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, 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
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!

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