Monthly Archives: February 2010

CBC dumps Nancy Wood from Daybreak

Nancy Wood ponders future job as hot dog salesperson (from Fagstein files)

I first got a tip about this a few days ago, but was awaiting confirmation and more details. With a story in The Gazette, the news is out there: CBC is removing Nancy Wood from her position as host of Daybreak, as of June.

The corporation had wanted to keep the news quiet until Wood made the announcement on air, but after staff were informed earlier this week, it was just a matter of time until it came out. (To their credit, some of my usual CBC leaks kept their mouths shut.)

Wood tells The Gazette that it wasn’t her decision to leave, which matches what I’ve been told: the decision came from management, and the reasons aren’t clear.

The news also comes the same week the CBC announces a new regional manager for Quebec: Pia Marquard, who starts on Monday. Though one CBC employee told me they were told Marquard had nothing to do with the decision to axe Wood. Marquard replaces Rob Renaud, who was filling in. One angry employee found it ridiculous that such an important decision would be made while essentially nobody’s in charge.

Needless to say, the mood at CBC Montreal plummeted with the news this week. Another employee described the work environment there as “toxic”. Wood herself stepped back from the host mic after the decision was announced, only returning on Friday (Shawn Apel filled in).

Wood was hired as the permanent host of Daybreak only last August. She replaced Mike Finnerty, who left last summer for London’s Guardian website.

Has CBC gone mad?

Nancy Wood, CBC Daybreak

To call the decision bizarre would be an understatement. Wood has an incredible amount of experience, both in journalism in general and specifically at CBC. Before taking the Daybreak post, she was a reporter for CBC television out of Montreal, and before that she was the host of the province-wide Radio Noon. As I wrote in August, Wood was a shoo-in for the Daybreak job, which makes it even more ridiculous that she would be yanked from that post.

During her brief tenure, she continued Finnerty’s tech-friendly improvements to the show, which included using Twitter and Facebook, accepting emails and text messages during the show, and producing a daily podcast. As a regular listener to that podcast, I can attest to the fact that Wood is professional yet personable, and certainly has no flaws that would warrant such a decision.

It’s not clear what will happen to Wood, though she hasn’t been fired from CBC. She may return to her previous job as a TV reporter.


So why is Nancy Wood being pulled out of the Daybreak chair? CBC isn’t talking, and the person in a position to answer these kinds of questions doesn’t start her new job until Monday.

If this were a commercial station, the first place I would look is ratings. I don’t have access to detailed numbers, so until someone leaks them to me, I won’t be able to tell you much. One former CBC radio host told me ratings are probably a major factor in a case like this.

But even if the answer is ratings, so what? Wood hasn’t had a chance to build an audience in the morning, and this decision is more likely to alienate listeners than attract them. This is CBC, not CHOM. Supposedly the one place outside of community and campus radio where there’s a consideration more important than ratings.

The candidates

CBC hasn’t announced who it plans to replace Wood with (they haven’t announced she’s leaving either, technically), and the staff doesn’t know yet.

I’ll copy and paste some suggestions from my post after Finnerty left, linking to Daybreak podcasts (all MP3) from fill-in hosts last summer. Not to look down on them, but I honestly don’t see any of them improving upon Wood:

To that list I’d add Steve Rukavina, who has filled in for departed hosts, and Sonali Karnick, currently the Daybreak sports reporter and one of the hardest working people in that office. Both are professionals and would make good hosts, but would also suffer from a comparison to Wood.

“Boneheads, boneheads, boneheads!”

A Facebook group has been started to keep Nancy Wood on Daybreak. It has 17 80 369 members right now (including myself, though that’s more to keep tabs on it than to participate in any campaign). There’s also some commentary on the show’s Facebook page.

Radio watcher Sheldon Harvey has some comments as well on the news, which he calls “extremely disappointing.”

UPDATE (Feb. 21): The Gazette quotes Wood’s personal Facebook page saying she and the CBC are “in talks” but “nothing inspiring.” The International Radio Report on CKUT (hosted this week by Harvey) also quotes from Wood’s Facebook (MP3) and the brief, cryptic messages that appear there, including that it was not a “they” but a “she” (Marquard?) that made the decision to remove her, and that no, this is not a joke, she’s been “canned.”

UPDATE (Feb. 22): Rukavina filled in for Wood on this morning’s show and apparently will for the remainder of the week. No mention of this story at all during the first Daybreak show since The Gazette broke it Friday evening.

UPDATE (Feb. 24): Gazette pop culture columnist Basem Boshra on Wood’s dismissal:

Hey, guys, nice work finally getting rid of that Nancy Wood from Daybreak. I’m getting so sick already of hearing her warm, intelligent, engaging voice in the mornings. Can’t wait until she’s gone in June – it feels like she’s been on the air for, like, months! Definitely time for a change. And, hey, I don’t want to tell you how to run your business, but if you’re looking for smarter, more entertaining voices to anchor your flagship show, I hear Ted Bird and the equally hilarious Tasso are still looking for work. Think of all the wacky impressions!

UPDATE (Feb. 25): Mike Boone and Doug Camilli also weigh in, along with a bunch of letters to the editor.

Those who want to complain are being sent to Communications Manager Hugh Brodie, or 514-597-5813.

Media, correct thyself

Apparently, the CBC News Network today accidentally broadcast 45 minutes of Olympic coverage coast to coast.

Errors happen (especially these days when fewer people are controlling more channels), and though I’m not quite satisfied by the explanation that this was a “technical issue”, what amuses me about this story is the errant headline produced by Canadian Press about it (since corrected), that lets us see which websites don’t even read stories before they’re posted:

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Lightfoot hoax leaves many questions

In case you missed it, the media and media-criticizing world was all a-Twitter today (<– OMG BEST PUN EVER!) over false reports that singer Gordon Lightfoot had died.

Some false media reports quoted Canwest, specifically political reporter David Akin, who tweeted about it, citing “sources close to the singer,” others to Lightfoot friend Ronnie Hawkins, who confirmed the news to the media. Some weren’t sure what their source was.

The Vancouver Sun was the first or among the first to post the story, which was published by Canwest News Service, and posted to and the National Post:

National Post story that Gordon Lightfoot has died

From there it spread, apparently to Quebecor’s Canoe, to blogs (including Maclean’s), Twitter and lesser news sources, some of whom said the news was unconfirmed, though most just assumed that all the reports from respectable media must have meant it was true (I’m looking at you,

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Listen to Le Devoir (or, you know, don’t)

As part of its centennial celebrations, Le Devoir invited Hexagram to record audio from their newsroom. You can listen to a four-minute clip of it on their website.

But as much as I’m fascinated with the minutiae of the inner workings of the media, I’ll recommend giving this one a pass. It’s background noise, and there isn’t much said. No screaming of “on tue la une!” or other newspaper clichés.

Newspaper newsrooms are, in fact, very quiet places. There are reporters on the phone with police or other sources, editors conferring with each other on matters important and trivial, and the usual office gossip during downtimes. But otherwise, it’s quiet as reporters type their stories, and editors read and proofread.

Unless something crazy is happening, or you’re in a meeting, there’s just not anything interesting to listen to.

French at the Olympics: Unsatisfied below 50%+1

You might think there are more important things to discuss, but to Quebec media, there’s nothing more important than condemning the Vancouver Olympic Committee for having banned the French language from the opening ceremonies.

Sure, they had Garou (unless you were watching on NBC – they cut to commercial when the francophone singer came on stage), and every announcement was in both languages (French first)*, and referee Michel Verrault read the officials’ oath in French, and IOC president Jacques Rogge read part of his statement in French, and Nikki Yanofsky performed the national anthem in both languages. But only one of the half-dozen songs of the ceremony were sung in French, narration by Donald Sutherland and slam poetry by Shane Koyczan weren’t translated into the langue de Molière, and VANOC chair John Furlong spoke with a thick anglo accent in the few words he spoke in French.

Réjean TremblayJean-Guy Fugère, Caroline Touzin, Rino Morin Rossignol, even Jean Charest and the Conservative government complained that there wasn’t enough French (though Michel David suggests the government didn’t complain enough).  Jean-François Bégin wonders why Wayne Gretzky was picked over Gaetan Boucher to be the one to light the flame. Patrick Lagacé sighs that we should have expected this insult to Quebec’s position in Canada’s heritage. Touzin says most of the volunteers there don’t speak French (many of the ones who do come from Quebec). Radio-Canada has a whole dossier on the topic.

The Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste expressed condemnation, according to a story that Associated Press decided was worth writing.

The Globe and Mail also editorialized in favour of more French, The Gazette devoted an editorial and two columns to the subject, and Paul Wells also chimed in, proving it’s not just francophones that noticed. (Though the National Post was lukewarm in its endorsement of the outrage, and the Vancouver Sun calls it “tedious regional whining” that is “best ignored for now”.) André Pratte and Guillaume Bourgault-Côté took notice of this.

Hell, even Richard Therrien complained about how commentators in France were pronouncing the city’s name in the anglo way. And Chantal Hébert complains about ignorant comments posted to news stories online (while asking for comment from her own ignorant online commentators).

And Ted Bird makes a funny. So did Andy Riga.

You know it’s gotten bad when even the Angry French Guy comes to the anglos’ defence.

Insufficient, but not insultingly so

My first reaction was to think, as Francis Vachon did, that we should give them a bit of a break because this was in Vancouver, not Quebec City. But I’m not going to defend the organizers – these are Canada’s games, not those of British Columbia, and French should have been more prominent. Hopefully they’ll improve things a bit for the closing ceremonies, if only by including an extra song in Canada’s other official language.

But the reaction from Quebec media – particularly Tremblay’s bitter sarcasm (he suggests it was insulting to Quebecers that First Nations were given such a large role) – is over the top. There was plenty of French at the ceremony (especially when you consider that most of it didn’t involve anyone talking at all), and the fact there wasn’t enough to satisfy some people doesn’t negate the effort made.

To me, the biggest language failure came not from VANOC or the IOC, but from the television media covering the ceremony. None of the Canadian networks provided any translation for those few parts that were only in one language. RDS and V (which basically just took the RDS feed and slapped its logo on it) didn’t translate speeches and narration into French. CTV, TSN and Rogers Sportsnet didn’t return the favour for speeches in French (and when those speeches came up, the closed captioning read the very helpful “[SPEAKING FRENCH]”). This despite the fact that speech text and translation were provided on giant screens at BC Place.

The closest thing to translation was NBC, which summarized the officials’ oath with a “basically what he’s saying here is…”

Meanwhile, during competitions, official on-screen graphics (provided by VANOC) are English-only, which astonishes me not only for the sake of Canadian bilingualism, but for every other country in the world that doesn’t speak English. Having English graphics on RDS and V is insulting, moreso to me than Garou singing off-key of Furlong’s pronunciation of “bienvenue”.

Suddenly, we care

What got to me most about this media overhyping was that suddenly Quebec seems to care about French outside of Quebec. Tremblay lamented the plight of the Acadian people, without mentioning that Quebec and its nationalist zealots are as responsible as the rest of the country for throwing them under the bus.

I’ve been of the view for a long time that the battle for the survival of the French language shouldn’t be fought in Quebec – where it is already dominant – but in the rest of Canada, where it is truly endangered. But Quebec sovereignists don’t care about the rest of Canada because they know Quebec will eventually separate and there will be no reason to protect the language outside its borders.

At least we can hope that this so-called controversy will help people understand that this country has a serious problem with language, and that nobody seems serious about fixing it.

UPDATE: Patrick Lagacé responds to this post, saying that the battle for French outside Quebec has already been lost. Even though he says I’m “dans le champ”, I actually agree with most of what he writes.

*It’s been pointed out that French is an official language of the Olympics and that official announcements are always in French. I know this. I’d like to think the announcements would be in both English and French regardless. But the fact remains that French was there. It’s not like they’re going to give the announcement in French twice (or once in French and once in Québécois joual).

Le Réveil lockout ends with 80% losing jobs

Le Réveil, the other Quebecor paper whose workers were locked out early last year, has ended its labour conflict after its workers voted today to accept the employer’s final offer.

Quebecor put a final offer on the table on Thursday, adding that if the workers refused, the paper would be shut down at the end of the month. (Coverage from Radio-Canada, Rue FrontenacProjet J.) The final offer would result in the layoff of 20 of the paper’s 25 unionized employees, leaving only three journalists and two office workers. The rest would get severance of two weeks’ salary for every year of service, up to a maximum 42 weeks (14 of the 20 will max out, the rest will receive less).

The union voted 68% in favour of the offer.

UPDATE: After-the-fact coverage from Journal de Québec, Argent, Le Quotidien

A similar deal was reached last week at Le Plein Jour in Baie-Comeau.

Corus Quebec cuts regional programming

Corus Québec announced Monday that it is cutting the morning program at four “Souvenirs Garantis” regional radio stations in Quebec and replacing them with a simulcast of Paul Arcand’s show from Montreal from 5:30 to 9am, starting next Monday.

Affected are (with links to local stories and lists of fired local personalities):

Once upon a time, it took a lot of people to run a radio station. Now apparently it takes about a dozen, and even then there’s some room for more cuts. Corus managers defend the cuts by saying Arcand’s show isn’t a “Montreal” show but a “provincial” one. Even if we accept that as true, it still means the local voices are cut.

And this isn’t Saturday nights they’re talking about – they’re cutting the weekday morning shows, the most important timeslot of any radio station.

Corus’s press release says Arcand and Mario Cecchini will be visiting these regions this week to meet the media. Hopefully they’ll get some tough questions about why people in those regions should continue to tune in after their local voices have been cut. (UPDATE Feb. 19: See below)

Local voices are important, and that’s evidenced most by how little coverage there is here so far. Only Radio-Canada stations and Gesca papers mention the cuts, and the change in Mauricie has no local coverage whatsoever that I can find online UPDATE: Le Nouvelliste had the story the next day, and other papers have added coverage.

The FPJQ, the association representing Quebec journalists, condemns Corus’s cuts, as does the NDPAgence QMI, meanwhile, didn’t see fit to mention that there would be any.

Pierre Jury of Le Droit rightly calls this part of the Montrealization of commercial radio.

UPDATE (Feb. 19): Le Nouvelliste has a report on what Paul Arcand is telling the regions he’s visiting this week:

  • There will still be local journalists who will produce local news reports during the morning, and if something important happens, they will have the ability to stay on air (somehow I doubt that’s going to be practical in the long term).
  • Nobody’s going to be hearing Montreal traffic reports on regional stations.
  • He finds the term “Montrealization of the airwaves” insulting for some reason. He says that’s not what happening, even though it’s regional programming being replaced with Montreal-based programming.
  • Afternoon shows are being extended, so the amount of local content is the same (only, instead of needing a morning host and an afternoon one, you just have one host on a longer shift).
  • This is good for the regions because he’ll be dealing with more regional issues and they will get a larger audience.
  • This has been done before, badly, and that’s why people don’t like this idea. But Corus has a magical ability to do a good job, and if they don’t then people will complain.

CKRK fundraiser controversy

A war of words is being played out at between CKRK (K103) and Brian Goodleaf, whose company sponsored a fundraiser involving Boston Bruins alumni to raise money for the station.

According to Goodleaf, the money ($55,000 of $103,000 raised) was targetted to help fund the construction of a new building for CKRK, a small but beloved station on the reserve. But after the money was raised, Goodleaf imposed conditions on CKRK receiving the money, including that they match the donation. Goodleaf argues that the station’s building fund has disappeared (suggesting it might have simply gone missing) and that donors gave the money expecting that it would be used for a building instead of going into the station’s general budget.

The radio station counters that the fund was used to keep the station afloat when it got desperate, and that Goodleaf knew this before the event, and it is unfair that Goodleaf imposes conditions after the fact.

Negotiations between the two sides have been unsuccessful (which is why they’re now fighting it out in the court of public opinion) – CKRK refuses to accept the donation with strings attached, and Goodleaf refuses to withdraw the conditions. Goodleaf says if a deal can’t be reached he will donate the money to local non-profit organizations (or, if they ask, refund the money back to donors).

(via Radio in Montreal)

Want choice with Bell TV? Move to Quebec

Bell TV (formerly Bell ExpressVu) announced on Friday that it will begin offering à la carte packages for customers in Quebec, in an obvious response to Videotron, which already offers à la carte packages.

Here’s a comparison chart to give you an idea of how they match head-to-head on à la carte packages:

Package Videotron Bell TV
Basic + 15 à la carte $37 $40
Basic + 20 à la carte $39 $44
Basic + 30 à la carte $47 $47
1 extra channel $2 $2
5 extra channels $5 N/A ($2×5=$10)
10 extra channels $10 N/A ($2×10=$20)
15 extra channels N/A ($5+$10=$15) $15
20 extra channels $15 $19
30 extra channels N/A ($10+$15=$25) $22

Both Bell and Videotron tack on a $3 “network access fee” and a 1.5% LPIF fee, neither of which are included in their advertised prices (and aren’t included in this table). None of the prices include installation, equipment rental, or bundle rebates (which is why Bell’s basic rates are $10 more than advertised).

It’s no coincidence that Bell’s basic + 30 is the same price as Videotron’s, that’s the whole point behind Bell’s offering, which is only available in Quebec. People in Ontario who might want to benefit from this aren’t allowed to for no good reason other than Bell is better able to screw them over.

CBC asked the Competition Bureau about this obviously targetted pricing, but they said it would actually increase competition between Bell and Videotron in Quebec, and be good for consumers here. That’s true, but it’s obviously unfair to consumers in Ontario and elsewhere who won’t have à la carte packages for the sole reason that Bell doesn’t have a competitor in those areas willing to offer that option.

The CRTC should look into this, and consider requiring direct-to-home satellite providers to give the same options to customers in all areas unless provincial or local regulations make different demands.

UPDATE: Elias Makos points out something I hadn’t noticed: Bell excludes a number of popular channels from its à la carte offering, including CNN, A&E, TLC, MuchMusic and Teletoon. You have to get a separate package for that.

In related news, Bell will also be offering remote DVR programming using Sling Media technology. This will be useful for people who forget to set their DVR to record a show while they’re gone – now they can go online and remotely program it from the office or wherever they are.

Shaw to buy Canwest

The big change for one half of the Canwest empire now has a roadmap: Canwest announced this morning that Shaw Communications would buy a 20% equity interest and 80% controlling interest in Canwest Global once the company emerges from creditor protection.

Coverage at The Globe and Mail (of course, with analysis and more analysis), CBCReuters, Canadian Press, Wall Street Journal and Financial Post. Though financial terms won’t be disclosed until after regulatory approval, Shaw is spending at least $65 million on this acquisition.

Canwest Limited Partnership, which owns the National Post, Montreal Gazette, and other publishing assets, is unaffected by this. They will still be auctioned off as part of their restructuring.

Corus Cable Empire?

Assuming the deal goes through (and there’s no big reason to believe it won’t), the Shaw family will have control over a worryingly large number of specialty channels in Canada. They have a controlling interest in Corus Entertainment, a company spun off from Shaw to get around a CRTC rule about cable companies owning specialty services – a rule that no longer exists.

Corus owns or has a majority interest in (copy-pasted from Wikipedia):

It also has a 50% share with Astral of the Teletoon channels.

Canwest owns – and Shaw would get:

And the former Alliance Atlantis channels through a deal with Goldman Sachs:

Add to all this minority stakes in mentv, One, Historia and Séries +, and you’ve got a pretty huge specialty empire here, 31 channels. That would put it ahead of CTVglobemedia’s 29 channels, and way ahead of other specialty players Astral Media (9 plus The Movie Network and Super Écran), Quebecor Media (8) and Rogers (6).

It should go without saying that the specialty assets – and not the Global Television Network – are why Shaw is interested in this acquisition.

The release says that Shaw would operate Canwest as a standalone company (instead of, say, just taking its assets and giving them to Corus), but you have to think that some sort of consolidation is going to happen if they can get it past the CRTC.

Another (albeit minor) question is what happens to the few conventional TV stations that Shaw and Corus own. Shaw owns CJBN in Kenora, Ont. (a station with the distinction of being Canada’s lowest-powered non-repeater, at 178 Watts), which is currently a CTV affiliate. Corus, meanwhile, owns CKWS Kingston and CHEX Peterborough in eastern Ontario, both of which carry CBC programming. None of the three stations are in cities with Global stations, so it’s conceivable they could all become Global affiliates or even sold to Canwest and become Global owned and operated stations.

Shaw’s second chance to prove its point

My favourite part of this story comes out of a quote from Canwest chairman Derek Burney (emphasis mine): “We look forward to benefitting from Shaw’s participation in a reinvigorated Canwest, as it is a strong business partner with a proven commitment to the Canadian television broadcasting industry. This significant investment in conventional television should be seen as a big vote of confidence in the industry and its future.”

Of course, Shaw and Canwest have been on the opposite side of the ugly fee-for-carriage debate, with each side spouting half-truths at each other in a bid to scumsuck public support.

Remember those “cable company cash cows”? Funny how useful one of them has suddenly become now that the TV company needs a bailout.

But as much as this is ironic for the Local TV Matters people, it also forces Shaw to prove its point about how conventional television isn’t in need of financial support from cable and satellite companies.

Last year, after Shaw sarcastically offered to buy three stations from CTV for $1, and CTV sarcastically accepted, it later pulled away from the deal, claiming that due dilligence showed the stations were hollowed out shells and work had been outsourced to other stations.

Shaw can’t make that excuse this time. While many Global stations are little more than a newsroom, a couple of editing suites and a green screen, Shaw gets the broadcast centres that control them, and can do with them as they wish.

So will Shaw back down from its tough talk about fee for carriage? Will Canwest pull out of the Local TV Matters group, stuck in the same awkward position as CityTV and TVA where the parent company cares more about protecting cable profits than local television?

We’ll find out within the next few months. (Though by the time Shaw’s acquisition is final, the fee for carriage debate might be over.)

UPDATE: The Financial Post explores a big thorn in the side of this deal: Goldman Sachs, which is still fighting with Canwest over the company that owns the former Alliance Atlantis channels.

Canwest study shows people like Canwest networks

Canwest has released the results of a study that seeks to measure specialty television channels by quality rather than quantity of ratings. Instead of just pure viewer numbers, it seeks to rank networks by how attentive their viewers are, and how likely they are to pay attention to ads.

A cynic might notice that Canwest-owned networks, including Food Network, HGTV, History Television, Showcase (and its sister networks), National Geographic, Mystery TV and TVtropolis, improve their scores under this measurement. Under pure ratings, only one Canwest network (HGTV) comes in the top five, and only three (with History and Showcase) in the top 10. In the other metrics shown, Canwest networks have 2-3 of the top five and 4-6 of the top 10.

That cynic might wonder if Canwest would have released this study if Canwest-owned networks hadn’t fared so well.

Does “Special Information Feature” clearly mean “Advertisement”?

The Sierra Club of Canada is complaining about a series that appeared in Canwest newspapers over the past few weeks sponsored by Shell Canada about the environment and the oil sands in Alberta. (The series also ran in the Toronto Star.)

Coverage by Canadian Press, Fast Forward Weekly, Marketing Magazine.

Shell ad in The Gazette last Saturday

Their complaint is that the advertisement, like most advertorials, tries to pass itself off as news. It’s got headlines and sidebars just like a newspaper page. It’s not obviously trying to sell anything, but instead is presenting information in a journalistic sense. And the word “advertisement” doesn’t appear anywhere.

Instead, it’s described as a “special Canwest information feature on climate change, in partnership with Shell Canada”, lending Canwest’s name (and, presumably, its journalistic integrity) to the advertorial.

What’s interesting to me is that the Sierra Club isn’t complaining to Canwest or to a press council or the Canadian Association of Journalists or Canadian Newspaper Association. Instead, they’re complaining to Advertising Standards Canada.

In other words, they’re not arguing that the newspaper acted unethically. They’re arguing that the advertiser acted unethically, and they’re appealing to the advertiser’s code of ethics.

It really says something, I think, when an advertiser is expected to have better journalistic ethics than a major newspaper chain.

The Sierra Club’s complaint is essentially one about labelling. It’s not labelled as an advertisement or advertorial, but as a “special information feature”, which could mean anything and isn’t clear.

Canwest’s response, to Canadian Press and others, is this:

Canwest communications director Phyllise Gelfand said the stories were printed in a different typeface and laid out in a different style than the rest of the paper. Shell’s “partnership” was referred to at the top of the page.

“That’s enough,” she said. “The average reader would notice the difference.”

I don’t agree. I’m a (former) newspaper editor, and a media critic, and it’s tough for me to understand sometimes what is editorial and what is advertising.

Advertisers and newspaper publishers have come up with all sorts of euphemisms to refer to advertorial content (the word “advertorial” itself, for one). Special information feature. Advertising feature. Marketing feature. Joint venture. Advertising section. Do any of these really clearly say “advertisement” to you, the average reader?

(And the argument about it being in a different typeface holds in print, but not online, where it looks like any other news story except for the byline and the Shell ad)

Of course, if clarity were the goal, it would just come out and say “advertisement”. But the goal isn’t clarity, it’s confusion. It’s for the advertiser to piggyback on the journalistic integrity of the publication and convince readers that the publication somehow endorses what’s being said.

And newspapers are only to happy to comply, sacrificing their integrity bit by bit for short-term financial gain.

Don’t call the newspaper worthless

It’s a cute little video from Search Engine’s Jesse Brown, making a point about how newspapers aren’t all that. And his arguments are valid – there are a lot of ads, wire service stories, opinions, comics, games and other not-original-news in your local newspaper.

But what bothered me was the implied conclusion: Newspapers are so full of not-news that they don’t deserve to be saved. They should be left to die, because they’re worthless.

This, while he’s holding up a copy of the Toronto Star.

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Local news takes back seat to Olympics

Viewers of CFCF’s 6pm newscast were left scratching their heads this evening as they were presented not with their familiar anchors but with CTV News Channel’s Marcia MacMillan, who presented national news but gave a special shout-out to viewers of CTV Montreal.

The local newscast began five minutes later. Turns out there was a fire alarm at CTV Montreal’s offices on Papineau Ave., forcing everyone outside at a most inconvenient time. It continued as normal after an awkward handoff.

The infrequent, unplanned disruptions will give way to frequent, planned ones over the next two weeks as CFCF airs Olympic coverage for the first time in almost two decades.

The noon and 11:30pm newscasts will be pre-empted throughout the Games, and the evening newscast will be reduced to half an hour, bouncing around to fit in between live Olympic events.

For the most part, the newscasts will be from 5:30pm to 6pm, except for Valentine’s Day and the last day of the Olympics (which features the closing ceremony in the afternoon and early evening, pushing the newscast to 7:30).

The full schedule is on their website and reproduced below:

Date Time
Friday, Feb. 12 6-7pm (as normal)
Saturday, Feb. 13 5:30-6pm
Sunday, Feb. 14 6pm-6:30pm
Monday, Feb. 15 5:30-6pm
Tuesday, Feb. 16 5:30-6pm
Wednesday, Feb. 17 5:30-6pm
Thursday, Feb. 18 5:30-6pm
Friday, Feb. 19 5:30-6pm
Saturday, Feb. 20 5:30-6pm
Sunday, Feb. 21 5:35-6:05pm
Monday, Feb. 22 5:30-6pm
Tuesday, Feb. 23 5:30-6pm
Wednesday, Feb. 24 5:30-6pm
Thursday, Feb. 25 5:30-6pm
Friday, Feb. 26 5:30-6pm
Saturday, Feb. 27 5:30-6pm
Sunday, Feb. 28 7:30-8pm

As usual, stories will be available on demand at, and CTV News Channel will have news throughout the Games for you heartless bastards who hate Canada.