News about news
- The Supreme Court of Canada will hear an appeal by Radio-Canada, which is seeking to prevent reporter Marie-Maude Denis from having to reveal her sources for a story about Marc-Yvan Côté, former vice-president of engineering firm Roche, who is on trial for corruption charges and has demanded Denis testify about leaks to her.
- The Boston Globe is coordinating a common front among U.S. newspapers to present a joint editorial on Aug. 16 to condemn president Donald Trump’s “dirty war against the free press.”
- The Hamilton Spectator’s Susan Clairmont did not appreciate being kicked out of a family court hearing. There was a sealing order placed on the documents in the case, but the case itself was not closed to the public. The editor-in-chief suggests this may be part of a disturbing trend.
- Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner personally ordered a software developer at The New York Observer to delete stories critical of his friends, which did not amuse former editor Elizabeth Spiers.
- Le Devoir talks to various Canadian publications about the trend of hiring cannabis reporters.
- NPR is having to defend itself after a host allowed a white supremacist to rank the races by intelligence on air. The interviewee was challenged, but not enough, critics say.
At the CRTC
- There was no public process, but the CRTC has approved the acquisition of Attraction Radio and its 14 radio stations for $21 million. The new owner is Sylvain Chamberland, who already leads the group and co-founded it with Attraction Media owner Richard Speer. He has 50.25% of the stake in the new group, with the rest going to the CSN’s Fondaction fund. The deal was announced in March, and means Speer’s Attraction Media will no longer have radio assets. (It also means Attraction Radio will need a new name and identity.) The CRTC had some issues with the agreement between Chamberland and Fondaction, and they agreed to changes in wording to ensure that Chamberland remains the person in effective control of the radio licenses.
- A 2016 decision about a series of 2015 columns by La Presse’s Patrick Lagacé was appealed and then sent back to be reconsidered after the appeals committee found that they should be analyzed as factual journalism rather than opinion journalism. The review nevertheless maintained that as a columnist Lagacé is not bound by the same rules about balance and has leeway in his writing. This is a problem that I think needs further study. As newsrooms and particularly newspapers cut back on staff, we often see columnists doing original reporting, and newspapers doing away with companion factual news stories because they’re seen as redundant. In other words, they’re trying to have their cake and eat it, too. Columnists are considered journalists and their reporting treated as front-page scoops, but when they’re called out for any bias in their stories, they hide behind their columnist logo. (I’m not speaking about Lagacé here — I haven’t read the stories and have no opinion on their potential bias.) We need new rules to reflect this new reality.
- Stéphane Thibodeau vs. Le Soleil: A complaint about a story on the ridiculous pseudoscience of “electromagnetic hygiene” was dismissed because the story was found not to be a de facto advertisement for the company mentioned in the story, and the complaints about impartiality were not specific enough. The story is single-source and presents absolutely no skepticism about the idea that electromagnetism is dangerous to your health, that fluorescent light bulbs pose a risk of mercury poisoning or that LED light bulbs create “dirty electricity”, whatever that is.
- Union des producteurs agricoles vs. La terre de chez nous: A complaint about a story critical of the UPA was judged to be outside the press council’s jurisdiction because it was in the form of an opinion piece submitted by the public.
- Jimmy Girard vs. La Presse: A story about an investigation into a man who allegedly encouraged people to not pay taxes based its reporting on information submitted to court to obtain a warrant, and made that clear in a story that accurately reflected its contents, and so Girard’s complaints as to accuracy were dismissed.
- Autobus Dufresne vs. Le Soleil de Châteauguay: The bus company subcontracted by the Conseil intermunicipal de transport du Haut-Saint-Laurent (CITHSL) complained about the Soleil story about a lawsuit because it believed the word “transporteur” could have been construed to refer to it rather than the transit agency. The council found that was not the case, because, among other things, Autobus Dufresne is never mentioned in the article. Dufresne also complained about the photo used, because it shows a bus with the word “Dufresne” clearly visible. The council was split on this, with 4/5 finding no fault in presenting a story about a transit agency with a photo of a bus being used on one of that agency’s routes.
- Josée Couture vs. Le Soleil: A François Bourque column about Frédérick Tétu, who resigned from his teaching job after a radio appearance as a CHOI-FM contributor sounded like he was drunk on-air (he said he was just extremely tired) found no fault, and the complaint that bringing up his teaching job was an invasion of privacy was dismissed because it’s relevant, he’s a public figure, and he himself had brought that up publicly in the past.
- Marc Plamondon vs. 24/60: A TV interview with far-right French party leader Marine Le Pen was not unfair or unduly hostile to her.
- Julie Lévesque vs. La Presse: A François Cardinal editorial that mentioned an attack on Khan Shaykhun in Syria was based on reliable sources and, while it could have been less firm about assigning responsibility for the attack, did not violate the ethics code.
- Huguette Poitras vs. La Presse and Le Soleil: A story about disputes between neighbours was criticized by Poitras for not getting her side of the story after speaking with the neighbour she was in conflict with. The story did not name Poitras, but she said people close to her recognized her from the description in the story. La Presse had already apologized for not getting the neighbour’s side of the story. The council said it’s not enough that people close to you recognize you, but strangers must be able to easily identify you based on what’s in the story for it to violate your privacy. As for the lack of balance, 4/6 panel members dismissed that complaint because that particular conflict was not the focus of the article.
- The second season of Parc Avenue Tonight, which I talked about last month, is finally on YouTube (or at least most of the episodes are). A highlight: Terry DiMonte explains how the CHOM Rock Rides are boring for announcers (because they don’t do anything) and the necessity to tinker with (mostly automated) playlists depending on the mood of the city.
- DAZN, which acquired exclusive Canadian rights to out-of-market NFL games, then pissed off fans last year when technical problems made it hard for paying customers to watch the games, has decided to continue to sublicense NFL Sunday Ticket to traditional cable TV providers in Canada. Bell, Rogers, Shaw and SaskTel have signed deals that also allow them to sublicence, which Bell has done with Telus.
- RDI has announced the lineup for its new political talk show Mordus de politique, which begins Monday at 4pm. It includes:
- Former CAQ MNA Hélène Daneault
- Former PQ MNA and Montreal city councillor Elsie Lefebvre
- Former Québec solidaire MNA and co-spokesperson Françoise David
- Former Liberal MNA and minister of public security and deputy premier Jacques Dupuis
- TVA’s investigative news show J.E. returns with a new host: Marie-Christine Bergeron replaces Paul Larocque.
- Sharp Objects director Jean-Marc Vallée explains the process of getting Led Zeppelin songs into the TV series (and his earlier failure to do the same with the movie Café de Flore).
- CBS Sunday Morning is doing a Friday evening anniversary special on Sept. 14.
- CNN is bringing S.E. Cupp’s show from sister channel HLN to the main network, where it will air Saturday nights.
- The Primetime Emmy Awards have a new eight-year TV deal that will continue to see it rotate among the big four networks.
- U.S. over-the-air network The CW is adding a Sunday night lineup to its primetime schedule.
- Saroja Coelho has left her job as host of Breakaway on CBC Radio One in Quebec City and on the Quebec Community Network. She thanked listeners for the two years they were together via a Facebook post and on air during her final show on Friday. She didn’t go into much detail about why she was leaving, but she is moving and will be reuniting with her partner.
- CBC Radio’s A Propos, hosted by Jim Corcoran, is going away. The last show will be Sept. 1. It will be replaced with another show with a similar mandate, exposing francophone music to English Canada. It’s called C’est Formidable, and will be hosted by Florence K. Le Devoir talks with Corcoran about his career.
- The Jewel 106.7 in Hudson is making a change to its lineup, giving West Island Blog founder Rhonda Massad her own afternoon show on weekdays. She’ll host from 3-5pm starting Sept. 4. Ted Silver, who currently hosts 3-7, will keep the final two hours, and Kris Leblanc will do news and traffic through the afternoon.
- Rythme FM has a new logo, and announced lineup changes that start Monday.
- La Presse goes over some of the changes to expect in Montreal francophone radio this fall.
- Real estate site Toronto Storeys talks to Mike Boon aka Toronto Mike about his podcast interviews with various Toronto media personalities in his basement.
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) August 7, 2018
- The West Quebec Post is no longer going to pay to have its newspaper delivered for free to some areas, and is cutting back on freelance contracts as it tries to save money.
- Groupe Capitales Médias came up with an interesting way to make money: Sell access to daily opinion polls (and analysis of their results) directly to consumers for $45 during the Quebec election campaign.
- The New York Times is continuing to do well financially, growing digital subscribers and making a profit. But the growth in digital subs is slowing.
- The decisions by Apple, Spotify, YouTube, Facebook and others to remove content linked to Alex Jones and InfoWars has prompted a discussion on whether Twitter should do the same. A Twitter thread by chief executive Jack Dorsey explained why they chose not to ban their accounts, prompting a lot of criticism. On Friday, Twitter held an internal policy meeting and invited the New York Times to witness it (the story is frustratingly lacking much of the substance of the debate).
- The New York Times also reports on YouTube’s fight against fake video views, and the industry that sells fake views to people.
- Meanwhile, Facebook is requiring more verification steps for pages that have a large U.S. audience.
- The European Court of Justice has ruled that you can’t just grab photos that are legally on other websites and use them on your own. The copyright infringement ruling has some significance even though the defendant — a high school student doing a school project — seems a bit petty.
- Pornhub is doing an awards show next month.
News about companies
- Tribune Media has cancelled its proposed merger with Sinclair Broadcast Group and is suing Sinclair for having “repeatedly and willfully breached its contractual obligations in spectacular fashion” by being overly aggressive with the FCC. But this probably won’t stop the consolidation trend.
- Pierre Karl Péladeau’s decision to plead guilty to violation of campaign finance law by personally paying off the debt of his 2015 PQ leadership campaign could be very bad news for Quebecor, because Quebec’s anti-corruption law makes companies controlled by people who have committed such offences ineligible for public contracts. I explain a bit what the laws say in this story for Cartt.ca, but Kevin Dougherty explains it for CBC as well, and notes that not only could this impact Videotron’s Internet service contracts and Quebecor Media’s advertising contracts with public bodies, but even things like Videotron’s contract for Quebec City’s Centre Vidéotron and the TVA program La poule aux oeufs d’or (a partnership with Loto-Québec).
- A CIBC analyst has thrown out a number estimating La Presse’s operating losses at between $30 million and $50 million a year. There’s little explanation of how that number came about, but now that La Presse is no longer on Power Corporation’s books, we should start seeing the impact on its balance sheet and be able to calculate from there (depending on how they account for the $50 million donation they’re giving La Presse to keep going).
- Sportsnet has gotten into the restaurant business for some reason. The Sportsnet Grill overlooks the Rogers Centre, allowing patrons to watch Blue Jays games.
News about people
- Graeme Hamilton has left the National Post, leaving that paper without a reporter in Montreal.
- Columnist Barry Critchley bids farewell to the Financial Post.
- Assistant news director Kate Shingler has left Global Montreal. She hasn’t announced where she’s going or why she’s leaving.
- More details about the upcoming roast of Tony Marinaro produced by his TSN 690 colleague Mitch Melnick. It’s at Club Soda on Sept. 27, and tickets are about $50. Roasters include Derek Seguin, Joey Elias, Walter Lyng, Chris Venditto, Pat Hickey, Robyn Flynn, Andie Bennett and Jessica Rusnak, and Shane Murphy will perform music (I believe Shane Murphy is contractually required to perform at any event Melnick organizes).
- The New York Times profiles comedian Sugar Sammy.
- Former Canadiens players José Theodore and Mathieu Dandenault are no longer with TVA Sports.
- Stéphane Gendron is out at Énergie 98.9 in Quebec City.
- Arshy Mann has been laid off by Xtra.
- Gregg Spratto has been named Chief Operating Officer of Cision, the company behind the Canada Newswire press release distribution service.
- Tim Duboyce, former CBC reporter and PR professional with oil company TransCanada, has been named communications director for the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation.
- Gary Dalliday, former sports director of CHEX-TV in Peterborough.
- Ralph Howard, New York radio news announcer
- Managing editor, digital, eTalk (deadline: Aug. 15)
- Reporter, Queen’s Park Today in Toronto (deadline: Aug. 19)
- Newsroom director for newsletters at the Toronto Star (deadline: Aug. 23)
- News announcer, CHED 630/Global News 880 Edmonton
- Business reporter, Globe and Mail in Toronto