Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Legendary Buffalo news anchor Irv Weinstein has died

Irv Weinstein, 87, the legendary WKBW-TV anchor who used alliterative expressions like “pistol-packing punks” as the king of local television news in Buffalo for decades, died Tuesday morning in a Irvine, Calif., assisted living residence after a battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS.
Weinstein, who retired at age 68 in 1998 after 34 years at the ABC affiliate, announced in October 2016 that he was battling the neurodegenerative disease that quickly silenced his voice but not his spirit.
Full story

Friday, December 22, 2017

Jane Philpott warns journalists against 'sloppy' reporting

Excerpt from a CBC interview with Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott:
In the last month, Philpott has taken aim at at least four different news stories, including a couple published by CBC News and one from the Postmedia-owned Saskatoon StarPhoenix, in which she called a story by one of that newspaper's columnists "irresponsible reporting."
"When people aren't accurate, or they're sloppy in terms of printing old information or information they haven't fact-checked, I think, as a minister, it's important for me to get the facts out there ... perpetuating myths and misunderstandings about what's taking place in this day and age does a disservice. Communities are thriving, growing, taking on leadership roles and succeeding, we need to tell those stories," she said in a year-end interview with CBC News at her office in Gatineau, Que.
Full story

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Canadian TV providers being paid to carry Russian ‘propaganda machine’

Exclusive story by the Globe and Mail's Susan Krashinsky Robertson
"Some of the country's biggest television providers have been accepting payments from RT – the Kremlin-controlled news channel that is considered part of Russia's propaganda machine – in return for ensuring that it is widely available to Canadian households.
"The deals are unusual because they represent a reversal of the usual flow of money in the TV distribution business. In most cases, cable and satellite companies pay specialty television channels for the right to carry them, usually in the form of a monthly fee for every subscriber.
"But the Russian government is so intent on using RT to spread its point of view in foreign countries that it is willing to pay cable and satellite operators for the privilege, according to sources familiar with the agreements."
The full story

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

ESPN president John Skipper resigns to deal with substance addiction

John Skipper, president of the sprawling ESPN sports network, said Monday that he is resigning to treat a substance abuse problem.
Skipper's sudden announcement will force the Walt Disney Co.-owned network to search for new leadership at a time of retrenchment, with the company losing subscribers due to cord-cutters and working to boost its digital output to follow the migration of young sports fans to their smartphones.
The 61-year-old executive, who has worked at ESPN since 1997 and has led the company since 2012, said he's struggled for many years with substance addiction but gave no details of his specific problem. He said he had concluded that now is the time to deal with it. (AP)

Monday, December 18, 2017

More staff cuts at CTV

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.” (South Bayview Bulldog)

Friday, December 15, 2017

FCC deep sixes net neutrality rules in the U.S.

The Federal Communications Commission voted three to two to change the way "net neutrality" is governed.
Internet service providers (ISPs) will now be allowed to speed up or slow down different companies' data, and charge consumers according to the services they access.
But they must disclose such practices.
Ahead of the vote, protesters rallied outside the FCC's building to oppose the change.
Many argue the reversal of rules introduced under President Barack Obama will make the internet less open and accessible.
The decision is already facing legal challenges, with New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, announcing he will lead a lawsuit challenging the FCC's decision. (BBC)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Stephen LeDrew permanently suspended from CityTV

As the Sun's Joe Warmington describes in his imitable prose:
"Stephen LeDrew was so sure he would be back on his popular CP24 Live at Noon show he had two special guests lined up for the day of his return following a one-week suspension.
"TTC boss Andy Byford and former foreign affairs minister Peter MacKay were booked. LeDrew had his coloured glasses and bow tie picked out.
The comeback didn’t happen. Instead, the former Toronto mayoral candidate said he was called into an office where “people were snarling at me.” It turns out the suspension for his appearance on Tucker Carlson’s FOX News program is not the only punishment.
“'I was fired,' said LeDrew. 'Fired for cause for violating our competition clause. Merry Christmas.'”

Globe columnist Gary Mason puzzled by firing of CBC Vancouver reporter

The Globe's Gary Mason writes about "the bewildering and troubling case" of former CBC reporter Richard Zussman.
Mason writes: "Mr. Zussman was recently fired for participating in a project not dissimilar to the one I embarked on a few decades earlier. He and Vancouver Sun reporter Rob Shaw collaborated on a book about the fall of B.C. Liberal premier Christy Clark and the rise of the NDP under John Horgan. With a scheduled release date of next spring, the pair had little time to spend on research and writing. But their extensive contacts with those in key political circles made a very tight timeline possible."
Full column

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Niagara Region Council apologizes for seizing reporter's computer

The chief administrative officer of the Niagara Region issued a public apology for the inconvenience caused to a journalist by the seizure of his computer and notes during Thursday night's council meeting.
However, Carmen D'Angelo would not say the region made a mistake in taking the equipment from St. Catharines Standard reporter Bill Sawchuk, nor could he explain why he thought he had the legal power to make the seizure.
Sawchuk's equipment was confiscated by regional staff, who answer to D'Angelo, during a closed-door session of regional council. Regional clerk Frank Fabiano told Sawchuk that "someone" had accused the reporter of secretly recording the in-camera meeting.
Sawchuk was in the lobby of regional headquarters at the time, and his computer was on the media table inside the council chambers. He told Fabiano he was not recording the closed the session of council, but the computer and later his notes were taken anyway.
In a more than 30-minute-long interview with The Standard Friday, D'Angelo was asked 17 times what legislation grants the municipality the authority to take a reporter's notes and devices.
He did not answer the question once.
Full Hamilton Spectator story

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

PBS announces 'Amanpour' as interim replacement for Charlie Rose

"Amanpour," the acclaimed journalist's existing program on CNN International, will be aired by PBS stations "on an interim basis," the public broadcasting network said Monday.
The network said it is also "finalizing plans for a second public affairs program to follow 'Amanpour' on PBS in the 11:30pm half hour time slot, rounding out the hour."
PBS declined to say who will host or produce that program.
"Charlie Rose" was a staple of the PBS schedule for decades. The hour-long program was owned by Rose's production company and distributed to local PBS stations all across the country. Many stations scheduled it at 11 p.m.
The program was taped at Bloomberg TV headquarters and reaired by Bloomberg.
Now both PBS and Bloomberg have an opening. The networks severed ties with Rose after the Washington Post and other outlets reported on sexual harassment allegations in Rose's past. (CNN)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Maritime newspaper lovers pay to fly Globe and Mail east after delivery cancelled

Readers will pay $9.50 to pick up the Globe & Mail's Saturday edition, after it's flown from Toronto, the CBC reports.
More than 200 people in Halifax have agreed to pay for a copy of the Globe and Mail's Saturday edition to be loaded on a plane and flown for same-day delivery in Halifax. In August, the Globe announced it would no longer distribute to New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island or Nova Scotia. Distribution stopped to Newfoundland and Labrador in 2013.
The newspaper has promised to invest in East Coast content which would be available online, but that's not good enough for many hard-copy readers.
Link to CBC story

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Stephen LeDrew suspended for a week

CP24’s Live at Noon host Stephen LeDrew has been suspended by network owner Bell Media because he appeared this week on Fox News as a guest on Tucker Carlson’s show.
“I can confirm that Stephen LeDrew has been suspended from CP24 for one week as the result of his violation of the CTV News Policy and Code of Conduct,” said Scott Henderson, Bell Media vice-president of communications, who did not elaborate, or comment further, on the reason.
But LeDrew said the suspension was for being on Carlson’s show, which his superiors explained was appearing on the “competition.”

Barrie Mc Kenna claims that CBC’s digital shift is helping to kill local news outlets

"A more obvious culprit is the Liberal government's tacit endorsement of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.'s aggressive and expensive "digital shift," which has put the CBC into direct competition with the country's besieged newspapers for online readers and advertising.
"The CBC is now among Canada's largest news websites, offering national, regional and local news in the same markets served by the main Canadian newspapers. And it wants to become even more dominant online.
"'Our digital shift allows us to extend our reach even further and position ourselves as the public space for all Canadians,' CBC president and chief executive Hubert Lacroix says in the Crown corporation's most recent annual report."
Full column

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