Sun “expands” by firing three reporters

For al the blah blah coming out about a Fox North right wing television channel that will be foisted onto us as part of a basic  cable package, the Sun quietly let go three experienced reporters from Ottawa. The ongoing CanWest soap opera has overshadowed the fact that the Sun chain is far more vulnerable, essentially being propped up by Videotron cable. I wonder how long Quebecor shareholders are going to support a money losing newspaper chain as part of the company.

J-Source, June 18 2010

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Fox News North to be foisted on cable subscribers

Not as much attention is being paid to how Pierre Karl Peladeau plans to organize and finance his conservative all news tv network: he wants CRTC to classify it Category 1, so that it is mandatory in every cable package. With content that will reflect that of Sun newspapers, which consumers are rejecting in droves, this new beast would never take off unless it was heavily subsidized by we, the hapless cable subscribers. How about this CRTC: scrap all categories, and let subscribers subscribe only to those channels they want. You want the 500 channel universe, you got it. However, the reality is that most TV viewers watch six to eight channels regularly, and this would kill a lot of overspecialized tv channels. On the other hand, would anyone seriously miss Fisshing TV?

Financial Post, June 16 2010

OECD study on newspapers: good news, bad news

The National Post cherry-picked one quote from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Economic Development (OECD)¬† to put a positive spin on the future of newspapers: “Newspapers ‘here to stay’: OECD study”, but the facts in the study are decidedly more mixed. Canadian newspaper revenue fell 17 per cent between 2007 and 2009 (the US decline was even more dramatic: 30 per cent decline), the developing world is showing the most growth (good if you live in Uganda) and in some OECD countries (unnamed, but likely western European) the situation is “alarming.” The upside is that other revenue streams are starting to show up; the New York Times in my opinion reflects this best: trying to charge for Internet access at the beginning, reversing that in the face of web culture that everything is free, now going back to a subscriber based system next year as web culture matures and more users recognize they are paying for stuff on the and popular web sites like Wikipedia and Youtube have revenue issues that may result in their demise. Worth a look, but don’t be fooled by newspaper headlines.

National Post, June 15 2010

Supreme Court supports media bans on bail hearings

The Supreme Court, which is doing a lot of media judgements lately, has ruled that a defendant who asks for a media ban on bail hearing must be supported. It’s a bit of an odd one; sometimes police will hold news conferences trumpeting their latest breakthrough, giving out details on the case, then the defendant can order media to clam up on details of the case later. Anyway, the Supremes came down onthe rights of the defendant over the rights of the media.

The bans “avert the disclosure of untested prejudicial information; in other words, to guarantee as much as possible trial fairness and fair access to bail,” she wrote. “Although not a perfect outcome, the mandatory ban represents a reasonable compromise.”

CBC, June 10 2010