Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Trump pardons Conrad Black

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a full pardon for former media mogul Conrad Black, who was convicted in 2007 of fraud and obstruction of justice and spent 3-1/2 years in prison, the White House said.
Black, 74, a Canadian-born British citizen, once ran an international newspaper empire that included the Chicago Sun-Times, Britain’s Daily Telegraph and the Jerusalem Post.
“Lord Black’s case has attracted broad support from many high-profile individuals who have vigorously vouched for his exceptional character,” the White House said in a statement announcing the pardon.
He was found guilty in the United States in 2007 of scheming to siphon off millions of dollars from the sale of newspapers owned by Hollinger Inc, where he was chief executive and chairman.

Two of his three fraud convictions were later voided, and his sentence was shortened. He was released from a Florida prison in May 2012 and deported from the United States. (Reuters)

Shaw Communications sells its stake in Corus Entertainment for $548M

Shaw Communications Inc. is selling its stake in Corus Entertainment Inc. for $548 million.
Under the deal, the cable and telecommunications company will sell 80.63 million class B Corus shares at a price of $6.80 per share through a secondary offering.
Corus shares closed at $8.06 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
The sale represents a roughly 38 per cent stake in Corus.
Shaw said the money from the sale will be used for general corporate purposes, which may include the repayment of debt.
Corus will not receive any of the proceeds of the sale. (CP)

Friday, May 10, 2019

Globe and Mail to offer buyouts, aims to cut $10 million from operating budget

Canadaland and other outlets report that Globe and Mail staffers received  news at a midday town hall Wednesday, where publisher Phillip Crawley told attendees that the newspaper is cutting costs by cutting staff.
“The company wants to reduce the portion of its operating budget dedicated to labour costs by $10-million annually,” Mason Wright, the chairperson for the Globe unit of Unifor 87-M, told Canadaland in a Twitter message. “They are offering a ‘voluntary separation package,’ and if they don’t hit the $10-million target with voluntary departures, they’ll turn to involuntary dismissals to make up the difference.”
Wright told Canadaland that employees from all departments, unionized and non-unionized, will be eligible for a voluntary buyout. In a memo to union members (embedded below), Wright wrote that union leadership asked the company for “more generous voluntary separation terms in an effort to minimize the impact on the workforce, but that suggestion was rejected.”
Full story

Thursday, May 9, 2019

CTV converting journalists into videographers

A blog being run by free-lancer Steve Faguy reports that staff at CTV News departments across the country were called into mandatory meetings on Thursday, and told that they’ll have to tighten their belts a bit more.
"I don’t have specifics or numbers (I’ve asked CTV News for comment), but the headline is that journalists will be transformed into “videojournalists” who do not only their own reporting but also their own camerawork, editing and even writing for the web," he writes.
"As a result, editors and cameramen will be offered buyout packages or laid off. Layoff notices have been issued in Montreal and Toronto, I’m told, but not everywhere. In Montreal, 15 jobs are being cut and an unspecified number of online jobs added.
"CTV News already employs some videojournalists (there are four at CTV Montreal, all of them young), and they’re used at other networks as well, notably Citytv, which relies almost exclusively on them.
“Today’s announcement from CTV of its shift to ‘digital-first’ airing of local news stories on the Internet was inevitable,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Retooling local news for digital is necessary and, hopefully, a successful business plan because local TV is being starved for advertising revenues and anything that brings in a bigger audience and more ad revenue is welcome.”
Dias cautioned Bell Media of its responsibility to guide news staff through the technological change

Full story

BBC DJ fired after including chimpanzee picture in royal baby tweet

A BBC disc jockey has been fired after using a picture of a chimpanzee in a tweet about the royal baby born Monday to Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry.
Danny Baker tweeted Thursday that he has been fired after posting an image of a couple holding hands with a chimpanzee dressed in clothes and the caption: "Royal baby leaves hospital."
The tweet was seen as a racist reference to the heritage of the couple's newborn, Archie, who was born Monday. The duchess's mother, Doria Ragland, is black, and her father, Thomas Markle, is white. (CBC)

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Former Global broadcaster Leslie Roberts hired by CTV Morning Live

Leslie Roberts, the former Toronto news anchor who resigned from Global TV following conflict of interest allegations, will be the new co-host of CTV Morning Live in Ottawa, CTV has announced. He is  to start in June.
Roberts previously worked for Global in Toronto for 15 years as an anchor and executive editor. In 2015, Roberts resigned after the Toronto Star investigated conflict of interest allegations against him.
In 2013, Roberts set up a public relations firm, BuzzPR, with a business partner. The Star revealed there were several cases of Roberts’ BuzzPR clients, such as lawyers or motivational speakers, appearing on Global News. Roberts often interviewed them himself, either for the nightly news or the morning show, the Star wrote.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Most of Canada's top websites won't post federal election ads this year

Most of Canada's 20 most popular websites won't be accepting political ads or setting up the ad registries called for under new election rules adopted by Parliament.
A survey by CBC News reveals that many online operations have quietly decided that it would be too difficult to set up a registry in the two months remaining before the new rules go into effect, or to ensure that third party ads don't slip through their systems.
Tech giant Microsoft has decided to completely ban political advertising on its online platforms, including Bing and MSN, rather than adapt to new regulations being introduced around the world, including Canada's new rules. (CBC)
Full story

Thursday, April 18, 2019

National Enquirer sold to newsstand chain Hudson News for $100M

American Media Inc. (AMI) is selling its tabloid the National Enquirer for $100 million US to James Cohen, chief executive of Hudson News, the Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the agreement, Reuters reports.
The National Enquirer had admitted to paying hush money to help U.S. President Donald Trump get elected and been accused of attempting to blackmail Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
The weekly tabloid along with two sister publications, the Globe and the National Examiner, will be purchased by the head of Hudson News known for its airport newsstands, Associated Press later confirmed.
The sale is expected to reduce AMI's debt to $355 million, the Washington Post report said.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Landmark streaming as Appeal Court hears carbon tax test

The Ontario Court of Appeal, highest legal authority in the province, will stream proceedings at Monday’s challenge to the federal carbon tax. “Typically cameras are not permitted in courtrooms,” Jacob Bakan, special counsel in the office of the province’s chief justice told the National Post. “The court is making an exception for the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act.” The case will see the Ontario government and supporters challenge the federal authority over imposition of a charge on gasoline, heating fuel and other pollutants as a way to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Ontario maintains the federal law is unconstitutional. In an order last week, Justice James MacPherson gave the CBC permission to put up to five cameras in the courtroom. The livestream will be available to other media and on the court’s own website. (Courtesy of The South Bayview Bulldog)

Friday, April 12, 2019

Postmedia posts net loss of $5.1 million as digital revenue growth streak continues

Postmedia Network Canada Corp. posted its ninth consecutive quarter of double-digit digital revenue growth on Thursday, but declining print revenues and an impairment charge contributed to a net loss of $5.1 million for the company’s fiscal second quarter, the Financial Post reports.
In the three months ending Feb. 28, 2019, Postmedia, which is Canada’s largest newspaper chain, saw its revenue decline to $145.7 million from $157.6 million in the same period last year.
The drop in the Postmedia second fiscal quarter, the company said, was due to a $10 million decrease in print advertising and a $2.9 million decline in print circulation revenue. The company noted, however, that the rates of decline for both metrics slowed as compared to last year.

Judge orders Quebecor to reconnect TVA Sports signal for Bell TV subscribers

CP reports that a Quebec judge has ordered Quebecor to reconnect the signal for three TVA Sports channels to Bell TV customers.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Claude Champagne refused, however, to prohibit the media company from making negative publicity about Bell, as its rival had requested, citing freedom of expression.
Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau told reporters that the company was going to obey the injunction.
The ruling came after lawyers for Bell Canada and rival Quebecor Inc. were in court Friday, battling over three French-language sports channels that Bell TV subscribers haven’t received since the NHL playoffs began this week.
Bell lawyer Francis Rouleau said cutting the signal “is a conduct that deserves to be highly sanctioned ... to reinstate those who are in the penalty box, who are the consumers and the subscribers of Bell.”

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

CTV reporter Paul Bliss was fired for repeated sexual misconduct, network alleges

CP's Colin Perkel writes:
"A veteran television reporter who left CTV after a woman accused him of lewd behaviour at the Ontario legislature was fired for repeated sexual misconduct involving young women, new court documents allege.
In an untested filing in Superior Court, CTV and its owner Bell Media say they began investigating complaints against Paul Bliss after a former freelancer, Bridget Brown, went public in January 2018 with accusations against him.
“'The investigation revealed that Mr. Bliss had been engaging in sexual activities in the workplace with multiple individuals on multiple occasions for over 10 years,' Bell Media says in its statement of defence. 'The investigation also revealed that Mr. Bliss continued to send sexually inappropriate messages using work resources, despite being warned by Human Resources previously that the conduct was not acceptable.'
The document served on Tuesday was filed as part of a $7.5-million defamation lawsuit Bliss launched a year ago against CTV, Bell Media, Brown and others."
Full story

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The story of a successful legislatures newsletter

Megan O'Toole writes in J-Source:
"In the late summer of 2017, after months of contraction and dozens of layoffs in the Canadian media industry, Allison Smith’s digital newsletter service was growing.
"Smith, the founder and publisher of the Ontario legislative chronicle Queen’s Park Today, saw her chance to launch a sister outlet in British Columbia, where a provincial election had resulted in a dramatic power shift: An NDP-Green coalition had taken office after 16 years of Liberal rule. Smith issued a call for reporters, and B.C. journalist Shannon Waters answered it, coming on board just in time to cover the throne speech on Sept. 8, 2017.
"Since then, Smith has hired five additional staff members – a salesperson, a copy editor, a part-time news editor and two more reporters – and launched a third legislative newsletter in Alberta. Her revenues have doubled in the past year as she has transitioned from a one-woman, Ontario-based operation to a fully fledged, cross-country news service."
 Full story

Former Rob Ford chief of staff Mark Towhey will be replacing James Wallace, who left to become deputy chief of staff for Doug Ford

Canadaland reports that on Friday pundit and commentator Mark Towhey announced on Twitter that he was to be the new editor-in-chief of Sun News, responsible for the Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Calgary Sun newspapers. After helping elect Ford to the Toronto mayoralty, and serving in his office as director of policy and strategy and later chief of staff, Towhey co-authored a book — Mayor Rob Ford: Uncontrollable – How I Tried to Help the World’s Most Notorious Mayor — that both detailed his knowledge of Ford’s frequently dangerous, abusive, and illegal activities, as well as his efforts to cover them up in the press and keep the mayor’s reelection viable. (In the book, he maintained that he never lied on the mayor’s behalf, merely dissembled.)
He later helped run Patrick Brown’s successful campaign for the leadership of the PC Party of Ontario but did not follow him to Queen’s Park. Brown subsequently wrote in his own book that, once he became leader, he had the party’s lawyer draft confidentiality agreements for his staff so that they “could not do to me what Mark Towhey, former chief of staff to Ford, did to the mayor of Toronto, namely, write a book about Ford’s time in office.”
Since November 2013, Towhey has hosted a Sunday afternoon show on Toronto’s Newstalk 1010, a job which he indicated he will be continuing. He has also acted as a consultant, obtaining a $100,000 sole-sourced contract from the Town of Caledon, Ontario, in 2015.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Peter Calamai dead at 75

Peter Calamai died at his home in Stratford, Ont., today (Tuesday). He was 75.
Calamai  began his professional career at the Hamilton Spectator before moving to Southam News and postings that took him to London, Nairobi, Washington, Vancouver and Ottawa.Calamai then served as editorial page editor of the Ottawa Citizen before moving to the Toronto Star in 1998 and the job of national science reporter. He retired from the Star in 2008 but stayed active as a freelance writer and editor.
Star obit by Bruce Campion-Smith

Monday, January 21, 2019

Reporter who helped expose corrupt FIFA official killed in professional hit, employer says

An investigative journalist in Ghana who helped expose a high-ranking official at world soccer body FIFA as corrupt was shot dead by gunmen on a motorbike as he drove home alone at night, police said Thursday.
His employers said he was assassinated.
Ahmed Hussein-Suale was killed late Wednesday, shot twice in the chest and once in the neck at close range while driving in the suburb of Accra where he lived. He died immediately, according to police.
Tiger Eye PI, the investigative journalism house Hussein-Suale worked for, said it had the hallmarks of a professional hit. (AP)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Journalist Zuhair Kashmeri, author of books on the Air India bombing, has died at age 72

Zuhair Kashmeri, a well known journalist who wrote two books about the Air India bombing and scored a rare interview with Yasser Arafat. died Dec. 21, 2018, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., of heart-related issues at the age of 72.
He wrote hundreds of articles for the Globe and Mail over 15 years, covering crime, business and financial scandals.
He was born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, on Dec. 3, 1946.
He earned diplomas in journalism from the city’s Siddhartha College and another from the London School of Journalism in England.
Full obit by Ron Csilag in the Globe and Mail (subscription needed) 

CRTC chairman defends against critics, says regulator remains committed to net neutrality

The Globe and Mail's Christine Dobby writes:
"CRTC chairman Ian Scott says the telecom regulator remains committed to net neutrality, responding to claims that he wants to water down protections around the free flow of information online.
"The federal government is conducting a sweeping review of broadcast and telecom legislation and Mr. Scott came under fire in the fall for saying that any new laws should continue to allow for “flexibility” in the application of net neutrality.
"Net neutrality is the principle that internet providers should treat all traffic equally and not block or prioritize content. Mr. Scott said in a November speech that there could be instances involving public safety, remote medical procedures or self-driving cars “where a certain flexibility will be required.”
"His remarks spurred a backlash from consumer group OpenMedia, which has collected almost 15,000 signatures for an online petition to 'Save Net Neutrality in Canada.' The group argues that the CRTC, along with telecom industry lobbyists, is pushing for looser regulations following the repeal of net neutrality rules in the United States."
Full story (subscription needed)

Sunday, January 13, 2019

John M. Scott, editor of TIME Canada has died

John M. Scott, editor of the Canadian edition of TIME magazine in Montreal from 1962 to 1973, died on December 20, 2018. He was 88.
He was editor-in-chief of the McGill Daily while studying at the university. He later became a reporter and assistant city editor of the Montreal Gazette before joining TIME in New York in 1957. In 1962, he returned to Montreal as head of the magazine's first editorial office outside New York.
In 1973, John became chief of the Time-Life bureau in London. After Time closed its Canadian editorial edition in 1976, he stayed on as Time's Ottawa bureau chief, retiring in 1984. He died in the Magog, Quebec, hospital, near to his home in Georgeville, Quebec.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Paul Godfrey steps down as Postmedia CEO, Andrew MacLeod set to take over

Paul Godfrey is stepping down as chief executive officer of Postmedia Network and will be replaced by Andrew MacLeod, the company announced Thursday.
Godfrey, who turns 80 on Saturday, remains as executive chair, serving as a member of the senior management team and adviser to MacLeod. (Toronto Star)
Full story

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Veteran film and video editor Tom Latimer dead at 78

Tom Latimer, long-time free-lance film and video editor  at CTV, has died at age 78. According an email from a friend, he had a sudden cardiac arrest at Bloor and Church Streets on December 27.
A funeral service will be held  on Monday, January 14, at 12 noon at the Morley Bedford Funeral Home, 159 Eglinton Avenue West.
Funeral home obituary

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