Thursday, November 30, 2017

Supreme Court agrees to hear Vice Media case about press freedoms

The Supreme Court of Canada agreed on Thursday to weigh in on a case in which the ability of journalists to do their work conflicts with the ability of police and prosecutors to do theirs.The court’s decision to grant Vice Media leave to appeal follows a ruling by Ontario's highest court that reporter Ben Makuch turn over background materials to the RCMP related to interviews he did with a suspected terrorist.
The materials at issue relate to three stories Makuch wrote in 2014 on a Calgary man, Farah Shirdon, 22, charged in absentia with various terrorism-related offences. The articles were largely based on conversations Makuch had with Shirdon, who was said to be in Iraq, via the online instant messaging app Kik Messenger.
With court permission, RCMP sought access to Makuch's screen captures and logs of those chats. Makuch refused to hand them over.RCMP and the Crown argued successfully at two levels of court that access to the chat logs were essential to the ongoing investigation into Shirdon, who may or may not be dead. They maintained that journalists have no special rights to withhold crucial information. (CP)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

John Doyle about the Matt Lauer firing

John Doyle writes:
"Television fame often makes people delusional. It makes people who talk about themselves on the air feel terrifically important. Fame and recognition on the street adds to the hubris, to the delusion that the TV star is a really, really interesting person. Add in the entitlements that come with TV stardom – there's always a limo to take you to the studio and an assistant to get your coffee just the way you like it – and hauteur flourishes. Common sense fades away. Some people start believing their power as a focal point for a popular TV show makes them untouchable. Given the number of men revealed to have behaved inappropriately, it seems men are particularly susceptible."
The full column

Monday, November 27, 2017

Postmedia to close community newspapers in Stratford, London, St. Thomas

A deal between media giants Postmedia and Torstar will result in the closing of many community newspapers, the CBC reports.
In this region, Our London will be closed, as will the St. Mary's Journal-Argus, the St. Mary's Weekender, the St. Thomas/Elgin Weekly News and the Stratford City Gazette.
The St. Mary's Journal-Argus has been publishing since the mid 1850s.
"This transaction allows Postmedia to focus on strategic areas and core products, and allows us to continue with a suite of community-based products, in a deeply disrupted industry," said Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey in a statement.
Torstar bought eight community publications, seven daily newspapers and two free dailies from Postmedia.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

TIME Inc. sold to Meredith and Koch brothers

Media company Meredith announced Sunday that it has agreed to buy the 95-year-old magazine's publisher, Time Inc., for $2.8 billion. Acquiring the legendary magazine business gives Meredith control of dozens of other big titles such as People, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Entertainment Weekly. Meredith already publishes several top magazines, including Parents, Shape and Better Homes & Gardens. The two media companies are worth roughly the same on the stock market. To finance the deal, Iowa-based Meredith is taking on some serious debt, borrowing about $3.6 billion from an assortment of lenders. It also plans to sell a sizable chunk of the combined business -- $650 million worth -- to a company owned by Charles and David Koch. The Koch brothers are mega-donors to the Republican party and conservative causes.  
Meredith said in a statement that the Koch brothers will not have seats on the board "and will have no influence on Meredith's editorial or managerial operations." The company said the Koch brothers' investment underscores the significant "unlocked value" from the merger. (CNN)

Friday, November 24, 2017

Amanda Lang rejoining CTV and BNN

Amanda Lang will rejoin Business News Network (BNN) in January 2018, CTV announced today. In addition, Lang will  contribute to a number of Bell Media programs including CTV News and iHeartRadio, the announcement said.
Lang has been covering business news in North America for 20 years. She started her journalism career at The Globe and Mail and then the National Post. As New York correspondent, she was a key part of the team that launched BNN's predecessor, ROBTV, in 1999. She then moved over to  CNN as a reporter and anchor.
Media release

Saturday, November 18, 2017

CTV thrashing sports at local stations

A news release from Unifor, the union which represents on-air and broadcasting technicians at 17 local CTV stations, says that CTV Toronto sports reporting figures Joe Tilley and Lance Brown are among those laid off in a series of job cuts. Unifor says that as many as 50 jobs have been cut at 15 television stations across Canada. So far as is known, Bell Media has not yet announced or commented on this. The South Bayview Bulldog requested confirmation Thursday but has not had an answer. Others laid off according to Unifor are Ottawa CTV 2 hosts Melissa Lamb and Lianne Laing and BNN host Michael Kane. The union is critical of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission for granting Bell a five-year licence renewal in May of 2017 without requiring conditions related to what it calls “local presence.”  CTV News Toronto Sports said to be close to end of road. (Courtesy Bayview Bulldog)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

CBC "comfortable" with ratings of The National; livestreaming up 90 per cent

Bill Brioux of The Canadian Press writes:
The CBC says it’s “comfortable” with the early buzz for its revamped The National, even though the debut newscast’s ratings were only on par with the kind of numbers Peter Mansbridge used to draw.
And they’ve slipped since last Monday’s first broadcast.
"On a randomly chosen Monday night in January, when Mansbridge was still anchor, The National on the main network had an estimated audience of 734,000 viewers during the first half-hour of the show, dropping to 584,000 viewers in the second half.
"For the debut of the new National — now hosted by Ian Hanomansing, Adrienne Arsenault, Rosemary Barton and Andrew Chang — 739,000 viewers were tuned in for the first 30 minutes on CBC, while 601,000 were still watching for the second half.
"But subsequent nights saw ratings peak between the high 300,000 to low 600,000 range.
"Jennifer McGuire, general manager and editor-in-chief of CBC News, says the network is 'comfortable with the audience numbers and the anecdotal reaction to the program so far.'”
Full story

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Koch brothers reported poised to buy TIME Magazine

The New York Times reports that Time Inc. is said to be in talks to sell itself to the Meredith Corporation, in a deal backed by Charles G. and David H. Koch, the billionaire brothers known for supporting conservative causes.
Talks between Time Inc., the publisher of Time and People, and Meredith, the publisher of Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens, fizzled this year. The new round of negotiations, motivated by the surprise entry of the Kochs, could lead to a quick deal, according to people involved in the discussions.
The Kochs have tentatively agreed to back Meredith’s offer with an equity injection of more than $500 million, the people with knowledge of the talks said. A spokesman for the brothers’ business, Koch Industries, declined to comment on Wednesday

John Doyle chimes in on Facebook; sticks to his assessment

John Doyle Seems to me you agree with my assessment while dismissing it. My column did say that 4 top people are being misused in this format. And pls remember I speak for the readers, not CBC insiders. CBC had about 12 months notice Mansbridge was leaving and spent a further several months on this version. How long they need, how many years? And with respect the focus of producers and new-ideas people is not of interest to bewildered, frustrated viewers who want coherence from a service they support with their tax dollars. If it's an experiment then tell the viewers that.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust award winners announced

The  Globe's Brad Wheeler reports:
"Dr. James Maskalyk's Life on the Ground Floor: Letters from the Edge of Emergency Medicine is the winner of this year's Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction.
"The announcement was made on Tuesday at the Writers' Trust Awards ceremony at Toronto's Glenn Gould Studio, where seven awards and more than $260,000 in prize purses were presented to writers across the country.
"The memoir from Dr. Maskalyk was drawn from his experience at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and Black Lion Hospital in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. The jury praised the work for revealing the "compelling universal truths about the power, and limits, of medicine, the strength of human will, and the fragile, infinitesimal gap between dying and living."
"The ER physician and author takes home the Trust's richest prize, $60,000, while the other four finalists (including Tanya Talaga, Ivan Coyote, Kyo Maclear and CBC Radio's Carol Off) receive $5,000."

Friday, November 10, 2017

Come back Pastor Mansbridge says the Globe's John Doyle

The Globe and Mail's John Doyle doesn't like the new CBC National either. An excerpt from his column:
"Outside of this bizarre format, these are superb journalists. Barton is excellent in political interviews. Hanomansing is a superb news announcer. Arsenault is a great TV reporter and Chang is a lively, personable TV news guy. But nobody's strength is being used in this hallucinogenic, harebrained version of a newscast.
"Maybe it's some kind of homage to Max Headroom. A few of you will remember Max Headroom, an artificial intelligence TV character from the 1980s. In a nutshell, Max was a head-and-shoulders TV figure that floated around the screen, disconnected from the studio and from reality. Eerily and uncannily just there, floating. That's your four hosts of The National now. Regrettably, the gimmick makes them all look like Pez dispenser heads.
"Seriously. It's perfectly possible some CBC honcho got high, saw this ad for personalized Pez dispenser heads (they're surprisingly affordable) and had a eureka moment. Wouldn't be surprised. This news program is so high it's on the moon."
John Doyle's full column

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Moose Jaw Times-Herald to publish last issue Dec. 7

The Moose Jaw Times-Herald will publish its last issue on Dec. 7, after more than a century of publishing.
Roger Holmes, the president of Star News Publishing Inc., which owns the paper and several others in the province, confirmed the news Wednesday afternoon.
Holmes said Star News will also stop publishing content on the paper's website,, on Dec. 7.
The decision affects about 25 employees. (CBC)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Paul Adams in iPolitics on the new CBC National

Paul Adams writes:
"No newscast can be judged by its first edition. CBC-TV’s The National re-launched last night with a fleet of new anchors, cool, modern-looking graphics — and the usual first-night glitches.
"However, its character will be defined not just by the months of planning that went into Night One but the reaction of audiences (and perhaps even critics), intense rounds of internal self-examination, and the thousands upon thousands of decisions, big and small, made by scores of reporters and producers night after night after night.
"Still, this first newscast gives us a glimpse of what CBC’s news service hopes will be its future. There are at least three goals that we know about at work behind the new National. The first is to reimagine what a flagship nightly newscast should be in an age when we are bombarded by news daily from the moment we wake up. The second is to weave The National brand through the CBC’s burgeoning news platforms. And the third is to attract new audiences, particularly among the young."
The whole story

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Canadian Media Guild frustrated with Corus

CMG this message on Facebook:
"CMG members work in operations on the TV side at Corus and have been trying to negotiate a collective agreement with the company since March.
"We’re looking for an agreement that respects workers at Corus Entertainment and treats employees fairly.
"Instead, Corus is only pretending to negotiate after taking away some of our co-workers’ benefits – as if to punish people for voting in the union. That's wrong. And it goes against the values that Corus pretends to uphold."

Thursday, November 2, 2017

National NewsMedia Council launches industry survey on practice of ‘de-indexing’

The National NewsMedia Council is seeking input from Canadian editors, publishers, and journalists, from coast to coast to coast, on the emerging issue of ‘deindexing’.
Our reason for undertaking this survey project is pressing: over the past few months, we have received several complaints from members of the public who, for various reasons, have requested that news organizations remove individual news articles from online search engines. Given the rapid pace, impact, and long-life of digital news, (our organization recognizes) the need to better understand how these kinds of requests are addressed within newsrooms before we can develop an effective set of suggestions for the industry. To be clear - our objective for this survey is not to assess individual newsroom practices but to learn about deindexing requests in Canadian newsrooms.
Deindexing, which is sometimes referred to as ‘delinking’ or ‘delisting’, is the process of removing a webpage from a search engine’s results. It is often carried out by adding a piece of code to the webpage that “tells” the search engine not to include the page in its search results. Deindexing differs, it should be noted, from unpublishing or taking down pages. A deindexed page, for example, still exists on a publication’s website but cannot be found via search engines.
Preliminary research indicates that newsrooms are receiving an influx of requests from readers to remove or deindex news articles from search engines.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Toronto police daily newscast will provide ‘unfiltered’ information

The Star's Wendy Gillis writes:
"The Toronto Police Service is dabbling in the news industry, launching a short weekday newscast as part of what it calls an ongoing effort to communicate with the public and officers alike.
"Starting Thursday, the force will broadcast a three-minute newscast to 'talk about what we do here at the Toronto police directly and unfiltered,' according to a promotional video the service released this week. The show will 'air' on YouTube and its social media networks at 10 a.m. each weekday.
Meaghan Gray, spokesperson for the Toronto police, said Wednesday that the show is a natural progression from some of the existing communication initiatives, including their website and social media accounts.

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