Torstar makes money for fourth quarter in a row

I’ve always thought that the Toronto Star was the bellwether of Canadian newspapers, given its position as the number one newspaper in the largest and most competitive newspaper market in the country, Toronto. Four quarters is good, even though the ad revenue isn’t what it used to be, and likely never will be again with Craigslist et al eating into classified ads. A good chunk of Torstar’s profitability of a long overlooked newspaper market, its community weeklies, most of which operate as local monopolies.

Globe and Mail, July 29 2010

A brief diatribe against Postmedia editorial policy

So, I open up the business section of today’s (Wed. July 21) Regina Leader Post, and what do I see: a reprint from Saturday July 17’s National Post. Not only is it dated, it also sucks up a whole page of newsprint that could have better been spent on local business news (and local business is booming, thank you.) Not only do I reject old news, I challenge Postmedia’s business strategy: surely they want people to buy their local daily as well as the national one, but why bother buying the national when you’re just going to get reprints from the national anyway, not just in business but in sports, news and commentary? Do these guys have a strategy, or are they just trying to save money by recycling old news?

Press councils on the decline, maybe on the verge

Press councils are voluntary groups supported by newspapers, which allow citizens to complain about coverage and if their view is upheld, get written retractions pointing out the flaws of the original story. Great idea, but if you don’t have Postmedia, the Sun chain and now Quebecor involved, don’t really count for much. They’ve never been extensively used, but at least they were there as an option to complain about newspaper coverage. If they’re gone, that’s one option less for the citizen to press for accurate coverage.

J-source, July 20 2010

Globe shows Postmedia how to do multimedia news

The Globe proudly reports today its been nominated for an Emmy award in the category of new approaches to news and documentary programming, along with the New York Times, Reuters, San Jose Mercury News and, for its multimedia series Behind the Veil, and investigation into womens’ lives in Afghanistan. The Globe’s multimedia team assembled reporters, photographers, interpreters, web designers etc. to create a six part series featured in the newspaper of course, but simultaneously launched on a website with opportunities for extended interviews, new interviews of commentary in response to the story, and community outreach, that lasted far longer than the newspaper features.

So, Postmedia is back where it was 12 years ago, handing out camcorders to print reporters, suggesting they shoot something and put it up on the web, primarily it seems as an afterthought. The Globe and others are pushing the boundaries of technology to enhance and expand traditional newspaper storytelling and journalism, while Postmedia still seems to be stuck in the technological dark ages.

Globe and Mail, July 16 2010

CRTC to Sun News: HAH!

Her’s something you don’t see every day in this space: Let’s hear it for the CRTC! Yes, today the regulator told Sun TV it would not accept its application for a Category 1 license – forcing the new channel to be carried on every cable package across the country, a de facto tax on consumers raking in millions for Sun TV for the pleasure of having neocon political philosophy rammed down our throats. Don’t mind if the neocons get their own channel, but the neocons should pay for it. The CRTC suggested Sun TV do what everyone else does: get a basic licence, then negotiate with carriers how to carry it. Could be as popular as the all fishing channel….

Report on Business, July 16 2010

Gazoo drops Sunday edition

The Montreal Gazette (Gazoo to Aislin) announced it’s dropping its Sunday edition in August. Is this the first great step of the day old PostMedia, cutting back (again.) With the National Post dropping its Monday edition this summer, for the second year in a row, is this the dawning of the Tuesday to Saturday newspaper (which some US papers have done, sometimes going to three or four “dailies” a week.

CBC, July 16 2010

“More of the same but better”: new business motto at Postmedia

Well, here we go again. Postmedia pres Paul Godfrey is moving news into the internet age, arming reporters with mincameras (hope he actually trains them in videography; the Aspers just dumped cameras on reporters’ desks and told them to go out and shoot) and multitasking them. Didn’t we hear all this in 2000? At least he didn’t use the phrase convergence, but the same bilge is there: multiple platforms, advanced deadlines. And in his pic he’s looking more like Izzy Asper than ever before.

National Post, July 14 2010

A cautionary tale on trusting reporters, particularly the nice ones

Paul Wells has a blog on the McCrystal affair, citing the Esquire author’s triumphant note that because he’s a freelancer, not a regular, he doesn’t have to worry about cultivating relationships with sources; he can just burn them down and move on to the next job (though why anyone else would ever want to talk to him after this is beyond me.) Anyway, a cautionary¬† tale: it’s usually the nicest reporters who are most manipulative, the ones who just say they want to tell the world your story. Keep your guard up at all times, and remember Joan Didion’s words: a writer will always sell you out.

MacLean’s, June 22 2010

Quebecor, CTV in CRTC tangle

Quebecor is trying to get the CRTC to whack CTV over its choice of programming (not Canadian enough) on the latter’s A channel affiliates, the ones that mainly show movies and satisfy CRTC Canadian content by loading up on local news. Not that it’s a bad thing, but CRTC is looking for more Canadian drama, comedy etc. than just news. More likely corporate posturing than anything else, but with TV ad revenue down significantly this year, all options are being explored to ram the enemy.

Sun media, July 12 2010

The other Black kills two BC dailies

After Black Press bought a BC chain of papers, it announced that two dailies would die this fall: Nelson Daily News and Prince Albert Daily News. Kind of glad Black Press didn’t take over the CanWest dailies.

J-Source, July 6 2010