News about news
— Ric Ernst (@RicErnst) June 16, 2018
- The Michener Award, the journalism award given out by the governor general, was awarded to the Globe and Mail and journalist Robyn Doolittle for their Unfounded project looking at how police departments across the country handle investigations of sexual assault.
- Bill 400, which allows La Presse to be converted into a nonprofit, passed through the National Assembly just before it broke for the summer. The bill was rushed through the legislative process (though, at two paragraphs, it doesn’t take long to study), and MNA Martine Ouellet tried to propose seven amendments in committee and two others in the National Assembly, designed to establish rules for how the non-profit’s board should be formed (such as that employees should control a third of the board) and ensure the company is not sold to a corporation with a headquarters outside Quebec. All were rejected. The final vote passed 76-24.
- The National Assembly also adopted a law offering more protection to journalists who wish to protect the identity of confidential sources.
- La Presse published an investigative report this week about Influence Communication, the Quebec news media analysis firm famous for quantifying the weight of topics in the news media. The report questions the company’s methods, particularly when it comes to broadcast media, and quotes former employees saying that president Jean-François Dumas, the firm’s public face, applies a multiplier, whose source is unclear even within the firm, to determine how much a news story is trending on media they cannot directly analyze. Dumas went into immediate damage control, issuing a 4am press release, and appearing on Radio-Canada and 98.5 FM morning shows to denounce the reporter and the story. Dumas says the former employees (who are unnamed in the story) were fired or left on bad terms, and suggests the reporter refused two offers to see how the company works in person. (The reporter, Isabelle Hachey, says both those statements are false.) Influence’s press release does not single out any specific fact in the story as being incorrect.
- Former Toronto Star digital editor David Skok has launched a new online subscription news outlet called The Logic, covering “the innovation economy.”
- The Guardian looks at the issue of journalists in the United States facing danger for reporting on radical right-wing political groups.
- Concordia University has launched a new institute for investigative journalism, with several media and university partners.
- An online survey done for the international Digital News Report shows only 18% of Canadians would be willing to donate to a news outlet “if they were unable to cover their costs in other ways.” More details on the report’s findings about Canada are here.
- Another report shows that news consumers are not very well informed about how journalism works, and that they believe news has veered too far toward opinion (I agree). Details are here.
- Rob Rogers was fired as the editorial cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette because he refused to stop making fun of Donald Trump. The newspaper’s publisher counters that he was “too angry” and obsessed with Trump. The paper itself covered the firing.
- The Boston Globe has suspended columnist Kevin Cullen after learning he allegedly fabricated anecdotes related to the Boston bombing. He’ll be busted down to general assignment reporter temporarily when he returns.
- Former employees of the Denver Post have started a new publication called the Colorado Sun that is being bankrolled by the founder of the Ethereum cryptocurrency. The Sun’s business model is something-something-blockchain but appears to be some sort of crowdfunding model.
- The Ahuntsic-Cartierville community publication Journal des Voisins has hired some student reporters thanks to a government grant.
- La Presse is launching a new webinar series featuring photojournalist Martin Tremblay.
At the CRTC
- The commission has denied an application by CIND-FM (Indie 88) Toronto to boost its signal. It cites the lack of a compelling economic or technical need (it’s still a new station and growing, and its signal is what it was expected to be), but also the fact that such a boost might negatively affect plans for a new Indigenous station because it would take the same antenna location.
- The government has ordered the commission to look into high-pressure sales tactics by telecom providers in light of various reports by CBC about the tactics used by Bell and Bell and Bell and Bell and Bell’s subcontractors and Rogers.
- A series of radio stations got full seven-year licence renewals, including CFID-FM in Acton Vale, Quebec.
- A J-Source story about the OMNI renewal/replacement proceeding talks to Madeline Ziniak, the former OMNI exec who is one of many former OMNI figures acting as consultants to the Amber Broadcasting bid. (It also quotes yours truly.)
- Timothy Denton is another former CRTC commissioner voicing disapproval of the commission’s report on the future of broadcasting.
- CBC ombudsman: A guest on the Out in the Open show, about people’s personal experiences, is allowed to assert the existence of racism in the United States without having to back that up with data.
- CBC ombudsman: A report about protests for and against the Kinder Morgan pipeline project should have been framed to reflect the imbalance in the size of those protests, but treating them as duelling parties was not some evil conspiracy.
- CBC ombudsman: A report on the building of the Hudson Bay Railway could have been clearer that the Cree maintained it rather than built it, but was not incorrect.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 15, 2018
- Nominations are out for the Gémeaux awards for Quebec television. Hit shows District 31 (which can now compete with weekly series for awards) and Fugueuse lead the table.
- Stingray has launched a new TV channel featuring music videos of Quebec francophone artists. The Palmarès ADISQ channel, which says it will also have songs by Quebec anglophones and French-Canadian artists and those from the international francophonie, is live on Videotron (Channel 559) and will be coming soon to Bell, Telus and Cogeco. Videotron users also got another music video channel, Stingray Hits! (Channel 558). Both are on free preview until July 5.
- Super Channel has finished rebranding its channels. Gone are the numbers 1-4, replaced by Fuse (premium series and movies), Heart & Home (heartwarming romantic and family series and movies), Vault (old stuff) and Ginx (video gaming). The premium service is on free preview until July 3.
- You may have missed it, but Donald Trump was in Quebec (briefly) last weekend, along with other G7 leaders. Besides the international attention we got for the summit, that international media thought was either in Ottawa, Montreal or France, we’re getting an hour-long documentary about it on Canal D.
- TFO, the francophone public broadcaster in Ontario, has laid off 37 people, representing about 15% of its workforce. This has resulted in a lot of pushback from members of the franco-ontarian community (especially considering the high salary of its CEO), several of whom put together an open letter.
- Comedy Central is cancelling The Opposition with Jordan Klepper, the parody news program that followed the Daily Show. Its last episode is June 28. Klepper is moving on to a weekly series where he gets out in the world more.
- Bell Media has announced its fall lineup for its French TV channels. Most of the new series were previously announced, but one that interests me is a show to be broadcast on RDS Info and online during Canadiens games in which people talk about the team with the game on in the background. There are 20 broadcasts planned, and they’re only for Habs games on RDS (so this isn’t a way of trying to steal eyeballs from TVA Sports on Saturday nights).
- TVA has an English version of its fall announcements here.
- Amazon has a deal with Just for Laughs for a new reality documentary series following comedians trying to get into the New Faces event at JFL in Montreal. It follows them through the process in New York and Los Angeles.
- Unis, the French-language mandatory-subscription channel devoted to serving the community of francophones outside Quebec, or at least outside Montreal, has a new series where everything apparently takes place in Montreal.
- The Amazing Race Canada announced its teams for this season, on the theme of “heroes”. The most recognizable name is Mellisa Hollingsworth, the former skeleton racer who apologized to her country after failing to reach the podium at the Olympics in Vancouver. The season begins July 3.
- Corus’s CEO says the company doesn’t think it can afford to make an over-the-top delivery system profitable for its TV content.
- NOW Toronto has some details about the new Native radio stations launching in Ottawa and Toronto that will finally replace the defunct Aboriginal Voices Radio in those cities. The stations, owned by APTN, will be called ELMNT, and should launch this summer.
- This started a while ago, but since I haven’t mentioned it yet here, CBF-FM (ICI Première 95.1) has begun broadcasting in HD Radio. There are two digital channels so far, rebroadcasting ICI Première and ICI Musique. So far the only other station using HD Radio is Bell’s CITE-FM (107,3 Rouge), which rebroadcasts CJAD and TSN 690 on digital. Other stations are likely to follow, though.
- Rythme FM has a plan to remake its schedule after the departures of Véronique Cloutier and Marie-Soleil Michon for competitor Rouge.
- CKOI has a new overnight show on Friday nights featuring the guy behind Beachclub.
- A molotov cocktail was thrown at the offices of Bell Media’s Montreal radio stations. It’s unclear why.
- Sportsnet 650 AM in Vancouver announced its new lineup.
- Toronto’s Jazz.FM91 has laid off four people, apparently due to budget cuts, shortly after news emerged of the station’s CEO being accused of sexual harassment of employees.
- The Hamilton Spectator has an op-ed about the CBC not having a local radio station for the market. The biggest problem is that there isn’t an open frequency (at least not on FM) because of how close Hamilton is to Toronto. So the CBC has a digital service there, but surely there’s a way it can get on more traditional radio.
- Rogers Media has cut 75 people from its publishing division, representing about a third of its workforce. Affected magazines include Chatelaine, Flare (which is down from 17 to 3 people) and Maclean’s. J-Source has a roundup of those who have announced their departures on Twitter.
- The Journal de Montréal’s union is going to court to ask that people working on the newspaper’s website be included in the union.
- The Toronto Star has reached a content deal with the Wall Street Journal that will, among other things, provide Journal content in the Star’s print edition.
- The sale of the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union Tribune to billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong closes on Monday.
- A White House-imposed tariff on newsprint is driving up costs for U.S. newspapers.
- The Globe and Mail has changed its style guide, and will now use “Dr.” as an honorific on second reference only for people who are medical doctors.
- The company that owns the National Enquirer and Star has bought In Touch, Life & Style and Closer. Now all your celebrity gossip magazines are owned by the same company.
- The editor of the Sacramento Bee says the paper needs to quadruple its digital subscriptions to be sustainable, but she thinks they can do it.
- The Toronto Star on how to write a good letter to the editor: Be nice, be interesting, be funny, get to the point, and above all be short.
- BuzzFeed’s Scaachi Koul spent a day at a Rebel Media event, and it got very Lord of the Flies.
- The New York Times writes about Twitch, and the Amazon game streaming platform’s advantage over similar services from YouTube and Microsoft.
- Shaw is looking at selling its minority stake in Corus. It got the equity, along with cash, in the sale that sent Shaw Media, including Global TV, to Corus. Both Shaw and Corus are controlled by the Shaw family, and it’s unclear if such a sale might result in the Shaws losing their control of Corus.
- 21st Century Fox will consider a $65-billion takeover deal by Comcast on Wednesday. That bid is competing with a $52-billion offer from Disney.
- AT&T’s takeover of Time Warner has been approved. The new company is huge. Time Warner has been rebranded WarnerMedia.
- Canadian creative industry groups like Corus, CBC and ACTRA have signed on to a new code of conduct to combat workplace harassment.
- The SCRC union representing CBC/Radio-Canada employees in Quebec and Moncton wants its members to reject the company’s latest offer.
News about people
I've known cartoonist Serge Chapleau for over 40 years. His newspaper La Press once called us TWO SOLID DUDES. Yesterday, we were delighted to receive honorary doctorates at Concordia U, Here is a selfie taken by Fiona Downey, former CBCer and now a PR advisor for Concordia. pic.twitter.com/MeO5vetw8s
— Terry Mosher (@TerryMosher1) June 12, 2018
- Terry Mosher and Serge Chapleau got their honorary degrees from Concordia last week.
- Domenic Fazioli is no longer a reporter for City’s Breakfast Television Montreal. “Fazioli is no longer with the company and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” was all the company would say about the matter after it scrubbed references to Fazioli from BT’s social media accounts. Fazioli himself has also removed references to BT, but hasn’t said anything about his departure. Fazioli similarly disappeared from his previous job at Global Montreal shortly after it was reported he was facing assault charges in a domestic dispute. His former job has been posted, which means this is not a layoff but Fazioli was either terminated or resigned.
- Roger Millions, who covered the Calgary Flames for Sportsnet since 2002, has retired from broadcasting so he can seek election in the Alberta legislature as a conservative candidate.
- The Quebecor edict about avoiding working for other media companies has forced Bernard Drainville to leave his role on LCN’s La Joute, shortly after Luc Lavoie had to make the same decision. La Presse’s Hugo Dumas reports that similar demands are not being made for TVA personalities on music radio stations, or Richard Martineau’s job on Les Francs-Tireurs on Télé-Québec.
- La Presse talks to Esther Bégin, the new francophone face of CPAC.
- Michel Langevin left Montreal’s 91,9 Sports to do the morning show at 104,7 in Gatineau.
- Stéphane Gasse has been named program director of Cogeco’s Rythme FM 100,1 and 106,9 FM in Mauricie. Élaine Giroux becomes general manager and sales director.
- Waubgeshig Rice has been named the new host of Up North, the CBC Radio One afternoon show in Northern Ontario.
- Frederic Bissonnette had his last day as CTV’s cameraman in Quebec City. He’s taking a new job with Radio-Canada.
- MIchelle Shephard left the Toronto Star but will continue to do foreign reporting through other media.
- Ellie Tevan, widow of radio man Ted Tevan and a broadcaster herself, has died.
- Quebecor and Cogeco have made a $100,000 donation to a fund in the name of Jean Lapierre that will help young students from the Magdalen Islands leave their homes to further their educations.
- Chatelaine talks to City’s Cynthia Mulligan about her troubles with Mike Bullard.
- New York magazine has a feature story about Vice. It’s a warts-and-all piece about its history, and the dubious ways it has gotten people to buy into it (literally, investing millions of dollars).
- The staff behind Clickhole, the Onion’s clickbait website, did an Ask-Me-Anything chat on Reddit. It’s actually a bit informative.