Wednesday, May 31, 2017

New York Times eliminating Public Editor

The New York Times is eliminating the public editor position, the Nieman Journalism Lab reports. Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. wrote Wednesday in a memo to the newsroom: “The responsibility of the public editor — to serve as the reader’s representative — has outgrown that one office…To that end, we have decided to eliminate the position of the public editor, while introducing several new reader-focused efforts."
The Times said that it is strengthening other ways for readers to communicate with it. On Tuesday, it announced the launch of the Reader Center, which will in part improve “how we respond directly to tips, feedback, questions, concerns, complaints and other queries from the public — whether they arrive through email, social media, posts on our own platforms or other channels.”
Readers and social media followers “collectively serve as a modern watchdog,” Sulzberger wrote in his memo.
The Nieman story



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Howard Levitt: Journalists need to start suing, because they shouldn’t be ‘disciplined’ for being politically incorrect

"Canadians need to ask whether we are prepared to permit our publicly funded institutions to use our dollars to suppress free speech. If we don’t push back and stop allowing the scolds at CBC, McGill and elsewhere from applying their own values of political correctness to impose their ideological intolerance, they will grow more empowered in their purge of any and all thought-provoking ideas."
The Howard Levitt column
(Nice idea but what journalist is a financial match for  The Star or CBC in a court battle?)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Andrew Scheer says he would axe CBC News!

“I think taxpayers are very frustrated by how much the CBC costs,” Scheer said in an interview with Hamilton Community News reported on iPolitics. 
“I don’t know why this government is in the news business in this day and age with so many platforms with so many ways to disseminate information,” he told the paper, adding that,  the government has a “glaring” conflict operating the CBC.
Scheer spoke to about 35 members of the Macdonald-Cartier Club at Carmen’s C Hotel. Scheer is the latest candidate to reveal his distaste for the public broadcaster — a favourite theme of the Conservative base.
Link to iPolitics

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The National might replace Peter Mansbridge with multiple hosts

CP's Lauren LaRose writes:
"As Peter Mansbridge prepares to bid farewell to The National, the CBC’s flagship news program is looking to possibly enlist multiple hosts for the anchor desk.
“'We want it to be a show around active journalists,' Jennifer McGuire, general manager and editor-in-chief of CBC News, said in an interview.
“'We want the hosts of the show to be able to do field-based work too, and that will be more manageable with more than one (person) in terms of how the show works.'
"McGuire said they are scouting for candidates within and outside of the public broadcaster to take over for Mansbridge, who plans to step down after July 1. Mansbridge’s career has spanned nearly five decades, including 28 years at the helm of The National as anchor and chief correspondent.
The full revamp of The National is slated to debut in mid-October."
“'It will be a new format, it will be a new set, it will be new graphics — the whole feel,'” said McGuire.

Supreme Court to decide who owns the 38,000 stories of residential school survivors

Interesting story by the Star's Tanya Talaga especially in the wake of the "cultural appropriation" controversy:
"Who ultimately controls the stories of 38,000 residential school survivors may finally be decided on May 25 when the question goes before the Supreme Court.
"The courts have consistently ruled it is up to the survivors to decide what happens to their own accounts of their experiences, stories that led to Ottawa paying out more than $5 billion in compensation, and that it is the survivors’ wishes that must be upheld and respected. The courts say the 38,000 survivors have 15 years to decide individually if their stories should be preserved in an archive at the National Centre for Truth and "Reconciliation (NCTR) at the University of Manitoba or be destroyed.
"But a coalition representing the children and grandchildren of residential school survivors was recently granted intervention status at the hearing. "They want to save the 38,000 stories, which they say are the largest firsthand accounts of the residential school system.
“'When I ask people if they want their story deleted, I ask them to think about it in the intergenerational perspective,' said Carey Newman, founder of the Coalition to Preserve Truth and the artist behind the Witness Blanket, a massive, art installation — made up of leftover pieces of residential school items, churches and government buildings. The blanket is currently touring the country. Newman is of British, Kwagiulth and Salish descent."

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

New York Times will offer buyouts to editors in push to transform editing: Poynter

Benjamin Mullin writes in Poynter:
"The New York Times plans to release "more information by the end of the month" about a buyout program for editors amid a much-anticipated reduction of the editing staff.
"The buyout program will also be offered to some staffers across the newsroom, according to a memo sent to the newsroom this morning by Executive Editor Dean Baquet and Managing Editor Joe Kahn.
"'As we have said several times in recent months, we're working hard to improve and streamline our editing system,' the memo reads. 'Our goal is to preserve meticulous text editing while meeting the demands of digital, which requires more speed and more visual storytelling. We have also said that we expect some reductions in the size of the newsroom, including in the editing staff.'"
Full story

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Canada to launch an offshoot of a worldwide network that provides free stories from academia

The Star reports that a new web based "academic journalism" web page, called The Conversation, is to launch this summer.
"It will be funded largely by universities and powered by academics, but aimed at as broad a public audience as possible," the story by Catherine Wallace says.
The Conversation is really just a way of distinguishing it from news journalism, says Alfred Hermida, director of the journalism school at the University of British Columbia and a co-founder of the project with colleague Mary Lynn Young.
“Essentially what we’re talking about is explanatory journalism,” written by academics working with a team of editors, he says. “So journalism that provides greater context and explanation for things that are happening in the news. And of course this happens already in journalism. It’s not completely new.”

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Roger Ailes dead at 77

Roger Ailes, who became one of the most powerful figures in both US politics and media by turning the Fox News network into a booming voice for conservatives before he was brought down by sexual harassment charges, has died at the age of 77. His death was reported by Newshub and other media.
Ailes worked as a media strategist for Republican Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush before launching Fox News in 1996.
His wife Elizabeth said in a statement on Thursday he was a patriot who was profoundly grateful for the opportunities his country gave him.
As founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Fox News, Ailes became one of the most influential figures in the Republican Party, and the network was integral to US President Donald Trump's successful run for the White House in 2016.
From the start, Ailes had a clear conservative vision of what he wanted Fox to be as he took the network to the top of the cable news ratings and made it a major profit centre for Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox media empire.
But accusations of Ailes's treatment of women would be his downfall.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

CBC announces leadership changes at The National following 'appropriation prize' controversy

CBC News has shuffled the leadership of its flagship program following a controversy on social media this week involving numerous Canadian media figures, including Steve Ladurantaye, the managing editor of The National.
Ladurantaye will step away from the program's redevelopment and instead  will be meeting with Indigenous groups and other diverse communities across Canada and then helping CBC News develop its storytelling strategies, CBC News editor in chief Jennifer McGuire wrote in a note.
"Redeveloping The National needs the full attention and focus of us all, and I believe that is not possible given the current circumstances," McGuire wrote.
The decision comes after several prominent Canadian news executives and columnists, including Ladurantaye, tweeted their support for a controversial editorial published in Write magazine in an issue featuring Indigenous authors.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Two more journalists killed in Mexico

Javier Valdez, an award-winning reporter who specialized in covering drug trafficking and organized crime, was slain Monday in the northern state of Sinaloa, the latest in a wave of journalist killings in Mexico, the AP reports.
Valdez is at least the sixth journalist to be murdered in Mexico since early March, He was shot to death in the early afternoon in the state capital of Culiacan, near the offices of the publication he co-founded, Riodoce.
The national newspaper Milenio reported late Monday that another journalist and her son were shot dead by gunmen in the city of Autlan in Jalisco, another state known for cartel activity. Jalisco officials did not immediately respond to phone calls seeking confirmation.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Jonathan Kay resign as editor of The Walrus: Reports

The Toronto Star reports that Jonathan Kay has resigned as editor-in-chief of The Walrus, amid outrage over some journalists’ support for a so-called “appropriation prize,” (see post below). The prize generated intense backlash on social media and within the Canadian arts and journalism communities.
Kay did not pledge money to the idea.
The Star says it has independently confirmed that Kay resigned Saturday night. He first told the CBC about his departure on Sunday morning.

Friday, May 12, 2017

High-profile Canadian journalists pledge to raise money for ‘appropriation prize’

A contentious article encouraging writers “to imagine other cultures” and to “set your sights on the big goal: Win the Appropriation Prize” is finding support from high-profile Canadian journalists who are raising money to create the controversial award, the Star reports.
Hal Niedzviecki resigned this week as editor of The Writers’ Union of Canada magazine after his opinion piece sparked outrage with a member of the magazine’s editorial board calling it “clueless and thoughtless.”
Late on Thursday night, a conversation on Twitter began when Jonathan Kay, editor-in-chief of The Walrus magazine, called the outrage over Niedzviecki’s article a “mobbing” that was sad and shameful.

CBC London, Ont. station set to launch in June

CBC, that has been mostly absent from London, Ontario, will open a novel station in June, the CBC web page notes, referring to the move as "the long-awaited plan."
The station will be located inside the central branch of the London Public Library on Dundas Street and will officially launch June 12 with a new morning radio show and an extensive online news presence.
"This is a digital-first station, which means we'll get stories and information to you first on your smart phones, on social media streams, and online," said Marissa Nelson, CBC's senior managing director in Ontario. "That way, we can give you the news you need updated throughout the day and into the evening."
In addition to CBC London's new morning show, which will broadcast from 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., the station will also be the new home of Afternoon Drive, the afternoon radio show currently based in Windsor.
More on the CBC web page

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Magazine editor quits after outrage over column saying he doesn’t believe in cultural appropriation

The editor of the Writers’ Union of Canada’s magazine has resigned after complaints over an article he wrote in which he said he doesn’t believe in cultural appropriation, Sebastian Leck writes in the National Post.

Hal Niedzviecki, editor of Write — a publication for the union’s members — published an opinion piece in the spring 2017 issue titled “Writer’s Prompt.” In the article, in an issue dedicated to indigenous writing, Niedzviecki wrote: “In my opinion, anyone, anywhere, should be encouraged to imagine other peoples, other cultures, other identities.

“I’d go so far as to say there should even be an award for doing so — the Appropriation Prize for best book by an author who writes about people who aren’t even remotely like her or him.”
He went on to argue that Canadian literature remains “exhaustingly white and middle class” because writers are discouraged from writing about people and places they don’t know.

A sociological term, cultural appropriation is used to describe the adoption of elements or practices of one cultural group by members of another.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pew study finds Democrats more interested in media being watchdog

The AP's David Bauder writes:
In the opening days of the Trump administration, Democrats are far more interested than Republicans in seeing the news media assume the traditional role of watchdogs to people in power, a survey released on Wednesday found.The Pew Research Center poll found that 89 per cent of Democrats judged media criticism worth it because it keeps political leaders from doing things they shouldn't, while only 42 per cent of Republicans felt that way. While supporters of a party out of power are generally more interested in seeing reporters dig for news than those in power, the gap hasn't been nearly this wide since Pew began looking at the question in 1985, said Amy Mitchell, Pew's director of journalism research.Just last year, 77 per cent of Republicans supported the media watchdog role, compared with 74 per cent of Democrats, Pew found.Meanwhile, 56 per cent of Republicans said media criticism keeps political leaders from doing their job, compared with 9 per cent of Democrats. That's another startling shift from a year earlier, where 20 per cent of Republicans and 22 per cent of Democrats felt that way, Pew said.With Democrats out of power, "they see the media as the last line of defence," said Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the conservative Media Research Center.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Desmond Cole and the Toronto Star

Black activist Desmond Cole has decided to stop writing a column for the Toronto Star after his editor chewed him out for disrupting a meeting of the Toronto Police Board. Cole writes on his blog:
"This week I met with Andrew Philips, the Toronto Star’s editorial page editor, who has essentially served as my boss at the newspaper. Phillips called me in regarding my political disruption of the April 20 meeting of the Toronto Police Services Board. Phillips said this action had violated the Star’s rules on journalism and activism. He didn’t discipline me or cite any consequence for my actions—Phillips said he just wanted me to know what the Star’s rules are.
"I have no formal employment with the Star. I’ve never signed any contract or agreement, and no one ever directed me to any of the policies Phillips cited. However, I knew my police protest was activism, and I could have guessed the Star wouldn’t appreciate it.
"At no time during this week’s meeting did Phillips try to tell me how I must conduct myself in the future. He did say he hopes I will continue my bi-monthly column. I appreciate the offer but I’m not going to accept it. If I must choose between a newspaper column and the actions I must take to liberate myself and my community, I choose activism in the service of Black liberation.
The Star's Public editor says the paper did the right thing; regrets Cole's resignation.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Everything is on the table’ in Torstar turnaround as revenue slides

The Globe and Mail's Susan Krashinsky Robertson writes:
"The new CEO of Torstar Corp. and publisher of the Toronto Star does not yet know how he will transform the media company, but at its annual general meeting on Wednesday John Boynton had a clear message: 'Everything is on the table.'
"Mr. Boynton, who took over the role at the end of March, was hailed by the company – and again on Wednesday by Torstar board chairman John Honderich – as a 'turnaround specialist.' The families who control Torstar are hoping that his deep background in marketing and advertising will help the newspaper and digital-media company appeal to marketers whose budgets have been flowing to giants such as Google and Facebook, at the expense of media companies who invest heavily to create content.
 "The company needs to change its conversations with marketers, Mr. Boynton said in an interview, and even to change the metrics upon which it sells ads. Clicks on digital ads 'are kind of a nineties measurement,' while the company should be working to sell ads on the basis of performance for marketers – including whether audiences actually see and digest the messages of those ads. Its subscriber data also represent a rich source of information about customers that could be used to better target them."

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

ZoomerMedia loses appeal in ex-CEO’s lawsuit

The Globe and Mail's Simon Houpt reports:
"ZoomerMedia Ltd., the Toronto-based media company overseen by industry veteran Moses Znaimer that targets the 45-plus demographic it calls “boomers with zip,” is on the hook for almost $800,000 after losing its final appeal in a long-running breach-of-contract suit filed by the former president and CEO of its television division.
"Bill Roberts, who headed Vision TV when Zoomer bought the spiritually oriented TV channel for $25-million in 2010 from the charity known as S-VOX, filed suit after he and Zoomer failed to agree on an extension of his employment contract in early 2012 and the company informed him he would be dismissed that October. Although Zoomer gave him eight months’ notice, Mr. Roberts claimed the terms of his original contract provided for a severance payment worth two years’ salary, or $490,000. He also claimed he was due $150,000 in lieu of a promised six-month sabbatical.
"Mr. Roberts, a long-time broadcast executive who was managing director of TVOntario before moving to Vision in 2000, was credited with helping expand the company from its namesake channel to a suite of services that included One: The Body, Mind & Spirit Channel."

Torstar posts $24.4-million loss as revenue slides

The Globe's Susan Krashinsky Robertson reports:
"The owner of the Toronto Star and other media operations reported a $24.4-million loss in its most recent quarter, during which it cut 110 jobs as it continues to grapple with declining advertising revenue.
The loss was an improvement from last year when the comparable losses were more than twice as big.
"Torstar said it’s aiming for $5.3-million of annualized savings from the previously announced downsizing. The layoffs include 25 employees when Metroland Media Group closed its Durham, Ont., printing plant in February this year.
"Its revenue in the first quarter was down by $18.1-million or 10 per cent from the same time last year.
"Both Star Media Group and Metroland Media continued to see print advertising declines in the quarter, particularly in national advertising. Declines were more moderate in retail advertising.'

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Exiled Iranian TV executive shot dead in Istanbul

A dissident Iranian television executive was assassinated in Istanbul on Saturday evening, months after he was sentenced in absentia to a six-year prison term by an Iranian court for spreading propaganda.
Saeed Karimian, the owner of Gem TV, a network of television channels that broadcasts in Farsi and other languages, was shot as he drove through an upscale neighborhood of northern Istanbul “minutes after leaving his office,” Gem announced on Sunday. Also killed was his Kuwaiti business partner, whose name has not been released.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Sun's Lorrie Goldstein says Trump was right to skip correspondents' dinner.

"There was a time where these dinners -- the WHCD started in 1921 and its Canadian equivalent is even older, dating back to the nineteenth century -- were off the record, where politicians and the journalists who covered them could let their guards down and have some fun.
'Perhaps that was worthwhile.
'Occasionally talking and joking with one another in an informal, off-the-record setting, similar to prime ministers and presidents getting to know one another informally, beyond official meetings and joint press conferences, does have value.
"But today, there is zero confidentiality at these events.:
Full column
(He does have a point!)

Blog Archive