Media

About Ezra Levant’s Clip of Cheering Journalists at UN Climate Talks. Those Aren’t Reporters and That’s Not The Press Room

Canadian conservative commentator and climate science denialist Ezra Levant has won his battle with the United Nations to have staff from his media outlet accredited  to cover climate talks starting next week in Morocco.

Three staffers from Levant’s online outlet, The Rebel, were initially denied media accreditation for the COP22 talks in Marrakesh, after the UN described Rebel as “advocacy media”. The Financial Post is reporting that the UN has granted Rebel two spots, but Rebel is pushing back for a third.

Ian Gill: Fearless Journalism Essential to Democracy

Canada’s media industries are in a tailspin. As many as 10,000 journalists have lost their jobs in the past decade and newsroom closures or contractions are an almost weekly fact of life across the country. In a new book, No News Is Bad News: Canada’s Media Collapse — And What Comes Next, veteran reporter Ian Gill chronicles a decline that is bad for democracy. Then again, the collapse of mainstream media is making room for new, mostly online journalism to flourish. Gill generously counts DeSmog Canada among the bright lights of Canada’s new journalism. Here are a few telling excerpts from his book:

Journalists aren’t easy to love. They are less trusted than police, schools, banks, and the justice system, and only marginally more trusted than federal Parliament and corporations. But what journalists do is important, and it isn’t just the business of rooting out liars, holding policy-makers accountable, probing the public accounts, championing the underdogs, or hounding the overlords. It is all of those things, but it is more importantly the practice of using stories as a way to help people make sense of their world…

DeSmog Canada Named as Finalist for Two Canadian Online Publishing Awards

The 2016 finalists for the Canadian Online Publishing Awards have been announced and Tweet: .@DeSmogCanada Nominated for 2 Canadian Online Publishing Awards alongside @MacleansMag @HuffPostCanada @TorontoStar http://bit.ly/2cqQQNbDeSmog Canada has made the cut in two categories — alongside Maclean’s Magazine, the Toronto Star, The Huffington Post, the Winnipeg Free Press and the National Observer.

In the Best Blog category, DeSmog Canada is nominated for its coverage of the indigenous youth suicide epidemic and its relationship to natural resource development.

Also featured in the nomination is DeSmog Canada’s coverage of the Mount Polley mine disaster and the provincial government’s failure to levy any charges or fines against the company responsible and our coverage of Canada’s enormous untapped geothermal energy potential.

In the Best Video Content category, Disturbing the Peace: The Story of the Site C Dam has been selected as a finalist.

Black Press Keeps Buying and then Closing Small B.C. Papers. Why?

By Megan Devlin for J-Source, the Canadian Journalism Project.

Eric Plummer, editor of the Alberni Valley Times, remembers the day last September when two representatives from Black Press told him his paper was closing.
 
“They came in, I think it was like 4:00 or 4:30,” he said. “I don’t think that we’d even finished the paper yet, actually.”
 
The daily paper, which served the 25,000 people of Alberni Valley on Vancouver Island from 1967 to 2015, was one of 11 British Columbia community newspapers that Black Press bought from Glacier Media in 2014.
 
“I won’t contend that the paper wasn’t losing money,” Plummer said. “I think at that point I was just so hellbent on keeping the paper going that I refused to believe that we were going to be dying just yet.”
 
On Oct. 9, 2015, Plummer published the paper’s last edition.

DeSmog Canada Named as Finalist for Canadian Online Publishing Award

DeSmog Canada has been named as a finalist for “Best News Coverage” by the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.

The awards recognize the best of the country’s online publishing and are judged by a panel of experts from Canada and the U.S.

The other finalists in the “Best News Coverage” category are The Globe and Mail, CBC News, Macleans Magazine and The Huffington Post Canada.

On the Frontlines of the Hashtag Wars: Enbridge, Tim Hortons and #BoycottTims

Tim Hortons Coffee Cup

On the same day that Bill C51 was set for a final vote in the Senate, the Canadian internet erupted into a storm of angry tweets. The message was clear: you can take our freedom, but you can never tell our Timmies not to run ads for Enbridge.

Timmies is, of course, Tim Hortons coffee, the venerable Canadian institution whose coffee and donuts have become so inseparable from the Canadian identity that Prime Minister Stephen Harper once famously blew off going to the UN for a coffee at Timmies instead. Tim Hortons has exactly the kind of patriotic sheen to it that CAPP is hoping will rub off on its ‘Raise Your Hand’ campaign.

Last week, Enbridge pipelines announced on its blog that it would be showing its latest ads on Tim’s TV (the flatscreen televisions behind the service counter). Almost immediately, online activists seized on the opportunity.

SumOfUs, an organization that rallies public pressure to encourage companies to adopt sustainable business practices, encouraged Tim Hortons to cancel an advertising buy from Enbridge, the company trying to build public support for the Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. coast. 

When Journalists Get Mad

I’m mad as Hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

That was how some journalists seemed to respond last week to an open letter I wrote about how government communications staff are helping to kill democracy.

But, if we want to save it, we’re going to need to do more than just throw open our windows, stick our heads out and yell about the non-answers we often get from those spin doctors.

In that letter, which was published in J-Source, The Tyee, DeSmog Canada and the Yukon News, I wrote about how those non-answers are actually a refusal to “provide the public with information. And if the public doesn’t know what their government is actually doing, it can continue doing things the public wouldn’t want it to do.”

Those words were shared on Facebook and retweeted hundreds of times, with one reporter in the Yukon stating, “I think it’s fair to say the frustration levels of journalists in this country are rising.”

Sun News Network Shut Down After Four-Year Controversial Run

Sun News went dark Friday, not with a bang but a whimper.

The Sun News television channel faded to black at 5 a.m. eastern time with no on-air announcement, the screen simply reading, “Sun News Network is no longer available, at the discretion of the programmer. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope you will continue to value all the channels included in your package.”

The network, which has been at the centre of much controversy since its inception in 2011, provided right-leaning news and opinion in the style of the U.S.'s Fox News, earning the nickname “Fox News North.”

Faced with annual losses of $20 million and with no new buyers on the horizon, “there was no alternative to closing Sun News,” a Sun Media Corp. press release said. In October 2014 Postmedia News purchased Sun News papers but declined to purchase the television channel. 

Critics Question Whether News Canada, a Federally Funded Wire Service, Disseminates Pro-Government Propaganda

Forget press releases. Forget press agents, publicists. Forget advertorials and sponsored content and native content. Forget all of it.

If what you want for your company, your government bureau, is total control of a news story, why bother with the pesky journalists who are going to check the facts and get the other side of the story?

No. Here’s what you do: write your own news story.”

That’s the sardonic strategy Jesse Brown, reporter and host of Canadaland, recently outlined on a show dedicated to News Canada, a federally-funded public relations body and news wire service which was recently awarded $1.25 million to distribute hand-out news content meant to “inform and educate Canadians on public issues.”

The story of News Canada receiving a 25 per cent increase in government funding from Public Works Canada was first reported by Blacklock’s Reporter Tom Korski.

News Canada Ltd. president Shelly Middlebrook told Korski the service provides content to media editors and that “journalists either pick it up or they don’t.”

Postmedia Could Soon Own Almost Every English Newspaper in Canada: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Newspaper boxes in Calgary

Postmedia has struck a $316 million deal to buy 175 of Quebecor’s English-language newspapers, specialty publications and digital properties, including the Sun chain of papers, according to a report in the Globe and Mail this morning.

If it passes regulatory hurdles, the deal will mark a step further down the path of media concentration in Canada.

What does this mean for Canadians in practical terms?

In Calgary, for instance, the Calgary Sun would be owned by the same company as the Calgary Herald. In Toronto, the Toronto Sun and 24 Hours would be owned by the same company as the National Post. In Ottawa, the Ottawa Sun would be owned by the same company as the Ottawa Citizen. And in Edmonton, the Edmonton Sun would be owned by the same company as the Edmonton Journal.

It’s Vancouver that takes the cake for media concentration though — Postmedia already owned the Vancouver Sun and The Province, but if the deal goes through it will take over the free daily 24 Hours as well.

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