Mags happy with federal budget

As posted yesterday, the federal budget allots $30 million over two years to Canadian magazines and community newspapers. It basically seems to restore money that was chopped before, but Mastheadonline is happy, particularly with ongoing negotiations with federal Heritage that might provide some long-term stability and predictability to federal funding for this sector.

Mastheadonline, Jan. 28 2009

Media goodies in federal budget

In what’s being termed a scattershot approach to funding, the feds have promised funding for media in the following areas:

  • Providing $30 million over the next two years to support continued access to Canadian magazines and community newspapers.
  • Providing $28.6 milion over the next two years to the Canadian New Media Fund and $14.3 million annually thereafter.
  • Providing the Canadian Television Fund with $200 million in funding over the next two years.

What this means exactly will be the next issue: how does $30 million improve access to Canadian magazines, what strings/conditions are going to be on the New Media and Television Funds? Stay tuned.

P. 25, Canada’s Economic Plan, Jan. 27 2009

Journal de Montreal: Locked out and taking a strike vote

So, they seem to be locked out and the union’s taken a strike vote, but if the company lifts the lockout they’ll go back to work. Think I’ll stop following this one till someone starts making sense.

CP/Canoe, Jan. 26 2009

Publication ban upheld; likely to go to Supreme Court

A publication ban on information at a preliminary hearing in a Toronto case was upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal, which nevertheless made one important distinction in future publication bans — the ban makes sense in a preliminar inquiry that may go to a jury trial, so as not to bias a potential jury, but automatic publication bans are not justified if a case is going to be tried by a judge alone. Balancing the right of a free press/media versus the right of a citizen to a fair trial has always been a thorny issue; at least this ruling provides a bit of clarity (it is up to the accused to choose whether they want a jury trial or trial by judge alone.)

Associated Press, Jan. 26 2009

Or maybe it’s not a lockout after all

It’s not a good day for Canadian Press. Yesterday they reported Quebecor had locked out staff of Le Journal de Montreal. Today, they note that most of the union rejected management’s latest proposal (this type of vote happens before, not after, a lockout). The story notes the usual management-union differences, including that the union doesn’t want to go on strike, but doesn’t mention the word lockout. The headline though, states the union faces a “possible lockout”, which strikes me as CP trying desperately to save face after misreporting this story yesterday.

CP, January 26 2009

Quebecor locks out Le Journal de Montreal

After a 15 month lockout at Le Journal de Quebec, Quebecor is back at it again, this time in Montreal. The issue: multitasking across different media, particularly the internet. Quebecor continues to try to find a way to make convergence work, even though convergence hasn’t worked since it was first conceived ten years ago. This will be interesting to watch; Le Journal itself was launched in the 1960’s after another media labor dispute.

Canadian Press, Jan. 24 2009

French to boost newspaper industry

It’ll never happen here, given the contentious relationship between Steven Harper and the media, but the French gov’t announced yesterday that it will boost its ailing newspaper industry by doubling the gov’ts ad budget, increasing its newspaper subsidy by nine times (to C$111 million) and by buying a free one year mainstream newspaper subscription to every French citizen turning eighteen. Given the number of industries (including the US porn industry) lined up at the gov’t trough for bailouts, this one seems legit: an industry on hard times that nevertheless has a significant social role as well as an economic one.

“It is indeed (the state’s) responsibility … to make sure an independent, free and pluralistic press exists.”

Associated Press/Canoe media, Nov. 24 2009