Friday, August 17, 2018

Bell Media signs licensing deal with Vice, hoping to draw new subscribers

The Globe and Mail's Susan Krashinsky Robertson writes:
"In a bid to attract younger viewers to its TV channels and digital services, Bell Media Inc. has acquired the rights to a library of Vice Media programming as well as new shows airing on its U.S. network, Viceland – just months after Rogers Media Inc. ended its $100-million joint venture with Vice.
"Rogers ended its deal with the New York-based media company in January, taking Viceland off the air in Canada and transferring its interest in a Canadian production studio back to Vice. According to sources, the TV station was losing money, struggled with low ratings and did not meet targets for subscriber growth, even though it was carried by all major cable and satellite companies in Canada.
"Bell’s deal, announced Thursday, is structured differently: Rather than resurrecting the Viceland channel in Canada, Bell will become the exclusive broadcaster for Viceland programming on its own channels, including Much and MTV Canada, beginning this fall. Vice content will also appear on CraveTV, Bell’s subscription digital streaming service, and on the CTV Super Hub, a soon-to-be-launched streaming option that will require a log-in from TV subscribers for some of its programming (some will be available for free.) Vice programming will also appear on Bell’s mobile app, Snackable TV, which was unveiled this year to draw viewers looking for shorter videos on mobile devices. In addition to new programming, Bell will have the rights to more than 650 hours of previously produced content."
Full story

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Rogers seeks buyer for magazine assets

The Globe a nd Mail's Susan Krashinsky Robertson writes:
"The Toronto-based telecommunications and media company is soliciting bids for a package of assets that includes eight of its digital and print magazine titles − Maclean’s, Canadian Business, MoneySense, Today’s Parent, Hello! Canada, Flare and Chatelaine’s French and English editions − as well as its custom-content group, which creates marketing content for brands such as in-house magazines. The company is seeking to sell all of the publishing assets in one deal, rather than breaking them up to sell individually, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
"Rogers has hired the investment-banking arm of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to manage the sale."
Full story

Friday, August 3, 2018

The day the Queen’s Park press corps fought back

TVO's Steve Paikin has taken on the Trump-like media relations practiced by Ontario's new premier Doug Ford.  An excerpt:
"Last week, when Premier Doug Ford and municipal affairs minister Steve Clark announced their plan to reduce the size of Toronto city council, Toronto Sun columnist (and former PC candidate) Sue-Ann Levy began trying to ask a question. She was unaware of the new protocol and seemed surprised that Ford and Clark had ignored her. After she attempted a third time, I informed her of the new rules. By then, however, the line behind the “official microphone” had become too long, and Levy missed out.
"The Tories have also taken another unprecedented step: they now end their news conferences by having a group of half a dozen twentysomethings clap, hoot, and holler on cue, which gives the politician making the announcement cover to exit stage right."
The full story
(Ford's contempt for the press (except for the Sun) is unbelievable. Good for Paikin!)

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Doug Ford government launches ‘Ontario News Now’ while limiting questions from reporters

Premier Doug Ford‘s government has launched a new social media account to promote its agenda.
The Twitter account @ontarionewsnow was created on July 12, and its first content was published on Monday night. A minute-long video, captioned “Premier Ford takes a look back at his first month in office,” features a montage of Ford in various situations including a visit to Woodbine Racetrack, meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and participating in the First Ministers meeting.
Lyndsey Vanstone, a former broadcaster and Ford campaign staffer, is the on-air presenter in the video. In a voice-over, Vanstone said, “Premier Ford attended dozens of events in 30 days and he managed to keep a few campaign promises, too.”
Full Global News story

Thursday, July 26, 2018

White House bans CNN correspondent from news conference

A CNN correspondent was barred from attending an open press event at the White House on Wednesday because of questions she asked President Donald Trump earlier in the day.
Kaitlan Collins and her employer, CNN, say the White House denied Collins access to Trump’s Rose Garden event with the European Commission president because officials found her earlier questions “inappropriate.”
Collins had served as a representative of the television networks during an earlier pool spray in the Oval Office. She and a handful of other reporters peppered the president with questions, including many focused on his former lawyer, Michael Cohen.
The White House Correspondents’ Association also issued a harshly worded statement condemning “the White House’s misguided and inappropriate decision today to bar one of our members from an open press event after she asked questions they did not like.”
And Fox News President Jay Wallace said, “We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press.”
 (AP)

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

New York Daily News cuts half of its newsroom staff

The New York Daily News has cut half of its newsroom staff, including Jim Rich, the paper’s editor-in-chief.
The paper was sold to tronc Inc, the owner of the Chicago Tribune, last year for $1 along with all liabilities and debt.  
In an email sent to staff on Monday, tronc said the remaining staff – estimated by reports at around 40 journalists – would focus on breaking news involving “crime, civil justice and public responsibility”.
The newspaper has been a key fixture in New York for the last century. It has won 11 Pulitzer prizes, including last year for its work with ProPublica on the abuse of eviction rules in New York City.
There had been reports that the cuts were coming, and an early-morning tweet from Rich hinted at what was to come. (Guardian)
                
             

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Military radio host Adrian Cronauer, who inspired "Good Morning, Vietnam," has died

Adrian Cronauer, the man whose military radio antics inspired a character played by Robin Williams in the film Good Morning, Vietnam, has died. He was 79.
During his service as a U.S. air force sergeant in Vietnam in 1965 and 1966, Cronauer opened his Armed Forces Radio show with the phrase, “Goooooood morning, Vietnam!”
Williams made the refrain famous in the 1987 film, loosely based on Cronauer’s time in Saigon.
The film was a departure from other Vietnam War movies that focused on bloody realism, such as the Academy Award-winning Platoon. Instead, it was about irreverent youth in the 1960s fighting the military establishment.
“We were the only game in town and you had to play by our rules,” Cronauer told The Associated Press in 1987. “But I wanted to serve the listeners.”
AP obit in the Toronto Star

Friday, July 13, 2018

Cogeco CEO suggests time could be right for cable company to enter wireless market

The Globe and Mail's Christine Dobby writes that the chief executive officer of Cogeco Communications Inc. says public anger over high wireless prices means the time could be right for the company to launch a mobile service.
The Montreal-based cable company has long stated it would like to offer mobile services to its TV and internet subscribers in Ontario and Quebec, but two recent purchases of licences for cellular airwaves totalling slightly more than $30-million fuelled speculation that Cogeco is more actively pursuing wireless.
CEO Louis Audet outlined the state of the company’s plans on Thursday, telling financial analysts that new trends could “help us enter the business on financially attractive terms” but still insisting Cogeco won’t rush into spending heavily on it.
Cogeco’s cautious moves to get into the still-growing wireless market come as its traditional cable television business is under pressure, with subscribers increasingly cutting the cord in favour of online streaming. The company believes it could win mobile customers from the established national carriers, BCE Inc., Rogers Communications Inc. and Telus Corp., amid government efforts to support new competition in the industry, including reserving more than 40 per cent of airwaves in a coming spectrum auction for small players.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Myanmar formally charges two Reuters journalists

A court in Myanmar on Monday formally charged two Reuters journalists accused of illegally possessing official information, allowing their case to go to a full trial.
The case of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo went through several months of hearings to determine if there was enough evidence to support the charge, which the reporters denied.
The two reporters were charged with violating the Official Secrets Act, a law dating from British colonial times, and if convicted, could get up to 14 years in prison. They were arrested in December and have been detained since then because the court denied their request to be released on bail.
They apparently were targeted by the authorities because their work concerned the brutal crackdown by security forces against minority Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. About 700,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since the crackdown began last August. (Reuters)

Sunday, July 8, 2018

CTV serves statement of defence to Patrick Brown in defamation lawsuit

Lawyers for CTV News say the network did nothing wrong in reporting allegations of sexual misconduct against the former leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party.
In a statement of defence served to Patrick Brown, CTV denies allegations laid out in a defamation lawsuit the former Tory leader launched in April. The statement was first published by Canadaland.
In his statement of claim, Brown alleges the network and several journalists involved in the story acted maliciously and irresponsibly in publishing what he characterizes as false accusations brought forward by two women.
Lawyers for CTV deny those allegations and say Brown is not entitled to the $8 million in damages he is seeking.
The legal battle comes months after CTV News aired its initial report about the alleged misconduct, which prompted Brown to step down from his post as head of the provincial Tories.

Park named after Lloyd Robertson officially opens

A park honouring former CTV chief anchor and special correspondent Lloyd Robertson was opened on Saturday in Markham, Ont.
“This is a great piece of legacy because it’s so different,” Robertson said. “It’s tangible. You can reach out and touch it, you can come and sit here, your kids can play in the park. It’s fabulous.”
The park is located at 319 Country Glen Road in Markham, a city just north of Toronto.
"Spending time here is a chance to gain some perspective and build on our strong sense of community," Scarpitti said. "Let's honour the boy from Stratford who grew up to be the most trusted voice in Canada."
Robertson began his broadcasting career in 1952 at a radio station in his hometown of Stratford, Ont., before working in Guelph, Windsor, Winnipeg and Ottawa.
He joined CTV in 1976 and was promoted to chief anchor in 1983, a position that he held until 2011.
MORE

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Christie Blatchford: Mainstream media is starving — but certainly not the CBC

Excerpt from Blatchford's column:
"Into the building we went and, there before us, like a damp nostalgic dream come to life, was a newsroom the likes of which virtually all Canadian newspapers haven’t seen in more than a decade.
"Most of our newsrooms now are funereal, with skeletal staffs and row upon row of empty desks, even in the new, pared down offices to which so many papers have relocated.
"I could hardly believe it. This place was buzzing. Every desk was filled. Reporters were busy. Phones were ringing.
"It was bedlam, like every newsroom in the world used to be."
Full column

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Perennial money-maker Corus hit with $935 million Q1 loss

Strong competition among radio stations and alternates to conventional TV are said to be a major reasons behind a stunning loss of some $4.49 a share at Corus Entertainment Inc. The first quarter (ending May 31) loss sent Corus reeling on the TSX. The stock was down 11 per cent early Wednesday after the company announced a $935.9 million loss tied mostly to a devaluation of its broadcast licences.
The firm, which owns Global Television among many other TV franchises, also slashed its dividend to accelerate debt reduction. Analysts on average had expected a profit of 36 cents a share. Corus has a large presence in Canadian broadcasting apart from Global. It owns 39 radio stations and a portfolio of 45 specialty television services.
Corus is especially prominent within the children’s television market, through its ownership of the domestic YTV, Treehouse TV and Teletoon/Télétoon networks, the animation studio Nelvana and book publisher Kids Can Press, and localized versions of the Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, and Nickelodeon brands. Corus Entertainment’s voting majority is held by the company’s founder J R Shaw and his family and a 40% stake of Corus stock is owned by Shaw Communications.
 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Postmedia to shutter 6 community newspapers, halting print editions at 3 others

Postmedia says it is closing down six community newspapers in Ontario and Alberta, and halting the print editions at three other papers in Manitoba and Ontario as it moves to cut costs.
The company said in a note to staff that the Graphic in Portage la Prairie, Man., the Northern News in Kirkland Lake, Ont., and the Pembroke Observer in Pembroke, Ont., will halt their print editions but keep a digital presence.
Meanwhile, the newspapers scheduled to close in the coming weeks include two in Alberta, the Camrose Canadian and the Strathmore Standard, along with four publications in Ontario, the Kapuskasing Northern Times, the Ingersoll Times, the Norwich Gazette and the Petrolia Topic.
Postmedia also said the High River Times in Alberta will shift from publishing twice per week to weekly.
The company said the changes are part of its plan to reduce salary expenses by 10 per cent by Aug. 31, the end of its fiscal year.
Some jobs have been identified for elimination, while voluntary buyouts will also be offered to all unionized employees, and to all editorial staff, both unionized and non-unionized. (CP)
MORE

Monday, June 25, 2018

Global News poaches Mercedes Stephenson from CTV

Global News has announced the appointment of Mercedes Stephenson as the network’s new Ottawa Bureau Chief as well as the permanent host of Global News’ flagship political affairs program, The West Block.
Stephenson spent the past seven years at CTV News and CTV News Channel. She was born and raised in Calgary.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Irene Gentle named Editor of the Toronto Star

Irene Gentle has been named Editor of the Toronto Star, the first woman to hold this position in the publication’s 126-year history.
Gentle, 48, joined the Star in 2011 as business editor and had been managing editor since June 8, 2016. She has also been assistant managing editor and city editor at the Star.
Full Star story

CBC cancels On the Money business show, cites lack of funds

The Globe and Mail's Simon Houpt writes that the CBC is cancelling its afternoon business show, On the Money, because of a lack of money, after staff at the public broadcaster were told a shortfall had left it unable to produce all of its current programming while also continuing its digital transformation.
The cancellation marks the first time CBC’s cable news channel will be without regularly scheduled business news coverage since News Network launched as Newsworld in 1989.
The show, hosted by Peter Armstrong, had rebranded from The Exchange to On the Money only last fall. Its final broadcast will be Thursday, June 28.
Full Globe and Mail story

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Toronto’s JAZZ.FM91 sees an exodus of regular on-air voices

The Globe and Mail's Simon Houpt writes:
"Toronto radio station JAZZ.FM91 cut four hosts this week, including two high-profile personalities who were on air every weekday, and has made changes to its board structure as the not-for-profit, listener-supported station grapples with the public relations fallout of an investigation into its workplace culture.
"Jaymz Bee, a 16-year station veteran, and Mark Wigmore, the new morning host and senior arts editor responsible for the station’s arts coverage, were let go along with the weekend hosts Walter Venafro and David Basskin.
"The departures follow the exits of Garvia Bailey, a former morning show host whose disappearance from the air in April prompted questions from listeners, and Dani Elwell, who left last year. The station has not told listeners the reasons for the women’s departures."
Full story

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Rogers lays off one-third of its digital and publishing employees

The Globe and Mail's Tim Shufelt writes that Rogers Media is reducing its digital and publishing staff by one-third, citing pressures on the print industry and the loss of advertising revenues as cause for another round of deep cuts.
The division of Rogers Communications Inc. that publishes titles such as Maclean’s, Chatelaine, Today’s Parent and Hello! Canada, told its staff on Thursday that 75 full-time employees have been laid off.
“The publishing industry continues to face challenges, as print declines outpace digital growth,” Andrea Goldstein, senior director of communications for Rogers Media, said in a statement.
Full story

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Shaw trying to sell its stake in Corus Entertainment to focus on Freedom Mobile expansion: Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail reports that Shaw Communications Inc. is attempting to sell its stake in broadcaster Corus Entertainment Inc. as part of a strategy to build a war chest for expansion of its Freedom Mobile wireless network.
Shaw recently hired investment bank TD Securities Inc. to find a buyer for its 38-per-cent stake in television and radio station owner Corus, according to sources familiar with the Shaw’s plans. These sources say Shaw is shopping its Corus stake, currently worth approximately $540-million, to a list of dozens of potential buyers, with a focus on private equity funds and other deep-pocketed investors that don’t currently own a national media business in Canada.
Toronto-based Corus owns a stable of 44 specialty television channels, including the Food Network and HGTV, and 15 conventional TV stations, including the national Global TV network, along with 39 radio stations. Sources say Shaw and Corus would listen to offers for individual business lines and that Shaw would also be content to continue as a major shareholder in Corus if no buyers emerge.
Full story

Monday, June 11, 2018

Photographer David Douglas Duncan‘ dies at 102

David Douglas Duncan, who died June 7 at 102, was widely considered one of the finest photojournalists of the 20th century. In Life magazine photo essays, television specials and about two dozen books, he captured the seemingly incongruous subjects of war and art, traveling from the front lines of battle to the treasure troves of the Kremlin in Moscow and the French studio of Pablo Picasso. (excerpt from obit)
Washington Post obit

Friday, June 8, 2018

Celebrity chef, author Anthony Bourdain dead at 61

Parts Unknown host died while on location in France, CNN reports
The cause of death was suicide, the network said in a statement. He was found dead in a hotel room in Strasbourg, France, where he had been working on an upcoming episode of his program, the network said.
Bourdain's popular show Parts Unknown airs on the network. The New York native previously hosted shows and documentaries on The Food Network and Travel Channel.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Toronto’s JAZZ.FM91 CEO steps down in wake of probe into sexual-harassment allegations

Long-time broadcaster Ross Porter has stepped down from his position as president and CEO of Toronto’s JAZZ.FM91 radio station following allegations of sexual harassment by more than a dozen current and former employees, the Globe and Mail reports.
The development came following a third-party workplace investigation triggered by a letter from more than a dozen current and former employees that alleged he had sexually harassed staff and created a toxic workplace.
Charles Cutts, the former president and chief executive officer of the Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall, has been appointed interim CEO of the station. In a statement to The Globe and Mail, Porter denied that the changes were prompted by the investigation.
The investigation began last March after the group wrote to the board of directors to allege “ongoing workplace harassment, sexual harassment, bullying, and general mismanagement of the station” by Porter.
Full story

Saturday, June 2, 2018

CTV has been given more time to file its defense in the Patrick Brown lawsuit against  the network.
Howard Winkler, one of Brown’s lawyers, said CTV News has been given until June 30 to file its statement of defencs, as a professional courtesy.
Although served with the lawsuit the week of April 23 with a 20-day time limit on filing its defense, CTV News filed a notice of intent to defer at the beginning of May.
Brown, the former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader and current Simcoe North MPP, filed the defamation lawsuit against CTV News over its reporting of what he called false accusations of sexual misconduct.
In his statement of claim,Brown says CTV and its reporters failed to properly scrutinize and verify the allegations, which date back to his time as a federal MP.
He further alleges the network gave him only hours to respond before broadcasting the story on Jan. 24.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Commissioner of Competition blocks sale of Corus specialty channels to Bell

Corus Entertainment Inc. says the Commissioner of Competition has blocked the sale of its French-language specialty channels Historia and Series+ to Bell Media Inc.
When the companies announced the sale in October 2017, they valued the transaction at about $200 million.
Corus says the companies are reviewing the decision.
The company says it will provide further updates in due course.
In addition to Competition Act approval, the deal requires approval from the CRTC. (CP)

Friday, May 25, 2018

Media must not be turned into an investigative arm of police, Vice lawyer tells Supreme Court

The Star's Tonda MacCharles writes:
"The media’s ability to shield their sources, notes and reporting materials from police “fishing expeditions” could be strengthened after a senior federal Crown attorney made several concessions in a high-profile media case Wednesday at the Supreme Court of Canada.
"Vice Media is fighting the RCMP’s effort to seize reporter Ben Makuch’s 2014 texts and communications with Farah Shirdon, a self-declared Canadian ISIS fighter.
"Although Shirdon is reported to be dead, the Crown and the RCMP have not given up the pursuit of Vice Media materials, and federal lawyer Croft Michaelson hammered the fact Shirdon could still be alive, could still return to Canada, and the public interest in prosecuting him remains high."
Full story

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The U.S. EPA prevents three news organizations from attending conference on water contaminants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency kept three news organizations from attending a national summit on harmful water contaminants on Tuesday morning, with the agency insisting it did so because the room was full.
The Associated Press, CNN and E&E News were prevented from attending the first half of the meeting. Politico said its reporter had been allowed into the event, but would be asked to leave for the afternoon.
Following Tuesday morning's reports, EPA announced that the second half of the day would be open to press.
AP reported that security guards grabbed its reporter by the shoulders and "forcibly" shoved her out of the EPA building.
"The Environmental Protection Agency's selective barring of news organizations, including the AP, from covering today's meeting is alarming and a direct threat to the public's right to know about what is happening inside their government," AP Executive Editor Sally Buzbee said in a statement. "It is particularly distressing that any journalist trying to cover an event in the public interest would be forcibly removed.
CNN said in a statement that it had been turned away from covering the summit.
"While several news organizations were permitted, the EPA selectively excluded CNN and other media outlets," it said. "We understand the importance of an open and free press and we hope the EPA does, too."
E&E, an environment and energy-focused news site, said on Twitter that its own reporter had also been prevented from attending. E&E reported the event was open to the press, but not to reporters from the barred organizations.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Last Days of Time Inc.(NY Times)

 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

CBC warns past, current staff personal data may be at risk after break-in, theft of computer

The CBC is warning more than 20,000 of its past, present and contract employees that their personal and financial information may be at risk after a break-in and the theft of computer equipment.
"An intruder recently broke into a secure area of CBC/Radio-Canada, stealing a piece of computer equipment," Judith Purves, executive vice-president and CFO of CBC, said in a statement.
"We have determined that the stolen equipment, while password-protected, may contain electronic files, including some financial information."
Employees received an email on Wednesday saying that a letter has been sent to the home addresses of all employees detailing the information that has been put at risk — including names, bank accounts and amounts deposited into bank accounts by CBC.
CBC has budgeted $300,000 to cover the cost of notifying those affected by the breach and providing employees with a year's worth of credit monitoring and insurance against identity theft. (CBC web page)
Full story

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Changing channels at Rogers: A creative cost cutter navigates a TV industry under threat

Susan Krashinsky Robertson writes in the ROB: 
It was early 2015, and Colette Watson, new to her job as vice-president of broadcast television at Rogers Media Inc., had just been handed an ugly assignment.
For decades, Rogers had run multicultural television stations under the OMNI name. They were losing significant amounts of money – and there was little hope it would get better. OMNI had become a big financial drag on a media company that was still trying to digest its $5.2-billion contract with the National Hockey League for 12 years of broadcast rights.
Ms. Watson’s marching orders from then-president Keith Pelley: “Shut it down.”
“The entire broadcast media group at Rogers was losing a ton of money,” Ms. Watson recalls now. “I chased Keith around saying, ‘Please let me do this. I think this can be fixed.’”
Full story

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

La Presse goes non-profit as Desmarais family lets go

Canada’s billionaire Desmarais family is cutting loose Montreal’s La Presse in a bid to take advantage of Ottawa’s new willingness to allow media companies to operate as charities, PaulChiasson of the Canadian Press reports.
Desmarais-controlled Power Corp. of Canada plans to make a $50-million contribution to La Presse and turn it into an independent, not-for-profit news organization. The change will allow the francophone publisher to seek new revenue sources, including government funding and donations.
The move comes as Canadian media organizations are facing threats to their business models as advertisers flee print and tech giants such as Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. increasingly control the flow of online traffic. La Presse made the boldest bet in the country on a daily tablet edition, investing millions in the process and eventually cutting the production of its newspaper altogether.
Full story

Monday, April 30, 2018

In Trump era, the death of the White House press conference

By The Canadian Press
The presidential news conference, a time-honoured tradition going back generations, appears to be no longer.
More than a year has passed since President Donald Trump held the only solo news conference of his administration — a rollicking, hastily arranged, 77-minute free-for-all during which he railed against the media, defended his fired national security adviser and insisted nobody who advised his campaign had had contacts with Russia.
But there are no signs the White House press shop is interested in a second go-round. Instead, the president engages the press in more informal settings that aides say offer reporters far more access, more often, than past administrations.
Full story

BNN, Bloomberg becoming partners

Business news channel BNN is going to become BNN Bloomberg this spring following a partnership deal between its corporate parent Bell Media (TSX:BCE) and Bloomberg Media, CP reports.
The deal will see the station add several hours of live evening television coverage of Asian markets, early morning programs from Europe and contributions from Bloomberg reporters.
BNN’s website will become BNNBloomberg.ca and include Bloomberg’s international news coverage.
The partnership will also see an increase in BNN’s syndicated radio content available for distribution to Bell Media radio stations, including rights to distribute the Bloomberg Radio livestream in Canada and a new channel on iHeartRadio.
BNN started in 1999 as Report on Business Television before it rebranded to its current moniker in 2007.
Bloomberg TV Canada announced in August that it was cutting its two original Canadian business programs, and in September the channel was replaced by Bloomberg TV.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Court finds tribunal secrecy unconstitutional in response to Star challenge

Ontario Superior Court declared as “invalid” provisions of Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act that delay or block public access to tribunal records. The province has one year to consider how to make its tribunal system more open and accessible to journalists and the public.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Steve Paikin cleared after investigation into allegation of inappropriate comment

Steve Paikin has been cleared of an allegation that he made an inappropriate sexual comment to a Toronto mayoral candidate during a business lunch in 2010the Star reports.
“An independent third-party investigation commissioned by TVO to examine allegations by Sarah Thomson has been completed,” TVO chief executive officer Lisa de Wilde said in a written statement released Friday. “The investigator found that the allegations were not substantiated and Mr. Paikin did not violate TVO policies. As such, the investigation is now closed.
“TVO is proud of the work of Steve Paikin, who has been at the centre of TVO’s journalism for more than 25 years.”
MORE

Attempt to organize the National Post newsroom fails

J-Sourse reports that an attempt to organize the National Post’s newsroom has failed after the Ontario Labour Relations Board delivered a ruling on a number of challenged ballots.
Seven names on management’s list of employees were challenged by the union in 2017. The final vote against joining the union -- CWA Canada -- was 32 to 31.
Full story



Thursday, April 19, 2018

Former Rogers president Ken Whyte launches non-fiction publishing house, acquires small press

Kenneth Whyte, former president of Rogers Publishing Ltd. and past editor of Maclean’s and the National Post, announced this week that he is launching a publishing venture that represents a departure from his decades in journalism, Becky Toyne writes in the Globe and Mail. The Sutherland House, will release its first books in early 2019.
The press will be devoted to the publication of literary non-fiction, with books already under contract including We, The Meeple, an examination of culture, history, society and relationships through the medium of board games by former Walrus editor Jonathan Kay and board-game expert Jonathan Moriarty, and Perfect City, a guided tour of the world’s great cities by urban strategist Joe Berridge.
Full story

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Globe's John Doyle takes another run at The National

"CBC’s The National is confusing, well-meaning and maddening," says the headline above John Doyle's piece. He writes:
"Readers write to me about The National. That would be the usual thing if I write something about CBC’s flagship newscast. But readers now write to me regularly about The National, not just in response to a column.
"Mostly, they complain. Often, they’re writing to tell me they’ve given up. They stopped watching because the hour of news is confusing and they don’t feel they’re getting a definitive, authentic roundup of the important news of the day. A constant complaint is that, at the top of The National, two or three stories are presented as the news agenda. Then other stories appear in the lineup, getting brief or extensive coverage, unannounced.
"Some long-time viewers are irritated by the use of on-screen text to promote an upcoming story in a certain number of minutes. The appearance of the text is too brief to read, let alone register. Others are irritated by what they see as overemphasis on Indigenous-related stories and content in the mini-documentaries that are featured. The latter complaint isn’t made in a rancorous, dismissive manner. It’s just that some readers who watch The National feel the coverage of wrongs done is relentless. They roll their eyes.
The full story

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Ben Chin to be Morneau’s next chief of staff

Former TV news anchor and veteran political aide Ben Chin will soon be taking over as Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s chief of staff, The Globe  and Mail's Bill Curry reports.
Chin will begin his new position on May 1.
Chin joined Morneau’s office in October as a senior adviser and worked with the minister on the rollout of the government’s third budget, a document that focused on gender equity and funding for scientific research but did not lay out a timeline for balancing the books.
Richard Maksymetz, who has worked as Morneau’s chief of staff since the Liberals formed government in 2015, is leaving for a job outside of government.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Paul Bliss sues CTV, woman who accused him of sexual misconduct

Former CTV News reporter Paul Bliss who is facing sexual misconduct allegations is suing the broadcaster, its parent company and the woman who levelled the accusations against him.
Bliss, whose departure from CTV was announced last month, claims Bridget Brown defamed him with her allegations and CTV further defamed him by broadcasting and publishing stories about his suspension from the network in January.
Bliss’ suit, which also targets four unidentified CTV journalists, seeks $7.5 million in damages.
“The defamatory words have created damaging speculation respecting Mr. Bliss and his ability to interact and work with people and has lowered his reputation in the general public,” his statement of claim said.
CTV refused to comment on the lawsuit, which was filed in a Toronto court this week.
Brown, who describes herself as a Calgary-based entrepreneur and former CTV employee, said her legal team was reviewing Bliss’ suit.
“I find virtually everything in the statement of claim to be false,” she said. “We have some time for our response and have not compiled one yet, nor any potential statements of claim of our own that we may decide to file.”
Brown alleged in a January blog post that “an award-winning CTV reporter and anchor” had, in 2006, showed her to his office, began kissing her, pushed her head down to signal that he wanted oral sex, and exposed himself to her. (CP)

Thursday, April 5, 2018

No media bus for Doug Ford

CP's Paula Loriggio writes that Doug Ford will not have a media bus following him as he criss-crosses the province ahead of the June election, an accommodation traditionally offered by Ontario's party leaders to facilitate coverage while they hold multiple daily events in different cities.
Spokeswoman Melissa Lantsman said Ford's campaign events will be broadcast online and his itinerary will be released for media interested in covering them in person.

"Most media outlets have shifted to covering events from their office and relying on live feeds. It is in our interest to have as much media coverage as possible and will do everything we can to ensure our events are streamed online to assist in that," she said in an email.
Experts say the decision suggests a campaign strategy that centres on limiting questions and preventing Ford -- a brash politician whose candid remarks often make headlines -- from publicly going off-script.
Full story

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

When a local newspaper is attacked for telling the truth: Globe editorial

Excerpts from the Globe and Mail editorial:
"The dust-up began when the (Mississauga) News published a story accurately reporting comments (Ontario Liberal MPP Bob) Delaney made at a constituent meeting to discuss the provincial budget last week.
"In a testy exchange with a News reporter about rising debt, the MPP for Mississauga-Streetsville said, 'With respect, that’s bullshit.'
“'We have tripled [the debt] and we’re proud of it, because we can afford it,' he went on to say.
"Faced with published evidence of his words, Mr. Delaney went on talk radio and said the News had their story wrong. He also ran a Facebook ad attacking the News for their 'seriously inaccurate and incomplete' story and suggesting that those who believed it were 'neo-cons.'
"Unfortunately for him, the News had tape. Their recording confirmed the original story.
"It takes a politician of a truly adamantine shamelessness to lie in the face of recorded evidence, and Mr. Delaney is no Donald Trump.
"He has apologized to the News and admitted their story was accurate. But at this moment in the history of democracy and the press, even gaffe-prone politicians should know better than to try to smear journalists for doing their jobs, and doing them well."
Link to the fill editorial

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Michael Goldbloom named chair of CBC/Radio-Canada

Michael Goldbloom, a former publisher of the Montreal Gazette, has been appointed chair of the board of directors of CBC/Radio-Canada, Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly announced on Tuesday.
Goldbloom’s appointment to the five-year mandate was announced as Joly unveiled a new set of executives for the publicly funded broadcaster that included the nomination of Catherine Tait, a veteran media entrepreneur and executive, as president and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada, making her the first woman to be named to the post.
Goldbloom, who has been principal and vice-chancellor of Bishop’s University since 2008, was publisher of the Gazette from 1994 to 2001.
He also served as publisher of the Toronto Star from 2004 to 2006 and is currently co‑chair of the board of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.

Toronto Star brand to expand nationally via Metro dailies

Torstar Corp. is launching a major national expansion, adding 20 journalists as it reinvents its Metro commuter newspapers and strengthens its digital news presence in five of the largest cities in Canada, The Star reports.
Effective Tuesday, April 10, Torstar’s free Metro daily newspapers will be rebranded as StarMetro Vancouver, StarMetro Calgary, StarMetro Edmonton, StarMetro Toronto and StarMetro Halifax.
The Star's puff piece about this

Monday, April 2, 2018

Torstar Corp hiring!

Torstar Corp. says it is hiring 20 new reporters in Western Canada and will rebrand and upgrade the digital offerings of its five free daily Metro urban newspapers across Canada, CP reports.
It says that as of April 10, the Metros will be called StarMetro Vancouver, StarMetro Calgary, StarMetro Edmonton, StarMetro Toronto and StarMetro Halifax.
Torstar CEO John Boynton says the initiative represents a major investment in journalism for Torstar outside of its Toronto headquarters, where it publishes the daily Toronto Star.
He says "contrary to conventional wisdom," there is an appetite in Western Canada and the Maritimes for a "progressive voice" in media, adding the StarMetros will endeavour to match the Star's focus on social issues and in-depth investigations.
The investment represents an unusual move in the Canadian newspaper industry, which has been losing titles and workers for years.
As part of a sweeping newspaper swap in November, Postmedia Network Inc. bought Torstar's Metro Winnipeg and Metro Ottawa and closed them, while Torstar did the same with Postmedia's free dailies 24Hours Toronto and 24Hours Vancouver. That transaction is being investigated by the Competition Bureau.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Nicholas Cameron killed in car crash

Nicholas Cameron, the son of the late Bill Cameron and Cheryl Hawkes,  was killed on Wednesday when an Uber car in which he was a passenger was involved in a collision on the Gardiner expressway.. The Uber driver faces several charged.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Small Niagara region town declares war on local newspaper

Town of Pelham cuts off communication with Voice of Pelham
Excerpts from the newspaper's story:
"In a departure from all previous practice, the Town has removed the designated media table from Council chambers, the latest of a series of efforts seemingly aimed at shutting down Voice coverage of municipal matters.
"Since February 20, the Town has not responded to nor even acknowledged receiving questions from the newspaper. The move came as the Voice began scrutinizing another aspect of the Town’s East Fonthill development activities, this time involving tendering for construction contracts worth at least $4 million dollars.
"Numerous emails to Public Relations and Marketing Specialist Marc MacDonald, other Town staff, Mayor Dave Augustyn, and all six Councillors have been ignored.  . . .
"A request for comment on the matter from all of Council, the Mayor, the CAO, and Public Relations and Marketing Specialist Marc MacDonald was ignored. . .
"Last week the Town announced that it would no longer send out news releases. This advisory came before the Town held a press conference at the community centre construction site, in which it was announced that Meridian Credit Union was to pledge $1 million dollars to the project in return for naming rights.
"The Voice was not among the media notified of the event and was not present."
From Wikipedia:
The Town of Pelham (2016 population 17,110) is located in the centre of Niagara Region in Ontario, Canada.


Friday, March 23, 2018

Michael Cooke stepping down as Editor of the Toronto Star

Cooke, the longest-serving Editor in the Star’s recent history, was appointed to the position in March 2009. He will leave the Star June 1.
Cooke, the longest-serving Editor in the Star’s recent history, was appointed to the position in March 2009.
Cooke told the Star’s newsroom on Friday that he’s leaving daily journalism to focus on training journalists around the world on human rights reporting.
“I’m leaving the Star. Leaving daily journalism,” he said in a statement. “It’s been 49 years, and it’s time to see what’s left to do in the rest of the world.”
Cooke will become more involved with Journalists for Human Rights, the Toronto-based media development organization of which he is chair.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Globe leads NNA nominations with 18, Star has 12 and LaPresse 8

(Press release) The Globe and Mail leads all entrants in the 69th National Newspaper Awards competition with 18 nominations.
The Toronto Star has 12 nominations and La Presse has eight in the competition, which is open to daily newspapers, news agencies and online news sites approved for entry by the NNA Board of Governors.
 The Edmonton Journal and Winnipeg Free Press each have three nominations, while the Canadian Press, the London Free Press, the National Post, the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, the Ottawa Citizen and the Vancouver Sun/Province have two each. Seven other organizations received one nomination each.
There are 63 nominations in 21 categories, selected from 881 entries for work published in 2017.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Toronto on Friday, May 4. Winners will receive cheques for $1,000 and a certificate of award. Other finalists receive citations of merit.
Full release

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Kevin O'Leary being sued after using illegal information to make millions

Kevin O'Leary, one of the co-hosts of Shark Tank (and Dragon's Den), and serial investor is being sued by the federal government for using his political influence to make an illegal investment, the CBC reports. The federal government has said that he somehow got access to confidential information that online casinos would be legalized, and then used that information to make millions.
"He knew online casinos would become legal, so he made an investment in a casino with information he shouldn’t have had. He got in early, and is now sitting on millions of dollars in profit for doing nothing, and taking no risk," Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould stated.
Both the legalization of online casinos, and the lawsuit were announced at a press conference this morning by the Attorney General. The legalization comes as the government tries to generate money to support retired citizens without raising taxes, as the influx of refugees has placed a strain on social and welfare spending.
The Government of Canada claims that tax revenues will be huge, and will benefit all citizens, with the majority of it going towards Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security.
The name of the casino O'Leary invested in is not known, but the Attorney General added that a different one, called Cash Cabin, is the only one allowed to operate in Canada right now. (CBC web page)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Internet giants should support local news, culture, Melanie Joly says

Internet giants like Facebook and Google should play a direct role in investing in “trusted local journalism” and Canadian culture, Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly said Tuesday.
Joly told the Toronto Star international tech companies have “not basically accepted they have a clear responsibility” to the countries they operate in, including promoting and funding cultural content, but also shaping public debate and discussion.
Far from being “neutral pipelines” for information, Joly said the digital platforms have immense power in deciding what content Canadians consume, from Netflix recommending your next TV binge to Facebook and Google promoting some news stories over others.
Joly’s comments came as the federal government is preparing reviews of the Broadcast Act and the Telecommunications Act. The Liberals have also asked the CRTC to study how Canadians will consume content in the future.
Full Star story

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Competition Bureau searches Postmedia, Torstar offices as it probes alleged conspiracy in paper swap

Federal Competition Bureau officials, accompanied by police, have searched the executive offices of Postmedia Network Canada Corp. and Torstar Corp. as part of a review of their deal to swap 41 newspapers, which is being investigated under the conspiracy and merger provisions of the Competition Act, the Globe and Mail reports
When the deal was announced in November, both companies also said they would subsequently shut down all but five of the papers. On the same day, the Competition Bureau confirmed that it would review the transaction to determine whether it could "result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition in any market in Canada."
The newspaper closings meant that Postmedia and Torstar would face less competition from each other in some Ontario markets that are strategically important for each company: For Torstar, those are the Kawarthas and the Niagara region, and for Postmedia, those include Ottawa, London and the region encompassing Kingston and Belleville. Torstar also closed the free commuter papers 24 Hours in Toronto and Vancouver, which competed with its free Metro papers.
Full story

Apple buying digital magazine service Texture partly owned by Rogers

Apple Inc. is acquiring Texture, the all-you-can-read digital magazine service partly owned by Rogers Communications Inc., the Globe and Mail's Christine Dobby writes.
For Apple, the move to buy Texture – which gives subscribers access to more than 200 U.S. and Canadian magazines for between $10 and $15 a month – is being hailed as another way for the iPhone maker to increase its service revenue. The company hopes to increase the money it earns from services such as movie rentals, music streaming and app downloads to US$50-billion by 2021.
For Toronto-based Rogers, meanwhile, the deal announced on Monday means the end of its ownership of the Texture platform, which it once touted as a solution to the beleaguered magazine-publishing business model as it focused on subscribers paying for content at a time when advertiser revenue was sharply declining.
Rogers purchased an equity stake in what was then known as Next Issue in 2013. The service, which Apple is purchasing for an undisclosed price, is also owned by Condé Nast Publications Inc., Hearst Corp., New York-based private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Meredith Corp.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Paul Bliss no longer with CTV after sexual misconduct allegations

 CTV News reporter Paul Bliss, who was suspended after a woman made sexual misconduct allegations against him, is no longer with the company, Bell Media said Tuesday. A spokesman for the media outlet confirmed the departure of Paul Bliss but refused to provide further details.
CBC story

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Nil Köksal new host of CBC's World Report

Nil Köksal has been appointed the new host of World Report, the CBC’s flagship morning radio newscast, the network has announced. Her most-recent post has been as the CBC News correspondent, based in Istanbul, Turkey. She has covered a wide range of stories from political
upheaval and violence to the cultural dynamics of life in Turkey.Most recently, Nil was part of the CBC News team reporting from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. As her  predecessor David Common, she will continue to write and report as well as host World Report.

Murdered Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak buried as thousands march in his honour


Slovaks have paid a final farewell to Jan Kuciak, an investigative journalist who was shot dead with his fiancee, with the archbishop declaring that everyone in the nation now wanted to know about Italian mafia influence thanks to Kuciak's reporting.A funeral Mass for Kuciak was held at the church of Saint Francis of Assisi in the town of Stiavnik in western Slovakia, with his parents, friends and fellow journalists packing the aisles.The bodies of 27-year-old Kuciak and Martina Kusnirova were found on Sunday in their house in the town of Velka Maca, east of the capital, Bratislava. They had planned to get married in May.
Link to full story

The red tape behind the Bruce McArthur tapes

What began as a seemingly simple request for an audio recording of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur’s 2003 court appearances become a convoluted and frustrating odyssey for the Star's legal affairs reporter Jacques Gallant.

The Star's Kenyon Wallace writes anbout it. Excerpt:
"But instead of providing the recordings of the 2003 McArthur proceedings on CD, the court reporters’ office gave him two cassette tapes. Gallant would need a Sony BM-246, a special tape recorder used in court, to listen to them.
“'It’s like this massive machine straight out of the ’80s. We certainly did not have one of those at the Star and I wasn’t really sure where we’d get one,' Gallant said.
"Trying another approach, Gallant’s editor, Matt Carter, sent out a mass email to Star staff asking: 'Does anyone in the newsroom have a standard, 1980s-style cassette player on hand? (Or in their car?)'
“'Colleagues started coming forward with cassette players caked in dust that had literally been sitting on their desks for years,' said Gallant.
"After about half an hour, a working cassette player was found. However, Gallant said the voices on the recordings sounded like chipmunks and were unintelligible.
"By then it was 6 p.m., just three hours from deadline and editors were keen to get the story if there was compelling material on the recordings.
Free audio software found on the internet proved to be the ticket. It slowed the audio on the tapes so Gallant could understand what was said in court."
(The Ontario court system is not reporter friendly. It's a wonder that media put up with it. They should be making a fuss.--ED)
Full story

Friday, March 2, 2018

Thunder Bay newspaper apologizes for 'inconsiderate' headline on story about egg attacks on 2 men

Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal has apologized for a headline on a story about eggs reportedly being thrown at two Indigenous men from passing vehicles.
The Thursday print edition headline in the newspaper referenced an "egg toss" and that the incidents have police "scrambling." The Assembly of First Nations said the headline was "offensive and insensitive," and called for an apology.
On Friday, the front page of the newspaper's print edition included an apology for the "poor choice of words."
"A story about egg throwing incidents on the front of Thursday's paper used wording that was insensitive," read a statement under a heading that said "apology to our readers."
"The play on words was inappropriate for a story about a criminal attack and was inconsiderate, particularly to the victims in these attacks."
Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day said it was an inappropriate headline, given the history of First Nations people being hit by eggs and other items thrown from passing vehicles.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Toronto Star narrows losses

The Globe and Mail's Susan Krashinsky Robertson reports:
"Cost-cutting initiatives helped Torstar Corp. to narrow its losses in 2017, as revenue continued to decline.
"The company, which owns daily newspapers including the Toronto Star and The Hamilton Spectator, as well as community papers and websites, reported fourth-quarter and full-year financial results on Wednesday. It had operating revenue of $615.7-million for 2017, down 11 per cent from $685.1-million in the prior year. The company's net loss for the year was $29.3-million, an improvement from a $79.9-million loss in 2016.
"For the three months ended Dec. 31, 2017, Torstar reported segmented operating revenue of $189.5-million, down 9.2 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2016. Net income from continuing operations was $7.8-million, or 10 cents a share, up from $0.7-million or 1 cent a share a year earlier. The improvement was largely a result of reductions in costs, as well as the benefit of a digital media tax credit."
Full story

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Slovak investigative journalist and girl friend shot to death

A 27-year-old Slovak journalist who had been investigating corruption has been found shot to death at his home along with his fiancée, the authorities said Monday, the New York Times reports.
The killing — which appeared to be the first targeted slaying of a journalist in Slovakia’s modern history — was immediately condemned by officials, who vowed to investigate.
The journalist, Jan Kuciak, and his fiancée, Martina Kusnirova, both 27, appear to have been killed on Thursday in the village of Velka Maca, in western Slovakia, according to the office of the general prosecutor. Their bodies were found on Sunday after Ms. Kusnirova’s mother was unable to reach her.
Ms. Kusnirova was shot in the head and Mr. Kuciak in the chest, the authorities said.
“If it turned out that the death of the investigative reporter was connected to his work, it would mean an unprecedented attack on the freedom of press and democracy in Slovakia,” Prime Minister Robert Fico said in a statement.
Full story

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Patrick Brown sends libel notice to CTV

Patrick Brown has sent a notice of libel to Bell Media, the parent company of CTV News, late Friday night, CBC reports.
In the notice, Brown alleges CTV engaged in "false, malicious, irresponsible and defamatory" reporting on its national newscast as well as its news website. The notice names the CTV Television Network, its parent Bell Media Inc., as well as several journalists.
Link to CBC story

Friday, February 23, 2018

Ottawa to pledge $50 million for local journalism in budget

Tuesday’s federal budget will commit $50 million over five years to support local journalism across Canada, the Star's Bruce Campion-Smith reports.
The federal government will provide the funding in the coming fiscal year to one or more “independent non-governmental organizations” that will support local journalism in underserved communities.
Those organizations will be responsible for administering the funds, a source told the Star. The investment is being made to help “ensure trusted, local perspectives as well as accountability in local communities.”
“This could include new ways for Canadian newspapers to innovate and be recognized as charitable or not-for-profit providers of journalism, reflecting the public interest that they serve,” the source said.
That was one suggestion to emerge from the Public Policy Forum’s “The Shattered Mirror” report that examined the financial crisis hitting Canada’s media outlets. Released in 2017, it gave a grim overview of the media landscape, noting that since 2010, 225 weekly and 27 daily newspapers had closed or merged operations.
Full story

Longtime CBC Radio personality Arthur Black dies at 74

Arthur Black, the humorist and former CBC Radio host, has died aged 74 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
His partner, Lynne Raymond, confirmed he died at Lady Minto Hospital on Salt Spring Island, B.C., on Wednesday.
CBC obit

Friday, February 16, 2018

Sweeping cuts at Global News

Unifor, the union representing many Global News workers, said  that 69 of their members have been laid off. Global News has reported the total number of cuts is closer to 80 people.
Among those cut are “camera operators, reporters, anchors, control room staff, make-up artists and other production crew,” according to Unifor.
According to the Global News report, the layoffs come part of a Global News reorganization that is “part of its transformation into a sustainable, digital-first organization.” Troy Reeb, senior vice-president of Global News and Corus Radio, said that more resources will be directed into four new local digital-first bureaus Global is opening in Ottawa, Kitchener, Guelph and Barrie. According to Global News, laid-off employees will have the opportunity to apply for 50 new positions that are being created to serve the new digital-first mandate.
The biggest cuts came in Vancouver, according to Unifor, where 21 staff were laid off.
In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, evening newscasts will no longer be produced locally in Halifax. Instead, they will be anchored in Toronto and broadcast remotely. “Our studios will be empty after the morning show ends at 9 a.m.,” said David MacPherson, president of the Maritimes unit of Unifor local M1, in a statement.
 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Vassy Kapelos to host CBC's Power & Politics

CBC News has tapped Canadian broadcast journalist Vassy Kapelos to host its flagship daily political program Power & Politics.
Kapelos, who describes herself as "politics-obsessed," joins the public broadcaster from Global News, where she most recently served as Ottawa bureau chief and host of the network's program The West Block.
Prior to working as a parliamentary correspondent in Ottawa, Kapelos covered provincial politics, including in Alberta and Saskatchewan. (CBC web page)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Torstar cuts jobs, internship programs; board chair says the company is fighting for survival

The Globe's Susan Krashinsky Robertson writes:
"John Honderich won't mince words: Torstar Corp. is fighting for survival.
"The chair of Torstar's board, and a member of one of the five families that control the company that owns the Toronto Star, The Hamilton Spectator, and a collection of community newspapers, sat down with The Globe and Mail last week to discuss the state of the news industry.
"Mr. Honderich was part of an industry-wide effort to encourage Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly to include funding for journalism in her vision for the future of Canadian cultural policy. Ms. Joly rejected many of the suggested measures, saying the government would not 'bail out industry models that are no longer viable.'"
"The struggles precipitated by declining print advertising, and by a booming digital economy that has been dominated largely by Facebook and Google – at the expense of others who would survive on digital advertising – have led to widespread job cuts. On Monday, the company tightened its belt one more notch, cutting 13 jobs in its digital and sales operations, slashing the Toronto Star's travel and freelance budgets and suspending its summer and year-long internship programs. The Star's internships were among the most prestigious in the country for training young journalists."
Full story

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong reaches deal to buy L.A. Times and San Diego Union-Tribune

For more than a century, one family owned the Los Angeles Times and used the newspaper to build great wealth and exert political influence over how the city would take shape.
But over the years, the Chandler family — descendants of hard-charging Civil War veteran Gen. Harrison Gray Otis, who bought the paper in 1884 — became increasingly fractured and disenchanted with the newspaper business. In 2000, they sold Times Mirror Co. to Chicago-based Tribune Co., thrusting it into a protracted, 18-year battle with its out-of-town owners.
 On Wednesday, The Times' corporate parent, Tronc, announced that it had reached a deal to sell The Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune, Spanish-language Hoy Los Angeles and community newspapers to L.A. biotech billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong. His investment firm, Nant Capital, agreed to pay $500 million for the Southern California papers and it will assume $90 million in pension liabilities.
Full L.A. Times story 


Monday, February 5, 2018

Toronto Star photographer Reg Innell dead at 92

Reg Innell, a Star ohotograoher for 30 years, died last Thursday at the age of 92. He had been grappling with kidney complications and a weakened immune system caused him to succumb to an infection, said his life partner Margaret Serrao.
Star story

TVO launches probe into allegations against host Steve Paikin

The Globe and Mail's Jeff Gray reports:
TVO is launching an independent third-party investigation of an allegation of sexual harassment made against well-known broadcaster Steve Paikin, host of the Ontario public-TV channel's current affairs show The Agenda.
The allegation was made by Sarah Thomson, an outspoken former candidate for mayor of Toronto. But the channel said, based on the evidence it has so far, Mr. Paikin will remain on the air pending the results of the probe.
The taxpayer-funded station's chief executive officer, Lisa de Wilde, issued a statement on Monday disclosing that Ms. Thomson, after detailing the alleged incident in articles on her website without using Mr. Paikin's name, had sent him an e-mail over the weekend. Mr. Paikin immediately notified TVO of the e-mail, the statement says.
According to the account of the 2010 incident that Ms. Thomson published on her website, while at a lunch at the Grano restaurant, where Mr. Paikin is a regular, the TVO host allegedly asked if she would have sex with him to appear on The Agenda. Ms. Thomson says her assistant, whom she did not name, was also present at the lunch.
Full story

The end of TIME Inc.- Columbia Journalism Review

The Columbia Journalism Review chronicles the end of the once mighty TIME Inc..
Once America’s great magazine company, the much-reduced publisher was bought by Iowa’s Meredith Corp. last year, with $650 million in equity from Koch Industries. This week its name was stripped from its headquarters in lower Manhattan, to which it moved in 2014 after abandoning the Mad Men-era Time-Life Building in Rockefeller Center.
The full story

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Shaw undergoind "total business transformation;" offering buyouts to almost half its work force

Shaw Communications Inc. is offering buyouts to almost half of its work force in the midst of what it is calling a "total business transformation" aimed at reducing operating costs as more subscribers go online for customer support, the Globe and Mail's Christine Dobby reports.
The Calgary-based company confirmed Tuesday that it has offered voluntary severance packages to 6,500 non-unionized employees of both Shaw and Freedom Mobile and expects about 10 per cent of those workers to accept the offer. The company has 14,000 employees, according to its 2017 annual report.
Shaw said the cuts are part of a multiyear initiative to "reinvent its operating model" as it reviews operations and internal processes across all parts of the cable and wireless company. The focus of the changes is on offering more cost-efficient customer service; for example, by offering online or app-based support instead of assistance over the phone or by pushing self-install options rather than sending technicians to set up internet or television service.
Full story

Saturday, January 27, 2018

CTV's Paul Bliss suspended following sexual misconduct allegations

The Star reports  that Paul Bliss has been suspended pending an investigation into allegations made Friday by a former network employee of sexual misconduct more than a decade ago.
CTV News Toronto announced the move on its Friday evening broadcast.
“Allegations have been made against a CTV news reporter. We take this very seriously and as a result have suspended Paul Bliss until an investigation is complete,” said Bell Media spokesperson Scott Henderson in a statement to the Star.
Henderson confirmed to the Star that the allegations were made by former journalist Bridget Brown, who left CTV in 2015. Brown shared her experience in a blog post on the Medium platform Friday, a decision she made after seeing Bliss’s tweets and broadcast coverage of the allegations against unseated PC leader Patrick Brown (no relation).
More

Friday, January 26, 2018

Ottawa poised to offer financial assistance to newspapers in upcoming budget

All signs point to print media getting a much-needed financial assist from the federal government in the next budget, CP reports.
The financing is expected to be doled out through the Canada Periodical Fund, which currently assists print magazines, non-daily newspapers and digital periodicals.
Heritage Minister Melanie Joly reportedly discussed the matter during a meeting Thursday with representatives of the Federation nationale des communications, which represents 7,000 people who work in culture and communications.
Joly’s spokesman, Simon Ross, didn’t deny the report and says there will be an announcement in the coming weeks or months concerning the $75-million annual fund, which is currently under review.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

How an undercover female reporter exposed sexual misconduct at a London charity bash

Britain's financial "old boys" club was rocked by its own sexual harassment scandal Wednesday after a Financial Times investigation found that female hostesses were groped at a men-only charity gala attended by hundreds of senior executives, The Associated Press reports.
Last week's event at London's Dorchester Hotel featured about 100 female hostesses who were required to wear short skirts and high heels. The hostesses included two undercover FT reporters, who described harassment, lewd comments and "repeated requests to join diners in bedrooms elsewhere in the Dorchester."
The event, organized by a group called the Presidents Club, raised money for charities through an auction whose lots included tea with Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and lunch with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Representatives for both denied knowledge of the prizes.
AP story
Washington Post story

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Los Angeles Times votes to unionize

Newsroom employees of the Los Angeles Times have voted to form a union for the first time ever amid growing turmoil at the paper.
The union said Friday that employees had overwhelmingly approved the union in a vote held earlier this month. The National Labor Relations Board counted the ballots in downtown Los Angeles; the final vote count, according to the union and supporters and observers who were in the room and tweeting during the vote, was 248-44.
For the Times, the largest newspaper on the West Coast, the vote was historic. The newspaper has long been anti-union.
"For the first time since the Los Angeles Times printed its inaugural edition in 1881, our journalists have voted to form a union," organizers said in a statement. "We've long been a proud voice for our readers. Finally, we can be a proud voice for ourselves.
The union drive -- which the Times' owner, Tronc, staunchly opposed -- became yet another source of tension between Times' employees and ownership, adding to a growing list of such issues. (CNN)

Monday, January 22, 2018

Vice never belonged on TV; Rogers got taken for a ride:John Doyle

"So farewell, then, Viceland. We hardly knew you,"writes John Doyle, the Globe's TV columnist .
"The announcement on Monday that Rogers Media is ending its financial relationship – read: sugar-daddy arrangement – with Vice and that the Viceland channel will cease to operate as a TV channel on March 31, struck nobody like a thunderbolt. It was always going to end like this.
"Back in October, 2014, Rogers and Vice Media signed a $100-million deal for content, which would see Vice shows air on a TV channel and be available exclusively for mobile-phone customers of Rogers and Fido. It was a lot of money to throw at an upstart online outfit. And it was about Rogers gaining twentysomething viewers – a marketing ploy by a desperate, old media company seeing its traditional TV business model crumbling."
The full column

Friday, January 19, 2018

Red Fisher dead at 91

Red Fisher, the chronicler and the conscience of Montreal hockey whose career touched seven decades, died on Friday at age 91.
Fisher started on the Canadiens beat in 1955 in the era of train travel and finished it in 2012 when reporters tweeted the lines at morning skates. The man knew how to make an entrance: the first game he covered was the Richard Riot, that singular marriage of hockey, sociology and, ultimately, mythology that has marked Quebec for generations. Fisher was the link to the most glorious of the Canadiens teams and covered 17 of their record 24 Stanley Cups. Along the way, the journalist who was believed to be the longest-serving beat man covering the major North American leagues collected three National Newspaper Awards and thousands of tales, entertaining readers and often ennobling hockey.
National Post story

Municipalities struggele on how to get information to public as newspapers close

Interesting and timely story in J-Source by H.G. Watson
In some communities, internet access is so limited municipalities can’t rely on social media as a replacement for news.
By H.G. Watson
"In late 2017, Brantford Mayor Chris Friel put forward a motion to hire a new communications specialist for his city’s communications department. He felt he had to. Because on Nov. 27, 2017, it was announced the Brant News would be among the papers closed after a massive deal saw 41 newspapers swapped between Postmedia and Torstar.
"While the community still has a daily newspaper, there is no local television station and the local radio is headquartered outside of the county. “'We now (have to be) in a situation to get the news out and get information out in a way that used to traditionally be done by newspapers and the radio for us,' he said.
"The Postmedia-Torstar deal closed 35 Ontario papers in one fell swoop and created almost exclusive advertising zones in the province for each company. , , ,
"The hit has been felt by municipal governments in Ontario. Lynn Dollin, the president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the deputy mayor of Innisfil, called it a “constant battle” to get community information out to municipalities where the most accessible news is most often about the two T’s: Toronto and Trump. "
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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Fire and Fury: Trump exposé to become television series

The bestselling exposé Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by journalist Michael Wolff is about to hit the small screen.
According to Hollywood Reporter, Mr Wolff has sold television rights for seven figures.
President Trump has condemned the book, which depicts a chaotic administration and a president unfit for office, as full of made-up stories.
It is not yet known which network will screen the series.
The rights have been sold to Endeavor Content and Mr Wolff will executive produce the project alongside former Channel 4 and BBC executive Michael Jackson, who now runs Two Cities Television.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Researchers raise concerns as Twitter, Facebook seek role in Canadian election debates

Sabrina Nanji writes in The Star:
"Facebook and Twitter want a role in the election debate show, reigniting broader questions about social media’s function in the democratic process.
Ottawa is currently designing a policy to create an independent body to organize political party leaders’ debates in the 2019 federal election and beyond. Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould will meet behind closed doors with academics, media and public interest groups in Toronto on Wednesday, as part of a cross-country consultation tour launched last week along with a website where the public can weigh in until Feb. 9.
"Meanwhile, more than two dozen experts have provided input to a parliamentary committee studying party leaders’ debates. Facebook and Twitter told MPs late last year that if they want to engage the most people, digital platforms must be embedded in the distribution model, echoing several other witnesses."
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