Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Thomson Reuters announced 3,200 job cuts over two years

Financial data and news agency Thomson Reuters announced Tuesday cuts of 3,200 jobs and dozens of office closures worldwide over the next two years as part of a restructuring.                            
Executives told an investor conference in Toronto that the staff reduction would impact 12 percent of its workforce, while the number of its offices would be reduced by 30 percent to 133 locations.
"The majority of employees have already been notified," spokesman David Crundwell told AFP.
He said Thomson Reuters routinely looks to streamline its operations. "This disciplined approach sometimes includes the need to make personnel, or other, changes which allow us to balance our internal resources with the needs of our customers in a highly ," he said.
The markets welcomed the company's cutbacks, sending Thomson Reuters stock up 1.17 percent to $50.40 at around 1830 GMT in Toronto and New York.
The announcement comes after the company sold a 55 percent stake in its financial and risk unit to private equity firm Blackstone Group in order to focus
MORE



Watchdog to question Torstar staff as it narrows scope of Postmedia deal probe

The Globe and Mail's Susan Krashinsky Robertson writes:
"Five executives at Torstar Corp., including its chief financial officer, are to be interviewed under oath by investigators with Canada’s Competition Bureau, as the federal watchdog continues its probe of last year’s newspaper swap deal between the company and Postmedia Network Canada Corp.
"The Competition Bureau is also narrowing its investigation into the deal, in which 41 newspapers changed hands, and the majority were subsequently shut down. The federal watchdog is now solely pursuing a criminal investigation, under the conspiracy provisions of the Competition Act.
"The bureau’s review of the deal began on the day it was announced in November, 2017. At first, its investigation covered both the merger rules under competition law, which deal with whether a transaction leads to a 'substantial lessening or prevention of competition in any market in Canada,' as well as the conspiracy provisions, which can carry fines of up to $25-million, or up to 14 years imprisonment. The conspiracy rules include a number of prohibited activities, including 'market allocation' – competitors agreeing not to compete in certain geographic areas – as well as arrangements designed to restrict the supply of a product or to fix prices."
Full story

Monday, December 3, 2018

Television holds ground for news, as print fades: US study

Television remains the biggest source of news for Americans, with print losing further ground to digital services, a survey showed Monday.
The Pew Research Center report found that 47 percent of US prefer watching their news, while 34 percent opt for reading and 19 percent prefer listening.
The survey suggests more troubles for the ailing newspaper sector, while television is holding its ground against online video.
Among those who watch their news, 75 percent said they prefer television to 20 percent for the internet.
But among news readers, 63 percent preferred digital and 17 percent print.
Overall, that means just seven percent of those surveyed chose the print format as their preferred way of consuming news, down from 11 percent in a similar 2016 study.
More

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Tristin Hopper: Really want to help print journalism, Ottawa? Stop CBC from undercutting us

Tristin Hopper writes:
"This week, Ottawa unveiled its plan to save Canadian journalism. As expected, the plan essentially boils down to throwing money at the problem; $600 million worth of money.
"But there’s a much easier and more egalitarian solution to all of this: Stop subsidizing a competitor that is viciously undercutting independent print media.
"Over the last few years — fuelled in part by a $675 million boost to its funding by the Liberal government — CBC has pursued an aggressive policy of expanding its online news site.
"This site is not a complement to its radio and television arms. Rather, it functions as a standalone news site, with opinion columns, reprinted wire content and stories specifically reported for print.
"The result is that CBC has suddenly become the country’s largest newspaper. Albeit with two major differences: This newspaper is free and it has bottomless resources."Running any business rapidly becomes much more difficult when the government opens up a competitor down the street offering all the same wares for free."
MORE

Friday, November 30, 2018

Reporter must give RCMP material about accused terrorist: Supreme Court

A Vice Media reporter must give the RCMP material he gathered for stories about an accused terrorist, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in a case that pitted press freedoms against the investigative powers of police.
In its 9-0 decision Friday, the high court said the state's interest in prosecuting crime outweighed the media's right to privacy in gathering the news when all the factors in play were taken into account.
Vice Media said the ruling made it a "dark day for press freedom."
Full CP story

 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Government support not an easy solution for journalism: Chantal Hebert

Chantal Hebert writes:
"Among the main items of this week’s federal fiscal update, none has drawn reactions as mixed as the announcement of a half-billion-dollar package to be spent over the next five years on helping out Canada’s struggling news industry.
"Most media executives and many friends of the news media applauded the move. They had been calling for such a package. They described it as an overdue lifeline.
"Yet among the ranks of the political columnists, many fear it is a poison pill that will eventually do the news industry more harm than good.
Those positions are not as irreconcilable as it may seem."
Full column

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Ottawa to provide aid to support Canadian journalism

The federal government is giving a tax break to digital news subscribers, a refundable tax credit to news outlets and will allow non-profit media organizations to give charitable receipts to donors, all to help journalism in Canada, the Toronto Star reports.
The measures — which critics said would erode journalistic independence — were outlined in Wednesday’s economic update and will cost a total of $595 million over five years.
Full Toronto Star story

Monday, November 19, 2018

CNN drops suit against White House after Acosta’s press pass is fully restored

The Washington Post reports that CNN dropped its lawsuit against the White House on Monday after officials told the network that they would restore reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials as long as he abides by a series of new rules at presidential news conferences, including asking just one question at a time.
“Today the White House fully restored Jim Acosta’s press pass,” CNN said in a statement. “As a result, our lawsuit is no longer necessary. We look forward to continuing to cover the White House.”
The White House’s move to restore Acosta’s pass, announced in a letter to the news network, appeared to be a capitulation to CNN in its brief legal fight against the administration. White House officials had suspended Acosta’s White House press pass following a contentious news conference on Nov. 7, prompting CNN to sue last week to force the administration to return it.

White House tells Jim Acosta his press pass will be re-suspended once 14-day order expires

White House officials have reportedly sent a letter to CNN’s Jim Acosta indicating they will suspend his press pass again once the temporary restraining order that required them to restore Acosta’s credentials expires, CNN reported late Sunday night. The 14-day order was issued Friday, and unless the judge extends it, it would expire at the end of the month.
In a ruling seen as a victory for press freedom, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, appointed by President Donald Trump, ordered the White House to temporarily restore Acosta’s press pass on Friday while he considers the merits of the case and the possibility of a permanent order.
He said the White House has an obligation to afford due process to Acosta before it can revoke or suspend his access, and found that the White House’s decision-making process in this case was “so shrouded in mystery that the government could not tell me . . . who made the decision.”

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Reuters merging still pix and video news

Reuters is hastening the merger of news pictures and video news into a single team of visual journalists, with an unspecified implication that jobs across the combined operation will be cut.
The accelerated changes follow last month's spin-off of a majority stake in Thomson Reuters financial and risk business, now controlled by private equity investors and rebranded Refinitiv.
Reuters remains part of Thomson Reuters but is being re-organised as a stand-alone business. Its largest client is Refinitiv, which has agreed to pay Reuters at least $325 million a year for news coverage over the next 30 years.
Redundancies in Reuters reporting bureaus around the world have already begun and local language services are being cut back.
A news pictures staff member, who asked not to be identified, said: “This is essentially the end of Reuters Pictures, going down the tubes in a very sad way."
 

Friday, November 16, 2018

White House must return CNN reporter's media pass, judge rules

A U.S. federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to immediately reinstate CNN reporter Jim Acosta's credentials to cover the White House, though a lawsuit over the revocation of the pass continues.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly, an appointee of President Donald Trump, announced his decision following a hearing in Washington. The judge said Acosta's credentials would be returned immediately and reactivated to allow him access to the White House for media briefings and other events.
The White House said it would comply, but planned to develop "rules" for orderly news conferences. (CBC)

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Trump lawyer claims all reporters can be banned from White House

Politico reports:
Donald Trump sought Wednesday to land a massive blow in his long-fought battle against the news media, with administration lawyers asserting in court that the president could bar “all reporters” from the White House complex for any reason he sees fit.
The sweeping claim, which came in the first public hearing over CNN’s lawsuit to restore correspondent Jim Acosta’s White House credentials, could have a dramatic impact on news organizations’ access to government officials if it is upheld in court.
Full story

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

CNN sues White House over revocation of Jim Acosta’s press credentials

CNN has filed suit against the Trump administration to demand that the White House reinstate Jim Acosta’s credentials, which were revoked last week following a contentious post-midterm press conference, Variety reports.
The lawsuit sets up a potential legal showdown between the administration and CNN, which Trump has long disparaged, as well as the news media itself.
“The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process,” CNN said in a statement. “We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process. While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone. If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to the lawsuit saying, “This is just more grandstanding from CNN, and we will vigorously defend against this lawsuit.”

Sunday, November 11, 2018

New book about the Ottawa press gallery

Robert Lewis, long-time editor of Maclean's and a member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery while with the Montreal Star, has just published a very readable book about the history of the gallery and his time there. It has been well reviewed. Bob has been promoting it at various book stores. Photo below shows him at Ben McNally's book store in Toronto.
Robert Lewis

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Sale of Rogers magazines to publisher of The Hockey News falls apart

The Globe and Mail's Susan Krashinsky Robertson reports that a deal in the works for Rogers Communications Inc. to sell most of its magazines to the publisher of The Hockey News has fallen apart at the last minute.
Rogers is still seeking a buyer for the magazines, according to sources familiar with the process.
Rogers put eight print and digital titles on the block – Maclean’s, Canadian Business, MoneySense, Today’s Parent, Hello! Canada, Flare and Chatelaine’s French and English editions – along with its custom-content group, which produces marketing content such as in-house magazines for various companies.
Roustan Media Ltd., owned by Graeme Roustan, emerged as the lead bidder and entered exclusive negotiations with Rogers, sources with knowledge of the discussions say. Mr. Roustan purchased sports magazine The Hockey News from Quebecor Inc.’s Groupe TVA earlier this year. The deal that fell through with Rogers was for all the magazines for sale except MoneySense, sources say. (Hello! Canada, which is part of the sale, is a brand not owned by Rogers, but is published under an agreement with a Spanish publishing company.)
Rogers had scheduled a town hall meeting Tuesday afternoon to inform employees the company signed a deal to sell the seven titles to Mr. Roustan’s company. Late last week, however, Rogers requested a delay in closing the sale, expressing a desire to examine other potential offers. Mr. Roustan withdrew from the process at that point, sources said.
It is not clear what other potential buyers there might be for the magazine assets, or whether another offer has come forward.
 
The full Globe and Mail story
 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Conservatives preparing to battle with reporters as they go ‘for the jugular’ in the 2019 federal election campaign

The Star's Alex Boutilier writes:
"The Conservative party appears to be gearing up for a fight with news outlets as part of its 2019 electoral strategy.
"Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s office has revamped its communications team to provide a more rapid response, war room-style operation. And they have not been shy about calling out reporting they don’t like.
"At a rally in downtown Ottawa last Sunday, Scheer said he would stand up to “the media” and accused journalists of siding with the Liberals in the carbon tax debate.
“'We don’t always get the same kind of coverage that (Trudeau) gets in the mainstream media. Have you noticed that?' Scheer asked supporters.
“'(Trudeau has) got the media on his side, he’s got the pundits, he’s got the academics and think-tanks, everyone who wants to lecture you on how to spend your own money and how to live your own life.'”
MORE

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Globe reports that Rogers close to a deal on magazine sales

Susan Krashinsky Robertson and James Bradshaw report:
"Rogers Communications Inc. is closing in on a deal to sell almost all of its magazine business, according to multiple sources.
"The Toronto-based telecommunications and media company is negotiating to sell seven of its digital and print magazine titles − Maclean’s, Canadian Business, Today’s Parent, Hello! Canada, Flare and Chatelaine’s French and English editions − to a company owned by Graeme Roustan, the publisher of sports magazine The Hockey News, according to sources with knowledge of the discussions. The deal would also include Rogers’s custom-content group, which provides services to marketers, such as creating branded in-house magazines.
"MoneySense, which has been a digital-only publication since last year, is also for sale but is not part of the proposed deal, sources said. The Globe and Mail first reported in August that Rogers had put the titles on the block and had hired the investment-banking arm of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to manage the sale. A deal with Mr. Roustan has not been finalized, however, and is said to require approval from the Rogers board. It is still possible that another bidder could emerge."

Christie Blatchford: Couple seem to believe they are doing God’s work in battle with publishers

The Kinsellas appear to share the view that by fighting to shut down Your Ward News, they are doing noble work that must not be called into question in any manner
Blatchford's column

CHUM's Roger Ashby to retire after 50 years

CHUM 104.5 host Roger Ashby has announced his retirement after 50 years with the station. A release from Bell Media, owner of CHUM 104.5, says Ashby’s farewell broadcast will air live from the Sheraton Centre Toronto Grand Ballroom on Wednesday, Dec. 5 beginning at 5 a.m. ET.

More on the South Bayview Bulldog

Monday, October 22, 2018

Time for a change of regime at CBC?

The Globe and Mail's John Doyle takes on the Corp in a sarcastic column dealing with the non-coverage of Toronto and other Ontario municipal elections on its Toronto station. One has to start wondering why we have a "national" broadcaster. Election coverage has always been its staple.
Here is an excerpt:
 
"The other day, CBC TV made it clear that it will air Murdoch Mysteries and Frankie Drake Mysteries on Monday evening, as usual, in the Toronto region. It is certainly not going to pre-empt those masterpieces of mystery shenanigans to cover the results of the mayoral race and the first reduced-council election. If you want that kind of politics stuff, you can go online. "That’s where the action is, says CBC.
"Far be it from you or me, mere citizens, taxpayers and consumers, to quarrel with this. CBC knows best when it comes to the news and the public broadcaster went its own eccentric way some time ago. I mean, it’s not as though the elections in Toronto and nearby are about Prince Harry and his wife Meghan. Now that would be news. They’re having a baby for heaven’s sake. Or, events in Venezuela. That’s what you call news at CBC HQ.
 
"I put it to you that everything about CBC News has been idiosyncratic since The National started being anchored by what appears to be a five-a-side-soccer team. You just never know what you’ll get.
Take Sept. 10 of this year. That’s the day Ontario Premier Doug Ford reacted to a court decision by announcing, in a lather, that he would invoke the notwithstanding clause to force a reduction in Toronto City Council. "This was a gobstopper of a reaction from a premier. The country was gobsmacked.
 
"Says I to myself, I’ll check out The National tonight to get the lowdown on the notwithstanding clause. Experts will explain. Historical context will be given. The meat and drink of the news story.
"What on earth was I thinking? I should have known that Adrienne Arsenault was at the border between Venezuela and Colombia. That was the main news of the day. Of course it was. Adrienne Arsenault announced, “Tonight we are in Colombia, a country bearing the brunt of a desperate, growing exodus."
 
Full column-subscrition needed
 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

CBC to air Murdoch Mysteries instead of municipal election

The CBC has decided to not run live coverage of Toronto’s October 22 election on local television, but will be posting constant updates online and across a range of social media platforms and broadcasting results live on radio after the polls close, the Star's Emily Mathieu reports.
Instead of an election broadcast, the  local CBC station will be showing  Murdoch Mysteries.
Chuck Thompson, CBC's head of public affairs, sent a short statement in response to a question about coverage.
“In planning our election night coverage, we considered a variety of options to best address competing priorities and we know through research that audiences want the results on mobile and digital,” said Thompson. “We’re confident that our coverage of the GTA municipal elections will provide extensive, up-to-date news across all of our platforms.”
Murdoch Mysteries starts at 8 p.m., the same time polls close, followed by Frankie Drake Mysteries at 9 p.m. and The National at 10 p.m. Special election coverage on local CBC television will start at 11 p.m.
Live election updates will be posted every 30 seconds on the city’s website, starting at 8 p.m.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Steven Ladurantaye becomes head of news at Scottish broadcaster STV

Steve Ladurantaye
Scottish broadcaster STV has named Canadian Steven Ladurantaye as its new head of news as part of a major shake-up, the U.K website Insider.com reports..
Ladurantaye, previously at the CBC, joins the Glasgow-based company in the wake of a restructuring announced in May which saw it close its loss-making STV2 channel and cut a total of 59 jobs including 34 news roles.
Ladurantaye was previously managing editor at CBC's The National and was also global chair of news at Twitter.
He was removed from The National job and reassigned after what has been described as "a cultural appropriation controversy."
Last year, Ladurantaye was among a number of journalists who engaged in a late-night Twitter conversation that was sparked by a contentious magazine article advocating for more cultural appropriation in Canadian literature.
The opinion piece triggered a number of apologies but former National Post editor Ken Whyte responded by tweeting he would “donate $500 to the founding of the appropriation prize if someone else wants to organize.”
Ladurantaye replied that he would contribute $100. He later deleted the tweet and apologized but was not returned to his job at The National,

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Where is Ottawa’s help for Canada’s newspapers? Asks John Honderich

John Honderich writes:
"This being National Newspaper Week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided to send out a tweet extolling the value of newspapers to our democracy.
“'In an ever-changing world with an ever-changing media landscape, our local newspapers play a vital role in protecting our democracy,' he wrote. “'We salute the papers — big and small — working to keep us informed.'
"It is reassuring to know the role of Canadian newspapers is appreciated. "For many, myself included, the feeling is deeply inbred that our democracy is only as strong as the strength and vitality of our newspapers.
"Yet in the past decade, at least 137 community and local newspapers have folded or ceased publication."

Full story

Friday, September 28, 2018

Canada slips to 55th place in global freedom-of-information law rankings

Canada has slipped six places to 55th spot on an annual list of global freedom-of-information rankings, and is now tied with Bulgaria and Uruguay.
The Halifax-based Centre for Law and Democracy and human rights organization Access Info Europe published the list to mark International Right to Know Day.
The rating system, launched in 2011, uses a 150-point scale to indicate the strengths and weaknesses of freedom-of-information laws around the world. (CP)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Kavanaugh accuser's lawyers want to limit media access to hearing. Do they think it's in Canada?

Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyers have asked senators to limit the press who will be allowed in the room to cover Thursday’s hearing with her and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and sought to dictate at least some of the outlets.
Coverage is one of a number of issues Ms. Blasey Ford’s lawyers are negotiating with Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Michael Bromwich said in emails sent Tuesday afternoon that he was requesting access for three “robocams,” three specific wire services, photographers from the Associated Press, Reuters and one unspecified service, and a pool reporter for newspapers and magazines. In a follow-up email he specified that the robocams should be operated by “the CSPAN TV pool,” and said he also wanted space for a radio reporter
Those emails were among several seen by The Washington Times detailing the tense negotiations between Ms. Blasey Ford’s team and committee staff.
While committees sometimes limit press based on space at hearings, and some witnesses have arranged to have their identities shielded, longtime Capitol Hill watchers struggled to think of precedent for a witness dictating terms of press coverage. (Washington Times)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Torstar to purchase iPolitics media outlet

Torstar announced today it has, through one of its subsidiaries, signed an agreement to purchase assets of iPolitics Inc., the Ottawa-based digital political news outlet.
In a Canada News Wire release Torstar said the deal is expected to close
"on or about October 1, 2018."
"Following closing, Torstar daily newspapers and websites across the country will soon begin publishing articles from iPolitics," the release said."
CNW release

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Ian Buruma bounced from New York Review of books over Ghomeshi article

Renowned author Ian Buruma is longer editor of the New York Review of Books, numerous media report. It is not known whether the 66-year-old Dutchman was dismissed or if he had resigned. He had been in the position for a year.
The move comes amidst the fallout over Buruma’s decision to publish the controversial first-person essay last week by Jian Ghomeshi, who was acquitted of sexual assault charges in 2016.
A spokesman for the New York Review of Books has confirmed that Buruma is no longer editor of the prestigious 55-year-old magazine. It is not known whether the 66-year-old Dutchman was dismissed or if he had resigned.
Link to a somewhat bloated piece in the Globe and Mail

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Cloud computing company owners buy TIME magazine

Media giant Meredith Corporation has agreed to sell TIME Magazine for $190 million, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.
Marc Benioff, co-founder of the cloud computing company Salesforce.com, and his wife Lynn Benioff are purchasing the publication, they confirmed to the Journal. The proposed sale to the Benioffs is expected to close within 30 days and will be unrelated to Salesforce.com.
They also told the newspaper that they won’t have any day-to-day influence over the magazine’s operations, nor will they have any journalistic input.
“We’re investing in a company with tremendous impact on the world, one that is also an incredibly strong business. That’s what we’re looking for when we invest as a family,” Marc Benioff told the newspaper.
 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Erich Lessing, 95, photographer who chronicled postwar Europe, dies

Sam Roberts of the New York Times writes:
"Erich Lessing, a self-taught photojournalist who fled the Nazi annexation of Austria as a teenager in 1939 but returned after World War II to document Europe’s political and cultural rebirth, died on Aug. 29 in Vienna. "He was 95.
"His death was announced by Magnum Photos, the agency that recruited him in 1951 after he returned from Israel, where he had eked out a living driving a cab, selling cameras, breeding carp on a kibbutz and taking pictures of kindergarten classes and of mothers with their children on the beach near Tel Aviv."

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Postmedia threatens to lock out Ottawa Citizen and Sun staff over latest contract offer

Postmedia Network Inc. has told Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Sun staff that it will lock out union employees starting Monday if they reject or refuse to vote on its final contract offer Sunday.
Chris Krygiel, vice-president of human resources and labour relations at Postmedia, said in a letter Thursday to staff that a lockout is not the company’s preferred course of action, but that both sides have to “move on” from a collective agreement that expired 34 months ago.
He said the company has made the best offer it can on benefits given the economic challenges of the industry. Postmedia has struggled under significant debt and declining advertising revenue in recent years.
Lois Kirkup, vice-president of the Ottawa Newspaper Guild, said the company is asking for significant cuts on top of agreed-upon concessions that included a shift to a defined contribution pension.
“They’re actually gutting our benefits,” said Kirkup. (CP)

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Something new: A no-anchor TV station starting in Montreal

Dave Sidaway of he Montreal Gazette writes:
Young, fast, new, different. And cheap.
That, put bluntly, is the strategy of CityNews Montreal, the local English-language TV newscast that launches on Monday.
The biggest difference from CTV, CBC and Global is that CityNews works without anchors. There’s no equivalent to a Mutsumi Takahashi or a Debra Arbec or a Jamie Orchard. Instead, it jumps directly from reporter to reporter in the field, most of them working without a separate camera operator or editor.
The broadcasts will also put less of an emphasis on weather and sports. The former will be shorter and pre-recorded locally by Breakfast Television weather presenter Catherine Verdon-Diamond. The latter will be produced by Sportsnet out of Toronto (but customized for the market). And if you watch the entire show, you’ll see local news repeated in the second half.
Dave Budge, VP of news and information at Rogers Media, told the Montreal Gazette that ratings data shows “the vast majority of viewers watch a fraction of the newscast,” so they want to give stories another chance to be seen.
Full story

Monday, September 3, 2018

Two Reuters journalistsin Myanmar sentenced to sevean years in jail

A Burmese judge on Monday found two Reuters journalists guilty of violating a colonial-era secrets law and sentenced them to seven years in prison after a months-long trial that was widely seen as farcical and a severe blow for press freedom in the country, also known as Myanmar.
Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were detained last December after a late-night meeting with police officers who handed them documents in what has been described by defence attorneys and press watchdogs as a case of entrapment. Other officers arrested the journalists shortly after, claiming the documents were secret, and held them incommunicado for weeks. (Washington Post)
Full story

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Iconic Village Voice closes after 63 years

The Village Voice, New York’s Pulitzer prize-winning alternative weekly known for its muckraking investigations, brash political reporting, exhaustive arts criticism and anxiety-laden cartoons, is going out of business after 63 years. Last night, New York cultural figures, among them the guitarist Lenny Kaye, came out to salute the publication’s passing.
Full story in The Guardian

The Star's Daniel Dale says Bloomberg News not source of his story

Rejecting a claim by Donald Trump, a Toronto Star reporter says Bloomberg News journalists were not the source of a bombshell leak of the president’s inflammatory “off the record” remarks about trade negotiations with Canada, the Star reports.
Daniel Dale, the Star’s Washington bureau chief, made the statement Saturday after President Trump unleashed attacks against the Bloomberg reporters for allegedly breaking a promise that his remarks during an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg were “off the record.”
“I don’t want to be party to the president’s smearing of excellent, ethical journalists. So I can say this: none of the Bloomberg interviewers was my source,” Dale said in a Tweet. “The president is incorrect when he claims he was wronged by his interviewers.”
Full story
The circus continues!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Angry donors pack Jazz.FM meeting amid corporate interest in deal with station

The Star's Donovan Vincent writes:
"Jazz.FM’s board of directors got an earful from the station’s donors Friday, many calling for the board to “dissolve” and for ex-CEO Ross Porter’s Saturday radio program to be pulled from the air.
After the tumultuous, packed annual general meeting, interim CEO Charles Cutts told the Star that three large, for-profit corporations have recently approached and expressed an interest in some sort of business relationship with the station."
Full story and all that jazz

CBC apologizes to NDP MP Christine Moore over relationship story

The CBC apologized to NDP MP Christine Moore on Thursday for failing to meet all of its editorial standards.
The network said in a story published on its website last May that Moore was the subject of allegations of sexual misconduct involving a former soldier.
CBC’s article was picked up by other media and the Quebec-based MP was then suspended from her caucus duties.
The CBC said in a statement Thursday that Moore was asked in May to respond to the allegations but requested more time, which the broadcaster acknowledged it did not provide but should have.  (CP)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Trump insider David Pecker leaving Postmedia board of directors

Donald Trump insider David Pecker is stepping down from the board of Canadian media giant Postmedia Network Canada Corp.
The company that owns several of Canada's biggest daily newspapers says Pecker tendered his resignation so that he can better focus on his other business interests.
The CEO of American Media Inc., publisher of the tabloid National Enquirer, was reported last week to have been granted immunity by U.S. federal prosecutors in return for information in their probe of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. (CP)

Monday, August 27, 2018

Barrie Dunsmore dead at 79

 Barrie Dunsmore, long-time diplomatic correspondent for ABC News, has died, the network reported. He was 79 and had been in ill-health for some time.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Why Canada’s reputation as a kids' TV production powerhouse is under threat

The Globe and Mail's Susan Krashinsky Robertson writes:
"Boat Rocker Media had a hit on its hands. The Next Step, a tween-targeted show about an elite dance troupe, drew the highest ratings the Family Channel had ever seen for a premiere at the time, with 574,500 people tuning in. Over five seasons, the Canadian-made series found an audience – in more than 120 countries, viewers were following the drama of a telegenic squad of teen dancers as they competed to win championships, formed friendships and rivalries, and pursued their dreams. The company drew in viewers to its YouTube channel as well, where it posted dance sequences regularly watched by tens of thousands online.
“'It built a global juggernaut,' said Jon Rutherford, president of rights at Toronto-based Boat Rocker.
"But by the sixth season, Boat Rocker’s financing in Canada was no longer enough to get production off the ground. DHX Media Ltd., which now owned the Family Channel, was still paying a fee to license the show, but 'their total financial contribution was much lower,' Mr. Rutherford said. So last summer, Boat Rocker turned to U.S. channel Universal Kids, seeing an opportunity to work out the first deal for the show with a major American TV broadcaster. In August, Boat Rocker announced that Universal Kids had acquired the rights to the first five seasons and would be a production partner on the sixth."
Full story -- long

Friday, August 24, 2018

Susan Delacourt to become Star's Ottawa bureau chief

Free-lance political columnist Susan Delacourt tweeted today that she is rejoining the Toronto Star to become its Ottawa bureau chief.

Robin Leach of "Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous" dies at 76

Robin Leach, whose voice crystallized the opulent 1980s on TV's "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," died Friday. He was 76.
Leach's family said through a public relations firm that he died in Las Vegas, where he made his home.
Leach had a stroke in November while on vacation in Mexico that led to a months-long recovery, much of which he spent at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio before returning to Las Vegas in June.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal, which ran Leach's columns before he became ill, said he suffered another stroke Monday.
"Champagne wishes and caviar dreams" was Leach's sign-off at the end of every episode of his syndicated show's decade-long run that began in 1984.
Full AP obit

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.

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