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).

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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