News about news
- Reporters Without Borders has come out with its latest ranking of press freedom, and Canada has dropped four spots to come in at 22nd. The group cites police surveillance of journalists, particularly in Quebec, as a reason for the drop.
- RTDNA Canada, the association of radio, television and digital media, handed out regional awards for the Central Region (Ontario and Quebec) and B.C. CBC Montreal won seven awards, and CBC Quebec City won three more. I don’t tend to put much stock in the regional awards because of the low number of entries and high number of awards. Case in point: CFJC-TV Kamloops won the B.C. regional award for best TV newscast in a small market, mainly because it was the only entry in that category. (I was on the judging panel.) The organization also announced a bunch of lifetime achievement awards, to Terry Milewski and Charles Adler nationally, and three people regionally including CTV Montreal’s Mutsumi Takahashi. Oh, and Stuart McLean is being given a posthumous President’s Award.
- The National Post has won an appeal of a libel suit brought on by climate scientist Andrew Weaver. The appellate judges say the trial judge should not have read the several pieces written about Weaver together and based the decision on them, but rather should have considered them individually.
- Radio-Canada is suing the Quebec government for making it harder for journalists to search the province’s business registry by name.
- The news director at TVA in Trois-Rivières has been suspended after being charged with Internet luring of minors.
At the CRTC
- Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais isn’t afraid to call out hypocrisy from Bell and other telcos.
- Missed this from earlier in the month: A letter from the commission clarifies that 4K channels owned by vertically integrated companies have the same requirements as HD ones in terms of being available to competitors at the same time they launch. Telus complained because they couldn’t reach an agreement to launch Sportsnet 4K. Telus can now add the channel and the two can go to arbitration later if they can’t reach an agreement on price.
- Another CRTC letter finds that Sirius XM Canada was far short on its required contributions to Canadian content development, mainly because it donated money to ineligible programs. A $70,000 payment to POP Montreal, for example, was deemed too self-serving.
NHL second-round TV broadcast schedules and NBC/Sportsnet play-by-play teams pic.twitter.com/pBAJxXOmuC
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) April 25, 2017
- The NHL playoffs begin their second round tonight, with only two Canadian teams remaining. Oilers fans without a subscription to Sportsnet are still getting screwed. But at least the Ottawa games are on CBC now. With the Canadiens out of the playoffs, TVA Sports won’t be getting audiences of 1.5 million anymore.
- Speaking of sports ratings, NBA games saw theirs drop this year.
- MAtv has pulled the plug on Montreal Billboard, a series that talks to people from non-profit community organizations. Host Kim Sullivan still has her job at Global, and now so too does Dan Spector, whose contract at MAtv came to an end and will now be a videojournalist at Global Montreal. It’s expected MAtv will find other projects for the English community, including those proposed by the community.
- Bell Media is starting something called The Launch, which will be a six-part music competition series focused on creating hit songs rather than singers. It’s an original format that Bell hopes to sell worldwide. Insight Productions, Bell’s go-to company for such reality TV (Canadian Idol, Juno Awards, Amazing Race Canada) will produce the series this fall for airing in 2018.
- The Writers Guild of Canada handed out awards for screenwriting.
- Like Sportsnet, TSN is so hungry for curling it’s creating new competitions.
- Bell put its estimated loss of Super Bowl ad revenue because of the CRTC decision on simultaneous substitution at $11 million this year.
- History is working on a new documentary series about Canada’s cannabis industry. Bud Dynasty will have seven half-hour episodes.
- FX Canada screwed up on airing the season premiere of Fargo last week, forcing a do-over two days later. Apparently it lost the last 15 minutes or so.
- Radio-Canada says it will launch Panora.tv, an online marketplace for public broadcasting content, this fall.
- CBC is launching its radio station in London, Ont., in June. The station, CBCL-FM 93.5, will have a local morning show, and will be home to a regional afternoon show that also covers Windsor. The CBC also says it will be a digital-first operation, with digital news platforms being given priority.
- Rogers, which last month acquired exclusive radio rights to Vancouver Canucks games, has found a solution to the problem of where to put them, and it won’t be on its News 1130 talk station. Instead, it’s buying CISL 650 AM from Newcap and will turn it into its third Sportsnet radio station this fall. CISL, which has an easy listening format, was an Astral Media station that Bell sold when it acquired Astral so it could keep its two all-sports stations in the market. The selling price was not disclosed, but we’ll probably learn it the next time Newcap reports financial results. Newcap bought CISL and two (much more profitable) FM stations from Bell for $112 million in 2013. The Vancouver Sportsnet station would be the third for Rogers after Toronto and Calgary, and would make Vancouver the only market with three sports stations. Meanwhile at Bell, which has lost a major rights deal and has a new competitor, they might be thinking of converting that second TSN Radio station into something else.
- Julie Snyder, who was a big star at TVA when she was in a relationship with its owner and isn’t now that they’re separated, has taken a job at Radio-Canada, though it’s in radio, not television. And she’ll be doing it from the Îles-de-la-Madeleine.
- U.S. radio giant iHeartRadio might not survive another year because of its crushing debt load. If it goes under, it’s unclear what that might mean for Bell Media, which uses the iHeart brand and platform for its radio stations in Canada.
- Transcontinental is cutting another 20 jobs at its community newspapers in Quebec, just as they’re looking to sell them.
- Talks with unionized workers at the Ottawa Citizen have failed to reach an agreement, so the two sides are going to conciliation.
- Workers at Postmedia papers in Vancouver have approved a new deal with the company that will save 21 jobs by having everyone earn a bit less.
- Nominees for the Digital Publishing Awards have been announced. The Globe and Mail and CBC have several nominations, and GlobalNews.ca, Vice and BuzzFeed also got some noms. Winners are announced June 1.
- Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is launching a website to combat “fake news” with professional journalists and some wiki-like crowdsourcing. News stories about this announcement don’t mention that there’s already Wikinews, though there are no professional journalists there.
- The Huffington Post is now just HuffPost. And is making a big deal out of that. Meanwhile, the HuffPost has invited student journalists who got their principal fired to be their guests at the White House Correspondents Dinner, which will be low on Hollywood stars this year (and also minus one president).
- About.com is being shut down, replaced with a series of niche verticals.
News about people
Well folks, as you can tell by my new Twitter handle, I was also among the cuts today at ESPN.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) April 26, 2017
- ESPN is laying off 100 people, according to reports. The list includes Canadians Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside, though LeBrun will still be seen on TSN and RDS. There are also other cuts at the sports broadcaster, which has to balance its books as rights fees increase and subscribers decrease.
- In case you haven’t already heard, Bill O’Reilly is not coming back to Fox News. He joins Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson and Greta van Susteren as Fox News stars who have left the network recently.
- When you have two people in on-air jobs at TVA both named Félix Séguin, it’s inevitable they get confused. Which is what happened on FM93 when the hockey Séguin was put on air to talk about a scoop by the news Séguin. He said the confusion happens a lot.
- Tommy Schnurmacher will be a regular on the CHOM morning show on Thursdays at 7:10.
- Reporter, The Canadian Press in Toronto
- Journalist, L’actualité (deadline: April 28)
- Journalists, Journal de Montréal (deadline: May 2)
- Journalist at CJSO-FM in Sorel-Tracy (deadline: May 12)
- La Presse diversity bursaries and internships (deadline: June 9)