Monday, December 31, 2018

Group of Rogers employees proposes to buy magazine brands in effort to save jobs

Susan Krashinsky Robertson writes that a group of Rogers Media employees has crafted a proposal to buy the company’s magazine brands, in an attempt to save jobs at a division the communications company no longer wants to own.
The group has put forward a plan to purchase Rogers Communications Inc.'s five remaining print magazines – Maclean’s, Today’s Parent, Hello! Canada and Chatelaine’s English and French editions – as well as digital titles Canadian Business and Flare and a custom content unit, which creates editorial-style content such as branded magazines for companies.
Rogers formally put the business for sale several months ago.
Rogers is said to have two interested parties, of which the employee group is one. The group is spearheaded by Alison Uncles, editor-in-chief of Maclean’s magazine, and entrepreneur Scott Gilmore, a former diplomat who is a Maclean’s contributor. (The Globe has not been able to confirm the identity of the other bidder.)
Link-Globe subscribers only story

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Star interveiws new CBC head

The Star's TV critic Tony Wong interviewed  the new CBC boss Catherine Tait. Here are two Q and A's. The whole thing is available

You’ve said that the CBC newsrooms are our most precious asset. But there has been controversy over use of four anchors at The National. The criticism is that it’s disjointed and not working. Do you see a day we go back to one anchor?
The most thrilling thing for me in the first few weeks I was here was to go into newsrooms. I’ve always been in scripted programming and I really have no journalism background. But news is definitely the beating heart of the CBC. I can really sense the pressure and the responsibility.
But first of all, they made a very audacious choice. They said let’s try and reinvent the form, let’s experiment; take some of our most talented on air hosts and see what they do. I would say it’s a work in progress. We’re getting great traction on the digital uptake for The National. There are definitely challenges for some people who are looking for that one trusted host. There are issues. But I think we will have a post-mortem and dig into it at some point. What I think is really important is that they dared to do something different.
On the subject of CBC news, during the Ontario municipal elections you didn’t pre-empt your regular programming such as Murdoch Mysteries to show live results. But other broadcasters did. Do you think that fulfilled the mandate of the CBC?
We can get election results in a real-time way. And digital provides that service and sometimes better than conventional television. Should every single election be covered on TV? I would say no. Our research shows that a great number go to the web to get the results. Obviously there were people who were disappointed and we would love to serve everyone to the maximum. But it’s a question of resources.

G. Stuart Adam who helped shape Carleton J-school dead at 79

Stuart Adam, who spent almost 60 years at Carleton University, arrived as an undergraduate in 1959 and was a professor emeritus at the time of his death last week.Adam had been director of the School of Journalism and Communication, dean of arts, provost and vice-president academic. Respected by colleagues and students, Adam was well-known as a scholar and one of Canada’s leading journalistic minds. He died Dec. 26 of the complications of a brain tumour.  Adam was 79.
Ottawa Citizen obit

Monday, December 24, 2018

U.S. Congress demands answers on AP’s relationship with Chinese state media

Washington Post columnist Joe Ro0gin writes:
"China’s state-run media companies are rapidly expanding their integration with Western news outlets, as part of Beijing’s worldwide foreign influence operations campaign. In Washington, lawmakers in both parties are calling out such arrangements and demanding U.S. media companies make sure they don’t become tools of Chinese government propaganda.
"As with all authoritarian regimes, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is organized around manipulation and control of information and ideas. Under "President Xi Jinping, the party has rapidly and boldly expanded its efforts to influence discussion about China beyond its borders, in part through the global expansion of state-run media outlets. The goal is to suppress any criticism of the Chinese government and shape the international discussion of China in ways favorable to the party’s interests.
"Beijing is committed to limiting free expression, and any partnership between China’s state media enterprises and those of democracies must take this into account, said Chris Walker, senior vice president at the National Endowment of Democracy."
(AP has always had relationships with news agencies in dictatorial states, including Nazi Germany  - that led to an investigation.-- Ed.)

Friday, December 21, 2018

Der Spiegel says star reporter made up material

An award-winning journalist who worked for Der Spiegel has left the weekly magazine after evidence emerged that he committed journalistic fraud “on a grand scale” over a number of years, the publication said Wednesday.
Spiegel published a lengthy report on its website after conducting an initial internal probe of the work of Claas Relotius, a 33-year-old staff writer known for vivid investigative stories. The magazine said Relotius resigned Monday after admitting some of his articles included made-up material from interviews that never happened.
The Hamburg-based magazine said Relotius contributed almost to 60 articles published in print or online since 2011, first as a freelance writer before being hired full-time last year. The reporter previously worked for other German and Swiss publications and won numerous awards, including CNN Journalist of the Year in 2014.
Spiegel said Relotius acknowledged fabricating parts of at least 14 stories, including a piece about an American woman who he said volunteered to witness the executions of death row inmates, such as one in Texas at the beginning of the year. (AP)

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

CBS denies former CEO Les Moonves $120 million severance

CBS announced Monday that former CEO Les Moonves will not receive his $120 million severance package after the board of directors concluded he violated company policy and was unco-operative with an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.
The decision, which came after a five-month outside investigation, capped the downfall of one of television's most influential figures, the biggest entertainment powerbroker to see his career derailed amid the .MeToo movement against sexual misconduct.
A lawyer for Moonves said the board's conclusion "are without merit" but did not say whether the former CEO would challenge it in arbitration. (AP)

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Globe's Michael Kesterton was an eccentric "seeker of knowledge"

For 23 years, the Social Studies columnist mined an array of publications for his 'daily miscellany of information,' which often reflected his personality
Elizabeth Renzetti writes:
"On the morning of June 12, 1990, Globe and Mail readers discovered a new feature in their newspapers. It was "a daily miscellany of information" called Social Studies, a collection of information that could be important or inconsequential, but always intriguing. Essentially, it was a social media feed before social media, reflecting the vast knowledge and various interests of the man who would compile it for the next 23 years, Michael Kesterton.
 "Mr. Kesterton, who died on Dec. 5 at the age of 72, was the shy, quick-witted writer behind one of The Globe and Mail's most popular features. By the time Social Studies ended on Canada Day, 2013, Mr. Kesterton had compiled more than three kilometres of arcana, world history, scientific breakthroughs, anniversaries and odd news, such as the time Sophia Loren apprehended a handbag thief."
Full story

Mike Duffy can’t sue Senate over suspension without pay, judge rules

An Ontario judge has delivered a blow to Sen. Mike Duffy in his bid for financial restitution over his dramatic and protracted suspension without pay five years ago, removing the Senate as a target in his multimillion-dollar lawsuit.
Justice Sally Gomery said in a ruling Friday that the Senate’s decision to suspend Mr. Duffy is protected by parliamentary privilege – a centuries-old right designed to protect legislators from having to answer to judges for doing their jobs – meaning Mr. Duffy can’t take the Senate to court over its actions.
Ms. Gomery is striking the Senate from Mr. Duffy’s lawsuit, which sought more than $7.8-million from the upper chamber, the RCMP and the federal government. (CP)

Judge criticizes Toronto’s JAZZ.FM91 over ‘acrimonious fight’ with members

Superior Court of Ontario judge chastised JAZZ.FM91 on Friday morning, saying the not-for-profit Toronto radio station had been “playing games” to prevent a dissident shareholder group from lobbying members for changes in the organization’s board of directors.
Justice Sean Dunphy directed the station to provide the e-mail addresses of its approximately 2,200 member-donors to Brian Hemming, a Toronto-investment relations consultant and founder of Save Jazz FM. The group was founded in the summer after an eruption of discontent among supporters.
The station had provided Mr. Hemming with names and addresses of members, but refused to include e-mail addresses or phone numbers, citing privacy concerns. Mr. Hemming argued that the move disadvantaged his group in its dispute, noting the station’s board frequently lobbies its members through e-mails.
Justice Dunphy said the station’s defiant stand “was clearly adopted to frustrate the applicants and not – as suggested – out of concern to maintain privacy.” Still, he denied Mr. Hemming’s request for phone numbers, characterizing that method of contact as intrusive.
Full story

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

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.

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."

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