Monthly Archives: April 2010

Nancy Wood moves to investigative reporting

Nancy Wood

From CBC’s Facebook page:

News about Nancy

We know that there is some curiosity about Nancy Wood’s next assignment at CBC and we have some news that we’re happy to share. Nancy will start work representing English services within Radio-Canada’s investigative journalism unit. They are as delighted to be working with one of the CBC’s top journalists as she is to join this prestigious team. She will produce regular reports for CBC radio, CBC television and cbc.ca. Nancy will be working alongside the excellent reporters and producers from Radio-Canada doing the groundbreaking investigative work the unit is famous for. You can expect to see her on television and hear her on radio starting in September.

If you have any brown envelopes full of scandal, you can send them to her at: Local A-18, Société Radio-Canada, 1400, René-Lévesque Est, Montréal Quebec, H2L 2M2

Or if it’s a virtual envelope you’re slipping her, her email remains nancy.wood@cbc.ca

We all wish her the best in her new assignment,

Pia Marquard
Managing Director
CBC Québec

Those of you who watch CBC News Montreal at 5/5:30/6 know that the station routinely piggybacks on Enquête investigations (branding them “CBC-Radio-Canada investigations”). We’ll see how Wood’s presence on this team changes that.

UPDATE: From Wood herself: “I am looking forward to it. The journalism there is fantastic, the people are great. It’s a great opportunity.”

Let’s hope she enjoys and does well at her new job, and her performance there is judged on something more important than ratings.

Cogeco to buy Corus Quebec radio stations

Pierre Trudel thought it was Quebecor, but Quebecor had it right: Cogeco, a cable provider in Ontario and parts of Quebec, which also owns the Rythme FM radio network and used to own TQS before that went into bankruptcy, has announced that it will acquire Corus Quebec’s radio network, pending CRTC approval.

The transaction, valued at about $80 million, includes:

In Montreal:

Elsewhere:

  • CJRC-FM Souvenirs Garantis 104.7 in Gatineau
  • CIME-FM 103.9 in St-Jerome
  • CHLT-FM Souvenirs Garantis 107.7 in Sherbrooke
  • CKOY-FM 104.5 in Sherbrooke
  • CHLN-FM Souvenirs Garantis 106.9 in Trois-Rivieres
  • CFOM-FM Souvenirs Garantis 102.9 in Quebec City
  • CFEL-FM (“CKOI”) 102.1 in Quebec City

It’s hard to tell from a simple press release what this all means. Cogeco has experience in radio, so I wouldn’t expect any major overhauls immediately (except, I guess, having to rename “Corus Nouvelles”). But CFQR would be Cogeco’s first anglophone radio station, for what that’s worth.

On the francophone side, this would mean a loss of competition. Instead of three major players (Astral Media is the other, owning the NRJ and Rock Détente networks), there would be two. CKOI and CFGL would come under the same owner, working together instead of competing with each other for music listeners.

In Sherbrooke, it’s worse: Three of the four five commercial music stations, CKOY, CHLT and CFGE, would all be owned by Cogeco, leaving CITE-FM-1 Rock Détente 102.7 and CIMO-FM 106.1 NRJ in nearby Magog as the only competition.

In Trois Rivières, it would be two for Cogeco, two for Astral. Same for Quebec City, though there’s more competition there from independents.

It’s also worth noting that this sale comes mere months after Corus cut local programming at Souvenirs Garantis stations CJRC, CHLT and CHLN.

What about CKRS?

CKRS 98.3FM in Saguenay, the fourth Souvenirs Garantis station that got its morning show cut to be replaced with Paul Arcand, is not part of the transaction. Corus has been looking to get rid of that station, and the deadline for bids was yesterday, and the new owner (if there is one) should be known soon.

UPDATE: Nathalie Collard also has some thoughts on the matter.

The experts have spoken

Capitals in four

Capitals in five

Capitals in six

Capitals in seven

  • Nobody.

Canadiens in seven

Canadiens in six

Canadiens in five

  • Nobody.

Canadiens in four

  • You know who you are

Totals

  • Canadiens win: 5
  • Capitals win: 38
  • Series goes seven games: 1

Montreal Geography Trivia No. 75

What – and where – is this?

UPDATE (April 27): John is the first to get this right below: This is the inside of what used to be a bus shelter on Pie-IX Blvd., specifically the one at Jarry St.

I didn’t know it when I posted this question, but it’s actually somewhat of a trick one. You see, the objects in this photograph aren’t there anymore.

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Happy Birthday, CBWFT

Today marks the 50th anniversary of CBWFT, Radio-Canada’s station in Winnipeg and the only francophone television station serving Manitoba.

The local station has gone all out with the anniversary, producing special programs looking back at the station’s history. Radio-Canada even sent Céline Galipeau to St. Boniface on Thursday to host the national Téléjournal there in honour of the occasion, the most attention Radio-Canada has paid to something outside Quebec in quite some time.

CBWFT is also launching a weekend local newscast starting this evening. Aside from a regional lifestyle show covering the prairies, there’s not much local programming produced out of there outside of the newscasts. Still, despite the dwindling francophone population (and hence the difficulty in getting good French-speaking journalists to work there), they produce quite a bit of local news – and as of this weekend there will be more local news for franco-Manitobans than English-speaking Quebecers.

As you’d see looking at some of the retrospectives, the history of Radio-Canada in Manitoba is fundamentally tied to the history of the francophone community there. Debates over official bilingualism, the Société franco-manitobaine, and the rift between anglo and franco Manitobans all have direct impact over CBWFT.

Not that you’d hear about any of that stuff from watching Radio-Canada and RDI outside of those local newscasts. Even as a Montrealer, it’s patently obvious how the importance of news on that network is directly proportional to its proximity to 1400 René-Lévesque East. Montreal mayoral debates air nationally, the national Téléjournal leads with what Jean Charest had for breakfast, La Petite séduction – a show about small francophone communities – has visited Manitoba only once in more than 65 episodes (it’s been outside Quebec only nine times, by my count), and Infoman treats going to Vancouver like he needs a visa to get there. The occasional new story or interview with Régis Labeaume is about as regional as it gets most of the time.

Maybe that’s the way it should be. Maybe Radio-Canada should concentrate on where its viewers are, and the vast majority are in Quebec, going to work in Montreal or Quebec City.

But as CBWFT has shown for the past 50 years, the French language doesn’t stop at the Outaouais, and there are francophones in Canada who have kept their culture going in areas where their language is truly in danger of extinction.

Here’s hoping it will keep the struggle going for another 50.

Le Devoir starts podcast

Continuing its year-long project of pretending everyone cares about its 100-year history, Le Devoir has launched a podcast (“baladodiffusion”, in the proper français), in which it invites people to tell stories about the past century. To kick it off, Clémence Desrochers talks about the 1955 Rocket Richard Riot, and Claude Robinson talks about Nelson Mandela.

They’re short vignettes, 7-8 minutes long. No interviews, just someone telling a story with a bit of music in the background.

Maybe this will appeal to some people, but to me, if you’re just going to read some text into a microphone and call it a podcast, why not just give us the text and let us read it to ourselves?

Perhaps I’m being too harsh. Perhaps there’s a value to having Claude Robinson read stuff to you. You be the judge.

You can subscribe to Le Devoir’s podcast here or through iTunes.

Hail Mary, full of ice

Concordia’s journalism program, which has been making a habit of posting its class TV productions onto YouTube, has produced this 45-minute documentary about Canadiens fandom – one of the few things we can claim to have an advantage over all the other teams in the NHL.

It features interviews with everyone from Brian Gionta and Maxim Lapierre to Mike Boone, Pierre Houde, Jacques Demers, Réjean Houle and J.T. Utah.

Spoiler alert: The Canadiens aren’t a religion, but they do have a lot of enthusiastic fans.

The plastic bag drought one year later

My still unempty bag of plastic bags

It’s Earth Day, and it’s been a year since major grocery stores decided to charge five cents a bag in an effort to rid this planet of the lightweight plastic menace. (Though subsequent events have shown that dedication to be not so absolute.)

I was worried when I switched from the plastic bags to my green bin that I would have a problem with one of my main uses for plastic bags: garbage containment. Like many people I imagine, the plastic grocery bags become garbage can liners, which are then tied up and thrown in the big garbage can to head to the curb. Without this source of bags, what would I put my garbage in? I still get the occasional plastic bag from non-grocery purchases, but not enough to satisfy that habit, I thought.

As it turns out, it wasn’t so much of a problem. I just started using other types of plastic bags to store my garbage: 4L milk bags, Subway sandwich bags, bread bags, bags from take-out purchases (though I usually decline them when offered).

The only difference is that these bags are smaller, which means they need to be changed more often and they won’t fit into the large kitchen garbage can. I have them hanging off a doorknob until I can think of something better.

Even then, the number coming in is larger than the number going out. Rather than needing a new source for plastic bags, I need to find a way to reduce their consumption even further.

Quebec Press Council roundup

The Quebec Press Council has released its latest decisions on public complaints about journalists. Here’s a roundup of some of those and earlier ones I haven’t talked about yet that have been released since January:

Jean-Marc Fortier v. Louis Poulin/”Cool FM” CKRB-FM

Fortier issued a complaint to both the press council and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council against Poulin for saying a swear word on air on May 1, 2009. Specifically, he’s quoted as saying “Je vais le dire là parce que je le pense : ç’a pas de chrisse de bon sens.”

The CBSC found against the station for using the swear word on air, forcing it to air its decision. But the press council found nothing wrong with it (it’s not the council’s job to police profanity). What the press council did have a problem with was the fact that the station refused to cooperate with the council and hand over a recording of what was broadcast.

That refusal is probably related to a general feeling among private broadcasters that the press council is redundant, since they already have to submit to the CBSC. Astral, TQS, RDS and others raised a stink about it a little over a year ago, causing the council to respond that it would act on complaints even if the media outlets in question aren’t members and refuse to cooperate.

Charles Lespérance vs. La Presse

Lespérance took issue with an article by Éric Clément published in La Presse on July 9, 2009, about a city employee losing a case before the labour board. Lespérance’s issue was that La Presse slapped the label “EXCLUSIF” on top of it, which was particularly embarrassing for the paper because the Journal de Montréal came out with the same news on the same day. Lespérance said calling it an exclusive was sensationalistic, inaccurate and dishonest.

The council agreed only that the label was inaccurate, and that while there can never be any guarantees that news labelled “exclusive” is truly so, a news outlet should only use the term when there’s a “very strong probability” that they’re the only ones to have access to the information. Since the news in question here was a ruling by a government body that was freely available online, the council found La Presse clearly jumped the gun.

Coverage from Le Devoir and Radio-Canada.

Front commun des personnes assistées sociales du Québec vs. Stefan Dupont/CHOI-FM

If you’re aware of the parties involved, the nature of the complaint is hardly surprising: the complainants took issue with Dupont’s comments about government handouts to people on welfare and other forms of social assistance on March 10, 2009.

CHOI refused to respond to the complaint. It too chose only to cooperate with the CBSC. The council nevertheless found against it.

Coverage from Le Devoir, Le Soleil, Rue Frontenac and the Journal de Québec (which quotes Dupont saying he’s not a journalist and so shouldn’t have to answer to the conseil de presse). And a response from the front commun.

Alexandre Popovic vs. Richard Martineau/Journal de Montréal

Popovic complains about a column Martineau wrote that was published in the Journal last August, just after the one year anniversary of the death of Fredy Villanueva in Montreal North. Martineau condemns a march that took place on the anniversary because police arrested one person who had the components of a molotov cocktail in his backpack. Popovic accused Martineau of launching stereotypes against the protesters and using one incident to unfairly tar the entire event in bad faith (Popovic is a spokesperson for the group that organized the march).

The paper responded that Martineau is a columnist and free to have his own opinions and use hypothetical scenarios to make a point. The council ruled that Martineau has the right to his own opinions, but not his own facts, and that making an “abusive generalization” was not something he was entitled to do.

Coverage from Rue Frontenac (naturally).

Montreal mayor’s cabinet vs. Éric Clément/La Presse

Another Éric Clément EXCLUSIF, this one about a member of Montreal’s executive committee, André Lavallée, having been once a member of the Front de libértion du Québec. The cabinet, acting on Lavallée’s behalf, complained to the council that La Presse was sensationalizing this information because it was already public knowledge (a fact Clément reported on in a follow-up piece). The complaint accused Clément and La Presse of bad faith, and of getting wrong the fact that Lavallée was “breaking his silence” because people had already known about his past with the FLQ.

The council rejected the complaint, noting that Lavallée’s past was not in fact public knowledge, and had not been brought up in his previous election campaigns.

Fernand Ouellet vs. Jean-Luc Mongrain/LCN

Ouellet complained that Mongrain invited only the two main candidates – Gérald Tremblay and Louise Harel – to a debate during the last municipal election. He accused Mongrain and LCN of depriving the public of information they could have used to cast an informed vote.

Even though LCN refused to cooperate (TVA is no longer a member of the council), the council rejected the complaint, ruling that it was reasonable to invite only the two leading candidates, and in any event Projet Montréal leader Richard Bergeron was also invited to his show on another date and was given an opportunity to make his case.

Victor-Lévy Beaulieu vs. Marc Cassivi/La Presse

Beaulieu, a well-known writer, complains of a piece from Cassivi published Oct. 22, 2009, that accuses Beaulieu of xenophobia based on an email Beaulieu sent out.

The council wouldn’t rule on whether the accusation was defamatory (that’s an issue for the courts), and did caution that “xenophobic” was a strong word to use, but nevertheless dismissed the complaint.

Haydar Moussa vs. Lisa Lise Ravary/Châtelaine

Moussa complained that a piece in the magazine and a blog post on the website by Ravary in March 2008 that had “inexact” and “incomplete” information that Moussa says indirectly ties him to Hezbollah. The council found that Ravary’s criticisms of a poem by Moussa were not inappropriate (and, in fact, she wasn’t the only person to criticize him) and rejected the complaint, even though Châtelaine did not cooperate with the council.

Falun Dafa of Canada vs. Solveig Miller/Radio-Canada Enquête

The group complained about a report from 2008 which it thought was biased against it. The complaint listed more than 20 issues with the report, mostly about presenting information incorrectly or in a biased way. The council analyzed the report and found Enquête was justified in almost everything it said. The only complaint it agreed with was that the report did not properly explain why the group refused to be interviewed for the story on camera.

Luc Archambault vs. Martin Ouellet/Presse Canadienne

Archambault complained about PC’s coverage of an open letter he wrote to Paul McCartney (PDF) as the former Beatle was appearing at the 400th anniversary celebrations of Quebec City. Archambault’s main complaint was that it was referred to as a “petition”.

PC’s response was that it was posted to a petition website (lapetition.be) and invited people to sign it.

The council dismissed the complaint, judging the error to be minor.

Gilles Rhéaume vs. Josh Freed/The Gazette

Rhéaume complained about a column by Freed called “Politics ruin the party” (my headline). I summarized the complaint here. In short, Freed made a reference to the “Apostrophe SS” in a column, which refers to the language police and its alleged Nazi-like zeal to eliminate apostrophe-S-es from commercial signs. This was interpreted by francophones (including Rhéaume) as comparing the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste and other sovereignists to SS officers, which isn’t precisely what he was doing. Nevertheless, Freed made a clarification in the following week’s column.

The council, explaining what the reference meant and noting that it was an old anglophone joke, dismissed the complaint.

Coverage in The Gazette.

Montreal mayor’s cabinet vs. André Noël/La Presse

This complain centres mainly around a headline used for Noël’s story about an SQ investigation into corruption involving a contract to renovate city hall. The Page A1 teaser to the story said the SQ had opened an investigation and “Les personnes visées sont cette fois deux élus de l’équipe du maire Tremblay et des membres de la mafia.”

The article is mainly about a complaint made to the SQ by an entrepreneur who said he was threatened by members of the mafia. The complaint argued that this was not sufficient evidence of corruption and the paper attacked the mayor’s reputation with what was essentially a single-source story.

The council found that the journalist had multiple sources for the main fact of the story – that a complaint had been filed – and dismissed the complaint. However, there was a dissenting opinion in this case, arguing that the allegations tying the mayor and his party to the mafia should have been verified with another source before they were published, and that by giving a blanket disclaimer that some of the information had been verified and some had not, La Presse was depriving its readers of information about what the paper considered true and what it wasn’t able to verify.

Conseil d’assainissement et d’aménagement du ruisseau Lacorne vs. Pierre Limoges/Le Bruchésien

The group complained about articles Limoges wrote for the monthly publication attacking it over the issue of whether the walleye fish could live in the ruisseau Lacorne. It accused him of imprecisely blaming agriculture for polluting the water, for being offensive, sensationalistic, being in a conflict of interest because of his political affiliations years earlier, and of being motivated by a personal conflict and a desire to attack the reputation of a member of the group.

The council dismissed most of the complaints, refused to tackle the legal issue of defamation, and upheld only that the article should have been more accurate about the cause of pollution – there were both agricultural and urban sources, according to a cited study.

The council also raised a big red flag over something it discovered through the investigation – that Limoges lifted passages during his research and used them in his articles without citing sources. Plagiarism is a big no-no for the press council. It also cited him for taking on roles on both sides of the advertising-editorial divide at his publication, which raises ethical issues and is normally to be avoided, even at publications with a small staff.

Harold C. Lehrer vs. Eric-Olivier Dallard/Accès Laurentides

Lehrer’s complaint wasn’t about an article in the community paper, but in the Page 1 headline used to tease it: “Les juifs de Val-David condamnés”. Not only was this incorrect (Jews weren’t forced to pay anything, it was a particular congregation that was fined), but it was also, you know, racist.

The paper’s excuse basically came down to the requirement to have a short headline. The council didn’t buy it, and ruled against the paper, which it also condemned for refusing to issue any correction or clarification on the matter when asked.

Coverage from Le Devoir.

Marc-Aimé Guérin vs. Vincent Brousseau-Pouliot/La Presse

Guérin complained about Brousseau-Pouliot’s coverage of Martine Landry, a former erotic dancer who won a case against the Canada Revenue Agency. In the initial article and a follow-up, Guérin says the journalist got important facts wrong, that he should not have named Landry to maintain her privacy and that he should not have identified her as a former erotic dancer.

The council found that the facts presented by the journalist were indeed correct, that there was no publication ban on the legal case that would have precluded mentioning Landry’s identity, and that there was nothing wrong with describing her as a former erotic dancer (and she was identified as such on a strictly factual basis, not in a malicious or derogatory one).

All of the complaints were dismissed.

Etc.

In addition to the above, two other complaints – one against André Pratte of La Presse and the other against Joe Morabito of le Courrier du Sud, were rejected because they didn’t meet the criteria of a valid complaint to the council.

Just call him MiCam

You know, if I’m going to make fun of V for spelling mistakes, it’s only fair that I point out errors by the networks with higher budgets:

A typo during Le Verdict (Episode 3)

I realize even Habs players can’t spell Cammalleri (and I’m sure it’s been wrong at least a dozen times in my newspaper), but this is Radio-Canada primetime, folks.

UPDATE: A bunch of people have pointed out that Bell also has trouble checking the spelling of “Cammalleri”.

The new Ted Bird

Ted Bird's new haircut, from K103Radio.com

K103 thought to bring a video camera as Ted Bird got a mohawk shaved into his head during his first show.

He said during the show that he had decided not to shave his head because he wanted to be embraced by the community rather than do some silly stunt thinking it would impress everyone.

It was all an act, though, part of the publicity stunt for the station that is betting quite a bit on Bird’s personal popularity to bring listeners and advertisers. They insisted he get his haircut, and he obliged.

Bird will be appearing with his new haircut on his Bird’s Eye View segment on CFCF tonight at 6, where I assume he will explain why he looks like he does. Bird the chicken wussed out and wore a Habs cap during his Bird’s Eye View segment on CFCF, though he did explain at the end, and included footage of the shaving.

Bird has a post about his haircut on his blog. There’s also a short story about Bird and the new show at KahnawakeNews.com. Other than that (and this post), not much bite from the media.

Radio watcher Sheldon Harvey has some thoughts on the debut at Radio in Montreal. Noah Sidel also weighs in.

Oh, and K103 Operations Director Chuck Barnett sent in this pic of Bird at his new roost:

Ted Bird struts his stuff at K103 (photo by Chuck Barnett)

UPDATE (April 21): Bird has also started writing a column for Iorì:wase (aka the Eastern Door, aka KahnawakeNews.com) about his experience working in the community.

UPDATE (April 22): I’ve gone through my recording of their first show, and compiled this 15-minute excerpt of banter between the hosts. It includes Bird’s first words on air at 5:30am, a conversation over the phone with Terry DiMonte, the new Revisionist History, and a couple of promos.

Ted Java and Paul – April 19, 2010 (MP3)

Fosse aux liones

Il n’y aurait plus de fautes de français dans les tableaux et dans les réponses.

Douglas Honegger, of Call-TV, to La Presse’s Hugo Dumas last month, in response to concerns that this awful, ethically questionable pay-to-play lottery show that aired during late nights on TQS might return to making awful gaffes when it returned to the network now called V.

And this week, they forget how to spell “Lionne”.

(via Capitaine D)

You know how they say it’s so bad it’s good? This is worse than that. No wait, it’s even worse than that. It’s so bad, it’s not even the bad that’s worse than bad, it’s so bad people watch it and live-tweet about it to talk about how bad it is.

Your 2010 Habs playlist

I don’t know if it’s because of the recession, because nobody expected the Canadiens to even make the playoffs – much less be able to compete against the Washington Capitals – or just because the Justiciers Masqués aren’t on the air anymore, but the number of Habs songs and Habs-related song parodies produced in preparation for this year’s playoffs is pretty sad compared to previous years.

And if there was ever a year we needed more songs, it’s this one. We can’t just take the songs from last year and replay them – it’s hard to get excited about Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev, Mike Komisarek and Christopher Higgins since they all play for other teams now.

Still, a few amateur songsters have stepped up to the challenge:

Les Canadiens

by Clermont (featuring Kra-Z-Noize)

Montreal Canadiens 2010 playoff song

by Vince Colletti/Tanya Kassabian

Go Canadiens!

by Alex G.

Make it 25!

by Alex G. (also available in French)

Go Habs Go! (Séries 2010)

by Martin Scully

CH en série

(also translated – badly – into English)

Habs Romance

by Patrick Charles, Cat Spencer and Mark Bergman for CJFM. Sung by Lissa Vescio

UPDATE:

Feels like ’93 (2010 version)

by Annakin Slayd

Habs Fight (woo-hoo!)

by CHOM FM

The Cheese of Philadelphia

by Daniel Iorio

Je déteste les Flyers

by Justiciers Masqués

Bye Bye Flyers

by Virgin Radio

Gold’Halak

by Porn Flakes

Stand By Your Habs

by Christopher Pennington and Felicity Hamer

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