Recent comments

  • 5 fundamentals journalists must understand about Twitter   3 days 20 hours ago

    Did the writer run out of snappy tips. And points 4 and 5 would be...

  • Toronto Star hiring 8 digital journalists at “market-based salaries”   3 days 23 hours ago

    In 2014, all journalism is digital. That the Star (as well as other big urban operations across North America) has chosen this route is actually a backward move that continues the old thinking of siloing job classifications in the newsroom. This brave new world of journalism is looking like the same old, same old.

  • Postmedia posts net loss of $25.3 million in second quarter   1 week 3 days ago

    I've been in numerous dental and medical waiting rooms recently, as well as on buses and (here in Vancouver) the SeaBus. Now, people MAY be reading their news on tablets or smart phones, but the print product is pretty much nowhere to be found. Good for the trees, not good for the bottom line, until ad reps figure out how to effectively sell ad space on mobile platforms (hint: from the sound of it, it's far more difficult than conventional websites. And we've all known how that works out).

  • Why the parliamentary press gallery still matters   1 week 4 days ago

    I'll bite, Bill. How specifically am I wrong when I state that getting quotes from the experts only works when the experts are willing to be interviewed?

    If parlimentarians don't want to be interviewed, then a good journalist must certainly understand the need to access new information from different areas to get the story. 

    Complaining about how unfair the world is won't get the story out Bill. We all need to learn this. 

  • Why the parliamentary press gallery still matters   1 week 4 days ago

    Every time we lose journalists in Ottawa, it seems the government becomes more autocratic. Chuck has it wrong. I want the quotes, pithy or not, from experts. They offer insight to complex questions we need answers to. Quite often, the purpose behind government actions is not clear. 

    There are not a lot of bad journalists out there but there are a lot of good ones. Their stories are not only useful but essential to a healthy democracy. 

    Bill Oates

  • Why the parliamentary press gallery still matters   1 week 5 days ago

    It seems obvious from the above that the parlimentary press gallery only matters because of its direct access to parlimentarians, who provide color for newscasts with direct quotes on the issues of the day.

    But while color is always cool, the grunt work of research, the "digging through stacks of documents, questioning a statement that doesn’t make sense and finding the right expert to shed light on new policies," seems to be something which doesn't require direct access to the personalities normally available through the parlimentary press gallery.

    Only when journalists figure this out and begin to write useful stories which don't require a pithy comment from an assumed expert, will the politicians resume lining up to provide their views.

  • The Golden Age of Journalism? You’ve got to be kidding!   2 weeks 20 hours ago

    Hello James and Paul,

    It’s difficult to know where to start with a rebuttal, or even an assessment, of the above self-described polemic.

    But the statement that “Journalism is not about technology, it’s about reporting,” seems as good of a place as any to start. This statement is almost certainly in error since any reasonable reading of the history of media and journalism will uncover multiple examples of technological constraints which inform, influence and limit media coverage.

    I’d suggest starting with the presentation on “Open Source Journalism” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrRPP8Fqvh4, if you’d like to learn more in this area.

    It’s worth noting that Canadian James Corbett, the author of the presentation cited, works neither in academia or traditional media. 

  • This week in Canadian media history: Voice of Newfoundland joins CBC upon Confederation   2 weeks 2 days ago

    Hi Cynthia, Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We have issued a correction. Best, Tamara Baluja. 

  • This week in Canadian media history: Voice of Newfoundland joins CBC upon Confederation   2 weeks 3 days ago

    While I generally enjoy the historical tidbits of journalism, be it of the broadcast and/or print format, I only wish that those writing the article and especially those posting the articles proofed their copy. For example, in this story, the glaring error is that Newfoundland and Labrador did not join Canada on April1, 1949. The correct date was March 31, 1949. I have included two external links here, one written by (at the time) a history professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Anyone who has read anything substantial about Joey Smallwood would know that he wanted the Newfoundland and Labrador to join shortly before the stroke of midnight of March 31, 1949. Canada History (see last paragraph, states March 31, 1949) http://www.canadahistory.com/sections/eras/the%20peace/Newfoundland.html Newfoundland joins Canada, 1949 (published by Newfoundland history professor Melvin Baker, of Memorial University of Newfoundland) http://www.ucs.mun.ca/~melbaker/confederation1949.htm Best regards, Cynthia Long

  • Updated: Ontario labour ministry cracks down on unpaid internships at Toronto Life, The Walrus   2 weeks 3 days ago

    For decades companies in the arts and media have been maximizing their use of unpaid labour, whether "volunteer work", uncompensated overtime or "internships" that offered no training at all.  It has reached the heights of the absurd.  

    "Interns" routinely get the coffee, run errands,  and do other "jobs" that have little, if anything, to do with the work for which they ostensibly are being trained.  It becomes easy to justify not paying someone who "isn't really working".

    Companies taking advantage of all these energetic young people sell the internship as prestigeous; it certainly will look good (and glamorous) on your c.v. - instead of working at a call centre or as receptionist for a media company, you actually volunteered your time, bless you!

    Look at the "interns" in magazines like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar and Town and Country.  You will find the scions of wealthy families taking the opportunity to meet - and possibly enthrall - "eligible" men.  I haven't checked Canadian mastheads but I wouldn't be surprised to find the same here.  And why not? If it is possible to get one of these jobs while the parents keep you in funds, you'd be an idiot not to use it.

    This leaves the great group of young people who cannot afford to take an internship because they have debts, their parents have debts, and rent is abominably high in those cities in which the media cluster.
     
    Right now, in the US, the highest-paying internships pay astoundingly well.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2014/02/28/the-25-highest-paying-companies-for-interns/

    As for what the interns themselves are thinking and talking about:
    http://www.internassociation.ca/magazine-internships/

  • David Skok: Why the death of the homepage is good for digital journalism   2 weeks 3 days ago

         In terms of the right media doing the right thing at the right time, let me point out something obvious. The transcription of the event should include a transcription of the questions and answers afterwards. To demand that people spend 40 minutes or so visually listening to these and then awkwardly search for the place to switch back to listen again if they missed something the first time, is beyond painful. The printed page is a better way of doing this and this is because the "actuality" of the event doesn't much matter for those who weren't there.

         The content does.

         In the same vein, while tweets let people know about things when the talk is in mid-course, they are useless after it has been given and a written transcript is available. To read them is like believing smokers somehow delight in smoking second hand smoke.

         I say these things and then (somewhat crankily) point out something else obvious. These are exactly the sorts of basic communications verities that journalism schools should be teaching digital journalists.

          

         

         

     

  • Updated: Ontario labour ministry cracks down on unpaid internships at Toronto Life, The Walrus   2 weeks 3 days ago

    Publishers are overreacting to this. It's not the fact that interns are being asked to work for free, it's the duration. Four months of unpaid work or longer is obscene. Six weeks is optimum. Students are graduating with big debts and to expect them to service those debts, pay rent, eat and pay their own commuter costs goes beyond the spirit of internship agreements between colleges and media companies.

  • Are unpaid internships worth it?   2 weeks 4 days ago

    When I graduated from Durham College's journalism program in 1978, my radio station internship in Oshawa lasted six weeks. Today, the journalism program here at Algonquin College has the same requirement, so from a time committment perspective, things haven't changed. Where they have is in the levels of student indebtedness and lack of support/parental resources. Just today, I handed a student $20 to buy gas for his car to get him to his placement. We have a discreet food bank because as OSAP runs out, students stop buying food. This isn't right. Media companies have to understand what they're asking of today's interns, and what these folks are facing; maybe even come up with creative ways to help them make some money while interning. My own placement in 1978 was officially unpaid, but all the radio reporters sent their stale copy via taxi cab (no fax machines or email then) to the Toronto Star for paper publication on its York/Durham page the next day. I got a couple of cheques for my stories and that helped defer the running costs of my car.

  • Are unpaid internships worth it?   2 weeks 4 days ago

    When I graduated from Durham College's journalism program in 1978, my radio station internship in Oshawa lasted six weeks. Today, the journalism program here at Algonquin College has the same requirement, so from a time committment perspective, things haven't changed. Where they have is in the levels of student indebtedness and lack of support/parental resources. Just today, I handed a student $20 to buy gas for his car to get him to his placement. We have a discreet food bank because as OSAP runs out, students stop buying food. This isn't right. Media companies have to understand what they're asking of today's interns, and what these folks are facing; maybe even come up with creative ways to help them make some money while interning. My own placement in 1978 was officially unpaid, but all the radio reporters sent their stale copy via taxi cab (no fax machines or email then) to the Toronto Star for paper publication on its York/Durham page the next day. I got a couple of cheques for my stories and that helped defer the running costs of my car.

  • Remembering Heather Robertson   2 weeks 6 days ago

    What a lovely, moving tribute! Thanks for bringing Heather alive again for me, for a moment.

    Penney

  • Rogers launches Maclean’s on the Hill radio show   3 weeks 3 days ago

    The editorof Maclean's may say he's excited in his news release, but these guys don't look very excited. And doesn't Maclean's let any women cover federal politics?

  • Live blog: Becoming a successful freelance journalist   3 weeks 3 days ago

    When I lived in Vancouver, I left a regional business publication there and began to freelance after about five years of working for newspapers. 

    That first year, my income doubled. Freelance business came to me very easily because I was in a major city where I had acquired a bit of a reputation for writing and editing as a staff journalist. 

    Now, I'm in a very small city in northern New Brunswick with no major media outlets within hours and where the number of moose is perhaps more significant than the number of people.

    How can I freelance successfully from a small city in the hinterland?

     

  • Live blog: Becoming a successful freelance journalist   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Hello

     

  • Book Review: Crazy Town hastily written but a gripping read   4 weeks 3 days ago

    I was in Toronto in November and talked to every cabbie I could. Only one declared Liberal Party worker had a bad thing to say about Ford. The rest, to a man, defended him as their guy.

    While stories about drinking and drugs get reader attention, most people understand that a high percentage of the population abuse alcohol and or drugs. 78% of Canadians used alcholol in the past year, 35% of them abused it according to  CADUMS. Add to that 10% who use Marijuana  and the more than 35% who abuse prescription and over-the-counter drugs and you have a reasonably broad use of mood altering substancs among Canadians. Obviously, most people are using something or know someone who is.

    I am not defending Rob Ford but the media coverage is a bit of a double standard. Will the media start reporting on their own mood altering substance use/abuse?

  • Toronto Star builds technology to post professional camera photos instantly on live blogs   4 weeks 4 days ago

    While this is a wonderful capability that the folks at TS have built, the capability it is not new and definitely not first. I have been following and sometimes promoting the progress of Paul Nolan's "CameraSecura" technology for several years. It bolts onto the bottom of the camera (Nikon/Canon pro gear) and will place pictures in front of editors faster than anything currently available. Thumbnails in sub-seconds, full res megabit files in seconds.  I'm not going to make a commercial here for Paul, but his product will absolutely put the shooter who has it infront of all others who do not.

  • «La carte interactive des pédophiles déforme la réalité»   5 weeks 1 day ago

    Étant responsable de l'enregistrement des délinquants sexuels habitant mon territoire, je trouve désolant de constater le manque d'objectivité et de professionalisme de certains journalistes. Est-ce par ignorance ou tout simplement par volonté ? Ces derniers jours certains journalistes semblent s'être engagés dans une chasse aux sorcières, sans vraiment effectuer le processus de rigueur que requiert la profession de journaliste. Les reportages récents invoquent la nécessité d'une carte interactive pour identifier les ''pédophiles'' en liberté dans nos villes.  Je suis certes pour une telle procédure, mais avant tout il faudrait autant encadrer cette carte, tout comme il faut encadrer ces prédateurs et le risque qu'ils posent pour nos enfants.

    À la lueur des reportages sur ces cartes interactives, on constate que les journalistes ont définitivement manisfesté peut de rigueur, bien que le travail accompli a été giganteste pour rassembler ces données. Le problème est qu'un tel processus risque de provoquer autant de réaction de panique dans la société et des geste répréhensibles que de bénéfices. À ce titre, nous n'avons qu'à nous reférer sur nos voisin américains où des homicides (lynchages) ont été perpétrés à la suite d'une consultation des régistres en place. Le citoyen normal, peut renseigné (ou plutot mal renseigné) et plus souvent qu'autrement peut rationnel mais plus émotionnel, le Registre national des délinquants sexuels n'est qu'exclusivement un registre spécifique aux ''pédophiles'' alors que ce n'est absolument pas le cas. Bien que les cartes n'offrent pas la possibilité de voir afficher les noms des individus, force est de constater que dans certains cas, il ne faut pas être devin pour parvenir à localiser le sujet potentiel avec les outils Google.

    Les cartes interactives présentées par les journalistes nous montrent le nombre d'individus associés à un délit à conotation sexuel. Le problème de ces cartes, elles ne font aucune distinction entre le pédophile agresseur d'enfants, l'individu adulte sous accusation pour un délit sexuel envers un adulte mais dont un procès n'a pas encore conclu à sa culpabilité, et tout autre individu accusé mais dont le dossier a été ''rejeté'' par le tribunal (arrêt des procédures, acquittement, etc).

    Dans une société où il ne se passe pas une journée sans qu'un citoyen ne vienne revendiquer la violation d'un droit garanti par nos chartes, en quoi la présente situation permettrait justement de passer outre ces garantis fondamentales? Dans votre article, Monsieur Pigeon allègue que dans 90% des cas, les individus avaient été trouvés coupables (j'en doute si on fait comparaison des chiffres du CQEDS), alors que 10% ne l'était pas. Selon son interprétation, c'est comme de dire ''pas grave, il est accusé, il sera déclaré coupable donc on publie ses coordonnées''. À ce constat, monsieur Pigeon ou tout autre chasseur de sorcière serait-il prêt à prendre le blâme ou la responsabilité si une des personne étant partie de ce 10% subissait un préjudice injustement à cause d'une carte mal répertoriée ? Pourtant, et comme cela semble la règle chez certains journaliste, ce n'est pas ce dernier qui admettrait dans un reportage s'être trompé ou avoir rapporté des détails erronés.  Et que fait-on de l'adage où l'on disait que ''mieux vaut remettre en liberté un coupable que de condamner un inocent'' ?

     

  • Star public editor: Should the Star publish anonymous letters?   5 weeks 2 days ago

    I'm totally against anonymous letters to the editor. Opening the door to anonymity is a slippery slope where people will think they escape scrutiny.

    For those who think that anonymity allows voices to be heard that otherwise might not be heard, I don't believe that. There are people who have the guts to put their name to what they say. While there may not be a lot of them, they exist. Hiding behind anonymity increases the chance that what's written may be embellished or fictionalized.

    When I read an anonymous piece of writing, I wonder, what interests does this "person" have vested in what they've written. 

    I worked for an editor who wrote fake letters to the editor, praising himself and slamming others. He created fake names, and because he was the editor, had the ability to say the letters were verified. Letters to the editor are one part of a publication that require careful and thorough handling. In the digital age, where bots and avatars freely roam, readers must be certain that what they're reading in a publication such as The Toronto Star is credible.

     

  • Star public editor: Should the Star publish anonymous letters?   5 weeks 3 days ago

    Kathy:

    Publish anonymous letters.  So much anononimity exists (and so much is possible) on social media that it now makes no difference.  Should a person with an opinion choose to be identified or not, so be it.  The Star is perfectly capapble and justified in choosing to publish opinions - however worded and for whatever reason - or not, depending entirely on the editor's decision which may or may not be influenced by her/his publisher's policies, political, religious, whatever.  It's now wide open.

    So sorry you chose not to publish this LTE - probably an eye opener for many, and fear of reprisal from corporate and/or government bullying as a reason for anonymity is entirely justifiable.  Publish it - go back a few days and publish it - publish examples of racism, hatred, stupidity, heroism, common sense, political extremism, the bizarre, the insane, humanity, inhumanity.  I want it ALL - I want to read, think, and decide.  Do ANY of your readers think otherwise, I wonder?

     

    Robert J. Pisko

    Blairmore, Alberta

  • Maclean’s website gets responsive design makeover   5 weeks 3 days ago

    It's a start but the site is still "under construction". The mobile site takes more than 10 seconds to load on either an iPhone or Windows Phone. The pages do not resize automatically with word wrap and the font is too small. The featured images are so large, a single story takes more than one mobile screen to see.

    To test my personal experience, I ran http://macleans.ca on Google's PageSpeed Insights, one of the industry tools that tests mobile site and desktop site performance.

    The mobile site rated a dismal 17 out of 100 and the regular site failed the test.

    On webpagetest.org, the page took 17.984 seconds to load. They have some problems to fix.

    The rogers.ca home site is not much better. Too slow to load and far too cluttered on the standard smartphone.

    The whole industry is struggling with the rapid move to mobile technology. Two years ago publishers were encouraged to their own app for mobile. The cost and effort to develop an app for Apple, Android, Windows on various screen sizes is a daunting task for largest and most technically advanced companies. 

    Personally, I'd rather use sites that are HTML5 compliant. They tend to be more responsive to various operating systems, browsers and screen sizes.

     

     

  • Toronto Star builds technology to post professional camera photos instantly on live blogs   5 weeks 3 days ago

    This is an interesting adaptation for a DLSR but probably not the best solution vis a vis cost and technology. A Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone has a 41 MP camera, with editing tools and instant connection the to internet with 4G. The 41MP image allows the editor to zoom in without loss of resolution. It also takes HD video, has a camera grip and professional accessories. National Geographic and other professional photographers have used it successfully on shoots. The newer Lumia 1520 has a lesser 20MP camera with a 6" screen for better editing and has 2 hi-def microphones that produce professional level HD video. Both cameras cost less than $1,000.