News about news
- So yeah, the Jeff Bezos dick pic thing. Here’s his post accusing the National Enquirer of trying to blackmail him. And here’s Canadaland noting the connections between Enquirer owner American Media Inc. and Postmedia (my employer).
- A Saskatchewan Court of Appeal hearing into the provincial government’s challenge to the federal government’s carbon tax law will be televised, after various Saskatchewan media outlets pushed the court to allow live broadcast.
- Torontoist has been acquired by Daily Hive, which has essentially just used it to push readers to Daily Hive Toronto, though they promise to “carry on the legacy” of the website.
- The Canadian Press has made cuts, particularly in Atlantic Canada, with four layoff notices issued Friday to journalists there: Aly Thomson, Keith Doucette, Alex Cooke and Brett Bundale (a former Montreal Gazette intern). CBC reports that voluntary departures of more senior employees could save some of those jobs. Six positions are being cut in total. They also include Tara Deschamps at the business desk in Toronto.
- There were also, according to Le Devoir, 11 cuts at Vice Canada (including Chris Toman) and two voluntary departures at Vice Quebec. There were also unspecified cuts at Global News, according to the CAJ.
- Radio-Canada is closing its bureau in Beirut, bringing journalist Marie-Ève Bédard back to Montreal. The Middle East will now no longer be covered full-time by the public broadcaster.
- Gazette cartoonist Aislin (Terry Mosher) caused a bit of a kerfuffle when he posted a rejected cartoon on Facebook and Twitter featuring a CAQ logo with a KKK-style white hood. Reaction started with why-is-the-Gazette-censoring-you and grew to anglos-hate-Quebec as the cartoon began being shared in the francophone sphere. It prompted stories by Radio-Canada, La Presse, Presse Canadienne and Énergie, discussions on Quebec AM, Daybreak and columns by Richard Martineau and Rima Elkouri, and a cartoon by Le Devoir’s Garnotte. Mosher now admits even he believes the cartoon went too far and never expected it to be published.
- La Presse has rearranged its arts and lifestyle sections, which includes more books coverage through the week, and added some new columnists:
- Concordia University’s journalism department has started a new digital publication called The City, fed by journalism students.
- The New York Times is using donations to make its content available free to 3 million U.S. students.
- The Toronto Star is trying to block publication of documents it considers commercially sensitive in the Competition Bureau case against its newspaper deal with Postmedia.
- A secret group of liberal journalists from France that has been coordinating harassment of women has been exposed, leading to resignations, firings, suspensions and other fallout. Le Monde gives some background on it.
At the CRTC
- The commission has denied an application by community station CKAR-FM Huntsville, Ont., for a retransmitter that would have extended its signal into nearby Bracebridge. The CRTC said that’s not part of its licensed market and an expansion was unjustified and could have an adverse economic impact on Bracebridge stations.
- Canal Savoir (CFTU-DT) has applied for renewal of its licence expiring Aug. 31. The Montreal educational TV station says it failed to meet its licence conditions related to closed captioning (it was supposed to reach 75% but has only reached 54%), blamed mainly on unstable government subsidies. It nevertheless believes it can get to the 100% standard within the first year of the next licence term.
- A Radio-Canada story by Thomas Gerbet about the environmental impact of electric cars respected journalistic norms, though it was edited to add some clarity. Complainants criticized it for apparently arguing that electric cars created more greenhouse gases during manufacturing, and in general having a tone that contradicted the headline of the press release announcing the study it based its figures on.
- CBC’s ombudsman found no fault in a Thunder Bay story noting that local methadone clinics were privately operated, even though many doctors’ clinics in Ontario are owned by private doctors.
- A CBC story about the Canadian Institutes of Health Research “racking up large travel and hospitality bills” (after switching from ineffective online discussions back to in-person meetings) was criticized by the CBC ombudsman even after corrections were made to it. The ombudsman said the story lacked context and could not substantiate the description of the expenses as “big” and “large”.
- The Canadian Screen Awards nominations were announced last week. CBC Montreal’s Debra Arbec and Simon Nakonechny were nominated for best local news anchor and local reporter, respectively. Other Montreal-tied nominations include two for the Kahnawake comedy Mohawk Girls (Tracey Deer for directing and Cynthia Knight for writing) and the Montreal Mafia series Bad Blood (best drama, Michael Konyves for writing and Kim Coates and Louis Ferreira for acting). There are probably many other local connections but it would take days to find them all because there are so many categories — 25 in film, eight in digital media and 102 in television, for a total of 135 categories. The awards will be handed out the week of March 25-31, with the biggest awards during the gala on March 31.
- The previously announced conversion of pay TV channel TMN Encore to Starz has a launch date: March 1. Both channels will rebrand on that date, and Starz will also be available over-the-top as a $7/month add-on to the Crave service.
- Super Bowl ratings are in, and once again the Canadian broadcast is a couple million below what it was before the CRTC made its ad substitution exception for the big game. Both Canadian and U.S. ratings are down slightly from last year:
- CTV: 2.768 million
- CTV2: 391,000
- TSN: 1.173 million
- RDS: 983,000
- Total Canadian: 5.3 million
- CBS: 98.2 million (100.7 million including some streaming and Spanish-language broadcasts)
- CTV used the Super Bowl audience to announce late winter season premiere dates for new series The Enemy Within (March 3), The Fix (March 18) and Jann (March 20) and returning series including The Voice. It also announced that The Launch will get an added episode looking back at the selected artists from the second season.
- Crave will be adding comedy specials from Canadians Mark Forward, D.J. Demers, and Robby Hoffman on Feb. 22, filmed at Toronto’s JFL42 festival.
- TSN has another Engraved on a Nation documentary, about the fight over a silly athlete-of-the-year award in 1997 between former Expos (then Rockies) first-baseman Larry Walker and F1 driving champion Jacques Villeneuve. It airs Monday.
- Pour Sarah, a Quebec TV series about a teenage girl involved in a serious car crash, is being adapted for France.
- Its plan to offload Historia and Séries+ to Bell having failed, Corus is now hiring a producer to take pitches for original content for those French-language specialty channels.
- That episode of District 31 that had an overnight audience of 1.7 million people in Quebec has a final audience count of 1.959 million, including PVR viewing over the following week.
- CBC has launched a contest to find new stand-up comedy talent, with the grand prize being an appearance at the Halifax comedy fest.
- Bell Media has added a 10th radio station to its Virgin Radio network: CHBE-FM 107.3 has rebranded from Kool FM to Virgin Radio Victoria. It now has Virgin Radio stations in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, London, Kitchener, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. The rebrand suggests Bell still has confidence in the Virgin Radio brand, despite rumours that it might drop it in favour of using iHeartRadio.
- Toronto’s 93.5 The Move has rebranded back to Flow 93.5 and once again bills itself as a purely hip hop radio station.
- TVO profiles community radio station CJAI 92.1 FM of Amherst Island, Ont., as an example of community stations in the province struggling to stay alive and build sustainable futures.
- The situation continues to deteriorate at Toronto’s Jazz.FM91 as two groups fight for power.
Embrace the front-page-level petty of The Times-Picayune of New Orleans. pic.twitter.com/BThCGY8uWx
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) February 4, 2019
- Voir is ending its monthly print publication. The former Montreal alt-weekly newspaper (which became a monthly glossy magazine) will remain an online publication (a plan we’ve heard before many times about a year before a publication stops publishing entirely). Voir was the last survivor of the alt weeklies after Ici, Hour and Mirror shut down. But Cult MTL, which rose from the Mirror’s ashes, is still publishing, in print and online.
- Wacky newspaper obituary of the week goes to Sybil Hicks in the Hamilton Spectator.
- YouTube is changing its recommendation algorithm so it’s less likely to recommend conspiracy theory videos, even though such recommendations were very successful in driving viewership.
News about people
— Simon Nakonechny (@simon_nak) February 6, 2019
- Barbara Williams, former executive vice-president at Corus Entertainment (and Shaw Media before that and Canwest before that) has been hired as the new executive VP of CBC. She replaces the departed Heather Conway.
- CBC has also hired Trish Williams as Executive Director, Scripted Content. Williams was formerly at production company Temple Street.
- Former CBC CEO Hubert Lacroix has been hired at law firm Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP as “Strategic Counsel”.
- Suzanne Desautels is the new host of the English Montreal School Board’s podcasts, replacing Barry Morgan, who has been hired by the local health network.
- Julia Wright is the new host of the CBC Radio One morning show in Saint John, N.B.
- Kate McKenna is now a full-time permanent journalist at CBC Montreal.
- The National Newspaper Awards is naming its short feature category after former Globe and Mail editor Bob Levin.
- Jeff Yates of Radio-Canada is on Canadaland this week talking about his job fighting fake news.
- Former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson is trying to fight off charges she plagiarized in a just-released book about the rise of Vice and BuzzFeed. She says it “fell short” in properly attributing some information and said she would fix those errors in the book.
- The Tower, a 60,000-word Andrew O’Hagan story in the London Review of Books about the Grenfell Tower fire. The story is a bit preachy, but makes the point with lots of research that the blame placed on the local council in the days and weeks after the deadly fire was in large part misplaced because council members were too busy doing relief work to ensure they had good PR showcasing that work.
- Producteur délégué, Historia/Séries+ (deadline: Feb. 14)
- Producer, Global News Toronto (deadline: Feb. 18)
- Producer/Director, Global Morning News in Halifax
- CJF-CBC Indigenous Journalism Fellowships (deadline: Feb. 22)
- Editor-in-Chief, Sun newspapers (deadline: Feb. 22)
- Corus Writer’s Apprentice Program (deadline: March 8)
- La Presse diversity bursary (deadline: April 4)