CRTC wants to levy fines

The Globe reports that the CRTC is pushing for the power to levy fines, spurred on by a botched 911 call. Up to now, the worst it could do was lift a station’s license, which it has done just once, to a Quebec radio station whose shock jock, in the opinion of CRTC, went too far. If it does get the power to levy fines to media it licenses, one wonders if that will provide another means for people with complaints about media to take action.

Globe and Mail, July 31, 2008

China continues to renegue on Olympics media coverage

So, now the IOC has agreed to let China block out contentious websites like Amnesty International. Of course, a week before the games, it’s doubtful IOC will actually do anything at this late date, which the Chinese authorities have quite figured out.

CTV, July 30 2008

Has Barack Obama taken media lessons from Steven Harper?

A tongue in cheek blog from the National Post notes some startling similarities between Barack Obama and Steven Harper’s attempts to control media access and coverage to them. While the Post’s Kelly McPartland has some fun with this, scroll through to the original article in The New Republic; I think this is the first negative MSM press I’ve seen on Sen. Obama. Up to now, his campaign reminds me of Trudeaumania, in which the media put its collective brain on a shelf and proceeded to idolize and adulate the somewhat inexperienced and unknown Justice Minister. Also worth clicking on some of the blog responses to The New Republic’s attitude, which basically is 300 long screeds against MSM in general.

National Post blog, July 27 2008

Beijing Olympics to be subject of major new media analysis

NBC spent $900 million on broadcast rights for Beijing, but its more than just its MSM television network that will provide coverage. Platforms include multiple television channels, the net, cell phones and cable video-on-demand. An in-depth article in Saturday’s Globe looks at this from the research point of view: for the first time, NBC has hired five different research firms to tell them who is watching what of the Beijing Olympics, on what technology. This is hoped to provide NBC with some solid evidence going forward for what, for example, really works well as video on demand versus what works best for its main channel.

Globe and Mail July 27 2008

Report recommends widening federal access law

A report prepared for the federal government recommends that the access to information law be extended to all those entities that receive 50 per cent federal funding, which would include groups like Canadian Blood Services and the International Joint Commission. It doesn’t recommend that be expanded to aboriginal groups however. Given the general tension between media and access to information agencies generally, at both the federal and provincial levels, I wonder if this will genuinely broaden the law, or make the whole process more cumbersome.

Globe and Mail, July 26 2008

Product placement in news programs a disturbing trend

Some US morning talk shows are using product placement on their shows, for example putting cups of McDonald’s iced coffee on the desk in front of the anchors. This is yet another attempt to break the wall between news and advertising (though it’s sometimes hard to call morning news real news, since they generally focus on positive fluff stories, interspersed with five minutes of hard news every hour on the hour.) Still, it raises concerns about blurring the lines between news and promotion.

New York Times July 22, 2008

Defence group slams Canadian media

The Conference of Defence Organizations Institute slammed Canadian news media as superficial and dumbed-down in a recent speech at the graduating class of the Royal Military College. Not sure what this is about; MSM has been very supportive of our troops in Kandahar, and the main criticism has come from legitimate queries into policy, such as what are our war aims, are we succeeding, why are some NATO troops under fire while other of our “allies” are forbidden from action. Seems to me that the media are simply doing their job, and the Institute is looking for stenographers, not reporters., July 23 2008

Shrinking newsrooms equate decline in newspaper quality

The Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism put out a report today (The Changing Newsroom: Gains and Losses in Today’s Papers) that documents the continuing decline in reporting staff at US newspapers, concommitant with a decline in news quality, particularly foreign news. Papers are smaller with much more competition for news space. Pew suggests more internet; why not stories of what people want to read about, rather than the rather hidebound traditional news beats (crime, politics, sports.)

Pew Research Center, July 20 2008

Injunction over Web libel sets precedent

Defamation is defamation is defamation, regardless of what type of media it appears in. Bloggers have successfully been sued before; this BC case sets out some new parameters by the extent to which the blogger has been prevented from any further comment on the plaintiff.

Globe and Mail, July 19, 2008

CBC officially unfazed by social media

The CBC has argued to the CRTC that social/new media don’t present a threat to it. It may actually be right, for those of you who’ve read Our Lives in Digital Times (2006, downloadable from StatsCan’s website), which demonstrates that “old” media continue to exist quite happily with new media. There is a strong marketing component behind new media that continually depicts it as the wave of the future that will destroy old media. Facts do not bear this point of view out.

CBC blog, July 18 2008