News about news
- La Presse’s Fanny Lévesque looks at the money crunch facing community newspapers in Quebec.
- The Toronto Sun pulled a column skeptical of vaccines, after learning of unspecified “inaccuracies” in the column by a peddler of vitamin C supplements.
- Sunny Dhillon, a Vancouver-based journalist with the Globe and Mail since 2010, resigned suddenly on Monday, and published an essay explaining why, saying he felt ignored and implying racist treatment of the news by his editors. The paper has yet to respond to his story.
- Federal Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer is increasing attacks on the media as we enter an election year.
- Ontario held municipal elections last week, amid complaints about CBC’s decision not to broadcast a live election results special on television (funny how there wasn’t nearly as much uproar during last year’s Montreal municipal election, or elections in Vancouver and Winnipeg). Among the winners was former CTV Ottawa anchor Carol Anne Meehan, who upset an incumbent to get a seat on Ottawa’s city council.
- Global BC and CBC are joining forces for a debate on electoral reform in British Columbia, Nov. 8 at 7pm. It will be broadcast on both Vancouver TV stations as well as their radio stations and online.
- Speaking of debates, the federal government has nominated former governor general David Johnston to be the country’s first official commissioner of election leaders’ debates. Broadcasters won’t be obligated to broadcast such debates and leaders won’t be obligated to participate, which makes me wonder why we’re bothering. Recall that in 2015, the leaders failed to agree to the “official” English-language debate and took part in other debates instead. Presumably even with a debate commission the same thing could happen in the future.
At the CRTC
- The CRTC held its hearing into aggressive and misleading sales practices by telecom companies last week, which ended Friday with the appearances of Rogers and Bell. You can read the full transcript in five parts on the CRTC’s website, which includes stuff like the guy calling Rogers a “RICO criminal organization”. It also added 785 “acceptable” tweets using the #CRTCforum hashtag on the public record. Telecom providers stressed that they don’t accept such practices, despite the hundreds of complaints the CRTC received (including from former employees and subcontractors). A new code of conduct might be in order, but the issue might be more broad than the CRTC, and could require answering questions like whether the mere existence of promotional and bundle pricing is a fatal flaw that leads to misunderstanding regardless of tactics used.
- The commission has given another one-year extension for the licenses of CBC/Radio-Canada, citing its new CEO and a need to “examine the CBC’s ongoing strategies”. The licences, renewed in 2013, were originally set to expire in August. The previous licence term began in 2000 and were supposed to last seven years, but were administratively renewed six times before finally being reviewed and renewed in 2013.
- CHAI-FM 101.9 in Châteauguay has been given a two-year extension on its new transmitter that will replace two existing ones on the same frequency. In its request for the extension, the group laid out the various steps it has already taken in the move.
- Globe and Mail public editor Sylvia Stead published a piece in which she notes how people often confuse news and opinion. She says that “Opinion pieces … they clearly say ‘opinion’ at the top whether in print or online.” While the Globe does a good job in adding the opinion label to columns both online and in print, it took me seconds to find three articles on the Globe website that do not have the word “opinion” at the top of the page. Other publications are much less clear, especially with columnists whose columns appear on news pages. Despite her attempts to downplay it and imply the reader is at fault for getting it wrong, this is an issue the industry needs to address.
- National Newsmedia Council: A Globe and Mail story about Bombardier’s involvement in a rail line on the Russia-Ukraine border should not have used the term “critics” when quoting only one, and should have better explained the Canadian government’s sanctions and policies.
- A CBC Ottawa story and radio interview about Gatineau Park “was under-researched and failed to meet CBC’s standards of accuracy and provide the necessary clarity to help citizens understand the facts,” CBC’s ombudsman says, but that doesn’t mean it was intentionally biased.
- Videotron has announced a name for its new TV distribution system based on Comcast’s X1 platform: Helix. Beyond “2019” and “in the coming months“, it hasn’t set a launch date. Videotron is behind other Canadian cable companies that have adopted X1 — Rogers is rolling out its Ignite TV system now, and Shaw launched BlueSky TV last year.
- The federal government’s review of the Copyright Act is facing an interesting question: How do you define the author of a TV show? The writer, the director, the producer? All of the above? The Writers Guild of Canada and the Canadian Media Producers Association spoke to a hearing and you can guess what their takes are on it.
- Tou.tv announced its programming for the 2018-19 season.
- Corus has signed a deal with Hallmark Channel that will make W Network the official Canadian home for its content as of Nov. 1.
- Encore+, the classic CanCon YouTube channel, has added a playlist of Indigenous art festival films. It includes Rocks at Whiskey Trench, a documentary about a disturbing part of the Oka crisis.
- TVO really does not like the Polkaroo parody Tokaroo, and has threatened legal action.
- TVA is suing Juste Pour Rire for $894,400 for TV shows that went unproduced in the wake of the Gilbert Rozon scandal.
- Bell Media has signed a partnership with Politico Pro Canada that includes a weekly U.S. politics segment on CTV News Channel’s Power Play on Fridays.
- Major League Soccer has seen a growth in television audience, with TSN’s games up 29% and TVA Sports up 6% this year.
- First Peoples Radio has launched ELMNT FM, the Indigenous radio station that finally replaces the defunct Aboriginal Voices Radio network in Toronto and Ottawa. The Toronto station’s launch event was streamed on Facebook (the actual launch comes just after the half-hour mark of the video). Its first song broadcast was Link Wray’s Rumble, honouring the Shawnee artist whose instrumental hit was banned on many radio stations because it was deemed a risk of stoking violence among youth. The stations broadcast on 95.7 FM in Ottawa (CFPO-FM) and 106.5 FM in Toronto (CFPT-FM). Both stations have quotas of 25% Indigenous Canadian music and 60% local programming.
- After receiving CRTC approval last week with the usual tangible benefits requirements, Stingray has closed its $500-million acquisition of Newcap Radio. The 71 licensed and one licence-exempt radio stations are now part of the same family that owns those audio-only channels and video music channels on cable TV boxes. Meanwhile, CBC talked to John Steele about the media empire his family is giving up. The group is the second-largest radio broadcaster in Canada in terms of number of stations, behind only Bell Media.
- Mississauga finally has an AM radio station it was expecting since 2011. Sauga 960 (CKNT), which officially launched in September, now has regular programming as of today. Notable on its on-air lineup is Mike Bullard, co-hosting the afternoon drive show. The independent station has a weak 2000W daytime/104W nighttime signal
- Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver has acquired the rights to Vancouver Canadians baseball games from TSN. Sportsnet now has radio rights to the NHL’s Canucks, WHL’s Giants, Canadians and Blue Jays baseball, leaving TSN with the CFL’s Lions, MLS’s Whitecaps and NFL games.
- The National Post celebrated its 20th anniversary with dozens of stories about the subject, including reminiscences from Stephen Harper, Leah McLaren and Rebecca Eckler, Rex Murphy, John Robson, Edward Greenspon and of course, Conrad Black.
- Postmedia reported its quarterly earnings. It lost $22.8 million in the last quarter, and print advertising revenue is down 17% since the previous year. My employer says it has achieved its goal of a 10% across-the-board cut in employee compensation (by reducing the number of employees). It also appointed a new director, John Bode, to its board. Its CEO got into an argument with a shareholder over the lack of forward-looking statements (specifically what other assets Postmedia might sell), and the National Observer has another story about the company’s “downward spiral.”
- The Globe and Mail reports Rogers is close to selling its magazine portfolio, including Maclean’s, to Graeme Roustan, who recently bought The Hockey News from Quebecor and also expressed an interest in buying La Presse before it became a non-profit.
- Unionized members of the Globe and Mail have voted 94% in favour of a strike mandate. The company and its union are in a legal strike position as of Nov. 15.
News about people
"Rather than allow the magazine to photograph him directly, Péladeau orchestrated his own epic photo shoot at his chalet in the Eastern Townships." Did he ever! https://t.co/gaTosGZVtx pic.twitter.com/tjmajFifCm
— Eric Andrew-Gee (@ericandrewgee) October 25, 2018
- The Globe and Mail talks to Quebecor boss Pierre Karl Péladeau and summarizes in some detail his career over the past 20 years.
- The Globe also talks to Scott Moore, who’s leaving as president of Sportsnet. Moore notes that the cost of sports broadcasting rights has climbed very high, and “are in for a correction. … The consumer has reached the limit of what they’re prepared to pay for ESPN, TSN, Sportsnet.”
- Corus COO Barb Williams is suddenly retiring, and will not be replaced.
- Le Soleil columnist Gilbert Lavoie published his farewell column.
- Roger Ashby is retiring from CHUM 104.5 in Toronto.
- Quebecor’s Agence QMI has hired former Parti Québécois staffer Jean-François Gibeault to its investigative team, which apparently doesn’t raise eyebrows at a company owned by a former PQ leader.
- Isabelle Audet has been put in charge of La Presse’s lifestyle sections.
- The Gazette’s Stu Cowan talks to TSN 690 colour commentator Sergio Momesso about playing in the NHL as a young kid.
- Marie-Danielle Smith got high.
- Canadian Press internships (deadline: Oct. 31)
- Summer interns, Montreal Gazette (deadline: Nov. 2)
- Sports reporter, Winnipeg Free Press (deadline: Nov. 6)
- National online journalist, politics, Global News Ottawa (deadline: Nov. 7)
- Online reporter/editor, CBC Winnipeg (deadline: Nov. 9)
- Assistant Professor in Solutions Journalism for Health Improvement at Concordia University in Montreal (deadline: Nov. 15)