News about news
- A lot of people got really upset when a story on the Globe and Mail website had a headline saying Tina Fontaine was found with “drugs and alcohol” in her when she died. It was a headline on top of a Canadian Press story that said pretty much the same thing, based on testimony in the murder trial given by a toxicologist. The story was later updated by CP to say that while there was THC (i.e. weed), there weren’t harder drugs. And the Globe changed its headline. But the outrage led to a public editor piece that talked about remembering victims in general but gave few specifics about what happened, and a column from Denise Balkissoon criticizing media treatment of the trial.
- Radio-Canada is correcting the latest episode of its investigative news show Enquête after it broadcast video it believed was from the Sûreté du Québec’s official YouTube account but turned out to be from an account the SQ says is not theirs. The SQ says Enquête never asked it about the video before the show.
- Graeme Roustan, the guy who just bought The Hockey News from Quebecor, now wants to buy La Presse, and get its mysterious but probably negative finances off Power Corp.’s books.
- YouTube is going to start labelling content from state-funded broadcasters, in an effort to counter propaganda concerns about outlets like Russian-funded RT. But that also means labelling videos from PBS and CBC. And that’s ignoring the heavy subsidies that come to just about everything else on Canadian TV these days.
- Quebec’s Liberal Party has started a new Facebook page called “Actualités politiques Québec” which features videos of ministers. But it’s raising concerns about downplaying its partisan nature and possibly misleading people into thinking it’s a news outlet. The party says that’s nonsense even though it has the word “Actualités” in its name.
- A man who tried to sue after TVA didn’t return a book he had sent them has lost his court case.
- The Chicago Sun-Times has reinstated writer Richard Roeper after discovering he had purchased 50,000 of his Twitter followers. Roeper apologized, and the Sun-Times had no specific policy forbidding such actions.
- Bernard Drainville, former PQ minister now radio host, and Gaétan Barrette, former CAQ candidate now Liberal health minister, got into a spat that involved Barrette publishing text messages between Drainville and a member of his staff, and Drainville saying he won’t trust Barrette’s staff ever again.
- The editor of a small-town Kentucky newspaper rushed to the scene of a school shooting to discover that the alleged shooter was her son.
Yet more Weinstein/#MeToo fallout
- Carol Off writes for the Globe and Mail about how the political and journalistic scene acted against young female journalists after they were sexually assaulted or harassed by politicians and political staffers in Ottawa.
- Similarly, the National Post’s Marie-Danielle Smith writes about the little things that women journalists have to deal with on Parliament Hill.
- Uma Thurman opens up to the New York Times about Weinstein, and what she sees as director Quentin Tarantino’s complicity in what happened to her.
- La Presse talks to musicians at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra about former conductor Charles Dutoit.
- The chief content officer at Newsweek, Dayan Candappa, has taken a leave of absence after BuzzFeed discovered he was dismissed from his previous job at Reuters because of a sexual harassment allegation.
- Vice has fired its Chief Digital Officer Mike Germano (though he says otherwise) after two women accused him of sexual harassment.
At the CRTC
- A coalition including Bell, Rogers, Quebecor, Corus, CBC, Cogeco, and lots of artist and distribution groups is asking the CRTC to start allowing internet providers to block piracy websites. You can imagine how Michael Geist felt about that idea. But the coalition is not impressed by his arguments.
- The commission has approved the acquisition of independent TV distributor Zazeen by Distributel. The purchase price, which the companies tried hard to prevent from becoming public, is $3, or $1 to each of Zazeen’s three founders. Distributel is a major creditor, according to the application, so it looks like the purchase price is equivalent to whatever the cost of that debt is. Distributel already offered Zazeen TV with its telecom services, and says other companies that offer Zazeen can still do so.
- Victoria’s CHEK TV has gotten approval for a share buyback plan that would technically result in the local Sampson family moving from a minority shareholder to having more than 50% control when the family’s shares are combined. CHEK made it clear in its application that the Sampsons have no interest in having effective control of the company, which is run by the union, the employees and management, and a special shareholders’ agreement will limit their power. CHEK was bought out by its employees and local investors in 2009 when previous owner Canwest Global decided to shut its secondary E! network down. Several of those employees have since retired or otherwise left and are interested in selling their shares because they provide no income and have actually decreased in value since they were bought.
- You might remember some anonymous person complaining to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council that The Weather Network’s 30-day forecast had only 27 or 28 days in it (and other minor errors). When the CBSC ruled such minor errors do not amount to breaches of its code, the complainant took the matter to the CRTC, which found no reason to intervene. We still don’t know the identity of the complainant.
Radio-Canada has proposed an increase in power of its Quebec City digital television transmitter (CBVT-DT) from 291kW to 361.7kW. Minimal difference in signal pattern (dotted vs. solid) #CRTC pic.twitter.com/Qt5Z8J7k5q
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) January 30, 2018
- It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and CTV is once again pulling out all the stops to get people to watch its feeds instead of the U.S. channel (NBC this year) because NBC’s ads won’t be replaced with Canadian ones (this applies from kickoff to the end of the game only). Bell is broadcasting the game on three channels — CTV, CTV Two and TSN2 — is bringing back its Watch to Win contest, and will have some short segments from Russell Peters throughout the broadcast. It also has its website for Super Bowl ads, though that’s still just a series of YouTube links.
- Speaking of ads only Americans get to see, Old Spice ran an ad during the Grammys that was entirely in French, with no subtitles.
- The NFL finally has some stability for its Thursday night games, with Fox signing a five-year deal.
- The FCC has approved the voluntary roll-out of ATSC 3.0, a new standard for over-the-air television that is incompatible with the current 1.0 standard. The new standard allows two-way communication, which opens up possibilities like dynamic ad insertion. It also offers the possibility of higher-quality picture, sound and a higher frame rate.
- It only lasted a couple of seconds, but TVA’s La Voix got some free attention south of the border when Kelly Clarkson brought up its theme during a day-drinking segment with Seth Meyers.
- British Columbia has surpassed Ontario as the biggest province for television and film production, measured in dollars invested.
- Global is carrying CBS’s Big Brother Celebrity Edition starting next week, which means it has moved the season finale of original drama Mary Kills People to Thursday at 9pm. Which is fine except that it puts that episode right up against the finale of CTV’s own six-part original drama, Cardinal.
- CBC’s ombudsman found that a point-of-view documentary on sled dogs that aired on the Documentary channel and was called Sled Dogs was okay as a POV, but should have been more clearly labelled as such.
- Quebec City’s BLVD 102.1 has fired André Arthur, apparently for making homophobic comments on the air. This isn’t the first time Arthur has been fired, and the station was banking on his controversial — but popular — speaking style when it hired him in the first place.
- Speaking of controversial radio loudmouths, Doc Mailloux got another hand slap from the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, not for saying men have no control over themselves when sexually aroused, but because his morning show aired sexually explicit comments and vulgarity.
- The city of Gatineau has decided to boycott local Cogeco radio host Roch Cholette, judging him to have been unfair and making personal attacks on politicians rather than their ideas.
- Both the Montreal Gazette and La Presse used the first anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shooting to look at the state of the city’s talk radio scene.
- CBC’s The Current is doing a live taping in Montreal on March 6 on the subject of race in Quebec. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance.
- The Montreal Gazette profiles Boris (Jacques Goldstyn), a cartoonist whose work is being seen more often in the paper as Aislin (Terry Mosher) transitions into semi-retirement.
- The Globe and Mail has another story (behind its paywall) about Postmedia’s rocky financial future.
- The Charleston Gazette-Mail, a West Virginia newspaper that won a Pulitzer prize, has declared bankruptcy, though it is expected to be bought.
- Recently unionized L.A. Times staff are worried about their employer building a shadow scab news operation in case of a strike or lockout. Meanwhile the paper in general is being described as a “hot mess”.
- Le Devoir has redesigned its website. The new layout is responsive and modern (which also means it looks like every other news website out there and far fewer stories are visible at a time on its homepage). It’s also changing how it does comments: rather than open every story to comments from paid subscribers only, it’s opening a limited number of news stories to comments from anyone — but everyone who comments has to use their real names.
- If you haven’t read it yet, here’s the New York Times feature on the fake Twitter follower game.
- The Columbia Journalism Review looks at news organizations’ use of Facebook’s Instant Articles feature, which allows news stories to be read within Facebook, and finds that about half of the organizations announced in its launch never used it, and most of those who did have reduced their use or dropped it completely.
- Facebook is banning ads from all cryptocurrencies in an effort to eliminate scams.
- Newsweek’s chairman and finance director have resigned amid some sort of financial fraud probe. A BuzzFeed investigation also showed Newsweek bought traffic that it alleged was fraudulent in order to collect ad revenue from fake visits.
- The Financial Post looks at the Bell Let’s Talk campaign, its genesis, longevity, impact, and criticisms.
News about people
- Zarqa Nawaz, creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie, is taking over as host of Morning Edition, the Saskatchewan radio morning show on CBC. She’ll be replaced by Stefani Langenegger, the permanent host, in August.
- Jay Switzer, former CHUM CEO and founder of Hollywood Suite (with appreciation from Bill Brioux)
- James Christie, Globe and Mail sports writer
- Mort Walker, creator of Beetle Bailey comic strip