News about news
- Nominations have been announced for the Michener Award for public service journalism (considered the most prestigious because it involves the governor-general and because only one award is given out every year). They are:
- Cogeco Nouvelles for its reporting (by Monic Néron and Émilie Perreault) on Gilbert Rozon’s alleged sexual assault and harassment of women
- CBC Edmonton (Jennie Russell and Charles Rusnell) on irregularities involving grants to Alberta private health foundation Pure North
- Global News on how Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada handled permanent residency applications for people with disabilities and medical conditions
- The Globe and Mail (Grant Robertson) on banned pesticides used in the manufacture of medical marijuana
- The Globe and Mail (Robyn Doolittle) on police dismissal of sexual assault cases by classifying them as “unfounded”
- The Toronto Star (Sara Mojtehedzadeh and Brendan Kennedy) on how companies are increasingly turning to temp agencies to limit their liability for workplace accidents, reduce employers’ responsibility and cut costs
- The Vancouver Sun (Gordon Hoekstra) and Globe and Mail (Grant Robertson and Tom Cardoso) on the lack of punishment for securities fraudsters
- The Quebec government has presented a journalist shield law to the National Assembly, similar to a law the federal government has already passed. The FPJQ is not happy with the proposed law, calling it too little too late.
- The Supreme Court of Canada has put a 50-year embargo on documents about deliberations of their cases, the Globe and Mail has discovered.
- The propensity of foreign law enforcement agencies to leak information (such as the suspected identity of mass shooters) is already leading to some reticence to share information with allied governments.
- The FPJQ is asking the Quebec government to go ahead and eliminate that 1967 law that prevents La Presse from being restructured into a nonprofit, and not use that quirk of history as a pretext to have Power Corp. executives grilled on La Presse’s news coverage. Meanwhile, André Desmarais is noncommittal about further support for La Presse if it’s still in trouble after running out of the $50 million.
- Workers at Thomson Reuters have agreed to a new three-year collective agreement.
- Stories from the Toronto Star, Métro and RCI about Mediafugees, a Montreal-based online news outlet by and for refugees.
- Channel 4’s Jon Snow has voluntarily taken a 25% pay cut to help reduce the gender pay gap.
At the CRTC
Quebec City’s tourist info stations Sortir FM CJNG-FM 89.7 and CKJF-FM 106.9 have applied to #CRTC to move transmitters from soon-to-be-dismantled TVA tower on Myrand Ave. to another tower on Ch. des Quatre-Bourgeois near Aut. 73. Lease expires May 20. pic.twitter.com/nzAE7lp6XS
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) May 16, 2018
- Only a week after the first test of smartphone emergency alerts, a real one went out this week, for an Amber Alert in Ontario. And the result was a bunch of people annoyed that they were interrupted by an alarm about some missing kid somewhere. (The child was found safe.) It’s sparking a discussion (which should have happened a while ago) about what kind of alerts should be blaring warning sirens on people’s phones, and whether the authorities that issue them should be more geographically restrictive to avoid false alarms. The CRTC has asked people who have complaints to file them through Alert Ready. But it has also requested information from system operator Pelmorex as well as wireless service providers about the alerting system and what went wrong.
- A coalition made up of CBC, TVO, TFO, Télé-Québec, V, Blue Ant Media, TV5 and OUTtv has filed a CRTC complaint against the Bell Fund, an independent production fund, saying it sets different rules for large and small broadcasters (favouring, naturally, the large ones like Bell). The Bell Fund is funded by Bell TV’s mandatory contributions to Canadian programming. Among the rules of setting up independent production funds like this, which also exist for other TV distribution companies, are that they be independently controlled and that they not unduly fund a related company’s programming. The coalition says the fund’s board falls short of being 2/3 independent and its plan to establish envelopes for various sizes of applicants unduly favours large vertically integrated companies — Bell, Corus and Quebecor.
- First Nations TV has done a story on CKHQ-FM Kanesatake’s fight to keep its frequency. Legally the station’s frequency has no protection and it has no leg to stand on, but politically it would look very bad if the CRTC made a decision that effectively forced it off the air because someone wanted to start a Christian music station in Lachute.
- MobileSyrup summarizes the FairPlay coalition’s response to critics in an application to establish piracy blacklists for ISPs, which says it does not plan to block YouTube or VPNs or other legitimate services that might house pirated content.
- Commissioner Stephen Simpson, whose term ends next month, gave a speech to the British Columbia Association of Broadcasters.
- CBC ombudsman: Analysis story about public disclosure of B.C. health care professionals’ disciplinary cases lacked attribution and adequate explanation for some of its conclusions, and an interview with a source should have provided more context. Also, asking three questions by email with a day-of deadline without disclosing that it’s for an analysis rather than a straight-up news story is not a good idea.
- CBC ombudsman: Story about Russia reinstatement at Olympics was not anti-Russian.
- CBC ombudsman: Story about Gaza protest was correct in describing those shot as “demonstrators” as opposed to terrorists.
At the CBC
- Stolen computer equipment has put CBC employees’ financial information at risk, as well as financial info of contractors who have done work for the CBC (including myself). Affected people are being given free credit monitoring.
- There is going to be an English-language televised leaders’ debate in Quebec for the first time, well, ever. It’s happening Sept. 17 (between the two French debates) from 5:30-7pm, with moderator to be announced later. It will air on CBC TV, CBC radio, CJAD, CTV, Global, City and montrealgazette.com.
- Meanwhile in Ontario, the leaders’ debate is scheduled for May 27, at 6:30pm, on Global, CTV, CBC, TVO, CPAC and CHCH, moderated by Global’s Farah Nasser and TVO’s Steve Paikin.
- Videotron is being required to reimburse $6.7 million to its TV subscribers for improper billing related to the CRTC’s short-lived Local Programming Improvement Fund. Specifically, Videotron failed to inform video-on-demand purchasers about the extra fee, and applied the LPIF as a tax before applying rebates for bundled services, (though it applied the rebate to lessen how much it had to pay the CRTC). It has to refund $3.27 million for the VOD purchases and $3.15 million for TV packages, plus $200,000 in punitive damages. The judgment is actually in an appeal by Videotron of a 2015 lower court decision. The appeal reduced the punitive damages, which were originally $1 million, and changed how interest is to be calculated.
- The Gala Artis was last Sunday, and for once its prizewinners (chosen by the public rather than a jury) actually had some surprises. Gildor Roy, Magalie Lépine-Blondeau and Charles Lafortune each went home with two trophies.
- The Globe and Mail talks to Colette Watson at Rogers about the TV industry, including her so-far-successful plan to save OMNI by getting the CRTC to agree to mandatory fees. One interesting piece of information in this interview is that Watson says the City network is no longer losing money. She also discusses the painful decision to cut into community television (where she got her start) to redirect funding to City stations.
- Bell Media has completed its acquisition of Pinewood Toronto Studios.
- TVA has unveiled details of XOXO, its new Occupation Double-style reality show, set to debut this fall.
- Télé-Québec has announced casting for the rebooted Passe-Partout.
- Production has begun on a new Discovery reality series called Vintage Tech Hunters, in which the stars go in search of vintage pop culture and tech memorabilia. The 14-episode half-hour series is produced by Crooked Horse Productions.
- V’s MAX channel (formerly Musimax) has signed a content deal with FX and will be airing some of its series in French.
- The Montreal Gazette has added two new columnists known for following the Quebec political scene: Martin Patriquin, formerly of Maclean’s, writes on Thursdays, and Lise Ravary, who has a column in the Journal de Montréal, writes on Tuesdays (first column here). As well, Briana Tomkinson, who writes about real estate for the West Island section, will expand to another city-wide column on Fridays. All start next week.
- The building housing Le Devoir’s offices caught fire this week, apparently caused by a cigarette improperly tossed into a flower pot in the roof terrasse. The fire forced the evacuation of the building but the newspaper’s staff regrouped at nearby UQAM and succeeded in putting out the next day’s edition.
- Before the fire, Le Devoir director Brian Myles wrote about his newspaper, mainly in light of what’s happening at La Presse. He notes that 70% of its revenue comes from subscriptions and they expect to bring that up to 80% by 2020. (Compare that to 0% for La Presse.)
- La Tribune in Sherbrooke has apologized for printing a letter in Friday’s edition that, among other things, repeated a false conspiracy theory that there were no Jews in the World Trade Center on 9/11 and called the Holocaust a “very lucrative business of Jewish propaganda.”
- Saltwire Network’s two newspapers in PEI, the Guardian and Journal Pioneer, will no longer be printed on the island. Instead, they’ll be printed in Halifax and trucked to PEI.
- Environment Canada is working on a weather app, which no doubt annoys the people at the Weather Network.
- The Montreal hyperlocal news site Pamplemousse is crowdfunding to stay alive. It wants to raise $35,000 through crowdfunding out of a $50,000 total. If it doesn’t raise that amount, it will refund pledged donations and the site will stay dead. There are 72 days remaining in the campaign.
- Cogeco has spent $24.3 million on wireless spectrum licences in Ontario and Quebec as part of a residual spectrum auction in the 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands. Though the licences are in parts of their cable footprint, the company warns it doesn’t mean they will launch a wireless carrier. It depends on whether they can make it profitable. Otherwise, the licences are an investment option, to be potentially sold to another player later. Other big spectrum buyers were Shaw’s Freedom Mobile (mainly in B.C.) and Xplornet (Atlantic Canada, Alberta and Saskatchewan).
- The ongoing snark war between La Presse and Quebecor continues with the former analyzing the Caisse de dépôt et placement’s investment in Quebecor Media. It made money, but not nearly as much as any other investment would have.
- DHX Media has sold almost half its stake in the Peanuts franchise to Sony.
News about people
- Louis Audet is stepping down from his role as CEO of Cogeco, the company founded by his father. The Audet family will remain the controlling shareholder, and Audet will be an executive chair for a transition period, but he’ll be 67 soon and wants to retire. Philippe Jetté, a Cogeco executive, takes over as CEO.
- Frédéric Bissonnette, formerly CTV News’s cameraman in Quebec City, has been hired by Radio-Canada.
- Journalist Guillaume Piedboeuf is leaving Le Soleil to join Radio-Canada.
- Fred Savard is leaving Radio-Canada’s radio show La Soirée est encore jeune
- John Scholes has left Toronto’s Q107.
- Spencer Turcotte is the summer intern at J-Source.
- Julie Scott has left her job as senior editor at The Canadian Press.
- Joe Lofaro is leaving his job as web reporter at CBC Ottawa to become a digital content writer for the Canadian Senate.
- Sadiya Ansari has left her job as associate editor at Chatelaine.
- Jean-Louis Roy, former director of Le Devoir, has been named CEO of the Bibliothèque et archives nationales du Québec.
- Fox News has named Suzanne Scott, formerly director of programming, as its CEO. She is the first woman to occupy the post.
- The Los Angeles Times has suspended Beijing bureau chief Jonathan Kaiman as it investigates his behaviour toward women.
- Kevin Tierney, producer behind films such as Bon Cop Bad Cop and French Immersion. A memorial service will be held May 25.
- The Gazette’s Jesse Feith talks to Francisco Moreno, who is filming municipal council meetings mostly to prove that he can.
- An oral history of Time Inc.