Monthly Archives: July 2013

28 people who were joking about America turning 2,013 years old

It’s amazing how much of journalism these days consists of someone searching for something on Twitter and then being shocked at finding that thing that’s being searched for.

On Thursday, a few people had the bright idea to search for people who posted on Twitter that the United States turned 2,013 years old on July 4. Of course that’s ridiculous and a sign that the U.S. education system has failed miserably.

Or maybe they were all kidding. Don’t bother checking that, just publish and shame! It doesn’t matter how young they are, they must be ridiculed, post haste!

Here’s a post on something called Twitchy that lists “30 people who say America turned 2,013 years old today.” Wow, those people all sound super stupid.

But let’s go through them one by one, shall we?

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Review: Montreal Connected is welcome, but needs some work

Montreal Connected hosts Wilder Weir and Alyson Lozoff

Montreal Connected hosts Wilder Weir and Alyson Lozoff

Montreal Connected, the weekly sports show that airs on City Montreal, has five episodes under its belt. So now seems as good a time as any to review it.

If you haven’t seen it yet, segments from the show are posted on Each show, hosted by Wilder Weir and Alyson Lozoff from a different location each week, is composed of a handful of segments (usually five, sometimes more), mostly profiles and other feature stories that don’t lose their value within 24 hours. The parts between the segments are little more than quick intros from the hosts, perhaps with a cheesy joke thrown in.

The hosts

Neither Weir nor Lozoff are new to television. They speak well and come across as warm and friendly. But there’s an artificial, forced nature to the way they introduce their segments and even the way they do their voiceovers. Their pitch goes up and down like a ninth-grader’s oral book report. Their smiles seem forced half the time, and their attempts to play off each other even more so. Maybe it’s just because they’re doing something that’s so new and they need to get comfortable with their new jobs and each other. Or maybe they’ve been taught to do television this way.

I don’t want to exaggerate the situation. They’re not cringe-worthy bad. But they need to loosen up a bit. The fact that this show is edited rather than live-to-tape, meaning every segment is recorded separately and usually with multiple takes, works against them here.

But during those genuine moments when the real Weir and Lozoff shine through, they’ve very likeable. Once they get comfortable in their new roles they should feel more like old friends than door-to-door salespeople.

One thing Montreal Connected should also get credit for is using the talent available to them. Associate producer Kelly Greig, senior producer George Athans and new media producer Elias Makos have all had at least one segment in front of the camera (Greig already looks like she’s a regular) despite their primary roles being behind the scenes. Athans is making good use of the flexibility of his staffing.

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The new convergence utopia: Who owns what in Canadian media

A little under three years ago, I published a post with a chart of Canada’s media giants and what they own. Now that the CRTC has given a green light to a major acquisition by one of them, I thought it was a good time to revisit and update that chart.

The following represents who will own what once all the various deals go through, including related deals for asset acquisitions involving Corus, Shaw and Pattison Group.

UPDATE: I’ve moved the chart to this page, where I will be keeping it updated.

Marcel Côté’s fake Montrealers

UPDATE 3:45pm: The website has removed its stock photos of people.

Three kids from a Ukrainian stock photo show off a grammatically incorrect promise

Three kids from a Ukrainian stock photo show off a grammatically incorrect promise

Stock photos aren’t a cardinal sin. In most cases their use is obvious, and it makes sense to spend a couple of bucks on a stock image rather than hundreds of dollars setting up a professional photo shoot.

But in most cases stock photos are unnecessary. We don’t need the smiling faces of strangers to inform us of things. And worse, they may give the false impression that these are real people who support a political cause.

Marcel Côté launched his mayoral campaign this morning, and his website was filled with stock photos. There was this one from a photographer in Ukraine. This one from a photographer in Malaysia. This one from a photographer in Colombia. This one from a photographer in Hungary. This one from a photographer in Italy. And this one from a photographer in Germany.

And this image, with the filename “groupe-montrealais.jpg” and the caption “We Are All Montrealers”. It was edited from this stock photo from Ukraine to add a sixth panel because Marcel’s name has one more letter than the stock photo was designed for. (You can see the panel on the end is actually the third one being copied and badly edited.)

I haven’t contacted these photographers to determine where the photos were taken and the nationality of the models, but I’m willing to bet that none of these people are Montrealers.

Sure enough, all the photos are now gone from the site. Apparently “once we realized where the photos came from, we took them down,” the press attaché told CBC Montreal researcher Sarah Leavitt. Which is an odd thing to say because it means they put up a bunch of pictures not knowing their source.

The site’s designer, Vasco Design (is this really a website design they want to be associated with?) has a habit of using cheesy stock photos on websites it creates.

You might recall that Louise Harel, who abandoned her own run for mayor to support Côté, had similarly used stock photos on her website during the 2009 campaign.

Status report: How things are changing at Montreal TV and radio stations

Last fall, I wrote for The Gazette that there were a lot of changes going on at local TV and radio stations. This year, 2013, is turning out to be the biggest one for local broadcasting in decades, with new stations, ownership changes and other big plans.

Because of that, a lot of people have been asking me what’s going on with some of them. My usual response is either “I don’t know” or recapping a blog post I published or something I posted on Twitter.

As we hit the halfway mark of the calendar year, I figured now is a good time to give you an update on what’s going on at each of these stations, one by one.

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