CP under new ownership

Canadian Press, arguably the most respected news organization in Canada, has new owners, essentially the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and La Presse, which now represents the new board for the venerable news co-operative. Nearly crippled when both the Sun chain and PostMedia withdrew from it and hobbled by a big pension debt, the restructuring essentially buys CP the time it needs to build a better business model. Postmedia has its own services as does the Sun chain (QMI: Quebecor Media) essentially recycling copy from within its chain. The old Southam Press also had a similar service, but was responsible enough to stay part of CP. If either the Sun or Postmedia claim to support and promote journalism, they could demonstrate it by supporting CP, and quality journalism.

Globe and Mail, Nov. 27 2010

Ezra Levant loses libel case

A judge, we’re not sure from which court, has ruled Ezra Levant has defamed a lawyer for the Canadian Human Rights Commission; he was fined $25,o00 and ordered to take his comments off his web site. The judge cited Levant’s “reckless indifference” to accuracy in the case, and noted Levant’s actions don’t fall within the “responsible communications” guidelines of the Supreme Court, like checking for facts. The right has been tilting at human rights commissions for a couple of years, blithely indifferent to the fact that the commissions have to work within the law, and all their decisions are appealable to a true court, protecting citizens from careless decisions or personal crusades.

J-Source, November 23 2010

Globe, UBC in unique partnership

The Globe and Mail continues to experiment with new models of journalism, this time partnering with UBC’s School of Journalism to have the students prepare a web video to complement the Globe’s current series on food. UBC’s already won an Emmy for its international work, pretty good for a student body. Wonder why no other J-schools are being as creative?

UBC, Nov. 22 2010

PKP versus CBC: who’s cheering?

Interesting post from the Globe and Mail describing “war” between media giants Quebecor, led by Pierre Karl Peladeau, and the national broadcaster, the CBC. Turns out Sunmedia doesn’t like the state supported broadcaster (even though it strived mightily for state support to inflict Sun TV on every cable customer). As often happens, the “war” is heavily effected by Quebec’s infernal, eternal debate between nationalists and federalists. As the final comment puts it so eloquently, “this is the kind of war you wish both sides could lose.”

Globe and Mail, Nov. 22 2010

CBC posts new ethical/professional guidelines

CBC has come up with a revised version of its code of practice; most media outlets have something similar. It’ll be interesting to see if CBC lives up to it, particularly accountability and corrections. This page is just the introduction; the links on the left give much more specific direction (e.g. covering politics, youth etc.)

CBC, Nov. 18 2010

Canada leading in open data

According to the Guardian, Canada is leading the world in providing access to open data, with governments here being viewed as more open to public access to the kind of data governments have buckets of: transit information, licensing, property searches etc. And that means more journalists have access to them as well. This fulfills a prediction Computer Assisted Reporters have been making for a few years: don’t just give us access to information, give us access to raw data and let us figure out what it means.

The Guardian, 9 November 2010

A new form of embedding for international journalism

Too often, foreign reporting out side of major capitals consists of sending a crew to a disaster, taking a few shots and some stories, then flying out to the nearest safe haven. The Guardian chose to embed itself in a small Ugandan community for three year, setting up a media centre and generally following the slow pace of development in what used to be called the third world. The Globe and Mail has started a similar project in Haiti. Well worth the read. And Walrus is worth subscribing to. I was skeptical earlier on, but the last two issues show more interesting commentary and excellent writing, on the level of Saturday Night in its better years.

The Walrus, December 2010

Mag copies blog; wants blog to pay

Here’s an odd one. A US cooking magazine lifted an article on applie pie from a cook’s blog and printed it all. When the blogger complained for breach of copyright and demanded payment and an apology, the magazine claimed it’s the blogger who should pay, for the fine work in editing the magazine did. Copyright is attached to any intellectual property; the magazine is trying to  bluff it’s way out, but it should pay up.

QMI/Canoe News, Nov. 5 2010

Ottawa Citizen chops ten editorial positions

The PostMedia buyouts are proceeding, with the Ottawa Citizen taking ten editorial positions out, among 42 in other departments. This is just one of several more cuts coming at PostMedia’s newspapers, making the incredible shrinking newsroom even smaller. How this helps responsible journalism I don’t know. People are always complaining about poor journalism; this isn’t going to help.

J-source, Nov. 1 2010

All publicity is good publicity — sometimes

A study published in the New York Times suggests that sometimes bad publicity — like GAP’s disastrous new logo — can actually be good for a company.  People forget, and sometimes loyalty to a brand overcomes negative publicity on a side issue. Don’t get your hopes up, BP: if you screw up in a big way, you’ll still have a heavy price to pay.


New York Times, Oct. 29 2010