Radio to make major changes in measuring listenership

Scroll past the items about all sports news coming in second to all news stations in the past few months (wonder what everybody is interested in these days?) and you’ll find a few paragraphs about how radio is changing its measurement of its audience. Up to now, selected listeners were, for a fee, given a diary to log on to what shows/stations it was listening to. That will be replaced by a meter which will audit what they are really listening to, as opposed to what they say they are (and people lie in reporting, as they do in public opinion polls, a factor most analysts have to be very careful about.) Used by some media already, it has incredible potential to redefine what people are listening to. CKAC Montreal for example, reported three times the listenership for Montreal Canadiens’ games than did the diaries.

Globe and Mail, Nov. 28 2008

CTV’s turn

Today CTV announced 105 staff to be cut back across its operations. Still unclear where they’ll be; CTV telegraphed this announcement last week, meaning a lot of CTV employees will be twisting in the wind, wondering whether the cuts will be in news, sales, production etc. I prefer the CanWest approach: make all the cuts at once, and define where they’ll be, so that gloom doesn’t spread across the organization.

Reuters/reportonbusiness, Nov. 27 2008

CBC, Sun in Freedom of Information tangle

Now that federal Crown Corporations such as CBC are subject to Freedom of Information laws, the Sun newspaper chain has been bombarding them with requests, highlighting executive spending (wonder how much the Sun spends on its executives; since it is private sector, we’ll never know). Anyway, the CBC is getting rather defensive about all this.

Canadian Press, Nov. 25 2008

Networks lobby for more local news cutbacks

Within two weeks of CRTC announcing a new $61 million fund for small-market (under one million people) outlets to beef up local news programming, the three major television networks are already lobbying CRTC to cut costs by cutting budgets (i.e. staff) for local news broadcasts. Write the CRTC: don’t fall for this.

Globe and Mail, Nov. 24 2008

Bailout packages for laid off journalists: free blogs

The New York Times reports that a blogging service is offering free services, including tech support, to laid off US journalists (which, given the state of media in the States, is a very large group.) With thanks to Bob Langlois for spotting this.

New York Times, Nov. 23 2008

Guidelines for off the record interviews by the feds

Prime Minister Harper’s communications director, Kory Teneycke, sets out some guidelines for the conduct of off-the-record interviews by his office. This is fairly standard procedure in briefing reporters or providing background information, often done not by politicians but by bureaucrats who traditionally are faceless (but not voiceless) to the media.

davidakin, Nov. 21

Another bad day for CanWest

This Globe story provides some background on the economic environment that the Aspers are trying to deal with. The big news is that CanWest shares were valued at $42.85 in 1996; yesterday they closed at 73 cents. If you’re looking at papering your bathroom, it’s probably cheaper to use CanWest shares than buy wallpaper.

Globe and Mail, November 15 2008

China eases international media restrictions

China has agreed, following trade complaints from North America and Europe, that agencies like Thomson Reuters do not have to be licensed by Xinhua News Agency, the official media arm of the Communist Party. Instead they will set up a new commission; it will be interesting to see if it will be truly objective. Still, it’s an effort in a country which is highly leery of foreign news firms.

European Journalism Centre, November 14 2008

CanWest whacks another 560 jobs

Television and newspapers take the brunt of CanWest’s latest round of cost cutting, all of which has had the economic effect of losing 90 per cent of its share price, and reduced it to a penny stock. And tomorrow they will announce their fourth quarter results.

Canadian Press, November 13 2008

Media contemplate self-censorship

National and international media imposed a self-blackout on the abduction of CBC reporter Melissa Fung in Afghanistan, a story that is still under some degree of censorship (federal officials are refusing to say whether there was a trade involved with the Taliban.) This commentary from Canadian Press highlights a lot of the ambivalence media have of media withholding news. The debate is further complicated by the fact that the hostage was a reporter; would the media have come to the same conclusion on self-censorship if the hostage was an aid worker, soldier or Afghan support worker?

CP, November 9 2008