CBC survey shows much disgruntlement

A survey of CBC radio reporters shows that the troops are getting restless. While there are a few signs of hope, a lot of complaints come from reporters about the quality of the news they offer and the change in corporate culture. One thing needs to be considered before reading this: as one of my old journalism profs once put it: ” Bill, I’ve never met a happy reporter…”

J-source, April 22 2010

Tories whack CBC

And this time they might have a good reason. The Toronto Sun reports that CBC’s pollster is straying into giving political advice to the national broadcaster, whose president happens to be a prominent Liberal fundraiser. This one should be fun; it feeds the long-held Conservative belief that the CBC is a pack of effete, liberal, eastern snobs, while it shows the Liberals trying to write off the Tories as gun-toting Sarah Palin supporters. Let the games begin.

Toronto Sun April 23 2010

When is a SLAPP not a SLAPP?

Big debate in legal and activist circles about SLAPPs — Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. These are essentially frivolous lawsuits launched by big business trying to squash local opposition to a project, for example, a mining firm launching a $5 million suit for defamation when they’ve been criticized for a project, even if the criticism is fair comment. However, facing the legal costs of fighting such a suit is daunting enough for some people to back down. Twenty two states and Quebec have legislation against SLAPP’s. This article looks at both sides of the issue, the other sides companies having to spend big bucks on frivolous charges from environmental groups determined to block a project at all costs.

Vancouver Sun, April 22 2010

World media complain about Obama’s overcontrol

Well, Obama got a pretty easy ride from media during the campaign, but now that he’s president, he’s showing Harperish control freakĀ  behavior toward media. After the recent nuclear summit, media from around the globe complained about lack of access to information and Obama’s control tactics. Wonder what effect this will have on his popularity ratings? Harper’s control tactics have kept him stuck in a minority position for five years, so it doesn’t look to good for Obama. Most politicians are wary of media, but smart ones like Kennedy and Reagan used their considerable personal charm to get them on side.

Washington Post, April 14, 2010

Community newspapers thriving

A study from Thompson Rivers University points out that despite all the gloom about daily newspapers, community weeklies are thriving, for three reasons: near monopoly locally and a close relationship with the local business community. They’re often uncritical of local affairs, to the point of boosterism, and obsessively local in their coverage, leaving metro, provincial, national and international news to the dailies, unless there is a direct local connection.

J-Source, April 13 2010

Defamation laws get deeper into Net

A Halifax judge has ruled that Google and a weekly newspaper have to turn over names and accounts of people who posted comments on a story in the paper about racism in the fire department. The fire chief and other senior fire officials want to pursue legal action against some of the people who submitted comments on-line about the story. The issue isn’t the story; it’s the comments readers posted in response to it. There’s always been a bit of juvenalia in these post, seen in comments like “(insert name of hockey player here) YouSuck! they should put you and you’re stupid family back on the boat to Russia.” A lot more media these days are moderating these comments, for these reasons; everyone on the net should be moderating feedback to their comments.

Justice Heather Robertson of Nova Scotia Supreme Court swiftly granted the uncontested application Wednesday, noting the Internet shouldn’t provide any cover from legal actions.

The Canadian Press, April 14 2010

Debate rages about future (?) of CAJ

Well that started a lively bun toss in media land. The Canadian Association of Journalists sent an open letter to the world through J-Source and other media, noting they are in financial crisis. That set off a firestorm of response, criticism, ideas and complaints from media land that are worth a look in terms of understanding some of the many issues facing journalism today. My favorite is the response from the beleaguered community newspaper guys, working 70 hours a week for peanuts (I share the experience), in which the relevance of CAJ is moot.

J-Source, April 13 2010

First Pulitzer to a media website

The media site ProPublica won a Pulitzer for its coverage of a medical clinic post Katrina in New Orleans. ProPublica is a non profit site, and the article was done in conjunction with the New York Times Magazine, so it’s not as standalone a site as The Tyee seems to be. Anyway, a milestone; at long last is the web going to live up to its promise as a medium for real news?

Washington Post, April 12 2010

CAJ in crisis: CAJ

An open letter from theĀ  Canadian Journalism Association’s Mary Agnes Welch puts it bluntly: the CAJ is in danger of folding due to a more than one-third drop in membership and a decline in corporate sponsorship. It’s grim reading, but worth it. CJA may find itself in CP’s position; having to reinvent itself and come up with more sources of revenue relating to selling its services.

J-Source, April 6 2010

Supreme Court to look at hyperlinking and defamation

The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear a case of defamation, on the issue of whether a blogger who hyperlinks to a defamatory site is also guilty of defamation. According to my brief study of media law, it should be clear cut: yes. Under current law, anyone, and any media, which repeats a defamatory statement is also guilty of defamation. Hence, when a defamatory statement is made, or felt to be made, libel lawyers will sue the origin of the defamation, and every media outlet that carries or repeats the defamation. Should be the same for bloggers; we are responsible for what we write.

Canada.com, April 1 2010