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

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