News about news
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) June 14, 2019
- The eight groups that have been asked to name experts to a panel to determine eligibility criteria for the federal government’s journalism bailout have selected their representatives:
- Canadian Association of Journalists: Esther Enkin, former CBC ombudsman
- News Media Canada: Bob Cox, chairperson of NMC and publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press
- Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec: Pierre Sormany, journalism professor, formerly of Le Soleil, Radio-Canada and magazines including Québec-science and Vélo Mag.
- Quebec Community Newspaper Association: Brenda O’Farrell, director of QCNA and editor-in-chief of Rabble.ca
- National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada: Thomas Saras, CEO
- Association de presse francophone: Pierre-Paul Noreau, publisher of Le Droit
- Unifor: Brad Honywill, retired journalist and union representative
- Fédération nationale des communications: Pascale St-Onge, president
- The New Brunswick Telegraph Journal has won the Michener Award for public service journalism, for an investigation into deficiencies in the province’s ambulance service.
- The Canadian Association of Journalists says it supports the recommendations of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls as they related to journalism.
- The Reuters Institute has released its Digital News Report for 2019. The report shows that very few people are paying for news online, and most of those that are pay only one or two publications. Highlights of findings from Canada show that only 9% said they paid for any form of digital news in the past year.
- Simon Houpt throws some cold water on a report that most Canadians fall for fake news.
- Quebec’s ombudsman has denounced the firing of an agronomist in the agriculture department after he blew the whistle about conflicts of interest related to a report on pesticide use. The report has resulted in the resignation of the deputy minister, but the minister (who said he approved the firing himself, then said he didn’t) is still in his job.
- John Kennedy’s Pop Goes the News website has some accusations of plagiarism against the website FYI Music News.
- The City of Montreal is changing its public notice rules so that it no longer has to publish them in newspapers. That will save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars, but also cost print media (like my employer the Montreal Gazette) lots of money. The FPJQ has condemned the decision because of its effect on newspapers (though, notably, not its effect on its intended purpose, because few people pay attention to those print public notices).
- J-Source explores the implications of CTV News’s move toward videojournalists at its local newsrooms.
- La Presse has started a morning newsletter called La Matinale.
- The Canadian Journalism Foundation has presented its annual awards, as well as its William Southam fellowships.
- The Canadian Press discovered recently that CSIS destroyed a secret file on Pierre Elliott Trudeau in 1989, concluding it did not meet the criteria for being kept. Historians are upset at this loss of a potentially historic document.
- Russian journalist Ivan Golunov has been released after a public outcry, including several competing newspapers running identical front pages in support of him. His arrest on drug-dealing charges was seen as trumped up to punish him for reporting that embarrassed the government.
- Police have arrested a man in the death of Northern Irish journalist Lyra McKee.
At the CRTC
Labrador francophone community radio station CJRM-FM, which was found to be off the air but still taking ad money, has told the #CRTC it no longer seeks licence renewal. The commission has revoked the licence. https://t.co/jtpX8t2hlu pic.twitter.com/GEoOWLfcPb
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) June 12, 2019
- Labrador’s CJRM-FM (Rafale FM), a francophone community station that got into trouble because it accepted paid ads despite the station not broadcasting, has thrown in the towel and shut down, prompting the CRTC to revoke its licence.
- The CRTC has a new commissioner: Alicia Barin has been appointed to succeed Yves Dupras as the commissioner for Quebec, as of Aug. 11, the day after Dupras’s term ends. Barin was VP of strategic planning at Astral Media before it was bought by Bell in 2013. Since then she has worked in corporate affairs, including for ÆCO Project Management Inc. Barin’s appointment will make the commission majority women (5/8, with the B.C./Yukon commissioner position vacant), but still 100% white. As for industry connections, here are highlights from the commissioners’ CVs:
- Ian Scott (chair): Competition Bureau, CRTC, Telesat Canada, Telus and Call-Net Enterprises
- Christianne Laizner (vice-chair telecom): law, Department of Justice, Foreign Affairs, Public Works and Government Services, Canadian International Development Agency
- Caroline J. Simard (vice-chair broadcasting): Department of Justice, International Telecommunication Union, Teleglobe, various small businesses and universities
- Christopher Macdonald (Atlantic/Nunavut): Premier of New Brunswick, Rogers
- Monique Lafontaine (Ontario): Independent broadcasters, McCarthy Tétrault, CRTC
- Joanne T. Levy (MB/SK): CBC, A-Channel Production Fund, APTN
- Yves Dupras (outgoing Quebec commissioner): Heenan Blaikie, CRTC, corporate consultant, Spiegel Sohmer
- Linda Vennard (Alberta/NWT): University of Calgary
- The federal government has issued a new direction to the commission to encourage more competition in the telecommunications industry, despite objections from the major wireless companies.
- The CRTC has reached a settlement with Northwestel over its compliance failures. The deal will see the northern telecom company spend $5 million upgrading its network.
- Quebec’s culture minister wants something to change at the CRTC to correct the regulatory imbalance between Canadian broadcasters and foreign streaming companies like Netflix, and to protect francophone culture. It’s not clear exactly what she wants changed, or whether she wants the government or the CRTC to change it, but she seems very passionate about it.
- The owner of the Corriere Canadese Italian newspaper, which was one of the seven losing applicants in the recent OMNI proceeding, is appealing the CRTC’s decision to the federal cabinet.
- The CRTC has approved a request from Corus to shut down 44 over-the-air retransmitters of its Global TV stations, some of which it had already converted to digital, and redirect funding promised for the digital transition to other initiatives. The commission said while it “has the discretion to refuse to revoke broadcasting licences, even on application from a licensee, it cannot generally direct a licensee to continue to operate its transmitters.” I wrote about the request here.
- The CRTC has approved the sale of CIRH-FM in Vancouver, which was formerly known as Roundhouse Radio, to South Fraser Broadcasting Inc., for $600,000. South Fraser will have to maintain Roundhouse’s licence obligations and have to pay tangible benefits.
- Rogers’s seemingly simple request to convert the KISS 104.9 retransmitter in Vancouver into its own radio station (separate from the station in Chilliwack) is getting more resistance. Competitors Bell, Corus and Stingray wrote a joint intervention opposing the application, arguing Rogers is trying to back-door its way into the market. They argue Vancouver cannot handle another commercial radio station, something Rogers also argues. But Rogers says this would not be a new station, while the others disagree. Meanwhile, IT Productions, which owns CJRJ (Spice Radio 1200) in Vancouver, tells the commissions that if there’s a call for applications for new radio stations, it would apply for a new station at 106.9 FM, currently used by an unprotected low-power station in Surrey.
- Rogers is also trying to change things at its Toronto KISS station KISS 92.5, proposing again to increase its power and change its signal to boost reception and counter interference from WBEE-FM in Rochester, N.Y., which got worse when WBEE activated an HD Radio signal. The power increase, from 13kW to 21kW maximum ERP, is similar to a proposal that was approved in 2002 but abandoned because the change made things worse in practice.
- The commission has published a roadmap for a plan to implement call traceback procedures.
- Fronts in the Bell-Quebecor wars:
- The federal court of appeal has agreed to hear Quebecor’s challenge of the CRTC decision requiring TVA Sports to remain available to Bell TV customers. The court will look at whether the commission went beyond its jurisdiction, and whether the order conflicts with the Copyright Act by allowing Bell to redistribute TVA Sports without its consent.
- Videotron defended itself from Bell’s complaint related to the packaging of Crave and Super Écran. In its reply to the CRTC, Videotron argues that Bell is seeking a huge increase in Super Écran’s wholesale fee, which forced it to remove the service from the “Premium” category and make it available only à la carte to avoid having to increase prices for customers. Videotron and Bell Media are still negotiating the wholesale fee for Super Écran, but if a deal is imposed it would be retroactive.
- Bell has threatened to shut off roaming access to Videotron’s wireless users on June 23 after claiming a significant number of them are permanently roaming on its network. Videotron disputes this and has asked the CRTC to intervene. The commission has begun an expedited process, and asked Bell to maintain service, but has not ordered it to do so.
- Radio-Canada ombudsman: Host Michel C. Auger did not break journalistic practice during an interview by inserting his personal opinion and putting words in the mouth of his guest during an interview about the CAQ government’s education reforms.
- National Newsmedia Council:
- A Toronto Sun column crossed the line by describing a nurse at a Toronto City Council meeting as a “poverty pimp.” The 869-word decision does not name the columnist, but you won’t be surprised to hear it’s Sue-Ann Levy.
- A Canadian Press story previewing the Ontario budget did not breach journalistic standards with its use of anonymous sources.
- A National Post story about a custody battle did not breach journalist standards, even though one of the parties in that battle felt it included “irrelevant” information and was biased against him.
- Quebec Press Council:
- Lise Ravary and Montreal’s 98.5FM were severely blamed for Ravary’s comments about a column by Fabrice Vil in Le Devoir. Vil, who wrote a column about the disappearance of Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou, argued Ravary twisted his words, said he expressed opinions he didn’t, and did so for sensationalistic purposes. The council agreed, saying Ravary selectively quoted Vil. It also blamed 98.5FM for refusing to correct the record.
- The newspaper Le Journal des citoyens broke ethics rules when its editor-in-chief agreed to sit on an ad hoc committee set up by the Prévost city council. It also found an advertisement was not sufficiently labelled as such, appearing more like a column.
- CHOI Radio X’s Denis Gravel broke a rule about presumption of innocence by calling for Audrey Gagnon, a woman charged with killing her child, to be executed. The council was split on whether comments by Gravel that she and Quebec City mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette about how they should die by the electric chair went too far.
- A Journal de Québec story about murders in Sept-Îles did not have a sensationalist headline, but did go too far (according to the majority) by describing the building in which they took place as being inhabited by Indigenous people paying low rents.
- A Denise Bombardier column in the Journal de Montréal did not (according to the majority) break ethics rules by being unfair to Québec solidaire candidate Ève Torres. Bombardier called Torres an “islamist activist”, but the council said it was not in a position to define what “islamist” means.
- Journal de Montréal columnist Mathieu Bock-Côté was not engaging in discrimination by saying francophones need to “reconquer” Montreal.
- A Christian Latreille report for Radio-Canada’s website on the U.S. response to Syria did not break ethics rules, was not incorrect or complete or filled with “war propaganda.”
- A complaint against La vie agricole, that it published an unlabelled advertisement and editors were not independent, was dismissed. The council found that the publication acted correctly by properly identifying that it was co-publisher of a book by Roméo Bouchard when it published excerpts of that book.
- A story by radiogaspesie.ca about air travel subsidies did not break ethics rules in quoting the mayor of Gaspé. An environmental group’s views were properly reflected in the story, and the journalist is not responsible for the mayor misunderstanding the position of the group.
At the CBC
- The CBC has helped produce an official song for the Canadian Paralympic Team for the 2020 Paralympics. The song, sung by Eva Avila, was written about 15 years ago by Paul DeRosa, and adapted to a wider audience. CBC is making the song part of its Music Class Challenge, and encouraging schools to do covers in both languages.
- CBC held its annual public meeting in Halifax. The archived stream is here. It lasted an hour, had some audience questions, and we learned very little.
- The public broadcaster has a new diversity commitment: “By 2025, CBC/Radio-Canada aims to ensure that at least one of the key creatives in all scripted and factual commissioned programs will be held by a person from a diverse background. Key creatives include producer, director, writer, showrunner and lead performer.” The “diverse background” includes “members of visible minorities, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ2+ community.” And where there isn’t enough people from those backgrounds to fill those roles, the broadcaster expects that they be trained. It’s a good idea, though I’m not sure about lumping all those diversities into one bucket is going to be that useful.
- CBC also has announced a three-year memorandum of understanding with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The two will work together on co-productions and even exchange employees.
- CBC is streaming matches of the Canadian Elite Basketball League.
- The Toronto Raptors’ NBA championship run has obliterated the TV viewing record for NBA games in Canada, setting new records seven times through the playoffs, from 2.2 million viewers for Game 7 against Philadelphia to 7.7 million for the championship-clinching game against Golden State. Among the highlights:
- The Raptors’ win was the highest-rated television broadcast of 2019, beating out the Super Bowl (though those numbers were hobbled because U.S. network viewing didn’t count), the Academy Awards, and the series finale of The Big Bang Theory.
- Game 5 of the Finals was the most watched program in the history of Rogers Media at 6.4 million (CTV/TSN broadcast Game 6).
- The finals also set viewership records at RDS, which had the French-language rights to the entire series.
- Not only that, but if you exclude the Olympics, it’s the third most-watched broadcast of the past decade, beaten only by Super Bowl XLIX (the last one before the CRTC banned Super Bowl simsubs) and the 2011 Stanley Cup Final Game 7, when the Vancouver Canucks failed to win the cup. The all-time leader remains Sidney Crosby’s golden goal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics men’s hockey final, at 16.67 million.
- Both Bell Media and Rogers offered viewers their own feed on TSN and Sportsnet, respectively, as well as the ABC feed of the Finals on their broadcast networks CTV/CTV2 and Citytv, mainly to protect simultaneous substitution rights. But the ratings showed Canadians preferred the Canadian broadcast by a factor of more than 2:1.
- The dying minutes of Game 6 had an audience just under 10 million in Canada.
- The championship parade had an average of 1.8 million when you add up the big three English broadcasters (only RDI broadcast it in French, and they didn’t stay long), a number that probably would have been higher if it hadn’t taken hours longer than predicted.
- Meanwhile, Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, which saw the St. Louis Blues finally get revenge for Bobby Orr’s Superman dive, attracted 2.5 million viewers in English and 847,000 on TVA Sports, or 3.4 million total. In the U.S., it was the most-watched NHL game since 1994, with 8.7 million viewers on TV and 191,500 average viewers online.
- Nominations have been announced for the Prix Gémeaux, Quebec’s television awards. The gala is Sept. 15. Daily cop drama District 31 leads with 15 nominations, followed by lower-class comedy M’entends-tu? with 14, VRAK youth drama Clash (13), and prison drama Unité 9 (12).
- Bell Media has postponed the iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards because of scheduling conflicts with artists.
- Hulu has picked up the exclusive U.S. rights to the Crave TV series Letterkenny.
- Six new soundstages are in the works in Hamilton.
- Five women are suing New York’s NY1 television station alleging they were discriminated against because of their age, as the station tried to toss them aside as anchors and replace them with younger women.
- Blue Ant Media has announced its Canadian productions for 2019-20, for channels including Cottage Life, T+E and Makeful.
- Bell Media’s francophone specialty channels lay out their fall 2019 programming highlights.
- New TV series in the works:
- Eaux Turbulentes (4×60 minutes), police drama miniseries for Radio-Canada
- Sérieux? (8×30 minutes), environment magazine for ICI Explora
- Faits Divers Season 3 (6×60 minutes), police drama for ICI Tou.tv Extra
- Pézie et Sansdrick dans l’décor! (13×30 minutes), home decor magazine for Canal Vie
- Un safari près de chez nous (10×30 minutes), Parc Safari documentary series for Canal Vie
- Roast Battle: Le grand duel Season 2 (9×30 minutes), standup comedy competition, for Z
#CRTC approves joint applications for technical changes for Toronto’s 106.5 ELMNT FM and Indie 88, which would allow Indie 88 to triple its power output without affecting ELMNT’s coverage. https://t.co/6zNmlfBRWZ pic.twitter.com/xMRk6wf7UP
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) June 14, 2019
- Toronto’s Indie 88 has gotten CRTC approval to increase its power, after a previous attempt was rejected because of possible negative repercussions for Indigenous station ELMNT FM. Indie will go from 4,000 to 12,000 watts maximum ERP, while ELMNT’s antenna will be slightly lower and power slightly higher, resulting in a nearly identical pattern.
- The Toronto Star checks in with Toronto’s Jazz.FM91, which is recovering from a power struggle that nearly tore the station apart.
- Meanwhile the Globe and Mail reports on Toronto’s G98.7FM, which is entering its own crisis as it enters insolvency proceedings and allegations surface that its founder Fitzroy Gordon mismanaged the funding of the modestly-powered station targeted at the black and Caribbean community.
- Montreal’s Énergie 94.3 is revamping its drive-home show, Ça rentre au poste. José Gaudet and Marie-Christine Proulx are out, and Richard Turcotte is shuffled to the weekend, making room for Maxim Martin, Marie-Claude Savard and Sébastien Trudel. Trudel, a former Justicier Masqué, comes back from weekends, while Martin and Savard hosted earlier in the afternoon on Énergie.
- The Canadian sci-fi TV series Orphan Black is getting an audio-only sequel series, voiced by star Tatiana Maslany.
- CBC News has a story about an Inuktitut-language show on CKCU radio at Carleton University in Ottawa.
- Broadcast Dialogue has highlights from the National Campus and Community Radio Association conference, along with its award winners.
- The Association des radiodiffuseurs communautaires du Québec has created a new award for community radio journalism. Deadline to apply is July 26. The winner gets $500.
- Vista Radio has rebranded two stations in Lethbridge, Alta., it acquired from Clear Sky: CKBD-FM becomes 98.1 2Day FM, and CJOC-FM becomes 94.1 Juice FM.
The newsroom is being gutted and moved a few blocks north. Lots of memories here from the time I combed them into letting me intern eight years ago to the time I refused to leave. pic.twitter.com/Q0pTp2foo2
— Christopher Curtis (@titocurtis) June 14, 2019
- The Montreal Gazette is moving out of its offices at 1010 Ste-Catherine St. (the Dorchester Square Building), where it has been since 2003, shortly after its printing presses were moved out of the building at 250 St-Antoine St. W. to N.D.G. (printing has since been outsourced and the plant closed). The new office is close by in an office building that’s not nearly as prestigious. Its staff (including yours truly) is working from home until the new building is ready.
- Sports journalism site The Athletic is planning an expansion into the U.K.
- Cult MTL has brought Al South’s Rant Line to its website. The Rant Line, which still uses the same phone number as it did when it was a popular feature in The Mirror, turns 25 this year.
- Mediagrif’s investments in Quebec websites isn’t going well. It just sold LesPAC to Trader Corporation for $19 million, about a quarter of what it paid for the classifieds site in 2011. It’s also putting Jobboom and Réseau Contact up for sale.
- La Presse says it has now reached $2.5 million in donations since January, half their annual goal.
- Elections Canada will be paying 13 “influencers” to encourage youth to vote in the next federal election. They have been screened to ensure they are non-partisan and they have committed to remaining so for at least another year. Their names have not yet been released. (UPDATE: They’ve cancelled the program.)
- Postmedia is launching an online ad registry, to comply with new federal rules regarding transparency in online advertising. The registry will launch by June 30.
- Reddit has banned its r/nbastreams subreddit for violating its copyright policy. As the name implies, it was a place to share links to bootlegged streams of NBA games.
- Unions at Vox Media and BuzzFeed in the United States walked off the job as a pressure tactic in contract negotiations. The Vox union got a deal on a first collective agreement.
- Meanwhile, negotiations at BuzzFeed Canada for their first union contract are continuing, and the union here seems more optimistic.
- Rogers (followed quickly by Bell and later by Telus) announced plans whereby for $75 a month, wireless subscribers get 10 GB data per month and then unlimited data at reduced speeds (256kb/s or 512kb/s). The plans are short-term offers, at least for now.
- Changes to Canada’s trademark law have coincided with a rush of new applications, just as fees are about to go up. Many of those applications are sketchy at best, and this Globe and Mail story suggests they may be intentional, to block legitimate businesses from registering their trademarks while the bureaucracy runs its slow course.
News about people
- It’s intern season at the Montreal Gazette. This year’s interns are:
- The Canada Media Fund has shuffled its executive team. The new face is Mathieu Chantelois, as the new VP of communications and promotions. He was previously at Cineplex Media.
- Joe Aiello is the new program director at Corus’s music radio stations in Winnipeg, a job he’s held on an interim basis for a few months.
- Shelley Ambrose is leaving her post as executive director of The Walrus in June 2020. She has been there since 2006.
- Dominique Chaloult, general manager of television at Radio-Canada, is leaving her post this fall. She wants to spend more time with her family and working a less hectic schedule as a consultant.
- Katrina Clarke is joining the Hamilton Spectator as a reporter, leaving the Daily Gleaner in Fredericton.
- Richard Cloutier has been named senior content director at TC Media’s Finance et Investissement magazine, a role he’s held on an interim basis since March. (via FPJQ newsletter)
- Lise Croteau has joined the Quebecor Inc. board of directors, replacing Andrea C. Martin.
- Eric Mark Do is moving from social media to syndication at Global News.
- Marc-André Gagnon (Journal de Québec) has taken over as president of Quebec’s press gallery, replacing Véronique Prince of TVA.
- Michel Garneau, aka Garnotte, is retiring as Le Devoir’s editorial cartoonist. Le Devoir has a dossier on the subject, including praise from other cartoonists and politicians, and an editorial by Brian Myles.
- Quebec Community Newspaper Association Executive Director Sylvie Goneau is taking a leave of absence to run in the federal election for the Conservative Party in the Gatineau riding, which will undoubtedly prompt questions about her stance on direct aid to media (the QCNA is among the eight groups that have appointed representatives to a panel to establish criteria).
- Radio-Canada morning man Alain Gravel is on leave after a bicycle accident,
which will likely make him miss his final show in that chair. UPDATE: Gravel says he’ll be able to host the final hour of his show on Friday.
- Former Toronto Star columnist Richard Gwyn is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Isabelle Hachey, La Presse’s newest columnist, begins with a story about a cab driver who got so frustrated with how the provincial government responded to competition from Uber that he tried to take his own life on live TV.
- Marilyse Hamelin is the new columnist for L’Actualité.
- Angelina Jolie is joining Time magazine as a contributing editor.
- Sports writer Allan Maki is retiring from the Globe and Mail.
- Energy reporter Shawn McCarthy is taking a buyout from the Globe and Mail and going into “semi-retirement.”
- Music producer Stephan Moccio has had to apologize for comments seen as degrading to women during a convocation speech at Western University.
- Former Montreal Gazette justice reporter Sue Montgomery, now a borough mayor, was distraught to learn that a man who has been harassing her for years (starting when she was a journalist) has been acquitted of criminal harassment, because a judge found she did not look afraid enough in a video he shot of her. The news is concerning to other journalists, who could end up similarly harassed. Mayor Valérie Plante came out in support of Montgomery, as have many others in a letter to La Presse.
- Jean Pagé, TV host best known as the host of 110% on TQS, is in the advanced stages of cancer.
- Videotron has promoted Marie-Hélène Pelletier to Vice-President, Human Resources and Chief of Business Model Evolution. She was previously VP of procurement.
- La Presse does 20 questions (well, 18) with Catherine Perrin, who left her show at ICI Radio-Canada Première.
- Lise Ravary is leaving her column at the Journal de Montréal to accept a columnist job at 98.5 FM, presumably because of Quebecor’s ban on working for competitors.
- Colleen Rusholme is joining Tim Morgan as host of the morning show on Boom FM in Ottawa. She was previously at Fresh/Energy 95.3 in Hamilton.
- Retail reporter Marina Strauss is retiring from the Globe and Mail.
- Patrick White, formerly of HuffPost Québec and Quebecor, is now a journalism professor at UQAM.