Hi there. It’s been a while. Might want to sit down for this one, because it’s a bit long.
News about news, COVID-19 edition
Informer malgré les risques : les médias forcés de s'adapter pour accomplir leur mission.
Reportage de @SDesjardinsRC au #TJ22h#Covid19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/9BQVC3tOFy
— Céline Galipeau (@CGalipeauTJ) April 21, 2020
- J-Source has mapped out how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected media across the country.
- Most newspaper websites with paywalls have dropped them for coronavirus stories, including the Montreal Gazette and Globe and Mail. Postmedia went further thanks to a sponsorship by Mary Brown’s Chicken & Taters, which paid to have paywalls dropped entirely for a month at many Postmedia sites (the Montreal Gazette is not one of them).
- Most media outlets are having their journalists and production staff working from home wherever possible. Le Devoir, the Montreal Gazette, the Journal de Montréal, La Presse, CBC and Radio-Canada are among those writing about how they’ve done that. Corus VP Troy Reeb describes what Global News employees are doing, as does Sean O’Shea.
- The Canadian Press looks at how news, culture and lifestyle TV hosts are keeping their shows going in English Canada.
- Postmedia has cut salaries for non-union staff (including senior managers) making more than $60,000 a year, and is asking unionized staff to do the same. Union locals have rejeced this, but the company is still negotiating. Postmedia also won’t be hiring any interns this summer, and has cut down drastically on freelancing (Gazette columnist Jack Todd is among those cut).
- The Montreal Gazette has put its weekly West Island section on hiatus during the crisis.
- La Presse is taking action to boost revenue, including 30-second ads when you open the La Presse+ app, and requiring registration.
- L’Itinéraire, a magazine published and sold by needy people in Quebec, has had to stop production during the pandemic, so La Presse is publishing it instead.
- 24 Heures, a free newspaper distributed in large part by hand outside metro stations in Montreal, has had to stop doing that because of an STM order. Fortunately for them, this comes just weeks after Métro pulled the plug on its exclusivity deal with the STM a year early to save money, so both newspapers have stands inside metro stations together for the first time.
- CTV Montreal has stopped doing local news inserts in Your Morning during the pandemic.
- J-Source has a memo from The Canadian Press outlining bad news and less-bad news stemming from the pandemic.
- Le Devoir looks at how specialty magazines, whose topics are decided months in advance, have reacted to the pandemic.
- Some nursing homes have banned delivery of newspapers and magazines as a safety measure.
- Exclaim! has cut most of its staff.
- BuzzFeed News reports advertisers are blocking their ads from appearing on coronavirus-related news websites, thereby depriving news organizations devoting additional resources to covering the virus the extra revenue they need to keep doing so.
- A Toyota dealership in Ste-Agathe has apologized after running an ad about “Corolla-Virus“ in the local newspaper.
- Bell Media and Global News have been hit by the virus in Toronto, as has a manager at TVA Sherbrooke and Quebecor columnist Antoine Robitaille.
- The Guignolée des médias, usually a Christmas fundraiser involving Quebec media, has reactivated to help people in need during the pandemic.
- Marc-André Gagnon, president of the Quebec Press Gallery, and the guy who runs François Legault’s daily press briefings, writes a bit about how it works.
- The pandemic has led to virtual court hearings, which has some hopes up that technology could open up access to the court system for journalists.
- The pandemic has made things worse for the already poorly functioning access to information system at the federal government.
- The pandemic has devastated newspaper ad revenue, but inflated its obituaries sections. We’ve seen something similar in Montreal.
- Hunger for coronavirus news means ABC World News Tonight is now the most popular show on television in the U.S.
News about news (non-COVID)
- Sherbrooke’s La Tribune has shut down its presses, outsourcing its printing to Transcontinental’s plant in Montreal’s Anjou borough.
- The Toronto Star has made some cuts to its cultural coverage, reducing its books section to a page a week, cancelling its Stargazing column, and seeing its journalists leave or be reassigned. Original movie reviews have been largely replaced by wire copy. The latest financial report from its parent company is filled with more not-great-news.
- The Toronto Star is also starting its own daily news podcast.
- Speaking of CBC investigations, Subway has been ordered to pay half a million dollars after its failed attempt at a defamation lawsuit over a CBC investigation about the amount of chicken in Subway’s chicken sandwiches.
- CTV News and the National Observer have joined the Trust Project. CBC News and the Toronto Star are among the organizations already part of it.
- La Presse has cancelled its horoscope feature, judging that it does not align with the goal of producing quality journalism.
- A Richard Martineau column in the Journal de Montréal about philosopher Daniel Weinstock led to him being uninvited from a conference on the future of Quebec’s ethics and religion course because of his “controversial” views on female genital mutilation. Only he explicitly doesn’t have those views. The Journal published a “precision” but has not fixed the original column or apologized. The Quebec minister responsible did, eventually, apologize to Weinstock.
- Four La Presse journalists got scam calls at their work numbers. They believe it’s because of an investigation they did together last fall, and they’re being phished for their sources.
- The Globe and Mail looks at Real People’s Media, a news website that covered the Tyendinaga rail blockade while being closely connected to it.
- Coverage of the rail blockades has led to a lot of racist hate-filled comments on news stories posted online. SooToday.com threw in the towel and banned comments on stories on Indigenous issues. Other outlets like the CBC have long come to the conclusion that very little of value can come from comments added to stories on those issues.
- Le Devoir talks to journalists who cover Kahnawake, including K103’s Paul Graif.
- J-Source profiles some Canadian news startups.
- The Committee to Protect Journalists did not appreciate a journalist being arrested during a rail blockade protest in New Hazelton, B.C.
- Narcity Media has joined the National NewsMedia Council and almost 500 other outlets which will now be subject to ethical review. Narcity owns MTL Blog, which presumably has cleaned up its act since I last looked into them.
- Ottawa’s Parliamentary Press Gallery has elected its new executive. Jordan Press of The Canadian Press was elected president.
- Former La Presse journalist Alain Brunet has started a new paid subscription music news website called Pan M 360. Le Devoir talks to Brunet about the site, which charges $3.60 a month.
- APTN and The Discourse have started a new website called IndigiNews, devoted to local Indigenous news reporting. It has launched in the Okanagan valley of B.C., and soon Vancouver Island too. The website introduces its Okanagan reporters.
- Canadaland has a story about how Vice News was conned into publishing a fake story about Rob Ford.
- French channel TF1 has learned that putting a woman in blackface and an afro wig is not an appropriate way to disguise her.
- In his first column as the New York Times media columnist, Ben Smith, formerly of BuzzFeed, worries that the Times is getting too big and that may be having a detrimental effect on other journalism outlets.
- The New York Times talks to Washington correspondents for foreign news agencies about what it’s like covering the U.S. — including Paul Hunter of CBC, Richard Madan and Joy Malbon of CTV, and Adrian Morrow of the Globe and Mail.
- A man has been charged with the murder of Irish journalist Lyra McKee.
- The Canadian Jewish News has decided to shut down (again). Its editor says goodbye here.
- The Vancouver Courrier has suspended publication, as has the Low Down to Hull and Back News. They’re among a long list of news outlets drastically cutting back to make it through the pandemic.
- Torstar has ended publication of three of its Neighbourhood Voice community newspapers in Toronto.
- Postmedia is shutting down 15 community newspapers in Manitoba and Windsor/Essex, Ont. (though many of these communities already have independent newspapers taking their place):
- Altona Red River Valley Echo
- Carman Valley Leader
- Interlake Spectator (Gimli)
- Morden Times
- Selkirk Journal
- Stonewall Argus & Teulon Times
- Winkler Times
- Prairie Farmer
- Kingsville Reporter
- Lakeshore News (Windsor-Essex)
- LaSalle Post
- Napanee Guide
- Paris Star
- Tecumseh Shoreline Week
- Tilbury Times
- Newswire service Australian Associated Press is closing after 85 years in operation.
- Online news site The Outline has been shut down.
- The New York Times says 36,000 news media workers have been laid off in the U.S., and breaks down what has happened at several companies.
Page A2 of today’s Gazette. This message is also published in daily newspapers across the country. pic.twitter.com/DAxHw0bpaa
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) May 2, 2020
- Canada’s major newspapers joined forces to publish an open letter on Saturday, May 2, urging the federal government to bail them out by following the model of France and Australia to ensure that “Google and Facebook pay their fair share, instead of exploiting tax loopholes while making billions of dollars off the back of original content producers.” It’s signed by the heads of Postmedia, Torstar, the Winnipeg Free Press, La Presse, the Journal de Montréal/Québec, the Globe and Mail, Brunswick News, Glacier Media, Le Devoir and the Black Press. Not included, by my count, are CN2i (the former Groupe Capitales Médias), Métro, Saltwire Network and some independents like Acadie Nouvelle.
- The Canadian government, meanwhile, hasn’t decided yet if it wants to follow France and Australia in demanding Google and Facebook pay news outlets. (It should be noted that France and Australia don’t actually have models to copy yet. France has told the parties to negotiate something, and Australia has told its competition bureau to come up with a mandatory plan.)
- The Canadian government has appointed the panel that will determine eligibility for the journalism tax credit: Dr. Colette Brin of Université Laval’s centre for media studies, Kim Kierans of University of King’s College journalism school, former Edmonton Journal and Winnipeg Free Press editor-in-chief Margo Goodhand, Michener Awards Foundation president, former Le Soleil vice-president and former Le Droit publisher Pierre-Paul Noreau, and Carleton Centre for the Study of Islam director Karim H. Karim.
- The government has also changed its criteria for the journalism tax credit. The most controversial change removes a requirement “that qualified Canadian journalism organizations be ‘primarily’ engaged in the production of original news content and not be significantly engaged in the production of content to promote goods or services.” This means, in theory, that advertising publications can get the tax credit if it hires journalists. Even then, the newspaper industry isn’t satisfied.
- News Media Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative has added new recipients of special funding. In Quebec, they include:
- Presse Canadienne (Estrie/Montérégie, Indigenous communities)
- Le Mouton Noir (Bas Saint-Laurent/Gaspésie)
- La Relève (Boucherville)
- La Voix de l’Est (Brome-Missisquoi)
- Le Canada Français (parliamentary reporter)
- Courrier Laval (immigration/education/health, civic issues)
- Le Devoir (integration of immigrants x2)
- Journaldesvoisins.com (civic affairs in Ahuntsic/Villeray)
- Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
- Le Portageur (civic issues in Natashquan)
- Le Soleil (Gaspésie, labour)
- Journal Infodimanche (Rivière-du-Loup)
- Le Quotidien (Bas Saguenay)
- Journal Le Lac St-Jean (civic affairs, environment/agriculture)
- ACCÈS le journal des pays d’en haut (St-Sauveur)
- Le Nord Côtier (La Minaganie)
- La Tribune (Asbestos)
- L’Hebdo Journal (Mauricie rural issues)
- Le Nouvelliste (MRC Mékinac and MRC des Chenaux)
- Google has launched a Global Journalism Emergency Relief Fund. It doesn’t say how much money is going into the fund.
- The Facebook Journalism Project is giving $5,000 to each of 400 news organizations to support reporting into COVID-19. That’s $2 million total. Recipients in Quebec include Iori:wase (Kahnawake), Métro, the Gaspé Spec, Pontiac Journal, Sherbrooke Record and Ricochet.
- The Canadian government is putting $3 million into programs to help fight disinformation about COVID-19. This includes a project involving the FPJQ and Agence Science Presse, which is online here (mostly just in French for now).
- The Quebec government has tripled its advertising budget and will spend 99% of that on Quebec media.
It’s that season again.
- The Michener Award for public service journalism has announced its finalists. CBC, La Presse and the Globe and Mail are there, unsurprisingly, but also the Tainted Water project spearheaded by Concordia University, and the tiny independent Halifax Examiner. No date has been set for the presentation of the award. The foundation has also awarded its education fellowship to J-Source for its Canada Press Freedom Project, which will document threats to press freedom worldwide.
- The Canadian Association of Journalists has named its annual award finalists. CBC and the Toronto Star lead the nominations. The Journal de Montréal has two finalists, CBC News Montreal has two (including anchor Debra Arbec), and the Montreal Gazette has one (Christopher Curtis’s Indigenous reporting).
- The CAJ has named municipal police services (including Longueuil) as recipients of its Code of Silence award for secrecy. The town of Erin, Ont., was given the award in the municipal government category for running all communications with media through PR. The Alberta government got the award in the provincial category for the lack of transparency in its Canadian Energy Centre (aka energy war room). And Canada’s environment department won in the federal category for dragging its feet on access to information.
- The Canadian Journalism Foundation has given a lifetime achievement award to the Vancouver Sun’s Kim Bolan, and its News Literary Award has been given to the FPJQ for its 30 secondes avant d’y croire project.
- Kenneth Jackson of APTN has been named the winner of the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom 2020 Press Freedom Award.
- The National Newspaper Awards were announced on May 1. Then corrected on May 6 when they discovered they named the wrong winner in the short feature category because of a judge’s data entry error. Caroline Alphonso, who had her award stripped in favour of fellow Globe and Mail journalist Marcus Gee, was classy about it. Here’s how the wins break down:
- The Globe and Mail led with 19 nominations and 8 wins
- La Presse had 10 nominations and 3 wins
- The Ottawa Citizen had 4 nominations and 3 wins
- The Toronto Star had 7 nominations but only 2 wins
- Le Devoir had two nominations and won both
- The London Free Press, Winnipeg Free Press and The Athletic each had one win, plus the LFP’s Randy Richmond was named journalist of the year
- No nominations for the Montreal Gazette or Quebecor media outlets
- National Magazine Awards nominations are out. Quebec sweeps the category of best news magazine, but Toronto Life is the overall leader. Winners will be announced in early June.
- The Digital Publishing Awards also announced its nominations. The Globe and Mail and CBC lead.
- The News Photographers Association of Canada announced the winners of its Pictures of the Year awards. Mark Blinch’s Kawhi Leonard buzzer-beating photo was named photograph of the year.
- RTDNA Canada regional award winners — Eastern, Central, Prairies, Western. CBC Montreal, CTV Montreal and CBC Quebec are winners in various categories in the Central region.
- Mark Blinch’s photo of Kawhi Leonard’s buzzer-beating series-clinching shot has won the World Press Photo award for sports.
- The Donner Prize for best public policy book by a Canadian has announced its shortlist.
- The Quebec journalists federation has announced winners of its Judith Jasmin (written journalism) and Antoine Désilets (photojournalism) awards. La Presse and Radio-Canada were big winners in written journalism, while La Presse won seven of the nine photojournalism awards.
- And, of course, the Pulitzers. Which for the first time awarded audio reporting, to an episode of This American Life.
- The Peabody Awards announced its nominees.
At the CRTC
- Before the whole COVID-19 thing, the CRTC spent two weeks reviewing its policies on wireless services. This CBC story summarizes some of the issues brought up. None of the companies’ views are particularly surprising when it comes to the idea of whether or not to mandate wholesale service rates to promote new virtual network providers, but the commission focused on a few themes in its questions, including:
- Seamless roaming: Whether measures should be put in place to require better coordination so calls aren’t dropped when a customer leaves their provider’s network and gets picked up by a roaming network. The big guys say it would be extremely costly to do this, other players like Shaw argue it would be very inexpensive. Shaw also said that a quarter of Freedom Mobile’s customer churn is because of the lack of seamless handoffs.
- Winbacks: The practice of calling customers who switch providers — apparently sometimes while they’re still in the store of the new provider — to give them a deal to get them to switch back. (Bell says this isn’t a widespread practice.)
- The Canadian government has passed the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement, replacing NAFTA. The agreement includes Annex 15D, overruling the CRTC decisions on simultaneous substitution during the Super Bowl and disallowing the distribution of shopping channel QVC in Canada. But the enacting legislation as passed doesn’t overrule those decisions directly. Instead, it says “the Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Minister, issue directions” to implement them, and that it must consult the CRTC first. The part about the Super Bowl is moot because of a court decision finding the CRTC overstepped its authority. The CRTC has an open file from two years ago on reconsidering its QVC decision. The commission tells me a decision should be released soon.
- The commission discovered in January that confidential information from Northwestel and Télébec was published on its website for seven months. It demands anyone who downloaded that info destroy it.
- Quebecor has filed notice that it may appeal the CRTC decision to allow the purchase of V by Bell Media in court, once the commission releases its reasons for the decision.
- It takes a lot to lose a broadcasting licence, so it was surprising when the commission told McBride Communications it would lose its licences to all four of its radio stations in B.C. Two of the stations — CFPV-FM in Pemberton, and CKPM-FM in Port Moody, were already off the air (though there was some mourning for the latter) and lost their licences as of March 31. The other two — CHMZ-FM Tofino and CIMM-FM Ucluelet — were sold to Cameron Randall Dennison, who currently manages them. The CRTC approved the sale but said the stations must go off the air as of July 1 if they are not transferred before then. In each decision, it said Matthew McBride demonstrated an unwillingness to abide by conditions of licence. It also said McBride had “disregard for the commission’s authority.”
- A hearing was called for May 12 (and then postponed to June 18) and owners of five radio stations called to appear to justify why they should not have their licences suspended or revoked or other measures applied after they appear to have repeatedly failed to meet their licence requirements. The stations include Montreal’s CJWI 1410 AM (CPAM Radio Union) and CJMS 1040. I write about the issues for Cartt.ca subscribers. (Those licensees might want to keep in mind what happened to McBride.)
- The commission has launched a call for comments on whether television, wireless and internet providers should be required to offer paper bills at no charge. An application from the Public Interest Advocacy Centre to force Koodo to offer them was denied pending a larger review.
- Videotron has quietly rejoined a working group on providing set-top-box data to improve television ratings, Cartt.ca reports.
- Carriage disputes:
- The commission has settled a carriage dispute between Rogers and Eastlink through its final offer arbitration process, choosing an offer presented by Rogers for Sportsnet’s carriage and one presented by Eastlink for Sportsnet One. The details of the deals are confidential, but it’s clear Eastlink will pay a higher wholesale fee for both services.
- Rogers has filed a complaint against Telus because Telus refuses to pay Rogers for distribution of distant Citytv stations in its time shifting package. Telus argues the distant signal compensation regime was overturned by the Supreme Court.
- Quebecor (Videotron) has filed another complaint against Bell Media over Super Écran. The complaint says Bell purposefully sets impossible wholesale rates for Super Écran that are higher than what they offer as an over-the-top service, as a way of pushing Videotron customers to switch to Bell TV. Bell has also cut Videotron off from Super Écran’s video-on-demand programming. Videotron says the moves are driving its customers to switch to Bell, citing figures that are redacted from the public record.
- The commission has approved the distribution of Israeli French-language channel Heritage 4K in Canada.
- The commission has revoked the licence of FYI, the Corus lifestyle channel that ceased operations on Dec. 31. The channel was born in 2001 as Discovery Health Channel.
- The CRTC is asking for comments on ways to get companies it regulates to increase reporting on accessibility issues.
- Telecom decisions:
- Bell Canada has been given permission to automatically block Wangiri scam calls on its network. The scam involves ringing a phone once and hanging up, and then collecting money when the person makes the (long-distance) call back to the number that they were just called from. The permission is only until June 1 as an emergency measure. Bell says more than a million calls a day it has identified as part of these scams are made through its network.
- The CRTC has agreed to push back the introduction of area code 428 in New Brunswick, after a steering committee report that the 506 area code would not be exhausted as quickly as previously believed.
- Videotron has been given permission to withdraw its gigabit internet service offer for wholesalers. It no longer offers the speed for its own customers who don’t already have it.
- The commission has approved a request by Northwestel to lift its data caps. Because Northwestel, which serves the territories, is more regulated than other providers, it needed permission to make this change, which the commission quickly granted after telling the company it could not make that change only on condition that its subsidy be increased.
- A different dispute between Videotron and Bell has resulted in a decision saying Bell can’t unilaterally end its roaming agreement with Videotron because of users who it believes are engaging in permanent roaming. But the decision sets requirements for Videotron to resolve those cases raised by Bell for those users. (Some extra leeway has been given during the current pandemic.)
- The commission has told TekSavvy it won’t be acting right away on a complaint that large telecom companies are using the pandemic to make things harder on third-party providers.
- New licences:
- Stingray has acquired a licence for its Stingray Hits channel, a previously licence-exempt service, with a 10% Canadian content quota. Stingray had wanted it licensed as a French channel, but since the CRTC found most of the programming is in English, it opted for an English-language licence instead.
- Licence renewals:
- CHOI-FM 98.1 (Radio X) in Quebec City for seven years. Despite the station’s controversial reputation, there wasn’t a single public comment about its renewal application, probably because those applications are not easy to find on the CRTC’s website and not very well publicized. Also:
- CIBM-FM 107.1 Rivière-du-Loup
- CIEL-FM-4 93.9 Trois-Pistoles (Despite its callsign, it’s a separate station from CIEL-FM, though it runs much of the same programming.)
- CKLE-FM 92.9 Bathurst, N.B.
- CKVM-FM 93.1 in Ville-Marie for two years. It’s the fourth consecutive licence term that the station has failed to meet its licence conditions.
- CHOU 1450 AM Montreal (Radio Moyen Orient), and its transmitter at 104.5 FM, for full seven years.
- Golden West Broadcasting sations, for full seven years:
- CFIT-FM (Air 106.1) Airdrie, Alta.
- CFXO-FM (Sun 99.7) High River, Alta.
- CHPO-FM (Country 93.1) Portage La Prairie, Man.
- CJEL-FM (Eagle 93.5) Winkler, Man.
- CKCL-FM (Classic 107) Winnipeg
- Christian music stations, for full seven years:
- CHVN-FM 95.1 Winnipeg
- CITA-FM (Harvesters.FM) Moncton et al.
- CKGW-FM (UCB) Chatham, Ont. et al.
- CKJJ-FM (UCB) Belleville, Ont. et al.
- CHOI-FM 98.1 (Radio X) in Quebec City for seven years. Despite the station’s controversial reputation, there wasn’t a single public comment about its renewal application, probably because those applications are not easy to find on the CRTC’s website and not very well publicized. Also:
- Licence renewal applications:
- Independent TV stations and services have had their renewal requests posted. Many have since closed without any public intervention, though the Forum for Research and Policy in Communications made some recommendations about some of them. The licenses applying for renewal are:
- Neepawa Access Community TV
- CHMG-TV (TéléMag) Quebec City
- CKPR-DT Thunder Bay
- CITL-DT Lloydminster
- CKSA-DT Lloydminster
- CFEG-TV Abbotsford, B.C.
- CJIL-DT (Miracle Channel) Lethbridge, Alta.
- CIMC-TV (Isle Madame Community Television) Isle Madame, N.S.
- CFHD-DT (ICI) Montreal
- CIIT-DT (Faith TV) Winnipeg
- CHNU-DT (Joytv) Fraser Valley, B.C.
- CHCO-TV St. Andrews, N.B.
- CHNE-TV Chéticamp, N.S.
- Fight Network
- Sportsman Canada
- NBA TV
- Leafs TV
- EuroWorld Sport
- Vision TV
- Salt & Light
- Mediaset Italia
- Univision Canada
- Daystar Canada
- Cable 14 Hamilton
- Independent TV stations and services have had their renewal requests posted. Many have since closed without any public intervention, though the Forum for Research and Policy in Communications made some recommendations about some of them. The licenses applying for renewal are:
- The CRTC has approved Stingray’s $6.5-million acquisition of two radio stations in Welland, Ont.: CIXL-FM (Giant 91.7) and CKYY-FM (Country 89).
- Applications for new radio stations:
- Aujourd’hui l’Espoir is trying again to launch a Christian music station in western Quebec, after an application to use 101.7 in Lachute was denied (conveniently avoiding a political conflict with Kanesatake’s unprotected low-power station on the same frequency). Its new application is for a 250-watt station at 102.7 MHz in Brownsburg-Chatham.
- Utilities Consumers’ Group Society is seeking a community FM station in Whitehorse (1,300W, 92.5 MHz).
- Vernon Community Radio Society is seeking a community FM station in Vernon, B.C. (1,000W, 97.9 MHz). (In December, the CRTC determined that the market couldn’t take another commercial station, but could support a community one).
- Applications for new TV services:
- Telus has again applied to establish its own pay-per-view service for its Optik TV system after failing to launch its previously-approved service on time.
- The Atlantic Canada children’s TV channel ToonAvision has applied for a broadcasting licence as it passes the 200,000 subscriber mark that makes its exemption from licensing no longer valid.
TVA a demandé au #CRTC d'améliorer leur signal à Saguenay (CJPM-DT) en augmentant sa puissance vers Alma, de 200 kW à 316 kW, quand elle change de canal du 46 au 24 cet été. pic.twitter.com/flXPf9RaJ0
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) April 27, 2020
- Technical changes and licence amendments:
- TVA has gotten approval from the CRTC to increase power of its Saguenay station CJPM-DT so it has better reception in Alma.
- Evanov Radio has gotten approval to swap formats and licence conditions for its AM and FM stations in Brantford, Ont. The swap would put the country music format of CKPC 1380 on FM the Christian programming with special licence conditions of CFWC-FM (Arise Brantford 93.9) on AM. A cynical person would note that the swap would allow Evanov to eventually shut down the AM station but keep the commercially successful country format on FM.
- The CRTC has approved a power increase for CJML-FM (101.3 My FM) in Milton, Ont., from 950W to 2,000W, despite finding insufficient economic or technical need to do so. Instead, the station argued the community of Milton itself has expanded, and it needs the extra power. CJML-FM is the only radio station licensed to serve Milton.
- CBC has gotten approval to combine CBC Radio One and ICI Première transmitter antennas in Thetford Mines, Que.
- The CRTC has approved a temporary FM transmitter for CKDY 1420 AM in Digby, N.S., which was knocked off the air after copper and equipment was stolen from its transmission site. The new 50W transmitter at 99.7FM allows it to get back on the air to provide COVID-19 updates. The station plans to submit an application to permanently move to FM.
- The TV repack plan currently in progress, where TV transmitters change channels to free up the 600 MHz band for sale for wireless services, has led to various applications:
- Corus has asked to consolidate Global TV transmitters in Eastern Ontario and the Okanagan valley by replacing some rebroadcasting transmitters with digital subchannels on other stations. For example, combining the Global BC and Global Okanagan transmitters in Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon, and having the Global Peterborough transmitter also carry Global Toronto instead of having a Global Toronto retransmitter in Peterborough. I break the application down for Cartt.ca subscribers.
- Rogers Media wants to replace its Citytv Edmonton transmitter in Red Deer, Alta. (CKEM-TV-1 on Channel 4 at 7kW) with a digital transmitter (Channel 15, 35kW).
- Bell Media has gotten CRTC approval to change its repack plan for CJOH-DT (CTV Ottawa). It was set to move to Channel 7 this year, but will instead move to Channel 16 so it can colocate with CBC’s TV antenna on the Camp Fortune tower north of Gatineau.
- CFAJ 1220 AM in St. Catharines, Ont., first approved in 2016, has a six-month extension on its required launch date. “Transmission equipment has now been installed, is operational, and is undergoing testing,” says owner Radio Dhun Inc.
- CBC has until Feb. 5, 2021 to move its Radio One transmitter in Ear Falls, Ont., (CBOI-FM) from 690 AM to 95.5 FM, and until July 11, 2021 to activate a new ICI Première FM transmitter in Blind River, Ont.
- Frank Torres has until July 11, 2021, to put a newly approved station in Georgina, Ont., on the air.
- United Christian Broadcasters has until May 8, 2021, to put a new Christian music station in Regina on the air.
- Faith Baptist Church has until May 8, 2021, to put a new Christian music station in Sydney, N.S. on the air.
At the CBC
- The CBC licence renewal hearing has been postponed indefinitely until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. The proceeding at the CRTC has generated 10,527 interventions, which I believe may be an all-time record. Quebecor asked the CRTC to add a new complaint of its on the record, which the CRTC denied (Quebecor alleges various anti-competitive practices on CBC’s part).
- Jennifer McGuire has left as editor-in-chief of CBC News, and senior managers in the CBC’s English services have new job descriptions in a management restructuring meant to break down silos. Brodie Fenlon was named editor-in-chief, just in time to deal with having to suspend local newscasts. (We’re still waiting for them to fully come back.)
- CBC has gotten CRTC approval to reorganize its radio transmitters in northern Quebec to better meet the needs of the population there. Cree-language programming that had previously been on Radio-Canada Première in Chisasibi, Kuujjuaq, Kuujjuarapik, Waskaganish, Mistissini, Waswanipi and Wemindji will instead move to a new CBC Radio One licence (CBMP-FM) based in Chisasibi, with transmitters in Wemindji, Waskaganish, Waswanipi and Mistissini. The Atikamekw communities preferred having Cree programming on the English stations. Another new CBC Radio One licence has been created in Kuujjuaq, taking over the transmitters in Kuujjuarapik, Inukjuaq, Salluit and Puvirnituq. This new station carries a mix of programming from CBVE-FM in Quebec City (including Quebec AM) and CFFB in Iqaluit. It requires a new licence since it is not the same schedule as either existing station. As a result of all this, CBFG-FM in Chisasibi loses its licence and its transmitters become retransmitters of ICI Première’s CBF-FM in Montreal. Besides moving Cree programming from French to English stations, there is no impact on programming or transmitters.
- The corporation is in a legal battle with the company building its new Maison de Radio-Canada in Montreal over whether the building has been delivered and CBC should start paying rent.
- Erin O’Toole, candidate for the federal Conservative leadership, has promised to cut funding to CBC Television and CBC News Network in half, while maintaining funding for CBC Radio and Radio-Canada.
- CBC is bringing additional documentaries to TV on Thursday nights in partnership with the Hot Docs festival.
- CBC and the Canada Council for the Arts have created a $1 million fund ($5,000 times 200 projects) called “Digital Originals” to help the arts community create digital content. Related to this, CBC has put together a confinement art collection called Art Uncontained. It includes a listing of what artists are doing online. More links here.
- CBC has created what it calls a Creative Relief Fund, with $2 million. The announcement has some critics.
- CBC Montreal is preparing a second season of its Mic Drop podcast (which I wrote about here).
- CBC has made a public commitment to equality in sports coverage “in its original content.” It’s not clear what that means, but I’m guessing that the Saturday nights devoted to men’s professional hockey won’t count toward that quota.
- Marc Cassivi of La Presse looked at the playlist on CBC Music and notes it broadcasts very few songs in French.
- CBC is getting sick and tired of its social media feeds being bombarded by demands that it renew Anne with an E. It’s now going to hide comments that say so posted to unrelated stories.
- The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council said LCN was justified in showing video of a horse in Texas being mistreated, but the excess repetition of the short video (11 times) crossed the line. (This is the CBSC’s only decision so far of 2020.)
- National Newsmedia Council decisions:
- A Brian Lilley column in the Toronto Sun went too far in describing Ontario NDP MPPs as terrorist sympathizers because they attended an anti-war rally.
- An online story in the Northern View in Prince Rupert, B.C., about a fire at a CN roundhouse said “No word whether it’s associated with blockade protests”, which prompted a complaint about speculation (it later turned out there was no link). The organization changed the subhead and the council considers the matter resolved.
- A Vancouver Province front-page headline in February referring to “China virus” prompted several complaints of prejudice, but the council accepted the explanation that it was a description and not used pejoratively, and found no breach of ethics.
- A letter to the editor in the Prince George Citizen that explained why the writer has grown to be racist against First Nations prompted a complaint. The council did not endorse the letter, but said it did not incite hatred, it was honest, and there was ample space given for contradicting opinions.
- A Konrad Yakabuski column in the Globe and Mail said “Iran did not abandon its nuclear ambitions, nor did it destroy its centrifuges,” prompting a complaint that Iran has in fact destroyed centrifuges. The council found there was confusion between destroying “any” and “all” centrifuges, and dismissed the complaint.
- A National Post story about colony collapse disorder prompted a complaint that said the newspaper misstated the science around pesticides (including using that term to refer to a herbicide). The council found that the story was careful in its language and dismissed the complaint. (It also notes that “the NNC does not compel its members to issue apologies.”)
- A Joe Warmington column in the Toronto Sun about teacher strikes prompted a complaint that an interviewee had a partisan agenda, but the paper denied knowing about the person’s involvement in the election and the council found that the facts presented in the story were accurate.
- Toronto Star Public Editor Kathy English:
- English warns of the dangers of using file photos after a woman complained that a photo of her taken years ago was used on a story about the coronavirus outbreak. (English mentions that file and stock photos are used more often, but does not mention that there are often design policies or content management systems that simply forbid the publishing of stories without photos, forcing editors to stretch quite a bit to find a photo that fits a story.)
- English says the Star’s new online commenting system is showing promise in keeping conversation productive while keeping out the trolls.
- English explains why the Toronto Star will not refrain from naming the killer in the Nova Scotia shooting, but is being judicious in where they use the name.
- Globe and Mail Public Editor Sylvia Stead:
- Canadaland’s Robert Jago calls out the lack of on-the-ground reporting in the “Wet’suwet’en crisis”
- CTV Ottawa suggested it was wrong (though did not apologize) for airing an interview with an expert in homeopathy during a noon newscast. (The video is still online.) In a statement during the 6pm newscast (starts at 19:15), anchor Graham Richardson said the homeopath’s views do not represent those of CTV News, but stopped short of pointing out that homeopathy itself is junk science or addressing the fact that the homeopath, Bryce Wylde, specifically suggested consuming a substance (blue scorpion venom) that has no proven effect against COVID-19.
- It’s pretty rare to see a news organization investigate itself, but CBC New Brunswick published a story raising questions about a CBC documentary about the Dennis Oland murder case after discovering that the daughter of the accused’s defence lawyer was a producer and was a key to getting access to the Olands. The CBC says she had no impact on the documentary’s content.
- CBC ombudsman decisions:
- A CBC Montreal news story about the court authorizing the MUHC hospital to switch a patient from life-saving to palliative care over family members’ wishes was found to have only one minor error misattributing a quote.
- The Don Cherry scandal led to two complaints — not about the remarks themselves, since Coach’s Corner isn’t subject to review by the ombudsman, but about news stories about it. One complained that the CBC should not have said he explicitly targeted immigrants, and another complained about a Peter Mansbridge column that talked about veterans and race. The ombudsman said “it would be either naive or disingenuous to pretend there was an alternate meaning for these phrases than as a reference to immigrants” and the coverage was fair. As for the Mansbridge column, the reference to Cherry was actually added by an editor, which may have led to an impression that Mansbridge was talking about Cherry favouring white people, but otherwise the column was OK.
- An As It Happens interview with Toronto City Librarian Vickery Bowles, about her decision to allow a talk by trans-exclusionary feminist Meghan Murphy, prompted two complaints that it the interview itself and a story about it were biased against Bowles. The ombudsman concluded that host Carol Off was intense but not unduly antagonistic in the interview, and the story about it did not present a distorted view of Bowles’s position.
- A Marketplace story about vegans having to consume more calcium led to a complaint from the Vegan Society of Canada, which took issue with claims about Canadian dairy having no growth hormone and the recommended level of daily calcium consumption, as well as its failure to agree with him that Canadian dieticians are essentially run by the dairy industry (a fact he asserted with very little evidence). The ombudsman reviewed the story and though it could have been clearer that it meant “added” growth hormone (since there is some natural growth hormone) and explained that Canada’s recommended calcium intake is different from the World Health Organization’s, there was no violation of policy.
- A long critique of a CBC series on climate change had some good points, and some language used in the series was vague and open to interpretation, but the ombudsman found no clearly false statements, except for a number for which a decimal had been inadvertently left off. He did, however, say the CBC’s four-month delay in responding to the initial complaint was unacceptable.
- A report about a lawsuit alleging bullying at a Vancouver private school should have confirmed the facts alleged in the lawsuit first, and led to more bullying at the school, a complainant alleged. The ombudsman found that reporting on lawsuits is in the public interest, and the school was given a chance to comment. CBC can report on lawsuits whose claims are unproven, but is obligated to follow up with its results.
- Ray Heard complained to the CBC about Katie Simpson reporting on air that Trump was responsible for the shooting down of an Iranian airliner. As the ombudsman notes, Simpson did no such thing, and a clip was edited to remove critical context, though he noted that in filling time waiting for the prime minister to speak, viewers may have been given a disproportionate amount of analysis of U.S. responsibility.
- CBC Kitchener-Waterloo received a complaint about a story on a new human trafficking curriculum targeting children around 13 years old. The complaint was about the assertion, credited to an expert, that this is the “average” age that children first become trafficked. The story was edited to water down this language, but the statistic has been refuted, and because it potentially misleads the audience, the ombudsman sided with the complainant.
- An analysis by Evan Dyer about Justin Trudeau’s campaign for a United Nations Security Council seat asserted that Canada’s position on Israel under Stephen Harper as one of the main reasons it didn’t get that seat in 2010. A complainant argued that this statement should have been attributed and not assumed as fact. The ombudsman felt attribution could have helped, but as an analysis the story has leeway to make conclusions based on available facts.
- Radio-Canada ombudsman decisions:
- An article comparing government subsidies for films directed by women and men prompted a complaint that it failed to present other data that would put it in context (that there are fewer women directors and the male directors have more experience). The ombudsman found that the conclusions reached by the journalist were not really supported by the data, and that various minor issues put together showed apparent bias. He suggested the headline be changed, but two months later it hadn’t been, nor has any note been added to the story. (UPDATE: After publication of this post, Radio-Canada changed its headline and added a note to the end.)
- The artistic director of the Présence autochtone festival had a beef with Radio-Canada’s Espaces autochtones over its coverage of the case of Marie-Josée Parent, the Montreal city councillor whose genealogical basis for claiming to be Indigenous they put into question and described as “doubtful.” It accused journalists of bias, said he should have been invited to defend Parent on a broadcast about the issue, and complained that a letter responding to a letter he wrote in Le Devoir contained falsehoods and should not have been published. The ombudsman found that the letter should not have qualified the Le Devoir letter as being about the original article, since that was not explicitly stated, but otherwise found the coverage did not violate journalistic principles.
- An article about a letter signed by 500 scientists critical of climate science, which looked into the signatories and found few climatologists among them, led to a complaint that said it was filled with ad hominem attacks and showed bias. The ombudsman found the investigation justified and fair, and found no violation of policy.
- An article about a court decision on Quebec’s religious symbols law provoked a complaint that it was biased, with the reporter giving a personal opinion that the judges were “uncomfortable” and that they said their hands were tied, when the text of the decision says neither. The ombudsman read the decision and concluded that while it did not explicitly say those things, it was sufficiently clear that the journalist was justified in making that analysis. The review found only that the article should have said the decision implied their hands were tied, not that it explicitly said so.
- A story about the controversy of an anti-abortion film being played at Cinémas Guzzo led to a complaint that the article was biased against the anti-abortion side, that quotes from federal minister Mélanie Joly and feminist researcher Véronique Pronovost contained factual errors. The ombudsman found Joly’s quote was clearly personal opinion, but Pronovost’s quote saying “all studies” supported the pro-abortion side should be corrected. Radio-Canada corrected that quote, but the correction misquoted Pronovost, introducing a different error.
- Someone complained that weather maps on the Téléjournal marked the location of Ottawa but not Gatineau. The ombudsman treated that complaint seriously but dismissed it because obviously. He did, however, note in the same decision a report about Quebec cannabis outlets that bizarrely put one in Ontario, and the delay in Radio-Canada fixing that map. (The erroneous map is still in the video report on Radio-Canada’s website)
- A radio report about seniors shopping for food during a pandemic prompted a complaint that it was sensationalist and incorrectly blamed seniors for acting against public guidelines when those guidelines allow them to do their groceries. The ombudsman (and journalist) noted that the report could easily lead people to believe the government directive was not to allow seniors to shop for groceries, and should have been corrected. But the ombudsman rejected the idea of ageist bias or sensationalism.
- Quebec Press Council decisions:
- The Journal, an English-language community newspaper, was blamed for an article describing two opponents of a Muslim ceremony as having a “blatant racist attitude” at a Vaudreuil-Dorion city council meeting.
- A Journal de Montréal article about the city of Terrebonne awarding contracts that went to the legal firm of the wife of the city clerk had only an error in the headline and was otherwise OK. The complainant claimed the article said things that it didn’t, and complained of omitted information that didn’t need to be included.
- Richard Martineau was blamed for a Journal de Montréal column criticizing philosopher Charles Taylor for taking his statements out of context and putting words in his mouth. Martineau said Taylor blames Charlie Hebdo for the deadly attack on its offices when the text he’s quoting was written five years before the attack.
- Lise Ravary was incorrect when saying in a Journal de Montréal column that the Quebec City mosque shooter had been given the longest sentence since the abolition of the death penalty. But the council (by majority vote) did not find her generalizations about the Muslim community and her use of the term “islamofascist” went against ethics rules.
- Lise Ravary was severely blamed for writing in a story (that remains uncorrected) that a student association at UQAM changed its logo to include Communist symbols, based off a Facebook post and despite the fact that the association told her before she published that that her assumption was incorrect.
- Le Canada Français was blamed for running a press release as is as a news story without trying to contact the other side of a dispute to get her side of it.
- A Gilles Lévesque column in Le Canada Français critical of the mayor of St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu made some major factual errors.
- TVA Gatineau journalist Pierre-Jean Séguin did a story about the city of Gatineau not caring about potholes without presenting the side of the city of Gatineau (which had been sent to him by email), and purposefully constructed his story in a biased way, the council found. Séguin has since left the company, after what Le Droit reports was some issues about his behaviour with colleagues.
- Luc Lavoie put his foot in his mouth again, comparing François Legault to Adolf Hitler on 98.5FM. But while the council found the choice of comparison of “questionable taste”, it found no ethical violation in Lavoie using Hitler as a counterexample that being elected does not make one’s policies right.
- CHOI Radio X’s Dominic Maurais did not breach ethical guidelines by referring to a “vague de maladie mentale” when referring to an environment protest. He was expressing his opinion and not presenting himself as a doctor making a diagnosis.
- An opinion piece in the McGill Daily called An Open Letter to the White Boys in Poli Sci was found to be not discriminatory even though a bunch of people thought it was reverse racist and didn’t agree with the author.
- A TVA Abitibi journalist did not have to be present at a court hearing to report on what happened, nor does a lack of presence mean he was partial.
- A TVA Nouvelles story about a Bell-Quebecor conflict over TVA Sports was not biased.
- A Radio-Canada report into Canadians going to Syria to fight was not biased or incomplete.
- A complaint against Le Devoir for failing to properly identify an advertorial was dismissed after the council concluded that it was, in fact, a legitimate news story.
- The usual gun stuff:
- TVA’s La Joute did not have to correct Régine Laurent’s description of gun control laws and “armes de guerre” because there is no official definition of the latter, and so it can’t be incorrect.
- A Journal de Montréal journalist did not make factual errors in describing firearms seized at a man’s home.
- Le Devoir’s Francine Pelletier made an error, quickly corrected, about a type of gun possession permit.
- A decision blaming the Journal de Québec for a story about murders in Sept-Îles was overturned on appeal. The original decision said a description of the building where it happened feeds into stereotypes about Indigenous people. The appeal panel found that it was not impertinent to describe the building and the racial makeup of those inside it.
- A case about whether Radio-Canada was right to say UN inspectors were “sur place” to refute a report about a chemical weapons attack in Syria split the panel 4-3, with the majority finding that it doesn’t necessarily mean the inspectors were in the place where the attack happened, but just that they were in Syria. An appeal panel sided with the majority.
- A candidate for mayor of Sept-Îles, who wanted to go after a TVA Est-du-Québec journalist who he felt did not cover his campaign fairly, tried to argue that the delay of three months to file a complaint should begin at the end of the campaign. The council found that the report in question happened well over three months before the complaint was filed, and the appeal panel agreed.
- New York Times media columnist Ben Smith interviews the paper’s executive editor about why it took so long to report on allegations of sexual misconduct against Joe Biden, and why it was treated differently from allegations against Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanagh.
COVID-19 and broadcasting
De quoi vous réchauffer le coeur! ?#EDU pic.twitter.com/tQffBXNmzo
— ICI RC Télé (@icirctele) March 22, 2020
- After the U.S.-based One World Together at Home broadcast that raised more than $120 million, Canada did its own broadcast called Stronger Together / Tous Ensemble, which aired on the major (English-language) Canadian networks on April 26 (it raised $6 million and had an audience of 5.6 million — Bill Brioux has the network breakdown of those ratings). Despite its name, the concert was mostly in English with English talent. TVA is organizing a Quebec version with Télé-Québec.
- The annual Fête nationale celebrations in Quebec will be a TV-only affair, with the broadcast networks uniting for that too.
- Quebec artists are pressuring radio stations to devote more airtime to local artists during the pandemic. Some, including Arsenal Media, have taken up the cause, but the big players haven’t. Meanwhile, La Presse writes about the importance of local radio.
- Cancelled programming:
- TVA has cancelled its Gala Artis and postponed the live portions of its most popular show La Voix.
- Big Brother Canada ended its season early without declaring a winner.
- CJAD has cut its Big Five panel discussion segment down to just Trudie Mason to save money on freelancers.
- The Eurovision Song Contest has been cancelled.
- CKUT 90.3 at McGill University is among the stations that just stopped live programming to control the spread of the virus. Shows are either running as repeats or prerecorded elsewhere.
- New programming:
- CBC Television has launched a new talk show hosted by Tom Power called What’re You At? that’s a series of video calls between him and various Canadian artists.
- Radio-Canada has redone its spring schedule, postponing some series and extending Tout le monde en parle and Infoman‘s season into May and June, respectively.
- Bell Media has convened the stars of its Code F and Code G comedy shows on Vrak to record a special Code C that is being recorded now and set to air May 18-22.
- Télé-Québec is keeping kids educated during the crisis.
- Sports networks in particular are struggling to find ways to justify people continuing to subscribe to them. Mostly they’ve rebroadcast classic games from Canadian teams — even Montreal Expos games — but that gets old. TSN has brought BarDown to TV. RDS is bringing back mini-putt and new talk shows. Meanwhile, cable companies are looking for rebates on wholesale fees because of the lack of live sports.
- Bill Brownstein writes about how Montreal English-language TV and radio stations are dealing with staying on the air safely. Meanwhile Brendan Kelly writes about the diversion of sports media (even if there isn’t much live sports).
- CTV Montreal’s Mutsumi Takahashi agreed to become a voice for automated phone calls from the government about COVID-19.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a noticeable decline in podcast listening, as fewer people leave home and more watch TV from their couches.
- Toronto’s Flow 93.5 backtracked on a plan to bring in a syndicated morning show from New York after the COVID-19 pandemic flared up, deciding that it was better to stay local.
- The Town of Mount Royal has allowed Radio-Canada’s Découverte to shoot in front of host Charles Tisseyre’s home there after public security told them doing so was illegal.
- Bell Media has cut hours for hundreds of employees.
- Épidémie, a TVA drama series that aired this winter about a fictional outbreak of a coronavirus in Quebec, has been sold to broadcasters in Russia and Turkey.
- Netflix, which has seen 16 million new subscribers during the pandemic, has boosted its hardship fund by $150 million, the equivalent of about a month of revenue from those new subscribers.
- Nominations for the Canadian Screen Awards have been announced. I have a Twitter thread of observations. CBC Montreal anchor Debra Arbec is up for best local news anchor for the second time in three years. Winners will be announced May 25 in a webcast.
- The Writers Guild of Canada screenwriting award winners were announced via a livestream hosted by Gavin Crawford.
- Québec Cinéma has announced the finalists for its annual Iris awards.
- Corus has launched a new Global TV app that includes TV-anywhere access to not only Global but also Food Network Canada, HGTV Canada, W Network, History, Showcase, Slice, National Geographic and Adult Swim for people who authenticate as subscribers through participating TV providers (all the major ones are on board — Shaw, Rogers, Bell, Videotron, Telus, Cogeco, Eastlink and SaskTel). It also has a “Global News” streaming feed that provides a playlist of stories and Global News Radio segments from its Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto stations, plus another one with a national feed. Adding other stations including Montreal is “in our long-term plan” says Troy Reeb, Executive VP of Broadcast Networks for Corus.
- Global has launched a weekend morning newscast on its app, hosted by Aalia Adam and Mike Arsenault. It’s pretty well like other Global newscasts, and reruns throughout the day. Arsenault says the show will transition to Global TV stations in the fall.
- Roku has added Global TV and Crave channels, while Global is also available on Amazon Fire and Amazon Prime Video.
- Amazon has launched its Prime Video Store in Canada, allowing Canadians to rent and purchase movies iTunes-style.
- With Bell regaining the right to impose simultaneous substitution during the Super Bowl, the game set an all-time record for Canadian viewership with an average audience of 9.5 million across CTV, TSN and RDS.
- Global TV has turned its true crime podcast Crime Beat into a 13-episode TV series, airing Saturdays at 7pm (the same timeslot once held by its investigative news show 16×9).
- Netflix’s first made-in-Quebec film is out. It’s a thriller called Jusqu’au déclin.
- Both NBCSN and Sportsnet marked International Women’s Day by having all-female broadcast crews for NHL games on March 8 — NBC had Kate Scott doing play-by-play for Blues vs. Blackhawks and Sportsnet had Leah Hextall doing play-by-play for Flames vs. Golden Knights on Hometown Hockey. Sportsnet magazine did a nice feature on its broadcast and the people behind it, both in front of and behind the camera. (Notably, Sportsnet didn’t have a female live sports director, so it borrowed Dawn Landis from TSN.) But as Simon Houpt notes in the Globe and Mail, it just shows how neglected women’s sports is on TV.
- Thanks to a new licensing deal, MLB.tv will no longer stream Toronto Blue Jays games in Canada. Sportsnet has the exclusive rights to those (except the games that will be exclusive to YouTube this season, if there is a season).
- TekSavvy has launched its IPTV service in areas of Quebec. The basic package is $20/month, but channel packages quickly bring up that price.
- Another request for a class action lawsuit has been filed over Canadian non-fiction TV productions’ treatment of staff. This one targets Insight Productions, which makes shows like The Amazing Race Canada.
- The Télé-Québec series Dans les médias had an episode recently devoted to television, and viewers learned quite a few things about the TV industry in Quebec, including the value of A-list celebrity guests in ratings (huge), how interested Netflix is in productions from here (very little, at least for now) and how much power TV critics have (very little, but that doesn’t stop producers and fans from demanding things of them).
- The federal government’s deal with Netflix to get them to agree to $500 million in Canadian productions apparently wasn’t an agreement after all.
- The Toronto Star’s Debra Yeo has a story on CTV’s Cardinal, which is airing its final season, and what makes the cold crime drama so special.
- Buffalo’s PBS station WNED-TV is rebranding to explicitly mention Toronto, as it gets much of its viewer funding from Canada’s largest city.
- NBC’s plan to make late-night shows available earlier in the evening on its Peacock streaming service got some affiliates upset. They’re working it out.
- Montreal-based TV production company Datsit Sphère, best known for its drama programming, has acquired Toronto-based BGM, which produced reality programming including Hockey Wives and YTV’s The Zone.
- Specialty channel carriage:
- As Videotron and Rogers did before it, Bell TV reached a last-minute deal to keep distributing AMC.
- France’s Canal+ International has stopped distributing to North America.
- Stingray has launched a new music video channel called Stingray Country. Videotron has replaced Stingray Juice with it.
- Quebec’s National Assembly channel is now in high definition on Videotron’s Illico system.
- In production:
- Amazon Prime Video has greenlit an eight-episode revival of Kids in the Hall.
- Apple TV is bringing back Fraggle Rock.
- CBC has announced a new drama called Lady Dicks, starring Meredith MacNeill from the Baroness von Sketch Show. The series will be distributed internationally by NBCUniversal.
- Télé-Québec is working on a new documentary series about Quebec’s National Assembly.
- Global has announced the cast of its new legal drama Family Law, which began production in March. It includes Victor Garber and Jewel Staite.
- Bell Media is working on a standup comedy competition series called Le prochain stand-up, hosted by Marie-Lyne Joncas, connected with Juste pour rire.
- L’École de demain, an educational documentary series starring Kim Rusk, for Canal Vie.
- Before the pandemic hit, TSN was busy signing rights deals:
- Curling, including the Scotties, Brier and men’s and women’s world championships, for eight years
- The XFL football league (except it just went bankrupt)
- Formula One
- WTA tennis (Premier 5 and Premier Mandatory events except for the Rogers Cup)
- Sportsnet, meanwhile, has a deal to broadcast 10 IndyCar races … or the ones that aren’t cancelled, anyway.
- Bell Media has put its acquisition of V to good use by adding its sitcom Ces gars-là to Crave.
- The PGA Tour has renewed its rights deals with CBS and NBC.
- Employees in Sportsnet’s Highlights Zone have ratified their first collective agreement.
- An Ontario court has ruled that the documentary Room Full of Spoons did not infringe on the copyright of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, even though it used about 7% of the film without permission.
- Edmonton has put up a statue to honour SCTV characters Bob and Doug McKenzie.
- The Daily Show with Trevor Noah has expanded to 45 minutes.
We won't back down! No, we won't back down! Ft. @TerryDiMonte, @randyrenaudchom, @buttshow, @jasonrockmansod, @TheSharonHyland, Pete Marier, Hal Jaques, @PierreLandry, @EstebanWasEaten, Mathew Wood, @MaccaJess, and @funkodactyl pic.twitter.com/u7n91rOCzD
— CHOM 97 7 Montreal (@CHOM977) April 16, 2020
- Quebecor has launched a new subscription music streaming service called QUB Musique. It costs $12/month (or $5/month for Videotron mobile subscribers), but is free until July 31 (you still have to give them your credit card info). Quebecor says the service will put Quebec artists front and centre, and offer higher royalties than competitors. It has an incomplete feature set (not available yet on tablets or smart speakers) and can only be played on one device at a time.
- CKAC 730 AM in Montreal has ceased broadcasting full-time traffic information and is now rebroadcasting CHMP-FM 98.5. Cogeco Media tells me this is temporary while there’s “no traffic” and it will return to all-traffic after everyone goes back to work.
- The Jewel 106.7, a station licensed to serve Hudson/St-Lazare, has moved its studio from Plaza Pointe-Claire back to its service area, setting up shop in a building at 2870 Route Harwood in northern St-Lazare. Owner Evanov Radio tells me “the studio move was purely for business reasons. We were on a lease at Pointe-Claire and the owner needed the space back on short notice. Therefore, we had to come to another solution.”
- CKHQ-FM 101.7 in Kanesatake is transmitting again with a test signal, and the team trying to get it back on the air has given an update on their situation. They need a studio/office space, and money for new equipment. They’re also looking at applying to the CRTC for a new licence that would protect their frequency.
- CFQR 600 AM and CFNV 940 AM, the TTP Media stations that went off the air late last year, are transmitting again. Still no news on actual programming.
- New radio station CKFF-FM 104.1 (Drumbeat Radio) in Kebaowek, in the Abitibi region, is on the air with regular programming.
- Avenue Radio is shutting down Soft 103.9 in Kelowna, B.C.
- SiriusXM is launching a soothing music channel.
- Among the other stories in the last ratings release is that TSN Radio in Toronto finally got some wins over Sportsnet’s Fan 590.
- CTV National News is now available (weeknights) as a podcast.
- Postmedia’s Melissa Hank has a story about AMI morning show Now with Dave Brown. (It airs on television as well, but only as audio.)
- Programming changes:
- Bell Media has started a new national overnight show called The Late Shift with Jason Agnew, based in Toronto and airing on news-talk stations including CJAD, where it replaces Coast to Coast. It will compete directly with Global News Radio’s The Shift with Drex.
- Bell Media’s Orbyt Media syndication group is putting the Roger Ashby Oldies Show on 16 stations owned by Bell, My Broadcasting, Durham Radio and Evanov. The stations include The Jewel 106.7 in Hudson/St-Lazare.
- Rogers is adding a new national program to its Jack-branded stations in Halifax, Smiths Falls, London, Calgary and Victoria, Jack Up The 80s, hosted by Carlos Benevides.
- Virgin Radio 95.9 in Montreal has brought in Tyler Barr to host the afternoon drive show and moved Lee Haberkorn to midday weekends.
- CBC Radio One in Montreal has Ainslie MacLellan filling in for Sonali Karnick as she goes on maternity leave. It’s the second time MacLellan has replaced Karnick for an extended period.
- Waubgeshig Rice has decided to step down as host of CBC’s Up North, the afternoon radio show in Sudbury.
- Corus has brought its morning team from Hamilton’s Y108 to be the next attempt to fill Dean Blundell’s shoes at Edge 102.1 in Toronto. Chris George Taz and Jim Kelly will step in to replace Shawna, Chris Z and Jay Brody at Y108.
- Global News Radio CKNW 980 in Vancouver has named Simi Sara its new morning host. She takes over from the recently retired Jon McComb. It also put Mike Smyth as 9-12 host and Jill Bennett as host from 12-3.
- Ottawa’s CFRA has revamped its weekday schedule, with Leslie Roberts hosting the 10am to noon show (in addition to his work at CTV Morning Live) and Kristy Cameron doing 2-6pm.
- Vancouver’s Z95.3 has dropped its morning team of Leslie, Scooter, and Jaclyn. They were replaced by Kid Carson and Jordan McCloskey.
- Ashley Docking is off the morning show of Sportsnet 590 The Fan in Toronto.
- Kahnawake’s K103 has brought in Jeremy Zafran, recently let go at CBC Montreal, as afternoon news announcer/reporter. He replaces Jim Connell, who remains a part-time reporter but has scaled back his schedule.
- Longtime Kingston radio hosts Wayne Mathews and Gary McColman have retired from Country 93.5.
- Philippe Branch has left Montreal’s Énergie 94.3 for 107,3 Rouge to host the weekend daytime show there.
- Jay du Temple takes over the afternoon show on 107,3 Rouge this summer, replacing Véronique Cloutier until the fall.
- Stingray has bought a 30% interest in the Podcast Exchange.
- The Oakland Athletics will not be broadcast on radio in English in its home market this season. Instead, the team’s audio broadcast will be exclusively on a free TuneIn streaming channel.
- Russia’s Radio Sputnik has bought time on three Kansas City radio stations, sparking fears of a Russian propaganda takeover.
The Montreal Gazette's new offices on Peel St. now have signage, I see. pic.twitter.com/WbDuUbaqmA
— Steve Faguy (@fagstein) February 14, 2020
- A Taylor Swift documentary on Netflix included a shot of a page from the Montreal Gazette, prompting the latter to clarify that the article was not about Swift. Bill Brownstein also wrote about it.
- Postmedia has stopped running the syndicated cartoon Close to Home after a panel seen as promoting racist stereotypes of Indigenous people that appeared in the Calgary Herald was denounced on social media. The Herald has apologized.
- Postmedia is taking advantage of a COVID-19 delay to announce its quarterly results and gotten a temporary waiver on loan interest payments. Moody’s, which considers that to be a de facto default, has downgraded its credit rating.
- Longueuil is becoming the latest municipality to consider no longer publishing public notices in local newspapers to save money.
- Media Central Corp. has completed its acquisition of Vancouver’s Georgia Straight and is looking at other acquisition opportunities. In the meantime it is running “national” features in both the Straight and Toronto’s NOW magazine.
- The Globe and Mail is taking its book club series online, with a live stream featuring author Kathy Reichs.
- Torstar has sold the building housing the Hamilton Spectator for $25.5 million.
- U.S. newspaper publisher McClatchy has filed for bankruptcy protection.
- Playboy has ended its print edition.
- Postmedia is redesigning its news websites to be more responsive, more accessible and 80% faster-loading, starting with the Windsor Star.
- Bell has signed an agreement with Quibi, a new paid short-form video app with more than a billion dollars in venture funding. CTV and TSN will provide daily curated content (it has announced the hosts — two women each from CTV News and TSN, the latter providing content only in the mornings) and Bell Mobility will promote the app. The new service has been greeted with skepticism because short-form platforms have been proposed before and that billion dollars won’t do much against Netflix and Disney that have sunk a lot more into their streaming services.
- Netflix has agreed to reduce stream resolution in Europe to ease pressure on internet networks there.
- Daily Hive has acquired Toronto news startup Pressed and hired its founder Jacqueline Leung.
- Alphabet is disclosing YouTube’s ad revenue for the first time: $15 billion in 2019.
- Canada’s privacy commissioner has asked the federal court to open hearings into Facebook’s apparent violations of the country’s privacy laws.
- La Presse looks at Xavier Camus, a professor who is trying to expose and shut down online hate.
- The online live trivia game show HQ Trivia has shut down. Oh wait, it’s back.
- Quebecor has launched Hublo, which is an advertorial section on the Journal de Montréal/Québec website.
- BuzzFeed’s Craig Silverman looks at a network of fake local news websites that plagiarize news content and use that to get on Google News and then publish press releases and get ad money.
- The Australian government says it will create a mandatory code that will require Google and Facebook to compensate media companies. But it’s still very unclear what that means. Does Facebook have to cut a cheque every time someone posts a news article to their feed? Does Google have to pay out if it includes news websites in its search results (even though any website can opt out of Google indexing)?
- A report found that an erroneous public alert sent out by the Pickering Nuclear Power Plant was the result of “human error”, though as the story makes clear the issue seems to be much more about improper procedures and organizational issues, particularly around what to do when an erroneous alert goes out.
- Videotron has connected its first customer in Amos, making good on its proposal to expand into the Abitibi region to compete directly with Bell. Symbolically, the first customer is the daughter of the founder of Télédistribution Amos Inc.
- Videotron is cutting another 200 jobs.
- Shaw has laid off 10% of its workforce.
- Bell has extended its Let’s Talk mental health program to 2025.
- Rural internet provider Xplornet is being acquired by U.S. company Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. The Globe and Mail reports a price of $2 billion, including debt.
- Cogeco has acquired Quebec rural internet provider iTéract Inc., which operates as Internexe. It has 2,000 customers.
- The company making BlackBerry smartphones has announced it will stop doing so, disappointing many who still rely on physical keyboards.
- A New York judge has approved a merger between U.S. wireless providers T-Mobile and Sprint, two of the four major national wireless carriers.
News about people
Est-ce le jeune frère de Bernard? Son fils? Son sosie??
Voici enfin comment on a recréé Bernard Derome de 1970. #LotoQuebec50ans #makingof pic.twitter.com/C214sz1yn1
— LotoQuebec (@LotoQuebec) February 6, 2020
- Loto-Québec deepfaked 1970s Bernard Derome for a TV ad marking its 50th anniversary.
- Wildbrain (formerly DHX Media) has made several changes in management positions.
- Charnel Anderson is the new northwest Ontario reporter at TVO. She was previously at the West End Phoenix in Toronto and freelancing.
- Eric Andrew-Gee has joined the Globe and Mail’s Montreal bureau.
- Ellen Baine, VP of programming for Hollywood Suite, is retiring. Sharon Stevens is being promoted to replace her.
- Laura Baziuk has left Black Press Media for CKNW 980 in Vancouver.
- Philippe Bond has rejoined Énergie as a contributor.
- Mike Boone is back writing columns for the Montreal Gazette. He’s one of a rotating series of seniors columnists for Postmedia papers.
- Photographer Bernard Brault is no longer a permanent employee of La Presse. He will remain on contract for the next two years and cover the Olympics this summer … or next summer, maybe.
- Beatrice Britneff is moving to the Ottawa political bureau at Global News as an online reporter.
- Anchor/reporter Michelle Brunoro is back at CTV News Vancouver after cancer treatment.
- Heather Butts has left CTV Morning Live Atlantic to join CTV News’s Quibi channel.
- CBC does a little Q&A with CBC Quebec’s Julia Caron.
- Sean Craig has a new job reporting for The Capital in Victoria.
- Montreal Gazette reporter Christopher Curtis writes about making videos with his cat to pass the time.
- Annie DeMelt’s new project, MUHC TV, began March 10.
- CHOM’s Terry DiMonte and Jessica Dionne got married, but had to cancel their honeymoon because of the pandemic.
- Raquel Fletcher, Global News’s Quebec City bureau chief, has a new book out about inclusion in Quebec.
- Willow Fiddler has left APTN to join the Globe and Mail’s Thunder Bay bureau.
- Catherine Fournier, the formerly PQ now independent MNA, has started a column at Urbania.
- Janet French has joined CBC Edmonton as a provincial affairs reporter, leaving the Edmonton Journal.
- Natasha Gargiulo, former morning host at Virgin Radio 95.9, has a new fashion line with Montreal’s Aritzan. That boutique also has a line with The Beat’s Donna Saker.
- Emilee Gilpin is the new managing director of First Nations Forward at the National Observer.
- Sylvie Goulet has had her contract at Quebec City’s WKND 91,9 extended to 2023.
- George Kalogerakis has left as the Montreal Gazette’s deputy editor, five months after he took the job. He is now editor-in-chief at Agence QMI.
- Sarah Kelsey has been named director in charge of Global News’s streaming news channel, and Zaffrin Pira executive producer.
- Cami Kepke is the new weekend sports anchor at Global Calgary.
- Amanda Kline has been named the weekend anchor at CTV Montreal. She succeeds Annie DeMelt, who left for a communications job. DeMelt replaced Tarah Schwartz, who left for a communications job.
- Ryan LaLonde, a host at Wolf 101.5 FM in Peterborough, Ont., has been suspended after an arrest for possession of child pornography. Wolf is owned by Corus.
- Luc Lavoie made another joke about shooting people.
- Pierre LeBrun has signed a contract extension for TSN. He won’t say how long or how much.
- Blake Lough has joined Global Calgary’s weekend morning show.
- Ryerson journalism professor Adrian Ma has started a new monthly column at J-Source on technology and news.
- Former CBC journalist Neil Macdonald is back on Twitter.
- Catou MacKinnon, formerly of CBC Quebec, is now the senior communications advisor for the Federal Court of Canada.
- MSNBC has dumped Chris Matthews for comments made about women.
- Kate McKenna of CBC Montreal produced a very personal essay about sobriety and her grandfather.
- Julian McKenzie is now a sports reporter-editor at The Canadian Press’s Montreal bureau.
- Jay Mehr is retiring as president of Shaw Communications. He will be replaced by Paul McAleese.
- Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi has joined Global Saskatoon
- Rudy Parachoniak is the new morning host at 107.7 Pulse FM in Surrey, B.C.
- Cogeco has named Frédéric Perron as the new president of Cogeco Connexion, its Canadian telecom arm. The appointment of someone with extensive wireless experience may be an indication that Cogeco is serious about developing a wireless provider.
- Radio-Canada has named Isabelle Picard as Senior Specialist in Indigenous Affairs. Le Devoir talks to her about it.
- Isabelle Poulin has retired after reading her last newscast on ICI Première, and got a sendoff on La soirée est encore jeune.
- Former Quebec City radio host Martin Pouliot has been sentenced to 21 months for drunk driving causing injury.
- Noreen Rasbach has been hired as deputy head of editing at the Globe and Mail.
- Mark Rendell is moving to the capital markets beat at the Globe and Mail.
- Jeremy Roenick will not be returning to NBC Sports Network’s hockey broadcasts after making comments in a podcast joking about sleeping with coworkers.
- Selena Ross, editor-in-chief of Maisonneuve magazine, is a new web reporter at CTV Montreal.
- Le Devoir gives a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at what happened the day Éric Salvail lost everything and the staff who worked for him lost their jobs.
- Andréa Schmidt is the new managing editor for podcasts at Canadaland. She previously worked at the New York Times and Al Jazeera. She replaces Kevin Sexton, who left to move to Ottawa.
- Former CJAD host Tommy Schnurmacher has adapted his book into a stage production.
- Former CTV Vancouver anchor Tamara Taggart opened up in a podcast about sexism in the media industry. You can listen to the podcast here.
- Katelyn Thomas has been hired as a morning digital reporter for CTV Montreal.
- Mark Towhey, editor-in-chief of Postmedia’s Sun newspapers, has left the company, as the position has been eliminated.
- The Winnipeg Free Press has a feature story on Steve Vogelsang, the former Winnipeg broadcaster and journalism professor who was convicted of robbing banks.
- Bob Weiers has retired as head of CBC’s election desk.
- Alex Wierzbicki is the new host at YTV’s The Zone.
- Family Channel owner WildBrain Television has named Katie Wilson as VP of channels and curation. She comes to the company from Corus.
- Bridget Yard has left CBC in Saskatchewan for a job at Humber College.
- Wayne Young has ended his column at the Guardian in Charlottetown.
- Michael Babad, Globe and Mail business columnist
- Claude Beauchamp, business journalist and manager for Radio-Canada, La Presse, Le Soleil, Les Affaires, etc.
- Christie Blatchford, columnist — obituaries from the National Post, Toronto Sun, Globe and Mail and Toronto Star, all of whom she worked for. Tributes from Paul Wells, Rosie DiManno, Cam Tait and others. But others are more critical of her legacy, including Glen Canning, Rehtaeh Parsons’s father, who believes Blatchford contributed to victim-blaming in his daughter’s death. Passage Managing Editor Davide Mastracci summarizes (and links to) many of the criticisms of Blatchford’s work.
- Graham Brown, Saint John broadcast journalist
- Dave Budgell, director, BCTV/Global BC (his former colleagues published a tribute here)
- Susan Cardinal, journalist and CBC broadcaster
- Réal-Jean Couture, Bas-Saint-Laurent sports journalist
- Dian Duthie, CBC Ottawa reporter
- Bill Evanov, founder of Evanov Communications, owner of Evanov Radio Group
- Nevin Grant, Hamilton radio broadcaster
- Anne Kingston, journalist — obituaries from the Globe and Mail, the National Post, and Maclean’s.
- Claude Lafortune, Quebec TV host (also in the Globe and Mail)
- Robert H. Lee, entrepreneur and former owner of Channel M (now OMNI).
- James Lipton, host of Inside the Actors Studio.
- Gary Michaels, Ottawa radio host and manage
- Russ Peake, Calgary sports broadcaster
- Earl Pomerantz, TV comedy writer
- Marke Raines, B.C. broadcaster
- Robin Seymour, Windsor/Detroit radio broadcaster
- J.R. Shaw, Shaw Communications founder
- Monique Solomita-Girard, Journal de Montréal reporter.
- Carol Thorbes, B.C. broadcaster
- Radio-Canada writes about sign language interpreters in Atlantic Canada, which has its own sign language dialect.
- The New York Times writes about Stat news, the specialty publication that talked about the coronavirus long before it got on the radar of most news organizations, and focuses on Canadian Helen Branswell, a former CP health reporter.
- The Winnipeg Free Press’s Melissa Martin has a feature about APTN’s Cree-language NHL broadcasts.
- The New York Times Magazine has a feature on my favourite musical artist, Weird Al Yankovic.
The CRTC puts there foot down so slowly and so carefully that you almost don’t notice it. Most broadcasters sure don’t.
Edge 102.1: This station is a perfect example of corporate failure on a grand level. What they have done is in a very short period of time (couple of years) remove / fire / reassign every public facing personality on the station with invisible no-names. The ratings are tanking at a station that has the full alternative rock / rock area to itself in Canada’s largest market. Proof what can be done if a big company concentrates so hard on the bottom line that they forget the top line.
CKHQ-FM 101.7: one of the things the federal government should be doing ACTIVELY is helping aboriginal communities to have their own radio stations. Mr Trudeau could go a long way to mending fences and improving the community by pitching in to help, so that the community can have their station back on the air in protected status.
Making Google Pay: If media companies feel Google is stealing from them, all they need to do is bar Google from visiting their sites and indexing them. It’s simple to do (robots.txt) and the problem would be solved. The problem? Media companies are beholden to Google and others for the majority of the visitors to their sites, an inconvenient truth few want to discuss.
Barring Google from indexing a site doesn’t ‘solve’ any problems whatsoever. You’re saying that opting out of a search monopoly addresses the antitrust problem presented by a search monopoly? How does that make any sense? That’s akin to saying companies that had an issue with Ma Bell should have just cut their wires and gone back to smoke signals or semaphore prior to that particular antitrust breakup.
And being beholden to Google is far from a ‘truth few want to discuss’ – it’s something discussed on a daily basis at every media outlet I contribute to, and it’s something that’s discussed in public forums the world over. For years.
Making Google pay for news doesn’t solve the search monopoly issue either. The media aren’t making an antitrust argument here.
The truth few want to discuss is that they want all the traffic and visitors from Google, but they want it for free and without Google gaining any benefit from it. Google “news” is generally just an index of links anyway. The news sites get the benefit. The media somehow wants Google to index their stuff without actually indexing it or making even a single word of the content visible, yet magically still let people search for it.
Google’s dominance of search is a fact, and for the most part it is a fact because they are good at it and their search results are generally pretty good. It’s also because Google is a dominant player in mobile devices, most of which have a Google search integrated.
If you don’t want Google to index and display your news, the choice is to not allow Google to index. You can limit what they see. The more you limit, the less likely you are to get visitors from Google. It’s pretty simple.
Google is a company that can choose how it operates. Newspapers and other media are companies that can choose how they operate. Nobody is obliged to be indexed in Google. It’s a choice.
Will Jack Todd be hired back once sports return?
I don’t make those decisions. It may be dependent on how financially healthy the newspaper is when that happens.
I’m impressed! Thank you for this thorough and much appreciated look at what’s happening in news.
Wow! A super post. Thanks.
Great job , Steve!
On a sobering note…with the demise of the longtime Canadian Jewish News, it is truly inconceivable the country’s Jewish population of 330,000 is without its own media voice or forum.
Not a fan of the new Postmedia websites, at least on mobile. Videos block the content, the content is constantly moving around as ads load and reload, and their websites all cause my mobile browsers to crash (both Chrome and Safari). One of the worst mobile experiences I’ve ever seen.
Wow, that is an amazing coverage of the situation in the Quebec/Canadian media world. Bavo!
Thank you for your impressively detailed media news summary . I haven’t found anything else to compare . Loved all the links to news stories I may have missed .
So Jack Todd gets shifted back to the neighborhood beat for one, maybe two, columns, then is terminated? Things changed prettyfqst. At least Bill Brownstein (and Bob the Labrador) keeps on going, it seems like maybe his column hasbecome a bit more prominent.
One thing about mtlblog is that they emulate (deliberately or incidentally) much of the format of blogto.com And that site was the mother site of midnight poutine. I never knew that until poutine closed up. I’m not sure what that says about mtlblog, but bot sites areoften a rehash of “social media” or mainstream media. I certainky remember midnight poutine rehashing news stories, as if they felt the need without wanting to out in the effort to do actual news.
The trouble with comments to news stories is that many people have lttle to say. Even the CBC”s parenting sectiin gets useless comments for opinion pieces. The problem with no comments is that one can’t add to the piece.
Of course the blockades got letters to papers that indicated there isn’t enough native news, since people really didn’t understand the blockades. And everyone of those native stories is qbout real people, not just a third part retelling of people in the past, or way over there. About four years ago the CBC had a story about a Metis musician, and as I’m reading it I had already heard of her great, great, great grandmother, Annie Bannantyne, who horsewhipped Charles Mair in Feb 1869 for saying bad things abiut the daughters of mixed marriages in Red River. Some say Louis Riel acted because of her actions. But I also remembered someone had married into the Bannantyne family. Oops, it was my great, great grandfather after Henrietta died.
Though, some of the recent letters in the Gazette about the Virus often seemto have little to say. A long rehash of what they read, and then a sentence of what they wanted to say. It reminds me, again, of the propaganda going on now. Not with sinister reasons, but to get people on board. It’s a fine line, and can backfire when leadership wants another direction. But those letters also show the group mind, which may be fine except not everyone fits into it.
Furloughed, he says. A victim of a near elimination of the freelance budget.
Thanks for all of this
Thank you for such an engaging column that spans so many media worlds. Your reporting is excellent and to think that you deliver this service for free to your community is awe inspiringly generous. It is deeply appreciated.