Wednesday, March 25, 2020

160-year-old Vatican newspaper succumbs to coronavirus

 The Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano, which Pope Francis has jokingly called “the party newspaper”, suspended printing for only the third time in nearly 160 years on Wednesday due to the coronavirus.
 The paper, which was founded in 1861, will continue publishing online and most of its staff of about 60, including 20 journalists, will work from home, editor Andrea Monda said.
“A newspaper and the paper on which it is printed are inextricably intertwined so it sad that this is happening but the reality is that we are all facing a crisis,” Monda told Reuters.
Wednesday evening’s edition will be the last for the time being. The newspaper’ print run of about 5,000 is disproportionate to its wider influence in reflecting Vatican opinion on international affairs and Church matters. It is followed by many ambassadors. (Reuters)

Friday, March 20, 2020

CBC’s closure of local newscasts amid the coronavirus crisis is a shame

Robert Hurst, one time president of CTV News, writes in an opinion piece in the Globe and Mail:
"Shame on the CBC for closing its local newscasts amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"This is a moment when news gathering and reporting is a critical public service. This is a moment when citizens need and crave information.
The CBC says it is “pooling our resources” into one core national news offering. What poppycock! Those resources are already pooled into the CBC News operation.
"What the CBC is actually doing is eliminating more than 75 hours a week of original local news reporting at a time of crisis.

"PEI Premier Dennis King is justifiably angry. The CBC is the only local newscast in Charlottetown and King says it is a “critical partner.”

"Across the country, thousands of local stories will now go unreported. For example, the failings of Ontario’s Telehealth emergency service will get only a passing mention on CBC News Network while that important story leads local newscasts. The CBC’s national audience will not have much interest any more in the Lynn Valley Care Centre, where 4 people have died from the coronavirus. But people in North Vancouver will want more, much more. Thankfully CTV and Global are active and vibrant in British Columbia."
More (subscription needed)

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

China expels American journalists

China announced on Tuesday that it would expel American journalists working for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. It also demanded that those outlets, as well as the Voice of America and Time magazine, provide the Chinese government with detailed information about their operations.
The announcement comes weeks after President Trump limited the number of Chinese citizens who could work in the United States for five state-controlled Chinese news organizations.
The announcement, made by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, came weeks after the Trump administration limited the number of Chinese citizens who could work in the United States for five state-controlled Chinese news organizations to 100.  LINK

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Australian Associated Press: News agency to close after 85 years

The national news agency Australian Associated Press said Tuesday it will close in late June, its 85 years in business vanquished by a decline in subscribers and free distribution of news content on digital platforms.
“The saddest day: AAP closes after 85 years of excellence in journalism. The AAP family will be sorely missed,” AAP Editor-in-Chief Tony Gillies said in a tweet.
Sydney-based AAP was started in 1935 by newspaper publisher Keith Murdoch, father of News Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch. It is owned by Australian news organizations News Corp. Australia, Nine Entertainment Co., Seven West Media and Australian Community Media.
The agency is renowned for its fair and impartial reporting and its extraordinary reach across rural and urban Australia. The surprise decision by its owners to close the agency comes amid a brutal consolidation in the industry and raised an outcry both from its staff and from many Australians who view it as a pillar of a free and fair press.
“When you have such an important institution such as AAP coming to an end, ... that is a matter of real concern,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament. (AP)

Monday, March 2, 2020

Subway must pay CBC $500,000 for failed defamation lawsuit over chicken

Sandwich chain Subway has been ordered to pay the CBC $500,000 in legal costs following its failed bid to sue the public broadcaster for defamation.
In his decision, Ontario Superior Court Justice Ed Morgan attributed much of the length and complexity of the legal battle to the approach taken by the fast-food chain.
Subway had sued the CBC for defamation over a Marketplace report in February 2017 that focused on the amount of chicken in its chicken sandwiches. The world's largest fast-food operator sought $210 million in damages.
"Its materials were overwhelmingly aimed at the issue of truth in the news magazine item that was the subject of the suit — an issue which goes to the heart of the merits of Subway's defamation claim, but is only relevant in a minor way to the SLAPP criteria," Morgan said. "The motion turned into a massive undertaking to which CBC, as moving party, was compelled to reply."
Both Subway's approach and the CBC's response required a "Herculean lawyering effort" resulting in a "monument to high-end legal work" in complex litigation, Morgan said. However, the effect was one of extending and complicating what was intended to be a relatively quick procedure, the judge said.
The result, Morgan said, was that CBC racked up a total of $800,000 in legal costs that reflect the "large-scale undertaking" the anti-SLAPP motion became.

Friday, February 28, 2020

With the departure of Jennifer McGuire, CBC announces plan to restructure

The following are excerpts from a memo sent to CBC staff on Feb. 27 from Barbara Williams, executive vice president of English Services, published by J-Source.

 "What we are introducing today is a shift from a siloed traditional media operation to a truly audience-centric, content company. . . .
"I have spent a significant part of the past year travelling to locations across the country. I’ve seen first hand the vital role Local Services plays in communities. And the incredible power of our journalism on radio in all communities. I also came to realize that we are doing journalism in three different spaces, with three groups and three structures and that they are not always as connected as they could be. We can work better together by bringing our journalism under one division. One CBC."
The full memo as published by J-Source

(I guess we will have to wait for the Globe and Mail's John Doyle to find out what it all means.)

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Head of CBC News Jennifer McGuire leaving CBC

CBC's editor-in-chief of news, Jennifer McGuire, is stepping down after more than a decade in the role and leaving CBC at the end of this week, CBC announced Thursday on its web page.
As general manager and editor-in-chief of CBC News since May 2009, McGuire has been responsible for English language news content and programming across the public broadcaster's different platforms: radio, television, digital and social.
She was responsible for the multi-anchor revamp of The National that has recently been abandoned.
The CBC announcement says that the broadcaster " underwent major redevelopment initiatives during her tenure, including the reinvention of CBC Radio 2, the integration of the broadcaster's television, radio and digital news operations, the rebranding of CBC Newsworld into CBC News Network and the revamp of flagship TV newscast The National."

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Anne Kingston has died at 62

Anne Kingston, book author, magazine writer and former columnist at the National Post, has died at age 62.
Born and raised in Toronto, she was diagnosed in December with an aggressive cancer. She died on Wednesday in a Toronto hospital. Kingston had started teaching a course at the University of Toronto on the #MeToo movement and the media in September and was continuing her long tenure as a senior writer at Maclean’s magazine.
National Post obit

Thursday, February 13, 2020

McClatchy newspaper chain files for bankruptcy

McClatchy, the second-largest newspaper group in the United States, is filing for bankruptcy. The publisher — which owns 30 newspapers around the country, including The Miami Herald and The Kansas City Star — is not going out of business, however.
McClatchy’s Chapter 11 plan, if approved, will cede control of the company to Chatham Asset Management, making it the latest newspaper chain to be taken over by a hedge fund or a private equity firm as local newspapers have struggled to survive due in part to dwindling ad revenue.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Christie Blatchford dead at 68

Christie Blatchford has died at age 68. She was undergoing treatment for lung cancer.
Canadian Press obit

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

'Some people were confused' about media-licensing comment, says Guilbeault

The minister responsible for overhauling Canada’s broadcasting and telecommunications sectors tried to reassure Canadians Monday that the federal government is not preparing to license news outlets.
“Let me be clear. Our government has no intention to impose licensing requirements on news organizations nor will we try to regulate news content,” Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault told reporters at a news conference he called Monday morning. In an interview aired over the weekend, Guilbeault had said the government would ask media outlets to be licensed.
“We are committed to a free and independent press, which is essential to our democracy,” the minister said Monday.
“Our focus will be and always has been to ensure that Canadians have access to a diversity of high-quality and credible news sources.”
His weekend remarks sparked a social-media firestorm, fanned by the Opposition Conservatives, over the prospect of the government using licensing requirements to censor news.
Full CP story

Friday, January 31, 2020

Linda Diebel dead at 71

Linda Diebel was a tenacious reporter and gifted story-teller who broke new ground as the Toronto Star’s first Latin American Bureau chief in 1995.
Diebel died this week of natural causes several months after a serious fall down the stairs in her Toronto home. She was 71.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

CBC scrapping four anchor format for The National

The CBC is scrapping the four-anchor format for its flagship newscast and going back to a conventional format. The  Globe and Mail's Simon Houpt reports that Adrienne Arsenault and Andrew Chang will become hosts Monday to Thursday. Ian Hanomansing will host the Friday and Sunday broadcasts.
Rosemary Barton, based in Ottawa, will become the chief political correspondent of CBC News, contributing to “digital, podcasts, radio, and television political specials,” according to a memo sent to CBC staff. She will also continue to moderate The National’s weekly At Issue panel discussion.
Ratings for The National on CBC TV and CBC News Network rose 3.6 per cent year over year, from an average audience of 667,000 in January, 2019, to 691,000 in January, 2020, according to figures provided by the CBC.
The Globe story contains no information on ratings for the CTV National News and Global's National News. Both broadcast in a conventional newcast format.
Globe story (subscription needed)

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