News about news
- By now you’ve probably heard the Michael De Adder story, about the cartoonist who was dropped from the Brunswick News papers after he posted an anti-Trump cartoon on Twitter. The company denies that he was fired for a Trump cartoon that they say he never offered to them. Brunswick instead says the decision was made long before that cartoon was published, and they decided to replace De Adder with another cartoonist. That cartoonist, Greg Perry, has decided not to take the gig after being bombarded with angry comments online. The stories of the two sides don’t contradict on the basic facts, so I’m inclined to believe them. De Adder says Brunswick tended to avoid cartoons critical of Trump, of the Irving empire and of the premier of New Brunswick, Blaine Higgs, a former Irving Oil executive.
- Vice News reporter Ben Makuch has lost his final attempt to prevent disclosure of information to the RCMP related to an Islamic State fighter he interviewed. Makuch, who lost his case to the Supreme Court over rights as a journalist, tried to argue that the suspect is dead and the warrant is moot, but the court found there was insufficient proof of that death. Makuch says this is likely the end and he will have to turn over his chat logs.
- Meanwhile in Australia, federal police got airline Qantas to hand over travel history of an Australian Broadcasting Corp. journalist who published information illegally leaked by a government official.
- Statistics are not encouraging for the news industry, with an estimate showing the worst year of layoffs since 2009, and newsroom employment dropping 25% in the past 10 years.
- Le Devoir explains why it chose not to publish images of the crucifix being removed from the Blue Room of the National Assembly: Journalists were not invited to witness the event, and so the legislature filmed and shot the event itself, providing those images to the media. Le Devoir argues this sets a bad precedent of the government choosing what images of the legislature it allows the media to see. The Canadian Press refused to distribute the handout photos for the same reason.
- University of Ottawa student newspaper The Fulcrum had its website hacked and thousands of articles deleted by someone who doesn’t like them. Thanks to backups (keep backups, people!) the site has been restored.
- The latest Cahiers du journalisme is out, from the universities of Ottawa and Laval. It’s mostly think pieces, but this piece provides a good summary of the state of regional newspapers in Quebec, looking at the Quebecor-Transcontinental war, Gesca’s sale of its other dailies, and Transcontinental’s sales of community papers and Métro.
- While everyone’s focused on the news bailout (which by the way explicitly excludes freelancers), Canadaland points out that many large newspaper organizations already get millions of dollars through what are essentially bulk subscriptions.
- Kathy English writes about the Toronto Star’s Mirrored in Media project to get women and people of colour more represented in news stories as sources.
- The Columbia Journalism Review is being criticized for describing beat reporters covering specific other news organizations as “public editors.” The four in question, covering the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC, work for CJR and have no affiliation or special access to the news organizations they’re covering. They are in no way ombudspeople for those organizations.
- A Yahoo News investigation shows that the Seth Rich conspiracy theory — that the Democratic campaign staffer was murdered by Hillary Clinton’s henchmen for leaking emails — was propagated by Russian intelligence.
- The Jeffrey Epstein case in the U.S. has prompted a lot of praise for Julie K. Brown, the Miami Herald journalist whose reporting on him led to the charges he currently faces. Her articles can be found here.
- Heather Mills, ex-wife of Paul McCartney, and her sister have received a “substantial” settlement from News Corp. as a result of the British phone hacking scandal.
- The Canadian and U.K. governments are giving $4 million to a new global media defence fund.
At the CRTC
My statement on the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review “What We Heard Report”.
If you benefit, you contribute. No more free rides. pic.twitter.com/IeqOqcN0BR
— Pablo Rodriguez (@pablorodriguez) July 3, 2019
- The latest statement from heritage minister Pablo Rodriguez suggests “web giants” like Netflix and YouTube will be made subject to Canadian content quotas and forced to “contribute to the creation of Canadian content,” presumably financially.
- The federal government has finally gotten around to appointing a non-white person to the CRTC. Claire Anderson, a lawyer from Yukon, is the new B.C./Yukon commissioner, filling a vacant post. She’s the first person from the Yukon to be appointed to the commission, and first Indigenous woman. With the previous announcement that Alicia Barin will take over from Yves Dupras as commissioner for Quebec next month, seven of the nine commissioners will be women. The government can appoint up to 13 commissioners, though all the regional posts and chair and vice-chairs are now filled.
- The CRTC is changing its policy on public alert tests, and adding a second annual test of the wireless public alerting system in November that will be visible to end users. Among other things, the new twice-yearly test will be synchronized with the broadcast (TV and radio) tests, which were previously four times a year, to avoid confusion when users see the test on one platform but not another.
- TLN/ATN and Ethnic Channels Group, two losing applicants in the race to replace OMNI, have joined ICTV and CorrCan Media Group in asking the federal government to overturn the decision to award OMNI a renewal. Besides the points raised already by the other two groups, TLN/ATN argues that it was improper for OMNI’s local over-the-air TV stations to be grouped with a pay TV service in one proceeding, and the commission did not have a properly updated ethnic broadcasting policy in place. Both TLN/ATN and ECG point to the lack of any analysis of their applications in the CRTC decision as being unfair. TLN/ATN also throws in the fact that ratings for OMNI’s newscasts are only a small fraction of what they once were. Bell and Amber Broadcasting are the only applicants for TV services to replace OMNI that haven’t asked the government to step in.
- Videotron says it intends to go to court to fight the CRTC decision requiring them to participate in a national working group on set-top box ratings data collection. “The Broadcasting Act contains no explicit provisions empowering the CRTC to force operators to share their facilities with third parties as a condition of licence, and certainly not for the purpose of giving third parties a commercial advantage,” the company says.
- CHCM 740 AM in Marystown, N.L., a VOCM network station with 20 hours a week of local programming, has been approved for conversion to FM. The new transmitter will be at 88.3 MHz, with a power of 59,300 watts.
- France English-language 4K TV channel REVEL TV has been added to the list of channels authorized for distribution in Canada. The channel’s programming is mainly travel, music, “extreme sports” and electronic gaming. It’s owned by France’s Clubbing TV.
- I’m not one to nitpick on typos in decisions, but this one, about a technical change to a radio transmitter, gets both the language of the station wrong (it says English, is actually French) and its source of programming (it says ICI Première, is actually ICI Musique). The French version gets the language right, but still says ICI Première. The commission may need a proofreader.
- The Broadcasting Arbitrator has assigned paid time to the various political parties. These are minimum obligations for how much time each broadcaster has to allow the parties to purchase, according to the rules set out in broadcasting and elections law. Each party gets a minimum of 12 minutes from each broadcaster, with more popular parties getting more.
- Newfoundland’s NTV (CJON-DT) has applied to get the same consideration for described video as the major networks are seeking, because its primetime programming comes from CTV and Global. Those networks are asking for some flexibility in the new rule that all primetime scripted shows must have described video, because some imported programming doesn’t come to them early enough to have DV done. NTV’s application estimates the cost of DV at about $850 an hour.
- United Christian Broadcasters is seeking amendments to its radio station licenses to solve a problem it has been experiencing: The CanCon quota is lower to specialty music (in their case, contemporary religious) than popular music, 10% vs 35%. But when a foreign (usually American) Christian music song becomes popular enough, it starts charting, and shifts categories. The result is that if the stations want to play that popular song, it has to play a popular Canadian song for every three or so American pop songs it plays. UCB argues there simply aren’t enough Canadian Christian pop songs to meet this requirement, and it doesn’t want to play non-Christian Canadian pop music. Its proposed exception would make Christian music remain in the specialty category (with lower CanCon) regardless of its popularity, and sets specific requirements to ensure this exception applies only to Christian music.
- An application by Radio Humsafar to move the transmitter for an unlaunched Brampton ethnic AM station to Mississauga has been denied again by the CRTC. Though it proved that the proposed transmission site was unavailable, the new site would have reduced coverage in Brampton and extended it well into Mississauga, and was deemed unacceptable because the station is licensed to serve Brampton. A similar application had previously been denied by the commission. The station has until October to launch, and the CRTC says no further extensions will be granted, which means the authorization will probably lapse.
- Licence renewals:
- CFTU-DT (Canal Savoir) Montreal, to 2025. Its licence compliance issues were directly related to an unexpected cut in provincial government funding. The province has since stepped up to fix that.
- CFMS-FM Markham (105.9 The Region), to 2025. It had one issue with a Canadian content development contribution being paid late.
- CKHZ-FM Halifax (Hot Country 103.5), to 2026. An issue related to proof of CCD contributions was resolved to the CRTC’s satisfaction.
- CKRH-FM Halifax (Radio Halifax Métro), to 2024. The French-language community station was unreachable by commission staff, which the station’s volunteers said was due to a phone hacking problem. This is the second licence term with compliance issues.
- CFAR-FM Flin Flon, Man. (102.9), to 2025. A single compliance issue because it broadcast a show that had specialty music but none of it was Canadian. (This is a similar problem to the UCB issue described above.)
- CFNO-FM Marathon, Ont., to 2025. The station had problems providing a list of songs broadcast.
- CKAJ-FM Jonquière, Que., to 2023. The station was late filing an annual return and this is the second licence term with such a non-compliance.
- CHYC-FM Sudbury (Le Loup 98.9), to 2023. The station failed to provide audio recordings, which it blamed on a hard drive crash, preventing the CRTC from being able to assess compliance.
- CHEQ-FM Sainte-Marie, Que. (O 101.5), to 2026. Competitor Radio Simard argued that the Arsenal Media station was soliciting advertising in neighbouring Saint-Georges, but did not provide evidence to back up that claim.
- The National Newsmedia Council has found that “corrective action was taken” by the National Post after a story headline incorrectly identified one of Bruce McArtur’s victims. The headline accidentally referred to “Bruce Kinsman” instead of “Andrew Kinsman”. The complainant abandoned a challenge to the more upsetting aspect at the heart of the story that said Kinsman was “fascinated by serial killers”, suggesting he may have had some fault in his death. (The original story, still online, does not have a correction notice, so apparently “corrective action” does not require one.)
- CBC’s ombudsman found that a World at Six story that described Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as having been “banned from travelling by (president Nicolas) Maduro” was inaccurate, even though the court that issued the travel ban was probably loyal to Maduro and did it at Maduro’s request. He did not, however, agree with a complainant that this was a “lie” or that the CBC was pushing propaganda.
- CBC’s ombudsman found that a Chris Brown report on a Russian documentary about Ukrainian influence in Canadian politics could correctly be described as a propaganda effort, though there were some minor issues with the story.
At the CBC
- CBC and the BBC have signed a non-specific agreement on collaboration.
- Chris Wilson has been appointed Executive Director, Sports and Olympics, taking the word “interim” off his title.
- I regret to inform you that there is now yet another front in the Bell-Quebecor war: TVA is suing Bell for not handing over wholesale fees for TVA Sports for April, the month during which Bell was briefly denied access to TVA Sports.
- After the short-lived projects of Larry Wilmore and Jordan Klepper, Comedy Central is turning to David Spade for a talk show in the post-Daily Show 11:30pm slot. Canada’s Comedy network has picked it up. It premieres July 29.
- CTV has its own after show for the American romance reality show Love Island. It’ll air Saturdays at 8pm, hosted by Danielle Graham and Lainey Lui.
- Global is keeping weekly political talk show The West Block on the air this summer rather than take its usual hiatus as Canada prepares for a fall general election.
- Wynonna Earp, the Canada-U.S. sci-fi western show with a devoted fan base, will see its fourth season. The show had been renewed but it was put in danger due to financial problems at its studio. But Cineflix has stepped in to help, including taking over international sales of the series.
- The Global/CBS drama Ransom won’t be renewed for a fourth season.
- Production has begun on the CBC 60s spy drama Fortunate Son.
- Canadaland’s Thunder Bay podcast is being developed into a TV series. The series will be a drama, with “elements of fiction that speak to broader truths.”
- Videotron’s Club Illico is creating its first reality series. They stick a bunch of young people in an apartment and film them. It expects 10 half-hour episodes of this.
An open letter from Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob, on our decision to screen Unplanned. pic.twitter.com/bkA7tx2NWt
— Cineplex (@CineplexMovies) July 8, 2019
- Cineplex has had to defend itself after choosing to show the anti-abortion movie Unplanned in Canada. Same thing for the Guzzo chain in Quebec. The movie has been criticized as being propaganda.
- A new documentary is taking Denise Bombardier on a tour of francophone communities in the rest of Canada, to show her that her comments on Tout le monde en parle that those communities are in survival mode and essentially dead were incorrect.
- Mark Bergman, the former program director of Virgin Radio 95.9 in Montreal, has joined its arch-rival The Beat 92.5 as a fill-in host.
- FYI Music News checks in with Jazz.FM91 in Toronto.
— Lauren McCallum (@mccallumlauren) June 29, 2019
- MAD Magazine is shutting down. Well, not exactly, but cutting original content and no longer available in newsstands. At least that’s the story we’re getting through the grapevine because the publisher isn’t commenting publicly.
- The National Post is no longer publishing limericks from the Limericking Twitter account.
- Black newspaper The Chicago Defender is no longer publishing in print.
- A federal appeals court has ruled that Donald Trump cannot block people on Twitter. Ottawa’s mayor faces a similar challenge.
- Concordia University has hired a “Wikipedian-in-residence“, who will work to make the website better, improve accuracy and train editors. Amber Berson also wants to create “a best practices manual for feminist editing on the platform.”
- Rogers is launching a new plan that would de facto bring back three-year contracts, talking about “financing” a phone over 36 months, and allowing people to cancel contracts by paying the balance. This will almost certainly result in a complaint to the CRTC that it violates its Wireless Code.
News about people
After 21 years of ruining the Saturday mornings of Canadians, yesterday was my last day @globeandmail. I got to go amazing places and tell fascinating stories and I had brilliant colleagues. I’m grateful for many things but especially the people who trusted me with their stories. pic.twitter.com/30NQuYTWYA
— Stephanie Nolen (@snolen) July 5, 2019
- Foreign correspondent Stephanie Nolen is the latest to announce she has taken a buyout to leave the Globe and Mail. She is among 79 people taking the offer — here are the ones that have been announced:
- Newsletter editor Shelby Blackley
- Audience and platform strategist Shannon Busta
- Deputy Head of Visual Journalism Jason Chiu
- Ottawa reporter Gloria Galloway
- Atlantic bureau chief Jessica Leeder
- Columnist Roy MacGregor
- Baseball reporter Robert MacLeod
- Sports writer Allan Maki
- Energy reporter Shawn McCarthy
- Business columnist Barrie McKenna
- Foreign correspondent Stephanie Nolen
- Montreal journalist Ingrid Peritz
- Sports columnist David Shoalts
- Retail reporter Marina Strauss
- Columnist Margaret Wente
- The Montreal Gazette has brought in three freelancers to fill the hole left by restaurant critic Lesley Chesterman: Joanna Fox (Ricardo), Isa Tousignant (Hour, enRoute and Sid Lee) and Amie Watson (Midnight Poutine, MAtv). In addition to restaurant reviews, they will also write stories about trends and and best-of suggestions, which are popular with readers.
- The Winnipeg Free Press has some new hires, including former Winnipeg Sun columnist Tom Brodbeck. It’s also improving arts coverage with Frances Koncan, Eva Wasney and Tessa Vanderhart, and bringing back Maggie Macintosh.
- Cousin Vinny Barrucco says he’ll announce soon where he’s coming back on the radio, just under six months after he left The Beat 92.5. Presumably it’s with Bell Media. Virgin 95.9 has an opening in the afternoon.
- Guy Boucher, former Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning head coach, has signed on with RDS as a hockey analyst, doing what most francophone coaches do between gigs.
- A mini Q&A with CBC Quebec’s travelling journalist for the summer, Julia Caron. She also sits down with ICI Première.
- Erik Pindera is moving from Kenora, Ont., to Winnipeg to become a journalist for Global Winnipeg.
- Investigative journalist Hilary Beaumont has left Vice News.
- Radio-Canada has moved its European correspondent Jean-François Bélanger to take over in Washington. He replaces Christian Latreille, who is becoming an anchor on RDI.
- Danya Dixon has been promoted to CEO of Canadian Music Week.
- Xtra profiles writer Gerald Hannon.
- Jill Krajewski has been promoted to senior social editor at Vice Canada.
- Riaz Meghji is leaving Breakfast Television Vancouver. He says it’s to spend more time with his family. No, really.
- Sportsnet has laid off soccer writer John Molinaro.
- Victoria reporter Joe Perkins has left CTV and crossed over to competitor CHEK.
- Rob Roberts, formerly of The Canadian Press, is the new editor-in-chief of the National Post.
- CBC News’s Steve Silva is moving from Yellowknife to Whitehorse.
- CTV News’s Spencer Turcotte is moving from Toronto to Kitchener.
- Former Winnipeg radio host Dave Wheeler is running for office as an independent provincial MLA.
- André Jobin, TVA journalist
- Marg Stewart, Globe and Mail art director (also an appreciation)
- Ing Wong-Ward, CBC journalist