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. "
Full story

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."
Full story

Here’s How We Can Reinvent Local News

Interesting piece by Mark Effron in Mediashift. Excerpt:
"Then, we’d start from scratch, asking ourselves (and researching) who are our target audiences? What platforms are best to reach these targets? What programming best works on each platform? What kind of skill sets do our journalists need to succeed?
"Other questions: What kinds of sales categories and formats (both digital and on-air) are not being served and what kind of products can we create to serve them? What can we learn from Vice Media (up-close, in-your-face passionate reporting) and cable news (up-close, in-your-face passionate discussion) that’s transferable to our new local entity? (Hint: Passion works.) What valuable beats (and advertisers) were lost when the local newspaper slimmed down?"
Link to full story

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Global News journalist files $900K wrongful arrest suit against Hamilton police

A Global News journalist who was arrested by a Hamilton police officer while covering the death of a 10-year-old girl has filed a statement of claim against the officer and the service.
“The [Hamilton Police Services] Board has a duty to ensure Hamilton Police Service officers are properly trained to facilitate and respect the right of members of the media to report on matters in the public interest,” the statement of claim filed by the legal counsel for Global News videographer Jeremy Cohn read.
Full story

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Bloomberg, Bell Media strike deal to rebrand BNN

The Globe and Mail's Susan Krashinsky Robertson writes:
"Financial information giant Bloomberg LP is expanding its media presence in Canada, striking a deal with Bell Media to rebrand its flagship business-news channel. In the spring, Bell's BNN (Business News Network) will become BNN Bloomberg.
"It is Bloomberg's second shot at a partnership here: Bloomberg TV Canada, the short-lived cable channel focused on business news, wasn't around long enough to be much of a competitor to BNN. But around Bell Media's offices, the channel was a wake-up call in one respect.                                                                                                                                              "Bloomberg's partnership with small independent media company Channel Zero Inc. came to an end in mid-2017. Bloomberg had been in touch with BNN informally, and formalized talks for a new partnership in the past six months. The deal was finalized just before Christmas and was publicly announced on Monday.
"The partnership will give BNN exclusive rights to air Bloomberg's television content in Canada, bulking up its existing schedule – which frequently reverts to show replays in the evenings – with greater coverage of global markets and on-air contributions from more than 25 Bloomberg reporters based in five bureaus across Canada.” 
      Full story




Monday, January 8, 2018

CRTC urged to investigate telecom sales tactics

The CRTC is being urged to hold a public inquiry into the sales practices of the country’s major telecommunications service providers.
The formal request to the federal regulator comes from the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), an Ottawa-based non-profit group that often battles with Canada’s major telecommunications service providers.
PIAC executive director John Lawford on Monday called for CRTC chairperson Ian Scott to investigate recent media reports about high-pressure sales tactics used by least one major company.
“Many of these aggressive sales practices appear to have targeted vulnerable consumers, including older Canadians, grieving spouses and blind customers,” Lawford writes.
His letter refers to a CBC news investigation in November that began with allegations by Andrea Rizzo, a Bell call centre employee in Scarborough, who said she was under intense pressure to make a sale on every call.
The CBC reported later that it had received emails from dozens of Bell customers with various complaints and that a “flood” of Bell employees, past and present, had followed Rizzo’s lead in speaking out about the stress they felt from pressure to meet sales targets.(CP)
Full CP story

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Jim Shaw, former CEO of Shaw Communications, dies at 60 after brief illness

Jim Shaw, who joined Shaw Communications, as a cable installer and eventually became CEO has died at age 60. During his tenure, he helped the company founded by his father grow from $646 million in revenue to $3.7 billion.
He died Wednesday at age 60 after a brief illness, the Calgary-based company said in a statement. He was CEO from 1998 until 2010, when he handed the reins to his younger brother, Brad.

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