Okay everybody, back to work. Here’s what you missed over the holidays.
News about news
- The number of journalists in Quebec is going down. (But meanwhile, the number of journalists employed by the New York Times and Washington Post is going up.)
- The Alberta Press Council shut down on Dec. 31. I’d link to the press release, but the website has already been shut down. The group started in 1972.
- Der Spiegel, the German magazine known for having among the most solid fact-checking in the industry, has been humiliated by revelations that one of its journalists, Claas Relotius, apparently invented sources for at least 14 articles he wrote for them. The deception came to the magazine’s attention after a fellow journalist became suspicious of Relotius’s work. This post lays out just how wrong the journalist’s reporting was. It even gets worse, with revelations he was soliciting donations for the fictional people he was writing about. And as the Columbia Journalism Review notes, the magazine is being criticized for being tone deaf in the reporting about its own crisis.
- Former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson criticizes her former employer for its anti-Trump coverage in her new book, says a story by Fox News. But Abramson tells The Associated Press her words were taken out of context and she has mainly praise for the organization.
- The Google News Initiative has announced $25 million in funding to 87 news organizations in 23 countries on various technological development projects. Canadian recipients are Global News, Postmedia and TVO. The announcement doesn’t break down what each group got, or what their projects are.
- The Journal de Montréal has started a possibly satirical “Centre d’observation du Québec-Bashing“, and has discovered J.J. McCullough, who for some reason keeps getting published in the Washington Post.
- TVA Nouvelles has finally apologized — almost a year later — for a story it ran that accused a mosque of demanding that women be excluded from a nearby construction site. That turned out to be false after an investigation that TVA has not released.
- Montreal Gazette editor Basem Boshra (my boss) apologized after its website posted a story from American Media Inc. (originally from Radar Online) about a “Tinder Horror Date” who stabbed a woman and was tased by police, later dying because of it. A lot of people on Twitter criticized the headline and tweets about the story for portraying the attacker as the victim or being apparently flippant about a Tinder date that left a woman seriously injured. (Boshra offers some subsequent advice for editors apologizing for screwups).
- Toronto Star public editor Kathy English asked Star newsroom employees about what they wished people knew about their jobs. The result is a bit of a rosy picture of how much journalists care about getting facts right and informing the public.
- Star assignment editor Ed Tubb lists the kinds of stories he’d like to see more of in a Twitter thread.
- A major hack of prominent Germans’ personal data — including that of Chancellor Angela Merkel — was posted online, prompting a major scandal. The fact that far-right-wing politicians were excluded from this hack points to a political motive, and caution from journalistic sources on making use of the data (or even trusting it).