Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Conrad Black loses appeal at U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from former media mogul Conrad Black challenging his two remaining convictions on fraud and obstruction of justice. The court did not comment on the order. Last year, the justices curtailed the “honest services” laws used to convict Black of defrauding Hollinger International investors.
An appeals court subsequently reversed two convictions, but left two others in place. He is scheduled to be resentenced on June 24.

Pakistani journalist found dead after reported arrest by intelligence agency

Pakistan is reeling after news that journalist Saleem Shahzad’s body was discovered near his abandoned car in Islamabad. Shahzad went missing Sunday night, his family said, after he left his home heading for a local TV station. Almost immediately after his disappearance, Human Rights Watch issued a release saying it had reason to believe Shahzad had been arrested by Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI. His body was found with signs that he had been tortured, according to local news reports.
Operating as an objective, honest journalist in Pakistan is like navigating a minefield. Reporters Without Borders has noted news media freedom in Pakistan has plunged in recent years and it is now among the world’s most dangerous places to report from. Last year, 11 journalists were killed in Pakistan, the organization said.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The battle of the breakfast babble

It's shaping up as the Battle of the Breakfast Babble. This flash is written in the sky as Rogers Media applies to start its own 24-hour TV news service, CityNews Channel. It will, of course, go head-to-head with CP 24, the CTV local cable yapper. We say this will be a major breakfast title bout because Rogers is no doubt going to return its once supreme Breakfast Television (BT) to 24 hour news. CTV, for its part, is not going to let Rogers muscle in on CP Breakfast turf without a fight. This channel, if approved, will also permit Rogers to place its 6 p.m. news program, CityPulse with Gord Martineau, up against Ken and Christine at CTV Toronto. What remains? Only whether the new CityNews Channel will eat 680 News alive. That's what happened when CP 24 swallowed CHUM-AM, putting all those DJs out of work.--Courtesy the South Bayview Bulldog

Bell's A network renamed CTV Two

Bell Media announced Monday that it will change the name of its A network to CTV Two this fall. The change will coincide with the launch of the network in high definition, and its expansion into the full Toronto extended market next year.
The move will affect local stations serving Vancouver, Toronto, southwestern Ontario, Ottawa and Atlantic Canada, including the conversion of A News outlets in these markets under the CTV News banner. CTV is also moving forward with plans to add a re-broadcast transmitter in southern Ontario in 2012. Extending the reach of the current transmitter in Barrie, Ont., the move will create a larger simulcast opportunity for advertisers in the Toronto/Hamilton extended market, subject to CRTC approval. The new CTV Two schedule will include eight new programs to the network, seven in simulcast.

Citytv, 680 and Maclean’s team on 24-hour news channe

Rogers has announced plans to launch CityNews Channel, a new 24-hour, local news channel in Toronto that will combine their various brands across radio, publishing and television.

"We're taking the number one news radio format in Canada, 680 News, and bringing it to television under the brand of CityNews Channel," said Scott Moore, President, Rogers Broadcasting, in a release. "By incorporating our trailblazing and trusted news brands from CityNews, 680 News, and publishing – including Canada's most trusted news magazine, Maclean's – CityNews Channel is poised to be the destination local news channel.”

The new channel will be available to digital subscribers in October.

It will feature an interactive screen, likely in a similar format to CP24, which this new station has been created as a response too.

CP24 was originally created as an extension of the Citytv brand but is now owned by Bell Media.

NatPost photog Tyler Anderson win PJ of the year award

National Post photographer Tyler Anderson took home the Photojournalist of the Year award given by the News Photographers Association of Canada. He also won the award in 2006, the year of its inception. The prize was awarded in Winnipeg on Saturday night.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Toronto Star stringer arrested, then expelled from Uganda for "engaging in journalism activities withoiut permission"

Jocelyn Edwards was trying to cover killings by security forces of workers at African Barrick.
Her story is here:

Readers annoyed at Daily Telegraph about Royal honeymoon pix that the paper won't show

London’s Daily Telegraph said Saturday that it has seen a photo of Kate and Will on their honeymoon, but will not publish it “out of respect for the couple’s privacy.”
Readers didn’t buy it.
“If the DT wants to respect the couple's privacy then they don't need to publish this stuff. We knew they went to the Seychelles and that was quite enough,” read one comment on the paper’s website.
The story, with its seemingly contradictory headline “A peek into royal couple’s honeymoon paradise,” topped the most-emailed list all day.
“I loathe the Telegraph's holier-than-thou attitude, when it's actually no better than the trashy red tops,” another reader wrote. “If it's that insignificant, why did you run this rubbish in the first place? Editor, you are a disgrace.”
Of course, it remains to be seen if honeymoon pictures will eventually surface.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

HuffPost employees flee AOL after "brutal" "awful" "worst few weeks"

Since Aol purchased the Huffington Post from Arianna Huffington in February for $315 million most of the subsequent coverage has focused on the widespread layoffs of Aol employees; the hiring of experienced reporters (many of whom are notably from the NYT, but more on that later); and Arianna's verbal tete-a-tetes with NYT managing editor Bill Keller. But very little has been said about the HuffPo employees themselves. Many of whom have been with Arianna for years, and who, on many levels, are responsible for building HuffPo and making it at valuable as it was.
Turns out many of them are not happy.
That's how one HuffPo insider described the weeks following the official merger between HuffPo and Aol.

Click on the title to read the full story.

Toronto Star story on bringing up baby "genderless" stirs international controversy

Kathy Witterick, 38, and David Stocker, 39 are parents raising three children in Toronto. They feel children are pressured at far too tender an age by strict social norms of gender. And so, as a remedy, they felt it was better to keep the youngest child's gender a secret -- even from the grandparents. According to a front-page article in the Toronto Star last week, the only ones who know the baby's gender are the couple's sons -- Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2 -- a close family friend and two midwives present at delivery. Instead of the usual birth announcement of 'It's a Boy!' or 'It's a Girl!', Stocker and Witterick sent out an e-mail announcement that said, "We've decided not to share Storm's sex for now -- a tribute to freedom and choice in place of limitation, a stand up to what the world could become in Storm's lifetime (a more progressive place? ...)." Comments about the article were so sharp and so divided that for now, the family has decided to decline any further media interviews.
Witterick and Stocker may not be talking, but it seems everybody else is.
From radio call-in shows all over the continent, to a "hot topic" discussion on ABC's "The View," few lacked an opinion. Most said they were either appalled by the couple or applauded them for their courage.

The Star's coverage is here:

Hackers steal personal Information of thousands from Honda's site

Honda Canada has informed thousands of its Honda and Acura customers that some of their personal information was stolen when its systems were hacked. The company said the information accessed was related to a program in 2009 that encouraged customers to register at the myHonda website. In an alert posted on its website, Honda said details such as customer names, addresses, vehicle identification numbers and in some cases Honda Financial Services account numbers were accessed. The company said the information didn't include data typically used for identity theft or fraud, such as birth dates, credit card numbers and bank account numbers.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Péladeau says CRTC should ease TV rules

What's good for Netflix should be good for the entire telecommunications industry, Quebecor Media Inc. head Pierre Karl Péladeau said Thursday. Speaking to reporters after the company's annual general meeting, the Peladeau said that services like Netflix and Apple TV are new models for delivering television and movie content online, and therefore do not fall within the current regulations outlined by the CRTC for television broadcasters. Netflix is U.S.owned, whereas television companies in this country must be majority owned by Canadians. Netflix is also exempt from paying into the Canada Media Fund. But rather than regulate Netflix, as television operators suggested in a letter to the CRTC last month, Péladeau said all existing regulations should be eliminated to make the playing field more fair.

Huffington Post sets up shop in Canada

The Huffington Post has launched its Canadian edition, the latest U.S. digital media company to use Canada as an international testing ground. The news aggregation company Huffington Post Canada took the wraps off a new homepage dedicated to Canadian news and politics, with contributions from prominent Canadians such as David Suzuki and Elizabeth May. Plans for the launch emerged in April, when the publication began hiring in Toronto. It’s the first step in a series of new editions planned for international markets.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Montreal Gazette tries out user-pay model

Readers will get 20 free views a month and after that will have to pay $6.95 a month for further access. Haven't we been here before?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fox News selling fear says Rolling Stone writer

Fairly direct opinion from Tom Dickinson, which among other things, says Fox News is a dispenser of fear posing as a news service. Huffington Post writer Michael Calderone remarks on unattributed quotes in Rolling Stone yarn maligning Fox. A little something for everyone.

CNBC's Mark Haines dead at 65

CNBC pioneering anchor Mark Haines, co-anchor of CNBC's morning "Squawk on the Street" show, has died unexpectedly on Tuesday evening, the network said. He was 65. The network said he died in his home. It did not specify the cause of death. Haines worked at CNBC for 22 years after working as a news anchor at TV stations in Philadelphia, New York and Providence, R.I.

NYC judge allows lawsuit against Huffington Post

A challenging lawsuit about rights to a generalized concept is being allowed to go forward. Democratic consultants Peter Daou and James Boyce sued Arianna Huffington in November 2010 alleging they had conceived the plan for the Huffington Post's blend of blogs by prominent contributors, news aggregation and original content. We'll see.

Monday, May 23, 2011

ESPN tell-all spills hardball business, frat-boy culture

Tone of this huge work is that some guys have all the fun. Toronto Star

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Can Canadian broadcasters compete with free?

Perceptive view of how free availability via streaming may be reducing the value of over-the-air and cable services, thus throwing the fee for carriage demand into doubt. Of course, TV ratings will reveal just how much value programming has, streaming notwithstanding. Michael Geist

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Media pretends the world is ending

There's something delusional about a news media that tries to get to the bottom of why the world didn't come to an end. It makes the mind swim. There was the CNN anchor soberly seeking an opinion from Alex Baldwin's brother. "What went wrong?" was the opening zinger. Piercing curiosity then demanded, "Why did this get so much attention" (Easy one. Check the mirror). And so it went. "Why do some people call this preacher a false prophet?" the anchor asked, seeking that need-to-know answer. All we can say is thank God someone has the guts to ask these kinds of questions. It's not every day that the world doesn't end when the media is pretending that it will -- TPG.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Liberty Media Bids for Barnes & Noble .

Before the Killer Kindle takes it out, Barnes and Noble is pondering an offers from Liberty Media. Wall Street Journal.

Google newspaper scanning project scrapped

Google says it will give up on any further plans to scan newspapers for publication online. It was all apparently too much. Cnet

Thursday, May 19, 2011

French media fell down on the job

A failure to distinguish private matters from liaisons and tendencies that might have been in the public interest. Australian

The Media Circus Outside the DSK Court Hearing

Many scribes will wish they were a part of it.

57 years of Playboy online

Wily old codger is still thinking up ways to make money from the past. And why not we say.

China recruits media for food safety

Ever since kids died from tainted baby food the Chinese have had to deal with widespread suspicion and fear from consumers about their food. Now they've recruited the media to ferret out those who cut corners.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

B.C. journalist Dorothy Parvaz released by Iran

She is now said to be back in Doha, Qatar after being set free by Iranian authorities early Wednesday, her fiancé said.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Maid in DSK case named by French media

Interesting situation where differing standards result in a rape plaintiff being named by the media. Nice reporting and writing by Aislinn Laing of the Telegraph.

Bin Laden photo fight pits White House vs press

Requests to make public the pictures of a dead Osama bin Laden have the potential to become a drawn out legal struggle with the media invoking the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The enduring impact of Matt Drudge

An "against all odds" story from the New York Times on how the Drudge Report has become a permanent, influential part of the media world.

News Corp to publish political donations

News Corp., the Rupert Murdoch giant, has put in place a policy to publish all political giving on its website. Let's see how it works. A nice idea however and one we commend to every media company in Canada.

Gay CNN Anchor Sees Risk in Book

Don Lemon's new book Transparent follows his career. New York Times.

CP's Colin Perkel survives Afghanistran chopper crash relatively unhurt

Canadian Press reporter Colin Perkel was aboard a Chinook helicopter that crashed on landing under moonlight in a remote part of Panjwaii district in southern Afghanistan early Monday. Four Canadian soldiers were injured, one of them seriously. The chopper, carrying five crew and about 25 soldiers along with Perkelt, flipped onto its side, throwing men and equipment into a mad tangle of bodies, weapons and gear. Sources tell Planetguys that Perkel got bumps, a bloody nose, bruises, but is ok. Some of his equipment - including glasses and camera - was lost or damaged but he managed to file pix and story all the same.

Click on the title to read his story and see his photos of the chopper.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The good news is it could be worse

Nice take out from The Australian published in the Wall Street Journal on how publishers are ever hopeful about the dismal future. The good news is that the decline in circulation wasn't too much.

French media in turmoil over sex charges

An AP story here describes how the news of Dominique Strauss-Kahn's arrest in New York has jolted French journalism. The media have previously called him "the great seducer" -- a term which may have gone from admiring to opprobrious. Some agencies are spinning a tale that he was set up by his political rivals.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Canada's changed media landscape also changes annual bidding war for U.S. programming

The Financial Post takes a look at the new TV players heading to Los Angeles for their annual shopping trek for fare that will attract Cannuck eyeballs. An excerpt:

"Grappling with rival broadcasters for prized rights to hit programming made by the biggest studios in the world during the annual “L.A. screenings,” which are happening next week, has been her modus operandi for years with Canwest Global Communications Corp.

"But this year, it’s a much different picture: Canwest is no more, its Global network comprising the centre of Shaw’s newly minted television unit. Also, ancient opponent CTV Inc. has been transformed into Bell Media following BCE Inc.’s acquisition of the country’s largest television broadcaster on April 1, a move, taken together with Shaw’s, that reshaped the Canadian broadcast and telecommunications industries.

"With the country’s three biggest broadcast entities fully controlled by wealthy telecom giants, each could well be armed with the budgets to pursue new programming with abandon, especially as good content is seeing its value rise — and there is none better than that produced by Fox, CBS, NBC-Universal and Disney."

Click on the title for the full story.

Globe and Mail scoops up most Natioanl Newspaper Awards; some readers not impressed

Here is the Globe's story about its NNA wins but the real story may be the online comments on the paper's website. See some below and click on the title to read more. An astounding number of dissatisfied readers!
The story:
The Globe and Mail has been awarded five National Newspaper Awards this year, more than any other paper. The NNAs, one of the top honours for Canadian print journalism, were given out on Friday evening in Ottawa. The Globe scored second straight wins for reporter Jessica Leeder in the multimedia category, designer Jason Chiu for presentation and Africa correspondent Geoffrey York in international reporting. The paper also scooped up awards for business and cartooning.

The comments:
10:56 PM on May 13, 2011
They could have picked up a couple more awards if there were categories for sensationalism, hyperbole and tabloidism based on their election coverage. Better luck next time.
10:57 PM on May 13, 2011
This is in the same league as Real Estate Associations handing out pats on the back to fellow colleagues.
We still know the real estate industry is a despicable excuse for a 'profession.'
Let the customers decide and get back to us.
Gord Lewis
11:50 PM on May 13, 2011
Somebody had to win.
They missed 'best hack in a (despot) supportive role' - shared by the entire Ottawa bureau.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Jon Stewart's popular U.S. TV show mocks Quebec town of Asbestos

The town of Asbestos, Que., was the object of ridicule on one of the world's most popular comedy programs Thursday night. ''The Daily Show with Jon Stewart'' produced a segment that began with lighthearted mockery and ended with moral indignation over the town's attachment to the asbestos industry. It interviewed local officials who said chrysotile asbestos is perfectly safe if handled properly — then spoke with a Canadian Medical Association doctor who called the industry a national embarrassment.
The piece saved its most scathing bits for last. It reminded people that asbestos is blamed for 100,000 deaths a year and that there's little evidence the product is handled safely in India, the prime market for Quebec asbestos. It ran CBC images of Indian workers tossing around the substance without any precautions. That's when the comedian-reporter on the story toughened his tone. Reporter Aasif Mandvi, who was born in Mumbai, asked the president of an asbestos mine: "Have you ever been to India? . . . Do you think in India people are following the regulations?"

Click on the title to read the full story.

Online media is replacing newspapers and TV. Is that a bad thing?

Takeout by Christian Science Monitor on how the new online media landscape is changing the way the public gets its news.

Click on the title to read the story.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Calgary columnist tells media to grow up and treat young MPs with respect

Calgary Herald columnist Paula Arab writes:

"We want more young people and women to get involved in politics, yet when they do engage, we treat them terribly. Take MP-elect Ruth Ellen Brosseau and the vitriol she’s had to endure since her unexpected victory in a central Quebec riding between Montreal and Quebec City.
"The young, single mother has been ripped into by righteous critics who think they know better than the electorate of Berthier-Maskinonge.
"Voters elected Brosseau and they did so decidedly, handing her nearly 40 per cent of the vote and almost 6,000 more votes than her nearest opponent. That her stunning victory was a surprise caught even the candidate herself off guard, but that’s no excuse for the mean-spirited backlash toward her from the media, rival candidates and other critics outside the riding.
"The 27-year-old has successfully managed a campus pub at Carleton University. I’m pretty sure she can handle the sophomoric jeering, cat-calling and other poor behaviour typical of our parliamentarians. . . ."

(Calgary, it will be remembered, recently elected a young Moslem as mayor.)

Click on the title to read the full column.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New York Times' share of newspaper sites' traffic hits 12-month low

The paywall introduced by The New York Times at the end of March is hurting traffic to its website, as expected, but perhaps within acceptable levels. The New York Times' share of United States page views for all newspaper websites dropped from 13% in March to 10.6% in April, its lowest share in 12 months, according to new data from ComScore. Page views from March to April declined 24.4% at The New York Times Online while slipping just 7.5% for newspaper sites as a group, according to the new Comscore numbers. Year-over-year comparisons -- comparing April 2011 to April 2010, for example -- are inadvisable in the case of The New York Times because it adopted a different ComScore measurement methodology in May 2010.

Detained Canadian reporter now in Iranian custody

Al-Jazeera television is demanding the immediate release of Canadian reporter Dorothy Parvaz, after learning that she is now in Iranian custody. Parvaz travelled to Syria last month to cover ongoing anti-government protests, but was detained by authorities upon her arrival in Damascus nearly two weeks ago. Al-Jazeera says it has since learned from Syrian authorities that Parvaz "is being held in Tehran." The television network is still trying to get information from Iranian authorities about her whereabouts. Dorothy Parvaz holds Iranian, Canadian and American citizenship, the last being the result of having an American mother

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Microsoft snaps up Skype to keep rivals at bay

For Microsoft Corp., the only thing better than acquiring Internet communication powerhouse Skype is ensuring that Google and Facebook didn’t. Under immense pressure to make up ground to its rivals in the smart phone and mobile communication market, the Redmond-based software giant has opted to spend $8.5-billion (U.S.) on Skype, a company it hopes will immediately vault it back to the top of the leaderboard, thanks to Skype’s 107 million active users and presence on almost every type of personal computing device on the planet, from desktops to iPhones. Skype offers users free or relatively cheap Web-based audio and video calls. The all-cash deal – the largest in Microsoft’s 36-year history – ends months of negotiations that are believed to have involved heavyweight suitors such as Google and Facebook.

Facebook had 7.5 million U.S. users under the age of 13: Survey

The social networking website Facebook Inc. had 7.5 million U.S. users under the age of 13 in the past year, according to a recent survey by Consumer Reports. More than 5 million of the users were 10 years and younger, despite Facebook’s age restrictions which require users to be 13 years or older, the survey reports.
In all, Facebook had 20 million American users under the age of 18, says Consumer Reports’ “State of the Net” survey published in the magazine’s June issue. The Yonkers, N.Y., publication conducted an online survey of 2,089 U.S. households in early 2011. “All those kids are in violation of Facebook’s rules,” Jeff Fox, technology editor for Consumer Reports told the Toronto Star on Tuesday.
The survey flies in the face of Facebook’s safety tools. Until their 18th birthday, minors between 13 and 17 on Facebook don’t have public search listings created for them, and the visibility of their information is limited to friends of friends and networks. However, the limited visibility doesn’t apply to their names, profile pictures, gender, usernames and networks, which are visible to everyone, Facebook states on its website’s privacy section.

Sportsnet host ‘under attack’ for knocking gay marriage

Toronto Star sports columnist Cathai Kelly reports that Sportsnet broadcaster Damian Goddard has succumbed to the dangerous charms of Twitter.
Goddard "just couldn’t help himself from weighing in on the hottest topic in hockey right now: gay marriage," Kelly wrote.
New York Ranger Sean Avery started things off with his video in support of gay marriage in that state.
Burlington-based hockey agent Todd Reynolds gave the story legs Monday when he Tweeted that Avery’s position was “very sad” and “wrong.”
Now Goddard, a host of Sportsnet’s Connected, has imposed himself on the debate.
“I completely and whole-heartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and TRUE (sic) meaning of marriage,” he Tweeted Tuesday afternoon.
Minutes later, he wrote: “Reynolds … Peter Vidmar … coming under the attack of the so-called liberal left.”
Vidmar is the former chief of mission for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team. He resigned this week after it was revealed that he’d protested against gay marriage in 2008 and donated $2,000 to a political campaign to make gay marriage illegal in the state of California.
Goddard’s Twitter page is his own, but pictures him on a Sportsnet set and identifies him as ‘Rogers Sportsnet — anchor, Connected’.
It’s not clear what action Rogers Sportsnet will take, if any. But Goddard wouldn’t have been heartened to see a series of replies on the network’s main Twitter page through the afternoon. These repeated the same message to a series of questioners who referenced Goddard’s original comment: “Today’s tweet from Damian Goddard does not reflect the views of Rogers Sportsnet.”

Yiddish newspaper apologizes for erasing Clinton from photo

A Yiddish newspaper in New York has apologized for doctoring a photograph of President Barack Obama and his national security team watching the mission against Osama bin Laden by editing out the women in the room, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Di Tzeitung explained in a statement that it has a long-standing editorial policy to never publish photographs of women, which it says is in keeping with the "laws of modesty" of its Orthodox Jewish readership.
"The readership of the Tzeitung believe that women should be appreciated for who they are and what they do, not for what they look like, and the Jewish laws of modesty are an expression of respect for women, not the opposite," the statement said. In the picture taken by White House photographer Pete Souza on May 1, showing the president and his national security team seemingly transfixed as they watch the mission to kill the al Qaeda leader, Clinton is a focal point, seated, with one hand clasped to her mouth. In Di Tzeitung's rendition, Clinton vanished without a trace, replaced by the digitally reconstituted left shoulder of Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, who she had otherwise obscured. Audrey Tomason, the director for counterterrorism and the only other woman in the picture, also was removed.

Max Mosley loses newspaper privacy case

Max Mosley, the former head of Formula One, has lost a high profile case at the European Court of Human Rights that would have required newspapers to warn people in advance before publishing details of their private lives. Mosley, who won an earlier landmark privacy case in the English courts against the News of the World newspaper, said the UK failed to impose a legal duty on newspapers to notify subjects in advance of a story appearing. Pre-notification would allow subjects to then obtain a court injunction preventing publication, he argued. However the European court in Strasbourg ruled unanimously on Tuesday that there had been no violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, and that to introduce a pre-notification requirement would have a “chilling effect” on journalism.
Three years ago, when Mr Mosley was about to step down as the head of the FIA, the regulating body of Formula One, the News of the World ran a story under the headline “F1 boss has sick Nazi orgy with five hookers”.
He later sued the newspaper in the High Court claiming damages for breach of confidence and invasion of privacy and won £60,000 in damages. Mosley is the son of the late Oswald Mosley, leader of a fascist party in pre-war Britain.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Moncton Times & Transcript cleans up in Atlantic journalism awards

The Moncton Times & Transcript took home three top-place awards at the 30th annual Atlantic Journalism Awards - more than any other newspaper in Atlantic Canada - at an awards gala in Halifax on Saturday. The Times & Transcript's Brent Mazerolle won gold in spot news for his news story about a knife-wielding man who held a young woman hostage in Lakeville last summer, while photographer Viktor Pivovarov won gold for a photo from the same story. Pivovarov has also been nominated for a National Newspaper Award for the same photograph.

Click on the title to read the full story.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pakistan bans live broadcast by foreign channels from Abbottabad

Pakistan's media regulatory watchdog has barred live broadcast by major foreign television channels from the garrison city of Abbottabad where Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces on May 2. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority said it had "stopped the foreign satellite TV channels from illegal uplinking of signals and live covering (of) news from Abbottabad". Authorities initially gave the media limited access to bin Laden's compound but it was later sealed by the police and the army. Foreign journalists were asked to leave Abbottabad yesterday. The regulator's decision to clamp down on broadcasts by foreign channels is being linked by observers to the Pakistani government and military's unease over coverage of perceived failures of security agencies in detecting bin Laden's presence in a city located 120 km from Islamabad.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

U.K. press watchdog looks to regulate journalists' Twitter activity

The U.K. Press Complaints Commission (PCC) is assessing whether journalists’ and newspaper Twitter feeds should come under its remit and be considered as part of the newspaper’s editorial content. The move would be the first time the media watchdog had included any form of social media content under its jurisdiction.
Many journalists working for a newspaper or media organisation say that they are tweeting their own thoughts and not their employer’s, but Iain Connor, a partner at media and entertainment specialist law firm Pinsent Masons, said this defence was weak.
“I think given the interest [in most journalists’ Twitter feeds’] is likely to arise because of their journalist profession, it would be difficult to argue that they are genuinely tweeting in a personal capacity and that’s probably the reason why the PCC is considering this extension to its remit.” According to The Guardian the PCC wants every newspaper to create a ‘Twitter policy’ which lets every reporter know which accounts are considered to be part of its editorial output.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Osama bin Laden books rushing to market

An e-book of essays written following the death of Osama bin Laden will be published Monday, the first in an onslaught of books about the al-Qaeda leader and the hunt to find him. Beyond Bin Laden: America and the future of terror will include essays by former U.S. secretary of state James A. Baker, who served under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and by former White House aide Karen Hughes. American diplomat Richard N. Haass and Reagan-era aide and author Bing West are also contributors. Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Random House executive editor Jon Meacham is to edit and write an introduction. The announcement of publication, made Thursday by Random House, comes hard on the heels of book deals for other bin Laden experts.
Peter Bergen, a national security analyst for CNN and author of Holy War, Inc., The Osama bin Laden I Know and The Longest War, has signed a deal with Crown Publishers. His forthcoming book, called The Manhunt, will explore the search for bin Laden.
Bergen conducted a television interview with bin Laden in 1997 and interviewed more than 50 people who knew him personally to write The Osama bin Laden I Know.
His The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda, which was published in January, is now being rushed out in e-book format as well.
Steve Coll, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001, has a deal with Penguin Press for a book analyzing the events of the 10 years leading up to bin Laden's death.

TV anchor sues newspaper over criticism of comments he made about k.d. lang

A CTV Regina news anchor has filed a defamation suit against a local newspaper over its criticism of comments he made about Alberta-born singer k.d. lang's resemblance to actor Charlie Sheen. Manfred Joehnck (pictured) is suing Hullabaloo Publishing Workers Co-operative Ltd., publishers of a give-away newspaper called Prairie Dog as well as a web-based version. The suit also names Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth and writer Aidan Morgan. Joehnck and sports anchor Chris Hodges were engaging in banter during a broadcast and Joehnck suggested "the older (lang) gets, the more she looks like Charlie Sheen." The suit alleges that a short time later Morgan posted a blog in which he suggested Joehnck was "snickering over lang's appearance and out-there sexuality," and was mocking her for being "a woman who doesn't fit with the beauty standards of our age." In the statement of claim, Joehnck's lawyer, Tony Merchant, says Morgan wrongly assumed the exchange between the anchors was critical of lang's sexual orientation. "In fact, Mr. Joehnck merely intended to make the humorous observation that a man, Charlie Sheen, and a woman, k.d. lang, looked very much alike," said the suit.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Canadian Al Jazeera journalist being held in Syria

Al-Jazeera is asking Syria for the immediate release of a B.C. woman arrested while on assignment for the English-language news network after officials in the middle-eastern country confirmed today that they have detained Dorothy Parvaz. The network says Parvaz was arrested upon her arrival in Damascus six days ago and has had no contact with anyone since. When her plane touched down, she was apparently arrested by Syrian authorities that have since confirmed they are holding the 39-year-old in detention, adding they are treating her well.
Although Ms. Parvaz spent most her career in the United States, her roots in Canada run deep. Her father, Fred, is a physics teacher at Capilano University in British Columbia. Ms. Parvaz was born in Iran and lived there with her grandmother through the 1979 Iranian Revolution. She subsequently moved to the United Arab Emirates to live with her father, her stepmother and her sister.
When Ms. Parvaz was 12, the family moved to British Columbia where she attended high school, and later earned an undergraduate degree in English literature at the University of British Columbia, before completing a masters of journalism at the University of Arizona. She has Irabnian, U.S. and Canadian citizenship.

CRTC gives local programs a hand

The CRTC has ordered Bell Canada Enterprises Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. to carry more local stations starting on Sept. 1. The changes ensure Canadian subscribers to both Bell and Shaw's satellite services will receive the local affiliate station of each of the national television networks. The CRTC's new policy makes it compulsory for all telecommunications companies to carry all local television stations supported by the Local Programming Improvement Fund.
The $100-million fund was established in 2009 to support small-and mid-sized local stations.
The companies will have to provide the following, according to the CRTC's statement:
--An affiliate of each national television network;
--Five English-and five French-language CBC stations; or as many CBC stations as are distributed from a private broadcasting group in either official language;
--One television station per province from each major Canadian broadcasting ownership group;
--Two stations from each of the other Canadian broadcasting ownership groups.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

China creates new agency for patrolling the Internet

A powerful arm of China’s government said Wednesday that it had created a new central agency to regulate every corner of the nation’s vast Internet community, the New York Times reported. But the vaguely worded announcement left unclear whether the new agency, the State Internet Information Office, would in fact supersede a welter of ministries and other government offices that already claim jurisdiction over parts of cyberspace. China’s State Council Information Office said it was transferring its own staff of Internet regulators to the new agency, which would operate under its jurisdiction. Among many other duties, the agency will direct “online content management;” supervise online gaming, video and publications; promote major news Web sites; and oversee online government propaganda. The agency will also have authority to investigate and punish violators of online content rules, and it will oversee the huge telecommunications companies that provide access for Internet users and content providers alike.

Digital subscriptions boost Wall Street Journal circulation says audit bureau

The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) released its results this week for newspaper circulations for a sixth month period, that ended on March 31st. According to the ABC numbers, The Wall Street Journal is still the leading newspaper in the U.S., thanks to double digital growth in its paid digital editions, giving it a totally average circulation both online and print of 2,117,796 copies. The WSJ's overall gain was 1.2 per cent, which was driven by 22% growth in electronic edition subscriptions, but “circulation for the print edition of the Journal fell 3.9% to 1,613,062 copies. Most New York papers followed the trend of the Journal that their overall numbers were bouyed by digital growth.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Quebecor pulls Sun News from Bell TV

Quebecor Inc. pulled its freshly launched 24-hour news channel Sun News Network off rival Bell Canada's television system Tuesday as the two companies haggle over subscriber fees. Luc Lavoie, chief of the new Quebecor specialty channel that launched April 18, said Bell informed Groupe TVA, the broadcast subsidiary of Quebecor, on Monday that an amount of money Sun News was asking for per subscriber fees was rejected as "excessive." Bell agreed to pull the channel off its satellite system in compliance with a May 3 deadline, Lavoie added. That account was corroborated by Bell. "We had hoped to come to a commercial agreement based on the fact Sun News is a new and relatively untested channel ... but the price being asked is quite excessive," said spokeswoman Marie-Eve Francoeur.

North Vancouver journalist vanishes in Syria

The family of a North Vancouver journalist who vanished in Syria on Friday say they still know nothing about her whereabouts or condition after four agonizing days. Dorothy Parvaz,(pictured) a reporter for the Al Jazeera news network, disappeared Friday after disembarking from a Qatar Airways flight in Damascus. The 39-year-old had flown into the country from Doha, where the network is based, to report on events there. According to the passenger manifest, she got off her plane, but her employers say she never made it to her hotel. Parvaz’s family fear she is being held by the Syrian government, which has been clamping down violently on dissidents and members of the media in response to the widespread protests that have rocked the country in recent weeks. Parvaz is an American, Canadian and Iranian citizen.

So much for the media, social or otherwise!

From a Canadian Press story about the newly-elected NDP members:
"Ruth Ellen Brosseau, perhaps the most improbable newly elected member of the NDP.
Brosseau, an assistant manager at a university pub in Ottawa, won a central Quebec riding that is 98 per cent francophone even though the party has acknowledged she has difficulties in French, spent a week in Vegas during the campaign and never spoke to the media.
The NDP said Brosseau, who returned from Vegas last week, wasn't in the riding on election day and wouldn't immediately be available for interviews."

Walrus leads National Magazine Awards nominations with 35; ROB gets 31

The Walrus has received a leading 35 nominations heading into this year's National Magazine Awards. It's followed by Report on Business with 31, Toronto Life with 30 and L'actualite with 22. Competing for magazine of the year are: Canada's History, Cottage Life and MoneySense. First-time nominees include Eye Weekly, The Feathertale Review and Open File.

Brian Segal to leave Rogers Publishing

Brian Segal, (pictured) the head of Rogers Publishing, is leaving the company after 17 years.
Ken Whyte, the executive vice-president of consumer publishing, is likely to take his place overseeing Rogers Communications Inc.’s print media division, according to a source familiar with the matter. The 68-year-old Mr. Segal, who oversees such magazines and their websites as Maclean’s, Chatelaine, Hello! Canada and L’Actualité, will retire at the end of August. Mr. Segal’s successor faces significant challenges as the company grapples with trying to make money in digital media. For all the talk of tablet devices and the opportunities they offer the industry, publishers have not yet decided on a business model, whether they will erect pay walls around their content, or how to deal with digital players such as Apple Inc. that want a slice of their business for the privilege of publishing on these new platforms.

Ownership of TV Sets Falls in U.S.

For the first time in 20 years, the number of homes in the United States with television sets has dropped. The Nielsen Company, which takes TV set ownership into account when it produces ratings, will tell television networks and advertisers on Tuesday that 96.7 percent of American households now own sets, down from 98.9 percent previously. There are two reasons for the decline, according to Nielsen. One is poverty: some low-income households no longer own TV sets, most likely because they cannot afford new digital sets and antennas. The other is technological wizardry: young people who have grown up with laptops in their hands instead of remote controls are opting not to buy TV sets when they graduate from college or enter the work force, at least not at first. Instead, they are subsisting on a diet of television shows and movies from the Internet. That second reason is prompting Nielsen to think about a redefinition of the term “television household” to include Internet video viewers.

Hamilton Spectator sweeps Ontario Newspaper Awards

The Hamilton Spectator swept the Ontario Newspaper Awards on Saturday night, collecting eight awards, including the prestigious Journalist of the Year award.
The Windsor Star netted six awards, including the equally high-profile Photojournalist of the Year award. The Guelph Mercury and Waterloo Region Record each went home with three awards, while the London Free Press, Sarnia Observer, Woodstock Sentinel-Review and Brandford Expositor each picked up two. The Ottawa Sun, Owen Sound Sun Times, Chatham Daily News, Orillia Packet and Times, Simcoe Reformer and Sault Star each received one award.

Click on the title to read a complete list of awards.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Elections act limits online comments, social media

An elections law enacted when telecommunications were still in their infancy runs up against the digital age on Monday. Strict rules under the Canada Elections Act prevent any instance of "premature transmission of results" until the last polls have closed in every electoral district in the country. That means extra precautions for online publishers and consumers. Elections Canada has issued a warning to Facebook and Twitter users to use caution on election day when communicating and posting voting results, saying the act also applies to transmissions made over the internet.

Michael MacMillan back in the media industry

As head of specialty channel behemoth Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc., Michael MacMillan was one of Canada's most powerful media moguls. He sold the company for $2.3-billion in 2007, generating a personal fortune, part of which he invested in a charitable foundation (Samara) and a winery (Closson Chase, in Ontario’s Prince Edward County, east of Toronto). Now, he's returned to the media business, having set up Blue Ant Media Inc. to take a stake in GlassBox Television Inc., a small outfit with a handful of specialty television channels and ambitious plans to distribute programming over the Internet and hand-held devices.

Click on the title to read the Globe and Mail's interview with Michael MacMillan.

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