Tuesday, August 31, 2010

YouTube streaming MLB to Japan

The remarkable importance of streaming has been linked to the remarkable interest of the Japanese in baseball. YouTube has inked a deal with MLB to stream games to the island nation. Can a reverse service be far behind? They play pretty good ball and it is said that Tokyo ace Hisashi Iwakuma (right) has a searing fast ball seldom seen anywhere. CNET

Canadian broadcast revenues down 5.2 per cent

Private radio broadcasters' operating revenue declined 5.2% compared with 2008 to $1.5 billion in 2009. This was the first time since 1993 that revenue has fallen from one year to the next.

Google signs a deal to publish AP copy

The multi-year agreement announced Monday has two key components: an undisclosed payment for the rights to AP's content, and a data-sharing arrangement aimed at helping the news co-operative make more money across the Internet.

Good news for smaller Internet service providers

They will be permitted to access Bell's (and others) high-speed fiber networks, but for a price. Toronto Star.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Media manipulation or a political vacuum

The blog Media Matters asks whether the so-called Tea Party Movement in the U.S. would exist if it were not for Fox News providing promotion. The question opens larger issues of media manipulation, or on the other hand, the unstoppable force with which politics fills a vacuum. But we'll leave that discussion to you. TPG

For Harper, one picture worth 1,000 words

Calgary Herald blogger commenting on photo ops and how they may be helping the prime minister. Pictures show both the ups (left) and downs (right) of such things when PM gets stuck in an odd-looking flight suit.

Iran paper slurs Sarkozy's wife over stoning

Model Carla Bruni (right) has been branded a 'marriage-breaking prostitute' by Iran's premier newspaper Kayhan (left). France's First Lady has backed a campaign to save Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two who faced stoning to death for adultery. She is accused of cheating on her husband and then helping to kill him and, despite a world outcry, she still faces the death penalty. Subsequently, the Iranian government is said to have issued an advisory to media to refrain from such insults to foreign persons.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

BBC facing move to reduce its budget

BBC reports on itself from an event at which the U-K Culture Minister called on the broadcaster to show discipline and senior BBC executives promised cutbacks at the top.

OED may soon only be available online

It seems only somewhat surprising that this is likely. Anyone who cares about the use of words has long since moved to the swift and easy methods of finding definitions online. The numbers tell the story: 2 million hits a month from subscribers, while the current printed 20-volume edition has sold about 30,000 sets in total. The unwritten part of the story linked here is how free online dictionaries have undercut the no doubt more authoritive ones like OED. For those who care to know, the OED was the product of British intellectuals who in 1857 formed what was known as the Unregistered Words Association. It ultimately produced a scholarly paper on what was wrong with dictionaries of the day.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Reporters go nameless as Mexican society crumbles

Along with the police, reporters are literally under fire as the Mexican drug war apparently causes law and order to crumble. Bombs have been detonated outside television stations and writers no longer take bylines for their stories. AP story linked.

Big media gives Beck careful, wary coverage

Summary of links to the many comments from established voices suggesting coverage which is careful, perhaps wary. The "honour" rally leaves commentators uninspired.

Paul Allen sues web giants for patent infringement

A firm owned by billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen today sued Apple, Facebook, Google, YouTube, and seven other companies, charging them with infringing patents filed more than a decade ago. Reuters

Friday, August 27, 2010

WH star scibe Major Garrett leaving Fox

Fox News Channel chief White House correspondent Major Garrett says he's leaving the network after eight years to return to print journalism. He'll join the National Journal. Skeptics might guess that Garrett is parking himself there until a non-compete expires. But that's speculative.

Conrad Black's fraud appeals to be heard next month

Conrad Black's appeal to overturn his fraud convictions will be heard by a panel of judges in Chicago September 29. CTV.ca

USA TODAY reorganizes

Release on creation of five new departments including strengthened digital operation to make sure the service is available on every phone, pad and screen going.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

On the move: Tom Harrington and Laurie Few

Tom Harrington is joining Erica Johnson as co-host of Marketplace, the CBC announced. "“We’re thrilled," said the announcement. What a surprise, eh?
Laurie Few, long time producer at CTV News and CTV W5, is moving to Global TV as senior producer of the network’s long format investigative show called 16:9 The Bigger Picture.

Japan's 'digital shoplifting' plague

Japanese bookstores are set to launch a national campaign to stop so-called "digital shoplifting" by customers using camera-equipped mobile phones. The Japanese Magazine Publishers Association says the practice is "information theft" and it wants it stopped. It is the kind of thing that most Japanese young women wouldn't think twice about doing. They might spot a new hairstyle or a new dress in a glossy fashion magazine and they want to know what their friends think - so they take a quick snap with their mobile phone camera and send everybody a picture. But the publishers of those magazines feel they are being cheated out of valuable sales. Together with Japan's phone companies, they are issuing stern posters which warn shoppers to be careful of their "magazine manners".

Iran said to ban reporting on protest leaders

The New York Times reports that in a further clampdown on Iran’s cowed political opposition, the authorities have issued a ban on any news relating to the leaders of the protest movement that arose after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year, opposition Web sites reported. A leaked copy of a letter that has appeared on opposition Web sites orders the editors of all domestic newspapers and news agencies to refrain from publishing the names, photographs and statements of two defeated presidential candidates, Mir Hussein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, as well as former President Mohammad Khatami, because of the “probable negative influence” this would have on the public mind. Officials from the Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance did not respond to requests for comment on the letter’s authenticity.

University of Colorado mulls shutting down journalism school

The University of Colorado at Boulder is considering discontinuing its School of Journalism and Mass Communications “for strategic and budgetary reasons,” the state’s flagship university has announced. At a news conference, university officials were at pains to emphasize that no decision had yet been made and that an exploratory committee has been appointed to study creating “a new academic unit that will draw on existing strengths to prepare students for an ever-changing communications and media marketplace.”
Interim Provost Russell Moore raised the possibility that the exploratory committee, may recommend “sweeping changes” from the present journalism program. Some 30 other “peer” schools -- including Wisconsin, Cornell, Rutgers and UC Berkeley – have implemented radically different programs to address technology’s impact on mass communication, Moore said.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

P.M.s communications director reverts to Cold War rhetoric

“It’s the best plane ... and when you are a pilot staring down on Russian long-range bombers, that’s an important fact to remember.”
You could be forgiven for thinking this is a quote by Tom Cruise’s Maverick character from the Cold War-era favourite Top Gun. But no, the comment was made by the Prime Minister’s director of communications after two CF-18 Hornets shadowed two Russian TU-95 Bears in the Far North on Tuesday.
Apparently miffed that the Russians had dared buzz Canadian airspace while his boss is in the Arctic, Dimitri Soudas was extolling the virtues of Canada’s fighter jets.
The fact is, the Russians regularly sniff around in the North and the only reason we know about it this time, one suspects, is because the parliamentary National Defence committee was set to meet to debate the $16-billion untendered purchase of the next generation of fighter jets, the F-35s, from Lockheed Martin.

To read the full John Ivison column click on the title.

Germany plans limits on Facebook use in hiring

The New York Times reports that as part of the draft of a law governing workplace privacy, the German government on Wednesday proposed placing restrictions on employers who want to use Facebook profiles when recruiting.
The bill would allow managers to search for publicly accessible information about prospective employees on the Web and to view their pages on job networking sites, like LinkedIn or Xing. But it would draw the line at purely social networking sites like Facebook, said Philipp Spauschus, a spokesman for the Interior Minister, Thomas de Maizière.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet on Wednesday gave its backing to the proposed law. The bill will now go to Parliament for discussion, and could be passed as early as this year, Mr. Spauschus said.

Newseum retells Katrina story five years later

Five years after Katrina, the Washington, D.C., Newseum features a special, one-year exhibit, "Covering Katrina," that explores and explains how journalists reported on the disaster and its aftermath. The Newseum assembled the accounts and belongings of journalists, newspaper stories and artifacts from the Louisiana State Museum for what curators believe is the first major exhibit on news coverage of Katrina. About 80 front pages from around the world show how the story unfolded as the storm bore down on Louisiana and Mississippi — and what followed. Opened two years ago, the seven-level, 250,000-square-foot Newseum bills itself as “the world’s most interactive museum.”

Editor says deal in works to sell The Washington Times

The executive editor of The Washington Times says the owner of the financially-troubled newspaper has reached a preliminary agreement to sell the paper to a company affiliated with the Unification Church. Sam Dealey said that the deal is subject to a 30-day due diligence period. The sale to News World Media Development will be finalized after that if all parties still agree.Dealey says the newspaper's circulation is roughly 40,000. The paper was founded in 1982 by Unification Church leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon. His son currently owns the paper.

Philadelphia Newspaper Guild approves six per cent wage cut

The union that represents newsroom employees at The Inquirer has voted to approve a three-year contract that requires the equivalent of a 6 percent wage cut. The vote was 287-38, according to union officers.
The deal with the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia, Local 38010, was negotiated with Philadelphia Media Network, the new owner of The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com. The newspapers and the website were purchased at a bankruptcy auction in April.
The guild, affiliated with the Communications Workers of America, represents about 515 reporters, editors, photographers, and designers, as well as some advertising, circulation, and finance employees. The contract takes effect when the new owners take control of the company. The new company is negotiating contracts with 14 unions in anticipation of an Aug. 31 closing on the sale.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

CBS' Afghanistan trip proves a ratings downer

Katie Couric and the "CBS Evening News" team did some striking work during a two-day trip to Afghanistan last week, only to see some record-setting low ratings in return.
The Nielsen Co. ratings have to be discouraging to news organizations contemplating expensive assignments in a tough economy. The broadcast's executive producer, Rick Kaplan, said he made "no apologies" for travelling to the war zone because of the importance of the story.
The CBS newscast averaged 4.89 million viewers last week, the lowest for evening newscasts in the nearly 20 years in which compatible Nielsen Co. records exist and most likely the lowest for at least a couple of decades before that into the early days of television.
The broadcasts featured war zone interviews by Couric of the U.S. Afghan commander, Gen. David Petraeus. Correspondent Terry McCarthy did a story about a U.S. Marine team in charge of locating and defusing bombs, and of the three men he featured one was killed and the others were seriously wounded in an explosion.
Between the United States' growing world-weariness and the quiet summer months, CBS knew that going to Afghanistan wasn't going to be an audience-grabber, Kaplan said.

Linda McQuaig's take on Harper and "Fox News north"

Linda McQuaig writes in The Toronto Star:

"If you subscribe to the notion that Harper has no particular political agenda, his lunch with Murdoch in March 2009 might seem harmless, perhaps a purely social affair.

"But the evidence suggests they were discussing plans to transform the Canadian political landscape by creating a right-wing, Fox-style TV station in Canada. Present at the lunch was Fox News president Roger Ailes, known for bringing cutthroat Republican campaign tactics to the screen. (Ailes designed the infamous race-baiting Willie Horton commercials that brought George H.W. Bush to power.)

"Also present at the lunch was Harper aide Kory Teneycke, who has since become the front man in the bid by Quebec media mogul Pierre Karl Peladeau to get a specialty TV licence for a Fox News-style network in Canada. . . "

Click on the title to read the full column.

Sandra Buckler's advice on dealing with media

The Globe's Jane Taber reports on a lecture Sandra Buckler (pictured), Harper's former communications director, gave to conservative-minded municipal candidates in Toronto:

"For me, if you have a bad story on the front page of the Globe and Mail, it’s a bad day for you,`` she replied. ``If you have a bad blog about you, it’s probably not so bad if you can deal with the blog right away. But if the story is already printed on the front page of the Globe, now you are in a defensive, reactive, totally fighting rear guard, not happy, off message program. So I think social media is here to stay, yes, but I think print, TV, radio are not going anywhere and soon we will have a new TV station in Canada called Sun Media, so there’s hope yet. . . .`` Buckler is quoted as saying.

"For the most part, she advised the aspiring politicians to treat reporters professionally," Taber reported.

"And she reminded them to always be on guard. “It’s very important,`` she said, ``that even when you’re out shopping, or you’re at an event, you’re always on, people always listen to you, they may be tape recording you, they may be videoing you,” Taber wrote.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Telus urges scrutiny of Shaw Canwest deal

Telus Corp. is warning that Shaw’s $2-billion purchase of Canwest’s broadcasting assets could lead to an abuse of market power, and is asking the CRTC to maintain a vigilant eye on what the cable firm does with its newfound content properties. The move, which comes ahead of a regulatory review next month, underscores concerns about media concentration as firms like Shaw, Rogers Communications Inc. and Quebecor Inc. seek deeper integration of their content assets with distribution networks like cable and wireless.

New biography reveals Peter Gzowski's dark side

A new biography of Peter Gzowski paints a portrait of a brilliant man who hid a private dark side, including depression, alcoholism, and a secret son from an affair.

“He was among an elite (group) of radio hosts who could engage all these listeners, and keep them interested. He could interview intelligently, he could interview in a funny way, he could go from a light interview to a serious interview. He had enormous talent,” said R. B. Fleming, whose book, Peter Gzowski: A Biography (Dundurn Press), hits stores this week.

Click on the title to read the full story.

G20 charges against NatPost photog dropped

Brett Gundlock, a National Post photographer who was arrested at Queen’s Park on Saturday afternoon of the G20 weekend, said his charges of unlawful assembly and obstructing police were dropped after a one-minute hearing.

“I’d been photographing all day,” Gundlock said, when police started firing pepper spray at the crowd and making arrests. He put his gas mask on and then watched as a line of riot police separated, he said. “Then six cops were coming at me like linebackers.”

Gundlock, 24, said he raised his press pass in the air, but the officers had already tackled him. He’s happy to have the ordeal behind him. “The police failed; their charges aren’t sticking,” he said.

Man enters CBC Calgary building with a gun

Radio programming in Alberta was disrupted when a man armed with a handgun entered the CBC building in Calgary. Police said the man entered the foyer of the building shortly before 2 a.m. on Sunday but a locked door that requires a swipe card prevented him from getting further inside. A security guard inside the building noticed the man and alerted police. Police surrounded the building and shut down traffic. The man surrendered around 7 a.m. The station ran its mnorning programming out of Saskatchewan. Police say it's not clear yet what the man wanted.

Activists replace Toronto street ads with art

On Sunday afternoon, Jordan Seiler led 15 activists into a war against Canadian billboard giant Pattison Outdoor by removing ads from 41 pillars and replacing them with 85 pieces of art.
“Public space should be a place for public communication,” said the 30-year-old. “I feel like I have a right to react against (advertisements) when, in particular, they’re done illegally.”
Seiler, a New Yorker is the founder of the Public Ad Campaign, an initiative committed to reclaiming public space. According to local activist and co-organizer Vanessa Moraless, the action was prompted by what the group argues is Pattison’s non-compliance with Toronto’s billboard laws. Last December, the city passed a billboard tax ranging from $850.68 to $24,000, which would contribute $10 million to city coffers. Billboard companies filed an action against the city with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to contest the law. Local activists are concerned that the city is still being too lax with the enforcement of bylaws.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Laws of libel apply to blogs, e-mails, tweets, etc. says Sun columnist

Lawyer and Sun columnist Alan Shanoff writes:

"Many people wrongly believe the Internet is a Wild West where freedom of speech is absolute and anonymity is guaranteed.

"They post comments, blog, e-mail and tweet in ignorance of the law. But the law is clear.

"The same laws that apply to old school media like newspapers, magazines, radio and television, apply to communication and publication via the Internet. . ." he writes, adding that using a fake name is no protection.

Click on the title to read the column.

Parliament Hill embracing social media

Social media is coming of age on Parliament Hill, with a prime minister who's had his own YouTube town hall meeting, where highlights of the federal budget were Tweeted and where more than one in five decision makers consider the new medium a top priority. That number, reported in a survey this week by SAS software services and Leger Marketing, shows government endorsement of all things Facebook surpasses by a wide margin the 14% of business leaders who feel the same way. It is a sign not just of politicians embracing new technologies but also of civil servants realizing its data-gathering potential, analysts say.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Toronto mayor candidate Ford not speaking to The Star; serves libel notice

The Toronto Sun's Don Peat reports:
"Rob Ford isn’t talking to the Toronto Star anymore. Campaign officials for the mayoral contender say that Ford and the rest of his campaign team refuse to speak to the newspaper.
“'We are not speaking to the Toronto Star,' said Adrienne Batra, Ford’s director of communications. 'The Toronto Star does not get any official comment from our campaign.'
"Batra said the campaign has taken the stance because of the Star’s stories on Ford’s conduct as a football coach nine years ago."
A Star spokesman says the Star stands by its stories.

Ian Morrison: How to fix the CBC

The Friends of Public Broadcasting head offers yet another tome on how to "fix" the CBC:

" . . .I would like to offer a suggestion to improve CBC's corporate culture. In recent years, CBC's top management has lacked prior experience in radio or television production, scheduling and marketing. Having people in charge who lack appropriate skills would be unthinkable in private-sector broadcasting, or in public broadcasters in other western democracies. How come? CBC's board of directors does not choose CBC's president. And the board cannot dismiss the president. Guess who chooses the president of the CBC? The prime minister. This is not a new development. It goes back to 1936. Stephen Harper appointed Hubert Lacroix as CBC president just as Jean Chrétien appointed his predecessor, Robert Rabinovitch.

In contrast, the director general of the BBC is chosen by the BBC's trustees, and those trustees can fire their director general. The BBC's process is the rule among public broadcasters in industrial democracies. Canada's process is an anomaly. . . "

Planetguys wonder whether that would "fix" anything but maybe we are missing something.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tribune Co.'s emergence from bankruptcy collapses

The Tribune Co.'s plan to emerge from bankruptcy has collapsed after negotiations with creditors on a consensual reorganization plan failed. Attorneys told a Delaware bankruptcy judge that Tribune has been unable to bring parties in its bankruptcy case together, and that JPMorgan Chase and distressed-debt specialist Angelo, Gordon & Co. have dropped out a settlement agreement that would have left them among the new owners of the company. A Tribune attorney says the company will file amendments to its current plan next week in a final effort to achieve support from creditors.

Ottawa celebrity Dick Maloney dead

Singer, songwriter and perennial Ottawa media personality Dick Maloney has died at the age of 77.The crooner was an Ottawa fixture, performing in clubs and hosting a Sunday morning radio show called “Sentimental Journey,” later renamed “The Dick Maloney Show” on Oldies 1310. Ottawa Citizen

BBC broadcaster who claimed mercy killing charged with wasting police time

Britain's prosecution service says a veteran broadcaster who claimed in a TV documentary to have carried out the mercy killing of his dying lover has been charged with wasting police time. A prosecutor said Friday that 70-year-old Ray Gosling would appear at court to face the charge on Sept. 14. In a BBC program broadcast in February, Mr. Gosling said he had suffocated his partner, who was dying of AIDS. He did not give the name of the man, or say where or when the incident took place. The prosecutor said police had conducted an extensive investigation and concluded there was no evidence to support Gosling's claim.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Is Stephen Harper set to move against the CRTC?

You are to take the answer to this question to be "Yes." Lawrence Martin in the Globe and Mail sees the conspiracy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gannett starts 100-plus hyper local sports sites

RELEASE -- Gannett has announced its web property HighSchoolSports.net is launching hyper-local, co-branded high school sports microsites across its network of more than 100 local media web sites, plus national high school sports pages on USATODAY.com. HighSchoolSports.net is a subsidiary of Gannett and part of the Gannett Digital Network. The HighSchoolSports.net microsites are expected to collectively reach approximately 9.4 million unique monthly visitors.

Easy for him to say!

Young people will have to change their names to escape 'cyber past' warns Google's Eric Schmidt. Headline linked to the Telegraph

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

CTV's Keith Pelley named president of Rogers Media

Pelley, 46, was executive vice president of strategic planning at CTV and president of Canada’s Olympic broadcast media consortium. He also served as president and chief executive officer of the Toronto Argonauts from 2004 to 2007. He was appointed president of TSN in 2000 following his roles as senior vice president of programming and production and vice president, programming.

N.Korean Twitter: "What are you doing?" "Starving"

North Korea, also known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, has joined Twitter and Youtube apparently in an attempt to make propaganda. We're sure it will work just fine for them. TPG

Media granted access to Tamil detention reviews

Toronto Star's Petti Fong: "Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator Leeann King ruled this morning that the media could attend and report on the detention reviews but cannot identify the claimants by name or where they were born"

Monday, August 16, 2010

Argument today in Conrad Black's criminal conviction

Conrad Black's criminal conviction for fraud and obstructing justice should stand, U.S. prosecutors told a federal appeals court. Defense lawyers, in a simultaneous filing, argued that the verdict should be struck down. Bloomberg

Excellent biographic piece on James Kilpatrick

Written two years ago, this column by John Hamer is rich in detail about James Kilpatrick, his views and his times. Hamer interviewed Kilpatrick and had this exchange with him about blogging: He asked how bloggers made money. I told him that many just wrote for free. They are the "pajamahideen" — sitting at their computers, happily pontificating to the world."No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money," he said, quoting Dr. Samuel Johnson.

James KIlpatrick dead at 89

Google hiring, only all-stars need apply

Story from CTV.ca stating that Google is worried about the lagging nature of Canadian e-commerce. Solution: hire all-stars.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

No Opportunity Unexplored at 92

New York Times story on Sidney Harman, who at 92 purchased Newsweek Magazine. Quotes his daughter as saying “He is a man who needs a project." Clearly, it won't leave him short of money. Worth a read.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Aisha's face is just propaganda to the Taliban

It's an easy judgement to condemn the brutal disfigurement of this Afghan woman by her Taiban-inspired husband. Where this dreadful act meets journalistic ethics however is when we must decide if this is what we are fighting against in that country. The Taliban have called the Time magazine cover just "propaganda". But even some who find the act hateful are not inspired to say we must fight on to stamp out such medieval behaviour. Their sense of futility wins out over the cherished priority of the civil treatment of women. Is that wisdom or callous defeatism? Ethical journalism or sensationalism? National Post story is linked off the headline. TPG

In U.S., Confidence in Big Media Remains a Rarity

In Gallup polling, only 25% of respondents said they had complete confidence in newspapers and TV.

Friday, August 13, 2010

NY Daily News boss quits as cost cutter comes in

Classic New York Post take out on troubles at the New York Daily News. Story linked. Departing CEO Marc Kramer (left) sounds like a reasonable guy while incoming William Holiber appears to be Mr. Scorched Earth.

Small publications surviving at Glacier Media

Glacier Media, with headquarters in Vancouver, is bouncing back as ad revenue to its many titles is improving. CP story on the Q2 profits tells the story. Glacier operates small weekly and daily papers such as the Alaska Highway News and the Whistler Question. The former publication proudly emblazons its nameplate: "The only newspaper in the world that gives a tinker's damn about the North Peace." Glacierr's western based properties include a wide spectrum of speciality publications including the farm publication Wheel and Deal Alberta. Glacier had to recently sell a number of publications to Black Press which promptly closed them. TPG

New owner of U-K's "5" cleans house

The chairman and seven of nine members of the executive board of directors are shown the door. BBC

Conrad Black can sue accusers in Ontario

Court of Appeal issues ruling giving Black the right to seek libel damage from former directors of Hollinger for calling the firm a "corproate kleptocracy." The judges further said: “it would be unfair to deprive (Black) of a trial before the community in which his reputation has been damaged .... there is no unfairness in requiring the defendants – sophisticated businessmen who targeted the Canadian media and who reasonably foresaw the possibility that their conduct in posting the statements on the Internet would cause damage to Black’s reputation in Ontario – to defend defamation actions brought in Ontario, where both the tort and the damages occurred.” Linked to Globe and Mail story.

Toronto Star salute to retiring reporter Jim Junkin

Nice record of crime reporter's long career.

News Corp plans national digital newspaper

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. plans to start a national digital newspaper that will be distributed exclusively over tablet computers and mobile phones in a bid to grab online readership, the Washington Post reported, citing remarks by Murdoch during the company’s earnings call. The new digital publication would offer short items that can be read quickly and will be aimed at a general readership, the Post reported. The company plans to start the service before year end, the Post reported, citing people familiar with the matter. ADD The new national digital newspaper will be distributed exclusively as paid content for tablet computers such as Apple Inc.'s iPad and mobile phones.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Reporters Without Borders says WikiLeak showed "incredible irresponsibility"

Reporters Without Borders criticized WikiLeaks on Thursday, saying the whistleblower group showed "incredible irresponsibility" in publishing thousands of secret Afghan war documents. The international media watchdog said that while WikiLeaks had often played a useful role, revealing the identity of Afghan informants was "highly dangerous."

N.Y. based Newsday hiring 34 reporters!

The New York-based Newsday has announced that it has openings for 34 reporters over the coming six months. The move was revealed to staff yesterday by the paper's editor-in-chief, Debby Krenek, in a memo that began with an exclamation: "Newsday's newsroom is hiring!" Krenek's surprise was evident as she continued: "I'm very excited to announce that we are making this significant investment in people and pages to provide more and stronger coverage for Long Islanders." The decision to expand pagination - an extra 2,600 pages of news and opinion are promised annually - comes against a background of bitter contract negotiations that ended in June with staff agreeing to 5%-10% wage cuts. Newsday was acquired in 2008 for $650m (£415m) by Cablevision Systems Corp.

India threatens to suspend BlackBerry by 31 August

India has given the maker of BlackBerry phones a deadline of 31 August to provide the government access to all of its services or face being shut down. The country fears the device could be used by militants and insurgents in a repeat of the 2008 attack on Mumbai that left 166 people dead. The row is the latest in a long running dispute between Research in Motion (RIM) and international governments.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

CBC on-air staff not likely to sit down any time soon

Hubert Lacroix, the CBC president,(pictured) in a note to staff made it clear that there will no turning back to a “before Stursberg” scenario at the public broadcaster. He did not specifically say so, but it appears that the on-air people will not be sitting down any time soon.
Excerpts from his note:
“I chose Kirstine Stewart to step in as executive vice-president English services not because she was next in line but because she has the leadership skills and the expertise to keep English services driving forward as hard and as fast as possible while we run our formal recruitment process (which could take up to 9 months). She is not a caretaker. She is not a babysitter. This is not about waiting or slowing down. She is in charge, has full authority and has my complete confidence. . . We are not slowing down. . . The decision to change leadership was not a sudden decision triggered by any specific incident. And, by the way, we did not escort Richard out of the building (where do people get these rumours?)
However, you should immediately know that there is nothing (and I mean nothing) in our current programming strategies that I don't stand by: so, those out there who think this is in any way a repudiation of where we stand today will be disappointed big time. . . . “

RIM registers clear win over Saudis: Star columnist

The Star's David Olive writes:
"If you’re a nation that wants to be taken seriously as a business capital, you don’t ban BlackBerry services.
"That’s the message from yesterday’s climb-down by the Saudi royal family. Riyadh has abruptly withdrawn its threat to shut down BlackBerry’s corporate message service in Saudi Arabia. . . .
"What the parties agreed to yesterday was a clear win for the status quo of continued user privacy and freedom of information. . . "

Click on the title to read the column.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Italian Vogue’s oil-spill themed photo shoot: thought-provoking or tasteless?

A new 24-page fashion spread in the September issue of Italian Vogue features model Kristen McMenamy wearing oil-soaked black feathered outfits, withering away on a beach. Famed photographer Steven Meisel shot the controversial Gulf disaster-inspired images of McMenamy caught in nets, spitting up oil, and flopping like a dying seal on rocks. But while the images are powerful and striking, we're left wondering whether they were done in good taste.

CBS comedy becomes television's latest moral battleground

William Shatner stands at the centre of television's latest moral battleground. He's the cantankerous lead character in a new CBS sitcom, "(Bleep) My Dad Says," that is scheduled to air on Thursday nights. Rather than "bleep," the title uses a series of symbols that suggest the expletive included in the book title on which the series is based. The Parents Television Council last week sent letters to 340 companies that advertise frequently on TV urging them to stay away from the show unless the name is changed. The group argues that the title is indecent.

Oil sands Youtube video full of misinformation but effective

The Calgary Herald notes that Angus Reid decided to survey 4,000 people in Canada, the U.S. and Britain about the oilsands using a video made by a number of U.S.-based environmental groups.
The problem is that the video itself, entitled
Rethink Alberta, is factually incorrect.
There's nothing wrong with using a video to illustrate a point, but when it contains bits of information such as the oilsands destroying an area the size of England and that there are 17,000 hectares of contaminated tailings ponds -- big enough to be seen from outer space -- a line has been crossed.
The appropriate representation goes more along these lines: in 40 years of mining, 620 square kilometres have been disturbed, which is equal to less than five per cent of Los Angeles County.

Click on the title to read the whole story.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Veteran CTV/CFTO police reporter Jim Junkin to retire

Veteran crime reporter Jim Junkin will be calling it a career on Aug. 13 after 41 years on the job with CTV Toronto.
Jim's broadcasting career began at age 15 as a volunteer at Oakville's CHWO radio. But television beckoned, and in June of 1969, Jim joined Canada's number one local news team, then known as CFTO. For the first 12 years at the station, Jim was the face behind the weekend anchor desk, but in the mid 1980's, Jim found his true calling, and was named CTV Toronto's full time Police Reporter.
With a helicopter and several microwave and satellite news trucks, CTV News Toronto prides itself on 'being there first', whether it's a police emergency, fire, gas spill, or any other emergency situation. Jim has been the recipient of several media awards. In 2005, Jim was awarded the very prestigious RTDNA lifetime achievement award.

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News Corp to trim China TV stake

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is selling a controlling stake in three Chinese television channels. It will offload the shares to China Media Capital, a private equity fund backed by China's second largest media company, Shanghai Media Group.

CBC axes exec for ratings success: Toronto Sun take on Stursberg

"By the measure that matters to most television executives, Richard Stursberg was a big hit at CBC: A lot more people are watching now than when he started.

"And yet, Stursberg was canned by the CBC on Friday after nearly six years as executive vice-president of English-language services, apparently because he was too good at getting more people to watch the programming that Canadian taxpayers subsidize to the tune of $1 billion a year," writes David Akin, the Sun's Parliamentary bureau chief.

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

RIM reaches deal with Saudi Arabia, dodging BlackBerry ban

Research in Motion remained tight-lipped as Saudi Arabian officials said the company has reached a preliminary deal that would allow the kingdom’s government to access BlackBerry users’ encrypted data, averting a ban on the handsets in that country. The agreement would involve placing a server inside Saudi borders, an official told the Associated Press Saturday. The move would likely let the government monitor messages and allay the country’s concern that Blackberries could be used for criminal purposes, said Bandar al-Mohammed, an official at the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission.

Mexican journalists protest killings

More than 1,000 Mexican journalists marched through the city center Saturday to protest the killing and disappearance of their colleagues as escalating drug violence increasingly targets reporters. Carrying signs reading ''Not one more!'', they demanded protection to do their work in an unprecedented effort to solidify the ranks of a traditionally divided and competitive profession.
''We're a little late -- 64 killings late -- but we've finally decided to practice our right to protest, to seek justice for our colleagues who have died or disappeared and to end the impunity for crimes against journalists,'' said Elia Baltazar, protest organizer and co-editor of the Mexican newspaper Excelsior. International media groups call Mexico one of the most dangerous countries for practicing journalism.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

CBC won't meet digital TV deadline

CBC/Radio Canada won't meet the CRTC's deadline to convert to digital over-the-air television signals from analog by next August, the corporation says. The public broadcaster said it will require 27 transmitters to make the switchover nationally, but only 15 of them will be active by Aug. 31, 2011, the deadline imposed for major markets by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. The remaining 12 will be active by Aug. 31, 2012, CBC/Radio-Canada said.

Comments on Stursberg's sudden departure

The Globe and Mail:
" . . there were long-standing tensions between Stursberg’s aggressive focus on ratings and (Hubert) Lacroix’s emphasis on consensus building and his statements on the CBC as a public service, insiders said.
"Stursberg’s departure is widely believed to have been acrimonious. The announcement noted that it was effective immediately, and the CBC’s Toronto Broadcast Centre was abuzz with rumours among staff that Stursberg had been escorted from the building.
"A senior executive who worked closely with both men described the relationship between Stursberg and Lacroix as being, at best, “like a marriage, they tried and it didn’t work.”

* * *
“Why now?” wondered Lise Lareau, president of the Canadian Media Guild, which represents about 4,500 CBC employees. “Was there one big fight at the end of the day? There’s been no big commotion lately.”
" " "

Ian Morrison of Friends of Canadian Broadcasting:
“He has been very much disliked, loathed, even, by many thousands of CBC employees,” says Morrison. “Under him, CBC has lost the Olympic Games, the Grey Cup, curling and its audience share in television has dwindled.”

Friday, August 6, 2010

Top exec Richard Stursberg abruptly out of the CBC

Richard Stursberg, who has headed up CBC’s English Services for six years, is leaving the public broadcaster. The CBC posted an item about the departure on its website this afternoon, saying the change took effect Friday. No reason for the departure was given. The network says that Kirstine Stewart, who is general manager of CBC Television, will fill in on an interim basis.

Conrad Black drops bid to return to Canada

Conrad Black has withdrawn his request to return to Canada while a U.S. appeals court reviews his fraud convictions, sources say. Lawyers for the 65-year-old former newspaper baron, who was released on bail two weeks ago, have notified U.S. Federal District Court Judge Amy St. Eve that Lord Black will not be filing additional disclosure about his finances as a pre-condition before she would entertain his request to return to his Toronto home. His lawyers are said to be concerned the legal document could be a potential trap that U.S. prosecutors can — and will — use against the Montreal-born businessman to revoke his bail. In 2006, U.S. prosecutors tried unsuccessfully to have Lord Black’s bail rescinded, claiming he had lied in a sworn affidavit about his finances.

Rogers Media to acquire BV! Media for $25 million

Rogers Media Inc. has struck a friendly deal to acquire Montreal-based Internet advertising company BV! Media Inc. for $25 million in cash. The agreement will see the TV and magazine publishing division of cable TV and cellphone giant Rogers Communications buy BV! Media for 40 cents a share.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Condé Nast Titles Morph Into Restaurants

Inspired by the success of Vogue magazine's restaurant (right) in St. Petersburg Russia, Conde Nast is about to try a similar gambit.

Chris O'Neill new Country Director for Google Canada

BCE reports 2010 second quarter results

RELEASE -- BCE Inc., Canada's largest communications company, today reported BCE and Bell results for the second quarter of 2010, and announced a 5% increase in its annual common share dividend and improved financial guidance for 2010.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

CBS and Comcast Reach a 10-Year Deal on Fees

Ten-year agreement lays the groundwork for Comcast subscribers to watch CBS content online through an authentication process sometimes called TV Everywhere. NYT

Torstar, Rogers join up on system for online publishers

TORONTO CNW Torstar Digital and Rogers Media today announced a technology joint venture to invest in TOPS, a leading edge, high volume content management system for internet media publishers.

77-year-old Newsweek magazine 'sold for US$1'

NEW YORK - AUDIO equipment magnate Sidney Harman (photo) has agreed to buy loss-making Newsweek from the Washington Post Co in a deal announced on Monday. Early cover (photo) recounts rise of Nazis. Note that name Newsweek was hyphenated then. Harman promised to retain most of the United States weekly's 350 employees and give it a couple of years to reverse losses. Founded in 1933, Newsweek chalked up losses of nearly US$30 million (S$40.5 million) last year and another US$11 million in the first quarter of this year. The Washington Post Co, which bought Newsweek almost 50 years ago, had been looking for a buyer since May. Straits Times and TPG

Katie Couriic forgets the satellite goes everwhere

When will anchors learn that even though they are off air, the satellite is taking them into a zillion video rooms and the digital devil is rolling.

Sirius-XM squeaks out profit in Q2

Satellite radio finds its program of free trials in new cars is beginning to pay off. It posted better-than expected quarterly revenue, citing a sharp jump in subscribers to its pay-radio service and customers' desire for premium programing

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fox, NPR, AP move to better seats at White House

On Sunday, the White House Correspondents Association (WCHA) voted to reconfigure the seating chart for the James S. Brady Briefing Room at the White House. After columnist Helen Thomas (right in file shot) retired, NPR was one of three organizations that vied for her front-row, center seat, making its case on "audience size, national and international reach, presence at the daily briefings, regular service in the radio pool rotation and on White House travel both domestic and foreign." Ultimately, the WHCA decided to affix an Associated Press placard to it. Fox News will move to the front row — joining CNN, the broadcast networks, and the wire services. NPR will get a new seat in the second row, directly behind the AP. Picture provide a reporter's eye view of the camera gang at work and photograph of Helen Thomas in palmier times. NPR files

News Corp ties Murdoch pay closer to share price

A sample of what some may call window dressing: "In order to shift the compensation structure, Carey's base salary was slashed by half to $4.05 million from $8.1 million. But (Murdoch 2IC Chase) Carey will be eligible to receive performance-related share units worth up to $20 million.

RIM releases new touchscreen BlackBerry Torch

Toronto Star story on the "unleashing" of BlackBerry6. Mike Lazaridis, pictured here at earier event, made the announcement in New York. News release below.
RELEASE --Research In Motion (RIM) today announced BlackBerry® 6, a new operating system for BlackBerry® smartphones that retains the trusted features that distinguish the BlackBerry brand while delivering a fresh, approachable and engaging experience that is both powerful and easy to use. BlackBerry 6 features a redesigned interface that seamlessly works with a touch screen and trackpad, expanded messaging capabilities that simplify managing social media and RSS feeds, an advanced multimedia experience that rivals the best in the industry, a convenient new Universal Search tool, and a new and efficient WebKit-based browser that renders web pages quickly and beautifully for a great browsing experience.
Visual, Fluid Interface
BlackBerry 6 has been redesigned making it easier and more intuitive, with clean, sleek visuals and natural, fluid navigation. Designed to be both fresh and familiar, the new interface enables a productive, fun and highly satisfying user experience whether using a touch screen or trackpad and keyboard.

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