News about news
- Radio-Canada journalist Antoine Trépanier was arrested on Tuesday after sending an interview request to a source for a story. The source had agreed to an interview, then changed her mind at the last minute. He reiterated the request the next day in an email, leading to the source filing a criminal harassment complaint. The FPJQ understandably wants an explanation from Gatineau police, which released this statement. The source, a woman who is allegedly acting as a lawyer but is not licensed as one, says she’ll give her side on Monday. In the meantime, this story exposes how easy it is to get someone arrested by a police department that doesn’t want to bother investigating such minor cases. And that’s besides the whole constitutional issue.
- The Toronto Star finally won a two-year battle with Toronto police to get them to admit that they used IMSI catchers — devices that spy on cellphones — during investigations. The story highlights flaws in access to information laws.
- The Mercier hyperlocal news website Pamplemousse might not be so dead after all. They’re going to try a crowdfunding campaign to save it before they pull the plug.
- National Geographic admits it spent decades looking at the world through racist eyes, and is hoping to rectify that problem.
- ProPublica issued a long correction/mea culpa after incorrectly saying the woman who has since been named the new head of central intelligence in the United States had overseen waterboarding of infamous Al Qaida suspect Abu Zubaydah.
- The Canadian Press has corrected its stylebook after errors related to terminology of Inuit people were discovered.
- The Canadian Psychiatric Association has released new guidelines on reporting on suicide. The organization recommends stressing ways to get help and emphasizing that suicide is not the answer.
- RTDNA Canada has announced its regional award nominations: West (B.C./Yukon), Prairie (Alberta/Saskatchewan/Manitoba/N.W.T.), Central (Ontario/Quebec) and East (New Brunswick/P.E.I./Nova Scotia/Newfoundland and Labrador/Nunavut). Central Region finalists from Quebec, who will find out April 14 if they win, are:
- CBC Montreal: 22 nominations (12 digital, 1 multiplatform, 7 radio, 2 TV)
- CBC Quebec City: 4 nominations (1 digital, 3 radio)
- CTV Montreal: 3 nominations (1 digital, 2 TV)
- Global Montreal: 3 nominations (1 digital, 2 TV)
- CJAD: 3 nominations (3 radio, including one shared with CHOM)
- HuffPost Quebec: 1 nomination (digital)
- The family of former Democratic Party staffer Seth Rich is suing Fox News for peddling a conspiracy theory about his death. Rich’s 2016 shooting death is a common element in conspiracy theories tying all the world’s evils to the Clinton family somehow. But people peddling those theories either don’t know or don’t care what impact that has on Rich’s family.
- Reuters, whose parent company has sold off the business terminal business that made it rich, now has a guaranteed $325 million a year income for 30 years. Recode says it needs to figure out what it’s going to do with that $10 billion.
- Nearly 200 journalists in Italy are under some form of police protection because of right wing threats against them.
At the CRTC
- The commission has approved the sale of GameTV … again. Only a year after buying it in 2016, Anthem Sports & Entertainment apparently determined the channel did not fit into its strategic plans (Anthem, owned by former Canwest CEO Leonard Asper, also owns Fight Network and FNTSY Sports Network) and came to a deal to sell the channel to Remuda Media Inc. for $6.5 million, or $2.5 million more than they paid for it. Remuda is owned 25% each by Canadians Dean Langille, John Phillips, William Sawchyn and Bryan Woodruff. They’ll put up some of the cash for the transaction, but $5.3 million is a loan from Rural Media Group, an American company that owns RFD-TV. The people behind Remuda got CRTC approval for something called The Country Channel in 2011, but failed to launch it because they couldn’t get carriage. So instead they bought an existing channel. Though they aren’t talking about a complete rebranding, their brief to the CRTC says they plan on “expanding the channel’s content offering to reflect the issues, interests and lifestyles of a currently underserved market: rural and suburban Canadians, while preserving the core features of Game TV’s currently strong ratings and popular programming.”
- An application by Evanov Radio to increase power of low-power Toronto station CIRR-FM while simultaneously decreasing power of nearby station CIDC-FM in Orangeville has been dismissed by the CRTC after it was deemed technically unacceptable by ISED. It’s unclear what exactly is unacceptable about the proposed changes, but Evanov will have to fix it and resubmit the applications.
- Former chairman Jean-Pierre Blais has a new public service job, as assistant deputy minister at Public Services and Procurement.
- The commission has approved four Portuguese TV channels for distribution in Canada.
- A proposal by Sirius XM to spend $3.79 million of its discretionary tangible benefits on a new fund named after itself has been denied. The commission found that the fund was not sufficiently described in the application, that it was partially self-serving by offering airtime on Sirius XM for emerging artists, and that it didn’t have much to offer that couldn’t be offered by existing funds like FACTOR and MusicAction. The CRTC ordered the money be sent to those funds instead.
- Public Editor Kathy English defends the Toronto Star’s repeated use of a Facebook photo of accused serial killer Bruce McArthur.
- CBC ombudsman: An interview with an Iranian exile should have disclosed the fact that she works for Voice of America, but didn’t need to specify that VOA is funded by the U.S. government.
TV & video
Encore+ has added Under the Umbrella Tree S1 to its YouTube channel https://t.co/agl91GEYYy which now has 811 videos, 17,000 subscribers and 1.7 million video views
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) March 14, 2018
- TVA Sports is investing in its NHL playoff coverage (which looks like it will have only 2-3 Canadian teams this year — Toronto and Winnipeg, and maybe Calgary), and will have a morning sports talk show starting April 9.
- Facebook has signed a deal to broadcast 25 Major League Baseball games exclusively this season — or about 1% of the schedule. They’re all weekday afternoon games.
- Télé-Québec’s decision not to renew the series Électrons libres means that the network will no longer have a magazine show devoted to science. An open letter published in Le Devoir deplores that fact, and says shows like Génial (a science-based game show) doesn’t serve that part of its mandate.
- Global TV has started a 5pm regional newscast in Saskatchewan.
- Canal Vie is producing a new reality series where family lawyer Anne-France Goldwater does couples counselling to try to avoid a divorce. The first season is 13 one-hour episodes.
- Subtitlers for Ericsson in Montreal, who produced closed captioning for television, have formed a union to fight for better working conditions.
- Télé-Québec and UQAM hosted a day-long panel series on public television, during which panelists unsurprisingly argued that public television is still important, but lacks funding to compete with big-budget broadcasters like Netflix. (Someone from Netflix was supposed to attend, but cancelled at the last minute for reasons that are in dispute.)
- A second straight Canadian Screen Awards fan choice vote going to a web series (Carmilla) that is little known in the Canadian mainstream but very popular internationally online is a wakeup call for the industry about including more diverse voices.
- The Crown star Claire Foy was paid less than her male co-star, producers revealed, which … let’s just say it looks bad.
- CBC’s Kim’s Convenience has been renewed for a third season. The announcement was made the day after it picked up more Canadian Screen Awards.
- Maripier Morin’s talk show on Z has been renewed for another 12-episode season.
- Sportsnet set a new regular-season ratings record for the red hot Toronto Raptors with their March 9 game against the also hot Houston Rockets.
- iHeartMedia, which is the largest radio broadcaster in the United States, has filed for bankruptcy, so it can restructure its debt. The move has no direct impact on Bell Media’s use of the iHeartRadio brand, though we’ll have to see what the future is for the name in the U.S.
- Rogers has acquired Canadian rights to the syndicated radio show Zach Sang Worldwide Countdown, which will air on its KISS stations Saturdays starting March 17.
- There’s a management crisis at the University of Toronto student radio station CIUT. Two board members resigned and they and an on-air host say a sexual harassment complaint was not handled properly.
- Toronto’s Classical FM is crowing because the latest Numeris quarterly ratings report puts it as the #2 overall commercial radio station in Toronto, behind Rogers’s CHFI. (It’s also behind CBC Radio One, hence the “commercial”.) Montreal’s classical music station, meanwhile, has stopped subscribing to Numeris.
- Radio Centre-Ville’s crisis continues, and current management has called a general assembly for Sunday (the same day as the St. Patrick’s Parade). Dissident groups believe the proposed changes to the organization’s laws are meant to consolidate the (in their view illegitimate) government’s hold on power while a lawsuit related to the previous year’s general assembly is still working its way through the courts.
- The Journal de Québec has put an end to its Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean edition, a decision deplored by the FPJQ.
- The Competition Bureau raided offices of Postmedia and Torstar looking for evidence in an investigation related to the recent Ontario community newspaper swap and shutdown. Any action in this case would be surprising since the bureau did nothing about previous similar deals between Postmedia/Sun Media, Glacier Media/Black Press and Transcontinental/Quebecor. The CWA union welcomed the investigation.
- J-Source looks at university student newspapers across Canada reducing their print frequency or volume and focusing their efforts more online. Several newspapers, including Concordia’s The Link, have moved from a weekly newspaper to a biweekly or monthly magazine format.
- Apple is buying Texture, the magazine app. The price isn’t being disclosed, but the company that owns the app is partly owned by Rogers (14% according to my reading of a 2015 CRTC filing).
- The Denver Post is laying off 30 people, bringing the staff to about a quarter of what it was 10 years ago.
- The Chicago Tribune is also executing an unspecified number of newsroom layoffs.
- The U.S. has decided to apply anti-dumping tariffs on Canadian newsprint.
- Rogers and Bell are hiking their Internet prices. Videotron did the same recently.
- A study by Jean-Hugues Roy shows Quebec media engagement on Facebook is beginning to trend downward.
- Meanwhile, Facebook is alleging a data breach of millions of U.S. users’ accounts, whose information was collected by a Trump campaign research firm and used to influence the 2016 presidential election.
- Twitter is finally taking action against accounts that rip off others’ tweets. Even verified ones.
- Instagram is riddled with bots, so much so that marketers are looking to third parties to help them audit how much of the influence they’re buying is fraudulent.
- YouTube is going to add information from Wikipedia in the hopes of counteracting the phenomenon of bad information in its videos. This came as a surprise to the Wikimedia Foundation, which is hoping for some financial support in exchange.
- Snapchat apologized after allowing an ad to appear on its service that asked people if they want to slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown. Considering the domestic violence history between these two, it’s astonishing that this was allowed to exist.
- Google updates on its fight against bad ads, and says it will stop taking ads related to cryptocurrencies.
- La Presse talks to Quebec celebrities including Mitsou and Maripier Morin who have turned their names into online media brands.
- Elon Musk is reportedly working on a satirical news site similar to The Onion, having poached Onion staffers, after considering buying The Onion.
- Quebecor will not be buying Just For Laughs.
- Bon Jovi, which gamed its way onto the top of the Billboard sales charts by including an album with its concert tickets, saw the largest drop in history, going from #1 to #169 in a week.
- H&M has apologized after threatening to sue a graffiti artist for complaining that it stole a design for an ad. H&M had argued that because it was illegal, the graffiti couldn’t be copyrighted.
News about people
- Radio-Canada’s news director Michel Cormier is retiring. The news led to an Acadie Nouvelle editorial saying that the Moncton native failed miserably in expanding Radio-Canada’s focus beyond Quebec and in particular Montreal. But Cormier himself believes he did a good job overall.
- Steve Anthony is leaving Toronto’s CP24. Anthony, a former morning show host at CHOM, hasn’t announced his next venture, but it’ll be one that doesn’t involve waking up at 3am, and it looks like it won’t be on the air.
- Richard Deitsch, host of the Sports Illustrated sports media podcast, is not only joining Sportsnet 590 in Toronto, but also leaving SI for The Athletic. His podcast will return, but with a new home.
- Sam Cooper is moving from Postmedia in Vancouver to Global News in Ottawa.
- Former Daybreak host Royal Orr has a new series in the Montreal Gazette about his relationship with the French language.
- Nancy Dubuc is leaving her job as CEO of A&E to become the new chief executive at Vice Media.
- CNN is moving Chris Cuomo to its 9pm slot.
- Shepard Smith has signed a new contract with Fox News. Meanwhile he’s not very well liked by the opinion side of the network, Sean Hannity in particular.
- Former Bell Media president Mary Ann Turcke has been named chief operating officer of the National Football League, promoted from her job of president of NFL Media.
- Reddit and the Struggle to Detoxify the Internet
- The New York Times visits Meredith Corporation, the new owners of Time magazine and related brands.
- Poynter on journalism historian W. Joseph Campbell, who is trying to fight the myths we readily accept about our industry.
- The Canada Media Fund uses the Quebec zombie horror film Les Affamés as a case study for international and social media marketing of a film.
- Alberta correspondent, National Post (deadline: March 19)
- Journalist, Indigenous Digital Unit, CBC Montreal (deadline: March 24)
- Columnist-researcher, Homerun, CBC Montreal (deadline: March 24)
- Journalists, First Peoples Radio (Ottawa/Toronto; deadline: March 27)
- Video manager, Montreal Gazette (deadline: March 31)
- Desk editor, La Presse (deadline: April 27)
- Diversity bursary, La Presse (deadline: May 3)