News about news
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) June 27, 2019
- There will not be criminal charges filed against Journal de Montréal journalist Michaël Nguyen, whose laptop was seized in 2016 after he broke a story about a judge losing her shit in a parking garage. He was accused of illegally accessing confidential documents when he accessed surveillance video of the incident through a Google search.
- The Hudson’s Bay Company, a publicly traded company, barred journalists from its recent annual shareholders’ meeting, an unusual move that did not sit well with journalists and potentially some minority shareholders.
- A bilingual community newspaper, called Community Digest/Nouvelles Communautaires, has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in government money through subsidies and advertising, but its editions are filled with articles blatantly plagiarized from other news organizations. A TFO investigation found that even some of the ads that appear in the paper were put in there without authorization, and circulation figures appear sketchy as well.
At the CRTC
- The commission is launching a three-phase review of its Indigenous broadcasting policy. The consultation will involve “engagement sessions” across the country, and a comment period on preliminary conclusions. The extra outreach is meant to allow Indigenous Canadians to set the agenda for the review, instead of the (all-white) commissioners.
- ICTV, one of the applicants that lost out to OMNI in the recent CRTC decision on a mandatory ethnic television service, has filed a request to appeal the decision in court, and is asking the government to fire the CRTC chair and vice-chair, arguing that unspecified ex parte communications with Bell (another losing applicant) and Rogers (the winning applicant) create a reasonable apprehension of bias. This follows news that another losing applicant, Corriere Canadese, has also asked the government to step in and reverse the decision. The communications are vague as to their subject, and there’s no proof the ethnic channels applications were ever discussed in an ex parte manner, but ICTV argues that it doesn’t matter because former CRTC commissioner Raj Shoan was fired by the federal government for similar ex parte communications, again without any proof that a matter before the commission was discussed.
- The commission has denied an application by Videotron to be exempt from a working group preparing an improved national TV ratings system that includes data from set-top boxes. The CRTC notes that Videotron’s proposal to charge independent broadcasters to provide data directly was rejected at the hearing that mandated this working group, and Videotron has brought no new arguments to the table. Because Videotron’s participation is critical to the establishment of this system, its implementation deadline has been extended from Sept. 30 to Jan. 15, and the CRTC says it won’t extend that deadline any further.
- A licence for a Sportsnet direct-to-home (satellite TV) pay-per-view service, first awarded in 1995, won’t be renewed past August after Rogers was non-committal to the commission about whether it had any hope of actually launching.
- The commission found Telus failed to comply with its licence obligations related to community channels it operates at its cable TV systems in Quebec. Among the issues was Telus using one community channel for multiple areas, arguing that it was okay because they had individual community channels available on demand. Telus’s licences were renewed for five years.
- Yet another front opens in the Quebecor-vs-Bell regulatory wars. Quebecor filed an undue preference complaint over Bell’s decision to offer Super Écran in the basic package of its Alt TV service. Quebecor accuses Bell of engaging in anti-competitive practices by packaging a premium service with its basic $20/month plan, far undercutting competitors. Bell has an open complaint about Videotron’s packaging of Super Écran.
- The commission has released its financial summaries for the broadcasting industry in 2018. Just about every source of revenue in commercial broadcasting was lower than last year, which was lower than the year before. Of note, the number of subscribers to satellite TV has dropped below 2 million.
- Five radio stations face sanctions of some sort over repeated non-compliance with licence conditions. A hearing has been called but so far they’re not expected to attend:
- CKVM-FM 93.1 Ville-Marie, Que.
- CFPV-FM 98.9 Pemberton, B.C.
- CKPM-FM 98.7 The Point in Port Moody, B.C.
- CIMM-FM 99.5 in Ucluelet, B.C.
- CHMZ-FM 90.1 in Tofino, B.C.
- The last two radio stations on that list are also seeking approval for a $108,755 sale from Matthew McBride to Cameron Randall Dennison. Dennison has been essentially running the stations since 2014, he says in the application, and involved in them since 2001. (That fact caused some confusion, as the two disagreed on the exact organizational structure and who was in de facto control.)
- CJNE-FM in Nipawin, Sask., has applied to launch a low-power sister station in the same town, airing country music at 89.5 MHz. The application makes it clear that the desire to expand is because of a 15% drop in ad sales since a high in 2015, and because of worries of increased competition from stations owned by large companies in neighbouring towns. It mentions the station’s coverage of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash last year as a reason to have local (and locally-owned) radio stations. The 50-watt station, which proposes the call letters CITJ-FM, would use leftover transmitting equipment from a recent CJNE upgrade.
- Super Channel’s licence renewal has been pulled off the agenda for a July 11 hearing, to be rescheduled for a later date.
- Bell has proposed adding Mandarin-language channels Great Wall Elite and Zhejiang International Channel to the list of foreign TV channels authorized for distribution in Canad.
- Licence renewals:
- Community station CIBL-FM 101.5 Montreal, to 2022. The station was found in non-compliance, but those were mainly related to their recent financial crisis and not expected to recur.
- Ethnic station CHIN-FM 100.7 in Toronto, to 2026. The new licence reduces the number of languages to be served each week, from 20 to 17, but maintains the number of ethnic groups to serve at 23.
- Ethnic station CKYE-FM (Red 93.1) in Vancouver, to 2026. The new licence reduces the number of languages and cultural groups served each week, from 15 to 12.
- Community station CFAI-FM Edmundston, N.B., to 2023. The short-term renewal is because of compliance issues related to annual returns.
- CBC and Radio-Canada’s ombudsmen have submitted their annual reports. Radio-Canada’s notes a 50% increase in complaints, which is in part due to it being an election year in Quebec, but the number of reviewed and justified complaints is not out of the norm. Management’s response is here. CBC’s report has numbers about average, though the report notes trends toward complaints about potential bias in the framing and selection of stories, rather than the reporting of the stories themselves. Other trends: allowing people the complainer doesn’t like to give commentary on the air, and many complaints about news stories being closed to comments, which the ombudsman said was outside his mandate. CBC management’s response to the report explains they’re taking those issues seriously and also says “Increasingly, people look no further than news that affirms their point of view, rather than to use media to challenge or explain.”
- A segment on CBC’s The National in which David Common rents an electric car to drive to Detroit did not violate journalistic standards, the ombudsman ruled. The segment, which focused a lot on range anxiety and Common’s worries of recharging, was lighthearted and not intended to be a serious, in-depth analysis of the technology.
- Bell Media and OUTtv are partnering to create a Canadian adaptation of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The Canadian show, produced by Blue Ant Studios, as well as the U.S. original and U.K. versions, will air on OUTtv and stream on Crave.
- The National Hockey League schedule for next season has been released, and Sportsnet has come out with its national broadcast schedule:
- 32 Montreal Canadiens games (22 Saturday, 3 Sunday, 6 Wednesday, 1 Thursday)
- 27 Ottawa Senators games (19 Saturday, 1 Sunday, 7 Wednesday)
- 38 Toronto Maple Leafs games (24 Saturday, 3 Sunday, 9 Wednesday, 1 Monday, 1 Thursday)
- 22 Winnipeg Jets games (12 Saturday, 7 Sunday, 3 Wednesday)
- 22 Calgary Flames games (15 Saturday, 6 Sunday, 1 Wednesday)
- 22 Edmonton Oilers games (11 Saturday, 4 Sunday, 7 Wednesday)
- 24 Vancouver Canucks games (16 Saturday, 4 Sunday, 4 Wednesday)
- The WNBA is getting more exposure in Canada, as TSN, Sportsnet and NBA TV will be broadcasting 53 live games this season. The schedule, which begins June 28, has 31 games on NBA TV, 11 on TSN and 8 on Sportsnet One. The other three games aren’t listed yet. The Globe and Mail has some details.
- The Globe and Mail’s John Doyle writes about TSN’s all-female coverage of the Women’s World Cup of soccer. Women analyzing sports is still rare enough to warrant newspaper articles.
- The Globe’s Simon Houpt writes about The National, two years after Peter Mansbridge retired as anchor. The ratings are down 24% since then, and the CBC wants to retool, but will stick with the four-anchor concept.
- CBC/Radio-Canada will be doing their usual coverage of Canada Day’s bilingual celebrations in Ottawa and around the country.
- The Ontario town of Goodwood is profiting off the popularity of the TV series Schitt’s Creek, which is filmed there. It recently hosted a convention of fans of the show.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 21, 2019
- Bob McCown has left Sportsnet’s The Fan 590 in Toronto. He says he’s not retiring, but it’s unclear where he’ll be going to. The news comes amid an unspecified number of layoffs at Sportsnet.
- Anna Maria Tremonti’s goodbye at the end of her final broadcast of CBC Radio’s The Current is online, in video, audio and text form. It’s a nice speech about the importance of listening with an open mind.
- Homerun’s Sue Smith didn’t get that luxury. The website doesn’t have her final show archived, sadly. But some people captured the moments on social media.
- Ottawa’s 1310 News has cancelled the Rick Gibbons Show.
- Stingray is combining morning radio shows on its stations in the B.C. interior.
- Nahlah Ayed will be the new host of CBC Radio’s Ideas this fall. She replaces Paul Kennedy, who is stepping down.
- CBC explains how it’s preserving its Indigenous-language radio archives, part of a larger project on Indigenous languages.
- Sarah Rennie, who is spearheading the attempted revival of the community newspaper The Gleaner, spoke to CTV News about the project. Its crowdfunding campaign has raised $4.000 of its $20,000 goal.
- Le Devoir ended 2018 in the black, with ad revenue actually going up slightly. Its publisher says the print edition will stay, even though there are now more digital-only subscribers on weekdays than print edition subscribers.
- Le Devoir has also simplified its corporate structure, putting its assets in one new trust. The new trust has new trustees — retired appeals court judge Pierrette Rayle, Groupe Optimum administrator Anne Joli-Coeur, and law professor Pierre Noreau. Trustees, who defer all administrative decisions to the publisher, will have terms of 10 years, with terms ending in different years to ensure stability.
- The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, has a special issue on the first anniversary of the shooting at its newsroom.
- CBC News has a story (in French too!) about how conservative news site The Post Millennial is conservative. TPM responds accusing the CBC of jealousy.
- Vice is shutting down its French-language operations in Quebec.
- BuzzFeed reports on the TikTok platform, and how its rather young user base and inconsistent way of enforcing safety has led to vigilante-style self-policing among users trying to out sexual predators.
News about companies
- Bell has signed a partnership with esports company OverActive Media, acquiring an unspecified minority stake in it.
News about people
— Janet McFarland (@JMcFarlandGlobe) June 27, 2019
- The Globe and Mail has had to resort to only a “handful” of layoffs to achieve its staff reductions after many employees took advantage of a buyout offer. Among those taking buyouts that have been announced:
- Newsletter editor Shelby Blackley
- Ottawa reporter Gloria Galloway
- Baseball reporter Robert MacLeod
- Sports writer Allan Maki
- Energy reporter Shawn McCarthy
- Business columnist Barrie McKenna
- Montreal journalist Ingrid Peritz
- Sports columnist David Shoalts
- Retail reporter Marina Strauss
- Columnist Margaret Wente
- Time for the Order of Canada announcements. New appointments or promotions include actors Martin Short, Donald Sutherland, Rémy Girard and Michel Dumont, CTV News anchor Lisa LaFlamme, dragon Jim Treliving, former official languages watchdog Graham Fraser, musician Buffy Sainte-Marie, filmmakers Alanis Obomsawin and Fernand Dansereau, comedian Andy Jones, former Expos player Claude Raymond, brewer John Sleeman and chef Michael Smith.
- George Cope is retiring as CEO of Bell parent company BCE Inc. at the end of the year. He will be replaced by Mirko Bibic, Chief Operating Officer, who rose through the ranks and whose previous jobs include being the head of regulatory affairs.
- Claude Joli-Coeur’s mandate as commissioner of the National Film Board has been renewed for three years, a decision that has angered some filmmakers who have issues with the NFB’s budget.
- Andrea Dion is leaving Global Halifax’s morning show for “another opportunity.”
- Frank Seravalli of TSN has been elected president of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
- Glenn O’Farrell is stepping down as president and CEO of TFO.
- Dan Spector got a chance to sit behind the Global News anchor desk.
- Shawn Churchill is leaving CTV Winnipeg.
- Alain Gravel gave an interview to La Presse’s Marc Cassivi about his departure from the job of Radio-Canada morning man in Montreal, a decision that he didn’t agree with but has come to accept.
- Radio-Canada culture journalist Francine Grimaldi has retired.
- Radio-Canada political journalist Daniel Lessard is also hanging up the mic.
- The Gazette’s Herb Zurkowsky is about to literally become a grandpa.
- The Globe and Mail’s Josh O’Kane is moving to Berlin for two months to work on a fellowship from the International Center for Journalists, writing stories for the Globe and Germany’s Handelsblatt.
- CBC reporter Adam Carter is moving from Hamilton to Toronto.
- Jean-Philippe Pineault is leaving his job as news director for La Presse Canadienne, for a job with another unspecified employer. His last day is July 19.
- J. Serge Sasseville, VP of corporate affairs for Quebecor and a loyal member of the Quebecor management circle for decades, is retiring. Jocelyn Poirier has been hired to take over a similar role.
- Thomas Rosica has resigned as CEO of the Salt + Light religious TV network after being exposed as a serial plagiarist.
- This PBS NewsHour story debunks the “millennials-are-growing-horns” stories by taking a critical look at a study into bone spurs at the base of the skull and the very sketchy conclusions that were made based off the data.