Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Angelo Persichilli to head PMO communications

Multilingual veteran and Toronto insider Angelo Perischilli has been chosen as Stephen Harper's communications director. Because of his past positions with Couriere Canadese and Omni TV its thought that Perichilli has a broad knowledge of ethnic politics in the City. Persichilli does not speak French. The possible backroom nature of Perichilli's role is hinted at by news today that the Prime Minister's assistant Andrew MacDougall, who does speak French, now becomes associate director of communications and chief spokesman. Toronto Star story linked off the headline.

Bob Goodman identifies Citytv pioneers

Reader Bob Goodman has sent a comment which states authoritatively that the five people in the CityTv newsroom with Ron Haggart are (from left to right):
Bob Cezar Head of Engineering / Operations
Jim West Sales Manager
David Ruskin
Ron Haggart, Executive Producer, News / The City Show
Phyllis Switzer, Co-founder
Mozes Znaimer, Co-founder

Tom Hayes moves to CityNews Channel

Tom Hayes has left CTV Toronto to join the new Rogers Media 24 hour station CityNews Channel. The Channel will launch in September and brings together various Rogers brands, including Citytv, radio station 680 News, and Maclean’s magazine.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Most livable city is a plainly laughable concept

Our motto is live and let live. If the media thinks 'that the annual Most Livable City contest is worth reporting, fine. But to be kind, it's laughable. We don't even have to tell you the names of the winners of this silly exercise to make the point. It's enough to name the non-starters. That's right, Ciudad de Mexico and Gaza City were not on the list. Nor was Tripoli. The top ten cities were all nice, highly developed places with stable democratic governments and educated populations. Tell us how it could possibly be any other way?

Reader takes our challenge on Citytv photo

In the post below we asked readers to help us identify the people featured with Ron Haggart at City tv. So far we've had an educated guess about two. The man on the left seen in profile is thought to be, possibly, Ron Meraska. He was the first News Director. The woman is possibly, our reader says, the late Phyllis Swtizer. She was one of the original shareholders. It's said that her name was on the licence as originally issued. Please send your best guess about these early City tv figures.

HP brings back its tablet for last production run

It seems to be hard to say goodbye, especially when there's a little quick cash to be made.

CNN buys iPad magazine Zite

Zite is an iPad service that learns about readers' tastes and customizes a digital magazine with stories from hundreds of different websites. How about that.

Justice to question Murdochs under oath

The public inquiry ordered by the British Government will evidently have the authority to compel witnesses to testify. The inquiry into phone hacking by journalists of the News of the World will be conducted by an august gentleman who gets a lot of respect in the British papers. That would be Your Lordship or Lord Justice Leveson to you. The stern rules of procedure open the prospect of James and Rupert Murdoch answering penetrating questions under oath. Lord Leveson has powers firstly to invite witnesses to give evidence, and then to compel them under the Inquiries Act 2005.Sources close to the inquiry said Lord Justice Leveson would not be constrained in who he asked to testify. Telegraph story.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Streamers DIY for pennies: Apple TV or Roku 2

CNET operative surveys cheap devices to bring streaming internet to your TV.

Anyone know these people?

The Star published this undated photo with Ron Haggart's obit. It was taken in the early days of City-TV. The people with Ron were not identified. Mostly Media wonders whether any member of its vast audience can identify anyone in the photo. You can post it as a comment.

Olivia Chow to follow husband as NDP leader?

Where is Christie Blatchford when she's needed?

"Media Can Be a Call to Action, or a Distraction"

New York Times story may be of interest for those able to work their way through the complex hypothesis of the political science graduate at the centre of this.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Public is heard on Blatchford column

Most interesting review of the National Post's mail in response to Christie Blatchford's column deploring the "canonization" of Jack Layton. Very worthwhile debate by the public finds her both despicable and courageous.

Ron Haggart dead at 84

Obit in the Toronto Star which promises a fuller obit to follow.

U of Saskatchewan student paper is 100

The Sheaf celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2012. It's one of the longest continuously published newspapers in Saskatchewan, perhaps behind only the two major daily newspapers in Saskatoon and Regina. The paper is planning an alumni celebration for November next year. Star Phoenix

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Drudge report headline on New York reaction to Hurricane Irene.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Glacier Media makes local news work

The Globe and Mail story linked off the headline is a bit dry but for journalists the message will surely be that there is no news like local news. Glacier Media continues to put together a winning balance sheet although you might not guess just how by the Globe story. It makes no mention of the company's many titles. Glacier owns and profits from more than 50 tiny papers from the Alaska Highway News, to the Olds Albertan to the proudly uncorrected Squamish Chief.

British papers face declining sales

British newspapers continues to lose circulation. AdWorld report linked above.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Funniest 15 Apple ads during Jobs' reign

With the retirement of Steve Jobs, many are recalling the great ads produced by his firm over the years. Someone has listed "the funniest 15" ads during Jobs tenure. See them all.

Real journalists don't need a licence

The National Post's Chris Selley takes on the Quebec government's move to establish two-tier journalism. Excerpt:
"Most ludicrous is the notion that the Quebec government, or any other, wants to help "real" journalists by giving them better access to information. The only thing journalists should do with that idea is laugh at it. . . .
"Canadian media and journalists should be in full-scale revolt against this state of affairs. . . ."
More here:
The NatPost also has an editorial on the subject:

Curiously, no other paper has so far tackled this.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Steve Jobs resigns as Apple CEO

Steve Jobs, the co-founder and CEO of tech giant Apple Inc., announced Wednesday that he is resigning immediately after years of health problems.
“I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know,” Mr. Jobs said in a letter released Wednesday. “Unfortunately, that day has come.” Having first disclosed a cancer diagnosis in 2004, and having clung so long to the reins of Apple, news of his resignation will have many speculating his condition has taken a turn for the worse. Jobs asked to stay on as chairman of the board and “strongly” recommended that Apple install as his replacement the current chief operating officer, Tim Cook, who led the company through Jobs’s medical leaves of absence and who was considered by many to be the logical successor. Apple agreed on Wednesday to both requests.

Google to pay $500m over Canadian drug advertisements

Google is to pay out $500m to avoid going to court over claims it made hundreds of millions of dollars out of advertisements from Canadian pharmacies illegally selling prescription drugs such as Viagra to US consumers.

AP, Corbis team up in bid to profit from stock photos

The Associated Press and Corbis Images are teaming up in an attempt to make more money from a stockpile of photography that includes some of the world's most famous photos.The partnership, announced Tuesday, calls for the AP and Corbis Images to begin posting each other's photos in their online galleries beginning in early October. The websites, and, license the photos to be used by magazines, books, websites, advertisers and a variety of other buyers.Financial details of the arrangement between the AP and Corbis weren't disclosed. The agreement covers more than 10 million digital photos, with the AP and Corbis supplying about 5 million each.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quebec wants to create "special status" journalists

Back in the 1980s, a number of third world countries were pushing for the licensing of journalists. The issue came up time and again in international organizations and was always firmly opposed by North American representatives.

Now, as the National Post's Graeme Hamilton reports, Quebec's culture minister is pressing ahead with a proposal to give traditional journalists special status that smacks of licensing.

Hamilton writes:
"Who hasn’t experienced the mild annoyance of being passed over in favour of someone whose credit card is shinier or whose airline ticket is pricier?

"Soon, if a Quebec government proposal to award professional status to journalists goes ahead, it will be reporters’ turn to grumble as their elite-status colleagues jump to the front of the line.

"Quebec’s Culture Minister, Christine St-Pierre, announced this week that she is pushing forward with a plan to create “a new model of regulation of Quebec media.” Public consultations on the project will be held across Quebec this fall.

"Key to the plan would be legislation establishing the “status of professional journalist” in order to distinguish those committed to “serving the public interest” from “amateur bloggers.” It is proposed that state-recognized professional journalists would enjoy unspecified “advantages or privileges” not available to the great unwashed.

"La Presse reported that one of the privileges Ms. St-Pierre has in mind is “better access to government sources.” A consultation document published Monday asks: “Should the status of professional journalist be accompanied by privileges for the journalists as well as the companies that hire them? If yes, which [privileges]?”

"The government says it does not want to prevent anyone from practicing journalism. But it would create a separate class of journalists, who in exchange for their new privileges would have to respect certain criteria, yet to be defined. The new status would not be awarded directly by the state but by organizations representing journalists. . . .


She wore green and disappeared -- on the screen that is

GMA anchor Lara Spencer showed up wearing green - - and disappeared because of chromakey. Her director passed her a note saying "be less transparent." Green is a nono when appearing on TV!

Here is the video:

Quebec writer Gil Courtemanche dies

Quebec journalist and author Gil Courtemanche, whose novel on Rwanda was translated into 23 languages, died early Friday from cancer, his publisher les Éditions du Boreal said. Courtemanche, who was born in 1943 and became a journalist in 1962, was recognized for his analysis of international politics for a variety of media. These included Radio-Canada, the French-language network of the CBC; Quebec City Le Soleil; and most recently Montreal Le Devoir. He was also one of the co-founders of the now-defunct sovereigntist newspaper Le Jour in the 1970s.

Western Media in Libya: Journalists or the Propaganda Arm of the Insurgency?

Huffington Post piece on the Libya coverage: "There is no better proof for the gullibility (or worse) of Western media than how easily they have been manipulated by rebel spokesmen for the Libyan insurgency. From Sunday through Monday evening for more than 24 hours, broadcast and cable media outlets reported the rebels had captured Saif Gaddafi and his brother Mohammad. Why did they believe and publicize these unconfirmed reports? Because the rebels told them so. No photos, no audio, no proof. We even heard that Saif's capture was confirmed by International Criminal Court prosecutors who apparently believed what they were told too. . . "

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bill Moyers gets $2 million for new TV show

Bill Moyers is returning to public television in January, but he won’t be found on the PBS lineup. The program will be based at WNET in New York City and distributed free to public television stations by American Public Television, an alternative distributor to PBS. The new hourlong weekly show, called “Moyers & Company,” will focus on one-on-one interviews with people not often heard on television, “thinkers who can help us understand the chaos of this time,” Moyers told The New York Times. “We’re going to be concerned with the state of democracy and the state of affairs, but we will leave the daily and weekly story to others and try to do the back story.”
Earlier this year, Moyers, who retired from PBS in April 2010, said he had received $2 million in financing from the Carnegie Corporation of New York for the new show.

Globe and Mail talks with Tony Burman

The Globe and Mail features an interview with Tony Burman, who is about to return to Canada from his gig at Al-Jazeera.
"Under Burman’s tenure, AJE (Al-Jazeera English) saw its audience reach climb to 220 million worldwide. It’s a track record the former CBC news executive is justifiably proud of. And as he prepares to leave AJE, to become lecturer and chair of the Velma Rogers Graham Research endowment at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism,Burman reflects on the challenges facing news organizations . . "

Click on the title to read the interview.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Animal rights activists to launch porn site

In another sensational attempt to draw attention to the plight of animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is planning to launch a porn site later this year. A spokeswoman for the group says the site will feature adult content along with graphic images of animals that viewers may not expect to see.
“We are preparing to launch our own site, but instead of just showing people our iconic ads we then show them how animals suffer for entertainment,”
PETA has raised temperatures -- and controversy -- over the years by employing porn stars like Sasha Grey and Jenna Jameson as well as scantily clad models and celebrities in TV commercials and advertisements to promote animal rights, veganism and vegetarianism.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

CRTC approves Italian state-owned news channel

The CRTC announced Friday that it has added RAInews to the list of eligible foreign services for distribution in Canada. The decision stems from a March 25 request by Rogers Communications Inc. to approve the Italian news service for digital distribution. RAInews is an all-news specialty service operated by Italy’s public broadcaster, RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana. Its Italian-language news and current affairs programming focuses on Italian issues and international events. The CRTC typically approves foreign-owned, general interest, third-language services for distribution in Canada. Of 27 interventions the commission received in response to Rogers’ request, 26 were in favour of the application. Telelatino Network Inc. raised concerns about the commission’s approach to authorizing non-Canadian, third-language broadcast services, but did not object Rogers’ request.

Canadians becoming more attached to Internet, smartphones: CRTC

Canadians are turning off their televisions and cutting their land lines in favour of online streaming and smartphones in record numbers, Canada's telecommunications regulator flags in a report released Thursday. The number of mobile phone subscribers is expected to reach 29.5 million by 2014, representing a penetration rate of 85 per cent. By then, smartphones will account for half of all mobile handsets in Canada, up from 31 per cent in 2009. And by next spring, the percentage of Canadians with tablets is expected to double in a single year, to 10 per cent, according to consumer trends compiled by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in a report expected to sharpen the debate over whether it's time to regulate new media and modernize Canada's broadcasting and telecommunications laws.

Click on the title to read the whole story.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Worthington: Duceppe has more class than CBC

"At least he (Duceppe) has had the grace to pull out of a deal that should never have been made."
Click on the title to read the column

Anderson Cooper breaks down in giggle fit

CNN host Anderson Cooper couldn't contain himself on Wednesday night's show, breaking down into laughter after delivering a barrage of bathroom humour. During a segment called "The RidicuList," Cooper reported on a story where French actor Gerard Depardieu urinating in the aisle of a plane as it prepared to take off.
"Depardieu created his own jetstream, or as the French would say, 'oui oui'," says Cooper as he begins his porcelain puns.
While he managed to keep a straight face through most of the jokes, he lost it when saying, "All I can say is that they (the cleaning crew) should thank their lucky stars it wasn't a Depar-two."

Sun TV gives up over-the-air lcense

Sun News is about to abandon its over-the-air license, according to documents submitted to the federal broadcast regulator. The decision means that at the end of October, free access for Sun News will end (except in Ottawa, where this will happen at the end of August, for administrative reasons). Like other specialty stations, Sun News will then be seen only on cable, satellite and Internet TV services that have made a deal with the company to carry the channel.
The CRTC took issue with Quebecor. the station’s owner, over the practice of using an over-the-air signal to promote a specialty station. Rather than arguing, Quebecor replied in a letter on July 15 that it would give the license back to the CRTC.
This means that Sun News will appear only on TV services with whom Quebecor has reached deals to carry it. That includes western cable giant Shaw Communications Inc. and the cable service Quebecor owns, Vidéotron Ltée.
One notable absence is Bell TV, the most vocal critic of the Sun News broadcast-specialty hybrid. In May, Bell yanked Sun News from its satellite service at Quebecor’s demand when Bell refused to pay the subscriber fee requested for the channel.
Ratings numbers released by the company in June indicate that in the first six weeks of the network, Sun News drew an average of 12,900 viewers, and an average of 25,400 between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hebert reviews the Duceppe debacle

Star columnist ranges over the odd media retirement niche provided to politicians, Radio Canada's careless instincts and the still feisty Gilles Duceppe.

CBC at 75: ‘This is a gift back to Canadians’

To mark the 75th anniversary of its founding, the CBC will schedule 75 days of special programming. It includes such things as a history of Canada's founding, John A: Birth of a Country and Wayne and Shuster Legacy III. National Post.

CBC tells Duceppe to cool off, buzz off

Gilles Duceppe was hired to talk about lifestyle (?) but then he said a few minutes later than he wanted to comment on politics too The CBC says it has a "cooling off" period of two years for politicians before they can do that. Sum total: Gilles is gone. Let this be a warning to, say, Dalton McGuinty. His CBC gardening show had better be about gardening. Just kidding. Maybe it will be Hudak on Personal Finance.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Facebook riot inciters get four years each

Two Facebook users who encouraged rioters to destroy their local towns on the social networking site were jailed for four years yesterday as the courts handed out their toughest sentences yet. Telegraph

"Joke story" or a real hacking?

Yes, yes, Premier Charest laughed off the report of his death. "Reports of my death are greatly etc." The real question however is whether this a case of a genuine hacking, in which case who did it. Or is it a 21st century variation on the "joke story" which in previous times was never intended for publication, but got handed around the rim for giggles. Until of course, it accidentally got into print. We demand a full-scale investigation at Le Devoir.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

SF transit system fights online riot conspiracy

It's not journalism but the capacity of people to organize for violent purposes is sure a story. In San Francisco, the feel-good capital of the world, the justification has followed that circular rational that its every one's right to riot. Any action to stop it constitutes a police state which by the way is cause for a riot. At the Bay Area Rapid Transit, officials turned off cell phone use in the stations because it was clear to them that people were plotting riots there and on the trains. This in turn caused the anti-social media facilitated disturbance shown in the video above.

BBC sells venerable Radio Times, 32 other mags

They will go to publosher Exponent. The sale reminds us how deeply is the BBC woven into British life. It has published Radio Times (centre) since 1923. This kind of a stable seems improbable in these times or any other, a reality which appears to have caught up with the Beeb.

UK cops monitored Twitter, B'berry messages

British police say they sent officers to the 2012 Olympic sites and major shopping centres during riots after intercepting phone and social network messages suggesting those areas were targets.Assistant Commissioner Lynne Owens of London's Metropolitan Police told lawmakers that police sent extra officers to London's Oxford Circus, two malls and the Olympic Park on Aug. 8 after seeing messages about those areas on Twitter and the BlackBerry devices of people who had been arrested for rioting. AP

Monday, August 15, 2011

Google muscles up with Motorola Mobility

Google will buy mobile phone and electronics maker Motorola Mobility for a cool US$12.5 billion cash. The move is said to be intended to give Google an assist in fighting off patent lawsuits from other smartphone and mobile computing giants. Motorola it is noted owns no fewer than 17,000 patents with another 7,500 pending. Besides being by far the largest deal that Google has ever proposed, buying Motorola would push the company into phone and computer tablet manufacturing for the first time, at the risk of alienating the other device makers that depend on Google's Android operating system.

Sports radio legend Ted Tevan dead at 78

Nice obituary from CTV.

German paper runs paean to Berlin Wall

This is very funny. Dopey newspaper in Germany is nostalgic about Erich Honecker, the Wall and all those other fantastic GDR things. We were going to compose a Top Ten list of why the GDR was great, but no.

Rob Granatstein out at the Toronto Sun

Toronto Life calls it mysterious and offers a number of possible reasons for the long-time editor and writer's departure. We'll guess that Sun staffers have sometimes been let go because they make too much money. No idea really.

Paywall on some small to medium U.S. papers

MediaNews Group has thrown up a low paywall of 1.99 a month on 23 of its small to medium sized papers in various part of the U.S. Its larger papers are still free online.

No more live TV of Mubarak trial

The judge in the trial of the long-time Egyptian strong man has decided to stop live television of the trial. Story gives no reason. The country has been gripped by the pictures and it may be they aren't getting much done.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

BBC ventures a "Mad Men" series

ZAP2it reports: It is not just NBC and ABC that have been influenced by the success of Mad Men with some of their new shows (The Playboy Club and Pan Am), across the pond in the UK a new BBC produced 6 part drama The Hour is also being likened to the hit AMC show and has been dubbed 'the British Mad Men.' The show airs in the UK starting Tuesday, July 19 and will make it's way to BBC America next month.

Terrifying video of stage collapse in Indiana

Several amateur shooters caught this tragic event digitally last night. In this one, the operator seems to anticipate that there is trouble coming. Powerful gusts of wind bring down the stage rigging at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis. Five are now reported to have been killed.

The Wong gathering: Can you play it straight?

It's one great story, the gathering of the Wongs. And, as befits a professional workforce in Toronto, the temptation to make some dreadful play on words has been resisted. The linked story from the Star by Kate Allen is very nice. The "throng of Wongs" was good. The headline, for which she would not be responsible, did drop a clanger with "the Wong crowd". Not that any Wong would resent it. Oh well.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Gillis interview all about "compassion"

Our thanks to a reader who by way of commenting on the post below directed us to the above section of the Erikson-Gillis exchange on Sun News. There is another section (No. 1) but this appears to be the liveliest. What's been missing in media coverage has been any, or much, mention of the unusual focus placed by the subject on compassion, as opposed to dancing. It's hard to imagine how the CBSC should need more than a couple of minutes to reject this.

Sun News defends its arts funding interview

Manson, Erikson and Gillis
As we see it, Sun News is fighting the backlash over the Margie Gillis interview on two levels. It wants to avoid censure by the CBSC and, what the heck, it's another chance to crow about its totally uncorrected approach to news. Gillis you may recall is the dancer who was maybe ambushed by Kritsa Erikson on whether the government should fund artists. It's a perfectly reasonable topic. We did not see the the interview so a judgement is tough. But if Ms Gillis expected to have a nice CBC radio -type interview about dancing (or whatever) she would not be the first person to find that the questioning was not so agreeable. A certain element of precaution may apply to these interview invitations. If that's what happened, it's an old story. Those who pull such tricks may certainly be criticised but it's doubtful that the CBSC should have anything to do with it. Very doubtful. In any case, Sun News has released a written response Friday to the unprecedented number of complaints to the CBSC. "It is part of the mandate of Sun News to explore topics and issues that have not been fully explored in other media, including other broadcasters," Tycho Manson, director of legal affairs for Quebecor Media Inc. writes in a letter to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.

Friday, August 12, 2011

"Be a Star election community correspondent"

Volunteer election correspondents. Proof that things are tough all over. Incidentally, we are still waiting for a pic from another Star brainwave, the semi-nude couple reader gambit.

Should newspapers highlight the extraordinary?

This isn't a question you hear very often. Maybe it could only be asked at the Guardian where they like to think really really hard. In this context, it's elementary to emphasize the extraordinary. Greenslade Blog

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gazette mailers on the road to unemployment

Reading about the lockout at the Montreal Gazette is like watching a replay of dozens of media labour disputes. Postmedia wants its mailing room employees to work for what it says is an industry pay rate. And while the paper agreed to a four day work week for pressman and other employees, the handful of unreconciled workers -- less than 30 it seems -- said no to five days. What's it about in the end? The feeling that just grips an observer is that these poor people can't win. The refusal to work for what appears to be a going rate seems like a pathway to unemployment.

CCTV critical in catching rioters

The following report is from the Times of India: One by one, rioters who ran amok on the streets of London and other cities are being arrested by police officials, who aided by CCTV images have come knocking on the doors, even as courts sat through the night to dispense justice expeditiously. More than 1,300 arrests have been made since the unrest began on Saturday, officials said. The arrests came as Prime Minister David Cameron declared in the House of Commons today, "We will track you down, we will find you, we will charge you, we will punish you. You will pay for what you have done". Among those who participated in the rioting is an 11-year-old girl in Nottingham, reflecting the fact that most of those responsible were in their teens or younger. Those arrested included youngsters who attend grammar schools or are employed. More than 100 arrest warrants were executed Thursday morning in London, police said.

British PM talks of curbs on social media

The British Prime Minister has warned of measures to control social media being used to co-ordinate mob action in the recent street riots. He also outlined new measures to assist police in gaining control during street violence. Meantime, it appears that increasingly rigorous action and larger police presence has forced at least a lull to three days of unbridled destruction and looting.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Where are the Planetguys?

We're going to flatter ourselves that at least a few people will be asking that question when they come across this new page. Well, the Planet Guys live on. But from now on they will be masquerading as the original authors of this media blog, Peter Rehak and Ted Stuebing. The Planet Guys was a spin off name from the original blog, The Daily Planet. That blog was run by Rehak and Stuebing at the Humber School of Media Studies. It began in 1998. Our fresh look permits a wider blog with more room for pictures and story length. We hope you continue to visit.

"Gloria Steinem in her own words"

This story about the forthcoming documentary on Gloria Steinem is worth a read. The documentary looks good.

Here is a quote from it:
"The excellent documentary has footage of President Richard Nixon grumbling about her, George Burns coming on to her and the protests. It covers the story she did under cover as a Playboy bunny. She 'learned what it was like to be on a meat hook,' she says in the film. 'I regretted for many years I did it because it made me unserious.'"

Cut-throat world of fashion using child models

In the financially-strapped world of fashion, younger and younger girls are appearing in adult fashion ad campaigns. A 10-year-old so-called "supermodel" recently graced the glossy pages of French Vogue, all dolled-up, suggestively positioned on a couch with a sultry stare. 13-year-old actress Elle Fanning posed for high-fashion designer Marc Jacobson, looking wise beyond her years as she glared vacantly into the camera clutching a purse. Her sister Dakota, at 17 an industry vet, is featured in an ad for Marc Jacobs’ new perfume “Oh Lola!” with the flower-blooming bottle positioned between her legs.
Then there’s 14-year-old Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfield sporting feminine ensembles as the model for the Miu Miu August/Winter 2011 campaign, and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” starlet Kendall Jenner inking a deal to become the face of Australian swimwear label Leah Madden's Summer 2012 campaign “Pirouette.” As for Prada’s fall campaign? It features a bevy of young beauties suggestively stroking their clothing. One of the models was reportedly 13 years old when the ads were shot.
"The fashion industry shouldn't be using kids, tweens or teens in mature fashion campaigns because it sexualizes young girls in the name of art. Portraying young girls as fully sexualized adults obscures the fact that they are only 'posing' in adult roles,” says pop culture expert Jessica Wakeman. “This contributes to a society that's desensitized to the inappropriateness of making little girls into Lolitas for the enjoyment of adult men. I question why young girls are dressed up like adults in revealing outfits, hair and makeup."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

BlackBerry messaging singled out in U.K. riots

Social media have been hailed as a tool of anti-authorian protesters in Iran, the Middle East and elsewhere. But in the current British riots they have taken on a darker tone. Reports indicate that Research in Motion's Blackberry instant messaging service has been used by looters and rioters to communicate and co-ordinate activities in London and other cities and at least and at least one politician wants a temporary ban on the BlackBerry Messenger system. David Lammy, a British parliamentarian, has called on RIM to suspend BlackBerry Messenger service because he feels it is helping rioters organize and creating difficulties for police because such messages are encrypted. RIM has said it will help authorities in Britain deal with rioters. The company did not respond to queries on whether it is open to temporarily shutting down its messaging service or helping police decipher messages.
Meanwhile, a group calling itself "Team Poison" hacked into RIM's official BlackBerry blog and posted a message threatening to divulge the addresses, names and phone numbers of RIM employees to the public and rioters if it gives British police access to things such as messages, user locations and customer information.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Gazette locks out approximately 60 employees

The Gazette, Montreal's largest English-language daily newspaper, locked out approximately 60 mail room and plate-making employees Sunday evening after their latest contract offer was rejected by the union. The affected employees showed up for their shifts on Sunday only to be told they were not allowed inside. A small group of the employees gathered in front of the newspaper's NDG printing facility for a nighttime demonstration.
"These two groups have rejected this offer based on the fact of the hours of work, overtime level, and the personnel required to do the work," said Teamsters Union spokesperson Denis Fournier.
The Gazette issued a statement Monday afternoon stating that the labour dispute should not interrupt publishing the newspaper.

Classic "Why Rock the Boat?' available as e-book

"Why Rock the Boat?,” a charming spoof on the 1940s Montreal newspaper world, written by Bill Weintraub has been given new life as an e-book on Bev Editions and can be downloaded on Kobo, Kindle, Apple and Smashwords for under four dollars.
The book, first published in the 1960s, was made into a feature film by the National Film Board
and was the source of much amusement among media folk of the era as well as the general public. The hero is Harry Barnes, who joins the Montreal Daily Witness, “Canada’s most reactionary newspaper,” that closely resembles the Montreal Gazette of the Maurice Duplessis period.
Here is a link. A sample is available.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Star sports writer Neil MacCarl dies at 83

It was said Blue Jays spring training didn't officially get under way in Dunedin until Neil MacCarl showed up. By the time the Jays arrived as an expansion team in 1977, the Star journalist had plenty of experience in baseball, reporting on the World Series since the 1950s and covering the old Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League. MacCarl passed away Friday of pneumonia. He was 83.
MacCarl followed the Toronto Blue Jays' fortunes from the very start, beginning with the American League expansion draft at the Plaza Hotel in New York on Nov. 5, 1976.
He crowned his sportswriting career by covering the Jays' 1992 World Series championship against the Atlanta Braves.It was the capper to a 43-year career at the Star that began in March, 1949, after graduating from journalism at the University of Western Ontario and a short stint reporting for the London Free Press.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Washington Post struggles through tough 2Q

The Washington Post Co., already struggling with weakness in the newspaper industry, got an even bigger headache from its Kaplan education division in the second quarter. A U.S. government scrutiny of enrollment practices at for-profit colleges such as Kaplan was the main reason the Post Co.’s earnings for the period fell 50 percent from a year ago. The results announced Friday evidently weren’t as bad as investors feared because the company’s stock increased $22.84, or more than 6 percent, to $391.06 as the broader market rallied in Friday’s afternoon volatile trading. The troubles in the Kaplan division represent a potentially daunting new problem for a company trying to reverse a deep revenue slide in a publishing division anchored by The Washington Post.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Shock as TV records Mubarak in a cage

Story at

Online ad revenue exceeds print in Canada

Online advertising revenues have surpassed those of newspapers in Canada and are expected to grow further in the coming years, according to a study published Tuesday. The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB) said online ad revenues exceeded expectations to rise by 23 percent to Can$2.23 billion ($2.32 billion) in 2010, making them second only to television in terms of media ad revenue. AFP

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Australia Uses YouTube To Deter Boatpeople

Australia will film boat people being sent to Malaysia under a new refugee swap deal and post the video on YouTube in an effort to deter future boatpeople, the immigration department said on Tuesday. Story is linked off headline above. The Huffington Post Canada

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fog of War challenges view of WWII censors

A new book -- The Fog of War -- challenges the view that censorship is always contrary to the public good. Conditions were very different from today. The book reveals that press censorship in Canada during the Second World War was a force for the right to know. Wartime newspapers, it is said, were timid and supine, content to re-print government-approved handouts to fill columns about the war against the Axis powers. Here.

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