Washington, Hong Kong, Ottawa and Vancouver.
Vancouver Sun obituary

Conrad Black drops defamation suit against journalist and publisher

The Globe and Mail's Simon Houpt and Mark Medley write:
"Conrad Black quietly dropped a $3-million defamation lawsuit against a Canadian investigative reporter last month, putting an end to a fight which dragged on for almost four years. And while one defendant contended that the suit had contributed to a libel chill among Canadian journalists, Black said this week it was such a trivial matter it had all but fallen off his radar.

"The case was unusual not just because Black – an author and former newspaper proprietor with a famously combative disposition – was suing a fellow journalist, but also because he targeted his own publisher in the suit.
Black launched the suit in June, 2012, one month after returning to Canada from the United States following a 42-month prison term he served for mail fraud and obstruction of justice stemming from the collapse of Hollinger International Inc., where he had been chairman, chief executive and controlling shareholder."

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The plan to save arts journalism: NOW

Kevin Ritchie writes in NOW about new courses at Centennial, Ryerson and arts institutions that respond to the changing role of entertainment writing
"Canadian newspapers are devoting less ink to lengthy think pieces or reviews and cutting full-time jobs, while also relying more on freelance rosters.
"At the same time, post-secondary schools and cultural institutions in Toronto are creating new courses and professional development opportunities for the many aspiring arts writers and critics still hoping for employment as journalists.
"In September, Centennial College is launching a one-year graduate certificate in arts and entertainment journalism that covers j-school basics like ethics, research and interviewing but also personal marketing and branding and multi-platform reporting."
The full story

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Stuart McLean dead at 68

Stuart McLean, the host of CBC Radio's The Vinyl Café and an award-winning humorist, has died at age 68 after a battle with melanoma, the CBC web page reports.
"McLean's trademark blend of storytelling — part nostalgia, part pithy observations about everyday life and folksy, familiar delivery — made him a hit with the audience for more than 20 years. But he always maintained that success came as a surprise to him," the brief announcement said.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Swedish television reporter who documented Syrian boy’s journey to freedom convicted of human smuggling

 Three employees with Swedish broadcaster SVT have been sentenced to community work after being convicted of human smuggling for bringing a 15-year Syrian boy to Sweden during the 2015 migrant influx that swept across Europe.
The Malmo’s District Court said Thursday it was “obvious the SVT team helped for purely humanitarian reasons.”
Reporter Fredrik Onnevall, his cameraman and interpreter were making a documentary on the migrants when they met an unaccompanied minor in Greece who wanted to go to Sweden. They wanted to document his trip by car, ferry and train.
According to CNN, the teen pleaded with Onnevall to leave Greece because he was desperate to be reunited with family he had in Sweden. He has since gained permanent residence in Sweden.
Before the court, Onnevall admitted paying for a car rental and knowing the boy had false papers. In Sweden, the then-15-year-old boy was granted permanent asylum.
It was not immediately clear whether the ruling would be appealed. (AP)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Dan Rather hits back at Trump, Bannon over attitude toward media

The Yahoo web page notes:
"Legendary journalist Dan Rather joined Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show Thursday, where he addressed Donald Trump’s tumultuous relationship with the media. Trump has repeatedly referred to media outlets and journalists as liars and fake news, most notably CNN. Rather said that neither he nor anybody else has ever seen a president handle the media like Trump. But there was one president who came to mind, and it didn’t end well for him."

‘Trash radio’ creates culture of intolerance in Quebec

The Star's Allan Woods writes:
Waiting by an elevator after paying condolences to the friends and family of Quebec mosque attack victim Mamadou Tanou Barry this week, Mounir Laffet expressed a frustration shared by everyone in Quebec City’s Muslim community.
“The problem here in Quebec is the trash radio. I think they are accomplices,” he said, referring to Quebec City’s flourishing community of talk radio and shock jocks who kick off controversy while attracting criticism and lawsuits with their on-air commentary.
“I know that there is freedom of the press and all that, but do we give them the right to say whatever they want?” Laffet asked. “For me they are extremists on the other side.”
The Tunisian-born Laffet is not the only one to have reached that conclusion.\

Friday, February 3, 2017

NatPost alleges drug smnuggling by Vice editor

"Three current or former Vice journalists told the Post that a former Vice editor offered each of them $10K to carry illicit cargo hidden in the lining of suitcases from Las Vegas to Australia."
The story

Thursday, February 2, 2017

J-Source story about the Macleans layoffs

Rogers Media is eliminating about 13 positions at Maclean’s, according to the union that represents its newsroom, writes J-Source Associate editor H.G. Watson.
Unifor Local 87-M believes the downsizing may violate the contract with the employer in several ways and expects to file grievances next week.
Writer Jonathon Gatehouse and photographer Nick Iwanyshyn confirmed on Twitter that they were among those laid off from the magazine.
Rogers Media magazines have already undergone significant layoffs and restructuring.
In September 2016, the Financial Post reported that Maclean’s print schedule would be reduced to once a month in 2017; the print schedules for Chatelaine and Today’s Parent reduced to six times a year; and Canadian Business, Flare, MoneySense and Sportsnet were all moved online and to Rogers magazine app, Texture.

Full story

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Layoffs and Macleans

Ottawa's Al  MacKay reports on Twitter: "Layoffs today at Macleans - including Que correspondent Martin Patriquin. Over a dozen folks cut. First they cut the print edition down to once a month - and now Canada's NATIONAL newsmagazine is apparently down to about 20 editorial staffers."

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