Media News Digest: Postmedia cuts again, journalists allowed to block on Twitter, StarMetro lays off 21

News about news

At the CRTC

  • Cartt.ca editor Greg O’Brien (full disclosure: he pays me often to write for him) appeared on The Agenda with Steve Paikin to talk internet taxes.
  • The commission has published the application by Cogeco to acquire 10 radio stations in Quebec from RNC Media, and set a Sept. 6 hearing for it (a formality with no requirement that the applicant be present). I’ve summarized details of the application in this post, including what brands are changing hands.
  • In another example of how much the commission gives passes to Native Type B stations in Canada, it has given a five-year licence renewal to CFRZ-FM in Walpole Island, Ontario, despite what can only be described as a refusal to cooperate with the CRTC process. Besides a simple web form application for renewal, the commission has had no contact whatsoever with the licensee during the process, but decided to approve a renewal anyway. As the decision notes, the station’s licensee:
    • Has not filed the past four years of annual returns
    • Has not confirmed the installation of an emergency public alerting system
    • Has failed to respond to multiple letters, emails and voicemails by the commission requesting information
  • Licences have been renewed for a full seven years for:
    • CKOB-FM Trois-Rivières (106,9fm Mauricie)
    • CJFY-FM Miramichi, N.B. (Life Radio)
    • CHRI-FM Ottawa (Family Radio)

Ethical reviews

TV/video

Radio/audio

Print

Movies

Music

Other

News about people

  • Copy editor Kevin Mio has left the Montreal Gazette for a new job to be announced shortly.

Obituaries

Good reads

Jobs

17 thoughts on “Media News Digest: Postmedia cuts again, journalists allowed to block on Twitter, StarMetro lays off 21

  1. Andy

    Re: CFRZ: One wonders why do they need to bother with a license when other stations broadcast illegally. Eg: Tyendinaga ON and Kimmirut NU

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      You also have to wonder why they give them a pass, while they take the screws to other stations. Refuse applications. Have people jump through hopes just to get a broadcast license.
      Different rules for different people, or groups is discrimination. At least in the way I see it.

      Reply
      1. Fagstein Post author

        You also have to wonder why they give them a pass, while they take the screws to other stations. Refuse applications. Have people jump through hopes just to get a broadcast license.

        The CRTC is not much in favour of the idea of only companies with full-time regulatory affairs departments being able to own radio stations.

        Reply
  2. dilbert

    The Corus issue makes me laugh, really. They are still stuck on their problems being from the “big bad Americans”, saying that regulation and taxation on these other forms of media can’t come fast enough.

    News for you guys, your existence and your problem both come from too much regulation.

    Your nearly 40 TV “channels” is a result of regulation regarding Canadian content and packaging for cable. the old 5 to 1 ratio made it very profitable for companies such as yours to create channels that nobody really wanted, that filled in the rations and made plenty of subscriber money. With skinny basics and cord cutters, you have pretty much lost a regulated paycheck, and now you are having to face the music as a result.

    Declines in advertising revenue is in no small part because of the huge amount of available ad spots, and few advertisers who want them. Supply and demand, you guys made the arrogant choice to ignore basic economics because the CRTC was serving up a free lunch.at the consumers expense.

    Now you are begging for more intervention, more free handouts. You want the public to pay to support an unsupportable business model, and to be forced by the CRTC to do so. Cord cutting is only going to get worse!

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      The Corus issue makes me laugh, really. They are still stuck on their problems being from the “big bad Americans”, saying that regulation and taxation on these other forms of media can’t come fast enough.

      Corus is not making that argument. If anything it wants regulations eased.

      Reply
  3. dilbert

    As for Postmedia, they need to face a simple fact:

    Online sources do a better job of covering local events. Chatter on Twitter is often more than enough to cover most of the news stories in an area. Once a week newspapers are the ultimate in “not at all timely”. All of these small town papers are the most easily overtaken by technology. The are pretty much the rotary dial phones of news.

    Postmedia keeps trying to keep as much in play as possible. I think it’s a fail. They need to just say “f— it, we see the problem” and then start closing things as quickly as possible, replacing them with online versions and national coverage.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Online sources do a better job of covering local events.

      They don’t.

      Chatter on Twitter is often more than enough to cover most of the news stories in an area.

      That is true if one does not care about whether or not such news stories are true.

      Once a week newspapers are the ultimate in “not at all timely”.

      I’ve heard this argument before but I don’t buy it. Some news has a short shelf life (say, the results of a World Cup game). But lots of the more important stories don’t. They don’t become not-news just because they’re a week old. If news outlets focused more on investigative and informative stories and less on what they can churn out in five minutes we’d all probably be better off.

      They need to just say “f— it, we see the problem” and then start closing things as quickly as possible, replacing them with online versions and national coverage.

      Isn’t that exactly what they’re doing here? Or do you want them to shut down even more newspapers, even if they’re still profitable?

      Reply
      1. dilbert

        “They don’t.”

        They often do. Most scheduled events (like say softball tournaments) have things like Facebook pages and whatnot. They get all the information out there for people who are interesting, posting more pictures that would never be in print, the scores, highlights, and plenty of social aspects.

        “That is true if one does not care about whether or not such news stories are true.”

        I agree, but if I see fire trucks going somewhere and lots of smoke, I can almost be certain that I will find someone on Twitter talking about it that will know the address, the location, the company, or what have you – often information that print and TV sources seem to have no interest in covering.

        Example, recent murder in Pointe Claire, images and info on Facebook (of all places) 12 hours before CTV published the story online. Gazette site? nothing. Am I better informed by online sources? Yup.

        “If news outlets focused more on investigative and informative stories and less on what they can churn out in five minutes we’d all probably be better off.”

        Then they would be called Newsweek or MacLeans, and we know exactly how well both of them are doing.

        “Isn’t that exactly what they’re doing here? Or do you want them to shut down even more newspapers, even if they’re still profitable?”

        Based on the losses, I am not sure that they have a single paper that is truly profitable. I know it sucks, but the reality is there. The slow shuffling towards the gallows isn’t working out very well.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          Most scheduled events (like say softball tournaments) have things like Facebook pages and whatnot. They get all the information out there for people who are interesting, posting more pictures that would never be in print, the scores, highlights, and plenty of social aspects.

          If that’s what news means to you, I guess you’re right.

          if I see fire trucks going somewhere and lots of smoke, I can almost be certain that I will find someone on Twitter talking about it that will know the address, the location, the company, or what have you

          On the other hand, they won’t know the cause, or any background, because there are limits to what bystanders will know from just looking at an event.

          Example, recent murder in Pointe Claire, images and info on Facebook (of all places) 12 hours before CTV published the story online. Gazette site? nothing.

          The Gazette covered this story here and here. The first story was up within hours of the event.

          Reply
          1. dilbert

            “If that’s what news means to you, I guess you’re right.”

            It’s the sort of thing that would be covered by a local weekly inky. Go look at what is in a small town local market weekly paper. With a super small staff they aren’t out there doing massive investigative pieces,it takes most of their time just to get stuff like this into print.

            “they won’t know the cause, or any background, because there are limits to what bystanders will know from just looking at an event.”

            Sadly, most reporting on such events these days in your “mainstream” media is so poor, that nobody has an idea what happened. Example:

            http://www.tvanouvelles.ca/2018/07/05/incendie-majeur-au-complexe-atlantide-a-saint-calixte

            I am sure that I could find all of this information on Twitter. No “reporting” involved.

            I searched the Gazette and found nothing . Searching for “Pointe claire” which was pretty important to the story got me this list:

            https://montrealgazette.com/?s=pointe+claire

            Doesn’t matter if you write about it if nobody can find it.

            Reply
          2. Michael Black

            Out with the dog every afternoon, it’s surprising how much we do see. But then a week or two later, there’s something in the Westmount Independent to explain what was going on. “We don’t miss much, even if we don’t know what’s going on”.

            Or there’s the classic story, mid-July 1974. I’m walking along Sherbrooke Street and I see flames. I figured it was at a construction sit half a block away. When I get there, someone was on the ground still on fire, some workers putting out the flames. He was so close, I didn’t know if trying to help would help or do damage. But it was the evening news that told me he’d set himself on fire, and news two weeks later that he’d died.

            Or July1st 1996, I’m walking down St Lawrence Blvd. To avoid the jazz fest and I hear a noise or a squeal, I was never sure which came first, and a car was embedded in the front door of the Native Friendship Centre. The news that night said it was a car of tourists, one in serious shape, I never saw a follow up. I later checked, I was 20 seconds away from that corner. It was the internet Age, I did post online, but also wrote about being there and emailed it to various news outlets, they were all making a big deal about being “interactive”.

            It took a long time before things changed. Groups might post about upcoming events, but even today rarely post a follow up. Some groups still do a lousy job of promoting their events, ham radio ism an example, thinking the events are for members rather than a chance to reach a larger group. I’ve posted for 21 years about upcoming book sales, dating to when most groups had no clue about the internet, and any shared space is mostly gone. The internet is seen as a tool to deliver messages to “members”, not reach new people. One group is notorious about not promoting their book sale, then they got a facebook page, and announced afterwards that sales were up, “it must be the facebook page”, except any promotion was an improvement.

            People do things because they see other people doing it, that doesn’t mean they understand. We’ve lost newspapers and thus a shared space. The minimal coverage small arts groups got is gone, they now have a cheap means of keeping “members” informed, but not much to reach new people. They think because sites grab news and rewrite it that they don’t need old media, but old media is where the news comes from.

            “Information wants to be free” but people forget, or never knew, that the other half was “Information wants to be expensive”. That means that it should be easy to see notice of an event, it should get high travel. But it’s expensive to create, and just because delivery cost has gone way down doesn’t mean there’s no cost involved.

            There’s never been a day in my life that a newspaper wasn’t delivered (well except for holidays, and “production delays” and maybe some snowstorms), and until late 1979, it was two papers. I know where news comes from.

            Michael

            Reply
  4. Michael Black

    I was watching Montreal Global news yesterday and the woman doing it is moving on. I missed where she’s going.

    It’s an odd thing, since I don’t even remember her name. Obviously it’s a farewell to her co-workers, but given they are in Toronto and merely reading Montreal new, why did the audience have to see it? I never felt a connection to her. Elsewhere they saw her at various stages, eventually becoming anchor, but we didn’t see it. It’s not like Maya Johnson at CFCF, so young when she started and maturing over the years and now the National Assembly reporter, and anchoring the news yesterday. Global hasn’t been in Montreal more than twenty years, but still even they have people who’ve worked their way up, except some if it is now done in Toronto.

    Michael

    Reply
    1. Jordan E.

      That was Angie Seth, she’s moving on to CTV News Channel. I think her doing a send-off to Montreal viewers was just as warranted as giving a farewell to Toronto viewers; she’s only been at Global Toronto for as long as the weekend news in Montreal has been done from Toronto. She wasn’t a reporter there before that. Plus, she’s been the face of the Global Montreal Weekend News for 3 years now, so it makes sense to say good-bye to her viewers, even if she isn’t from Montreal.

      Reply
  5. Suzanne Desautels

    Boy, the Mike Richards story really hits home. Seen it, been there, don’t want the T-shirt. He speaks truth.

    Reply

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