Tag Archives: Le Devoir

Le Devoir says goodbye to its printing plant

Le Devoir has changed printing plants, from a Quebecor-owned plant in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu to two other plants also owned by Quebecor Media.

One, Imprimerie Mirabel, prints the Journal de Montréal, Ottawa Sun and some Quebecor-owned weeklies, and will print Le Devoir for the western part of Quebec, including Montreal. The other is the Journal de Québec, which will print Le Devoir for the eastern part of Quebec.

Rather than just note the change or have an editor’s note with marketingese about how excited they are with all the changes, the paper wrote a day-night-in-the-life piece as a thank you to its former plant. (via J-Source)

The biggest change that readers will notice with the change is that the early edition (distributed outside Montreal) has a later deadline – 10:45pm instead of 8:50pm. That puts it in line with other daily papers, including The Gazette, and will make a huge difference for things like election results. Later deadlines for papers distributed in the city are unchanged.

Besides being owned by a competitor, the two printing plants have both been in the news in the past year. Imprimerie Mirabel was the centre of a dispute between former corporate siblings Quebecor Media Inc. and Quebecor World Inc. (the latter a commercial printer which is under bankruptcy protection). QMI thought it had a deal on shared use of Imprimerie Mirabel, but QWI never signed the deal and bought its own press. QMI sued and lost.

The Journal de Québec printing plant, of course, went on strike to join locked-out editorial workers on the picket lines.

Le Devoir enters the blogosphere

Le Devoir, the black sheep of Quebec media online (the only major paper in Canada that still locks articles to subscribers) has joined the blogosphere with an election blog.

It’s hardly a big splash considering the vast number of election blogs out there, but it’s a start. Here’s hoping some of their journalists continue to inch closer to the big scary Internet out there.

(via Lagacé)

Le Devoir sued for correctly reporting outrageous cookie claims

Le Devoir is apparently being sued by a cookie company because of an article that criticized the company for marketing cookies as encouraging weight loss and preventing cancer.

I can’t find the original article online, but the letter from the company in response is there: It says in no uncertain terms that the company has never suggested that its Praeventia brand cookies had these kinds of benefits:

Or jamais Leclerc n’a prétendu que les biscuits Praeventia avaient des vertus amaigrissantes.

Jamais l’entreprise n’a présenté ce produit «comme un aliment anticancer»

Well, I guess that settles that, then.

Here’s the thing:

Screenshot from Praeventia\'s website

This web page includes the words “prevent certain cancers” three times. And though the company may be correct that they don’t claim it’ll cause weight loss, they certainly imply it pretty hard here (the words “weight control” also appear in the text).

Note to Biscuits Leclerc: Before you file your lawsuit, be sure to scrub exculpatory evidence from your website first.

Le Devoir to cover Olympics

Le Devoir is teasing us on all the fun stuff they’re going to be doing about this summer:

  • Covering the Olympics
  • Some new weekly guess-the-writer game
  • The revival of its “Macadam” series, which nobody remembers but is basically a bunch of feature stories about things in Montreal
  • Covering Quebec’s 400th anniversary and writing about its history
  • Covering a bunch of meetings and visits of foreign dignitaries

Some of it sounds mildly interesting for those of us obsessed with the local media scene, but isn’t the rest of it just stating the obvious? If the paper wasn’t covering the Olympics, that would be a story.

Le Devoir works its feeds

Le Devoir, whose RSS feed I had to unsubscribe to a while back because it was a monolithic feed that had 60 articles a day, has overhauled their feed system and now offers multiple feeds. Not only do they have feeds for different sections (their media news feed has a welcome new home back in my feed reader), but they have feeds for individual journalists, which is something I’d like to see other websites copy.

The next step will be having feeds for each individual keyword (they’ve been tagging articles with keywords for quite a while now, but haven’t done anything useful with it online yet)

Anglo ads on franco websites?

Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but some astute francophone bloggers are noting English-only advertisements on French-language websites like Cyberpresse and Le Devoir.

Assuming it’s not a technical malfunction or clueless advertising agency, should it be a scandal that an ad on a French-language website be in English? A lot of anglophones read French newspapers, watch French television and go to French websites when they can’t find what they need in English. Why not put forward some ads that cater to them?

For example: If The Gazette put a TV ad on RDS during a Habs game to promote its Habs Inside/Out website, in order to reach anglophone Habs enthusiasts who can’t watch the game on another network, or francophone fanatiques who want to immerse themselves in everything about Les Glorieux, would that be so bad?

Or if an anglophone school board had ads in French promoting… oh wait, they already did that. And people are pissed.

Lise Payette joins Le Devoir

Lise PayetteLise Payette, the journalist turned radio personality turned TV personality turned politician turned TV writer turned TV producer turned newspaper columnist, has joined Le Devoir seven months after quitting the Journal de Montréal because of her steadfast refusal to cross picket lines.

Payette quit the Journal in April because her columns were being republished in the Journal de Québec, whose editorial employees had just been locked out. She refused to cross picket lines, and declared that her articles would no longer appear there.

Payette’s leftist leanings, combined with her sovereignist politics as a former PQ cabinet minister make her a good fit for Le Devoir. Let’s hope she takes a few readers with her.

Her first column, which discusses how the Yvettes destroyed her political career and how she never thought she’d write for Le Devoir, appeared this morning.

More pay walls coming down

The Wall Street Journal’s Lord Master Rupert Murdoch has decided to drop the pay wall on WSJ.com content, just a few weeks after the New York Times decided to let all its content online be free. Both newspapers are betting on the fact that increased online ad revenue will balance out the reduced subscription revenue.

MediaShift has a good blog post summarizing the arguments in favour and against dropping the pay wall, including its effects on paper subscriptions and volatility of the online advertising market.

One of the blog posts it links to says in one sentence my chief concern about all this: “Are we seeing the death of the paid content model?

I like free content. I like not having to pay to download stuff on my computer. I like being able to read articles from all sorts of newspapers. I like blogs and YouTube and Flickr.

But I’m also one of many people who is trying to make a living off of this “content” thing, and along with all this free content is a race to the bottom, with content providers seeking cheaper and cheaper content. Many now seriously expect people to work for them for free, hoping that not even five minutes of maybe-fame will be enough to cloud their judgment and cause them to ignore the fact that they have to put food on their table.

The bigger problem is that as content gets cheaper and cheaper, so does the work being produced for those low salaries. Investigative journalism disappears completely, journalists get lazy and become stenographers, columnists write uninteresting fluff about their daily lives, and the wall between editorial and advertising starts getting blurry.

We seem to accept being charged for content only when it exists on a physical medium, like books, DVDs and newspapers. Is there any purely digital content that people will keep paying for in the future, or is advertising expected to cover everything? (And with all the increasing content on the Internet, can we possibly have enough advertising interest to bankroll it all?)

We’ll see. By my count only two major Canadian dailies still have pay walls on their websites: The Globe and Mail and Le Devoir. Are they coming next, or will they buck the trend?

Le Devoir numbers improving

Le Devoir ejaculates the news today that it’s the only major Montreal newspaper whose readership has gone up this year, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Its weekday readership is up 2.4% and Saturday readers up 0.1%.

It takes the opportunity to make fun of The Gazette, whose Saturday subscriptions have gone down 4.3% in just one year.

Good for you, Devoir. But maybe you shouldn’t be too arrogant about your subscription numbers, especially since your readership is fourth out of four daily newspapers in the city (sixth out of six if you include Metro and 24 Heures).

UPDATE (Nov. 13): A similar piece from the Toronto Sun, whose numbers are also up. Notice how it’s the papers who are improving who publish stories about circulation numbers?

Cross-promotion isn’t more important than journalism

Le Devoir (somewhat snobbishly) reminds us why they’re independent in criticizing the idea of “selling news” being more important than fair, objective reporting.

Frankly, I think major media outlets far underestimate the intelligence of their news consumers when they cross-promote between shows on a network or between different media that they own. When Global TV does a story on The Gazette that CBC and CTV don’t touch, we know why. When TVA talks about a story in the Journal de Montréal that morning, we know why. When Radio-Canada reports on what was on Tout le monde en parle the night before, we know why.

These transparently corporate maneuvres overriding solid news judgment only serve to erode confidence in journalists’ objectivity. I think that’s worth a but more than some free advertising.

UPDATE (Oct. 23): TVA gets a slap on the wrist for doing a news story on Le Banquier. I’m actually quite surprised by this, considering how widespread such reporting is. But good for the Quebec press council for pointing it out.