TorStar for sale?

Will the Toronto Star, Canada’s biggest newspaper, be in play on the stock market? The Globe and Mail’s Grant Robertson and Gordon Pitts examine that question in a piece about how some of the heirs of the family trust — the Thalls — plan to sell. Earlier, the TorStar had a (remarkably) small story about the issue.

Could the TorStar’s Atkinson Principles go the way of the once-vaunted independence of the Wall Street Journal? Hard to imagine. But until this summer, the very idea that the venerable Wall Street Journal could fall into the hands of global press baron Rupert Murdoch was unthinkable, preposterous even. 
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Media have tribes?

The latest Pew Research Center study on how Americans regard their news media will be a downer for many professional journalism: distrust, division and the emergence of media tribes. I suspect a similar Canadian study would have similar results.

An excerpt from the study:

The American public continues to fault news organizations for a number of perceived failures, with solid majorities criticizing them for political bias, inaccuracy and failing to acknowledge mistakes. But some of the harshest indictments of the press now come from the growing segment that relies on the internet as its main source for national and international news.

The internet news audience – roughly a quarter of all Americans – tends to be younger and better educated than the public as a whole. People who rely on the internet as their main news source express relatively unfavorable opinions of mainstream news sources and are among the most critical of press performance. As many as 38% of those who rely mostly on the internet for news say they have an unfavorable opinion of cable news networks such as CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC, compared with 25% of the public overall, and just 17% of television news viewers.

The internet news audience is particularly likely to criticize news organizations for their lack of empathy, their failure to “stand up for America,” and political bias. Roughly two-thirds (68%) of those who get most of their news from the internet say that news organizations do not care about the people they report on, and 53% believe that news organizations are too critical of America. By comparison, smaller percentages of the general public fault the press for not caring about people they report on (53%), and being too critical of America (43%).

Hat tip: Janet Tate’s press notes, Society of Professional Journalists
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CP reporters win justice award

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Jim Bronskill and Sue Bailey, both Canadian Press reporters, won the Justicia Award for excellence in print journalism, for a five-part series about mentally ill people within Canada’s justice system. The award, which recognizes outstanding journalism on the legal profession, is sponsored by the Canadian Bar Association and the federal department of Justice, noted a CP story. Read the Canadian Bar Association press release for more information on all Justicia Award winners.
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Canadian-Somalian journalists killed

A report by the CBC  says two journalists killed in Somalia today had lived in Ottawa before returning to Somalia in 1999 to help build an independent press.

There are numerous reports that Mahad Ahmed Elmi and Ali Iman Sharmarke were the targets of deliberate attacks in Mogadishu on Saturday. They operated Horn Afrik Media Company, which CBC noted was “a station that has criticized both the government and Islamic militants in Somalia.” At least two other journalists were also injured, in the latest of a wave of violence against media in which six journalists have died this year.

Here’s a Reuter’s report on the Globe and Mail site.

Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow, who knew both of the journalists, said in a story on that organization’s web site, “Moments before Ali Imam was killed, he had told journalists about the movements silencing the Somali media who were talking about the poor conditions for Somali people today … Pressure has been mounting on Somali journalists. They have been victimised for not reporting on the issues of interest to certain groups.”

Here’s an excerpt of a press release calling for “international action” to confront the targeting and killing of journalists in Somalia, from the International Federation of Journalists:

The International Federation of Journalist (IFJ) has demanded urgent international action to confront the targeting and killing of journalists in Somalia following a brutal double attack in which one media chief was shot dead and another killed only hours later in a car bombing while returning from the funeral of the first victim.


“These savage killings are an indicator of the perilous conditions facing journalists in Somalia, where political chaos and lawlessness threatens all independent journalism,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “It’s time for the international community to focus again on the crisis in Somalia. So long as journalists are targeted no-one is safe.”

Reporters Without Borders “expressed horror at the murder today of two well-known Somali journalists – Radio Capital Voice director Mahad Ahmed Elmi, shot dead on his way to work in Mogadishu, and Ali Iman Sharmarke, director of Horn Afrik, killed by a bomb soon afterwards. Six media workers have been killed in Somalia so far this year.”

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Ethics in the age of digital photography

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“One of the major problems we face as photojournalists is that the public is losing faith in us,” writes John Long, co-chair of the U.S. National Press Photographers Association ethics committee.

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Fake or photo? Take the challenge

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Do you think you know what’s real? The Fake or Photo website offers a test of your ability to tell digital creations apart from reality. A sobering experience for photo editors!

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Reuters’ “sinking feeling”

Busted by a 13-year old.


After a boy in Finland noticed pictures carried by Reuters looked like subs in the movie Titanic, the news agency was forced to admit the provenance of the images. Reported the Guardian: “footage it released last week purportedly showing Russian submersibles on the seabed of the North Pole actually came from the movie Titanic.”

Here’s the Guardian story. (Free, but registration needed)

Rubbing salt in the wound, the Guardian added:

The incident is doubly embarrassing for the agency since it follows a case in August last year in which it published an image by a freelancer of Israeli bombings in Lebanon that had been dramatised using photo manipulation, with the addition of smoke rising from allegedly burning buildings.

After that gaffe, Reuters promised to tighten up its controls on material being put out in its name.

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MédiaMatinQuébec sur la Toile

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Isabelle Porter, Le Devoir

Québec — Les employés en lock-out du Journal de Québec ont lancé hier une version Internet du MédiaMatinQuébec, le journal qu’ils publient depuis le début du conflit de travail à la fin d’avril. L’entrée en scène de ce nouveau moyen de pression survient au terme d’un mois sans aucun échange entre les deux parties.

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Le mépris non; le respect oui

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La rédaction, MédiaMatin

Mine de rien, l’équipe de MédiaMatinQuébec a distribué, hier matin, le trois millionième exemplaire du quotidien que les travailleurs offrent en cadeau à la population de Québec depuis le 24 avril.

Quebecor est lente à comprendre qu’elle ne gagne rien à faire perdurer le conflit qu’elle a elle-même provoqué et planifié de longue date. Le Journal de Québec souffre terriblement de la situation actuelle.

*Le journal gratuit est maintenant offert sur Internet en format PDF :

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Quand Quebecor prend des airs de Big Brother

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La rédaction, MédiaMatin

Quebecor est-elle en train de dicter à la région de Québec quoi lire, quoi écouter, quoi regarder et, qui sait, veut-elle influencer suffisamment la population pour l’inciter à consommer ou penser comme elle le veut, voire élire qui elle veut?

Les expériences récentes des syndiqués du Journal de Québec en conflit, qui se sont lancés dans l’aventure de MédiaMatinQuébec, donnent à penser que Quebecor du XXIe siècle commence à ressembler au Big Brother de 1984, écrit par George Orwell.

Il y a quelques semaines, lors du Festival d’été de Québec, nos journalistes de MédiaMatinQuébec se sont fait refuser des entrevues par certains artistes qui, proches de Musicor ou de Quebecor d’une façon ou d’une autre, craignaient les pressions de la multinationale s’ils montraient de l’empathie ou même simplement de l’ouverture pour MédiaMatinQuébec.

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