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Alberta Politics: Trading press barons for social media behemoths: not an improvement for people who want news

PHOTOS: The Calgary Herald newsroom, back in the day. (Photo grabbed from Facebook, of course.) It’s quieter, nowadays. Below: Brodie Fenlon, managing editor of CBCNews.ca, and Gillian Steward, former managing editor of the Herald. I have bad news for you, people: mainstream media in Alberta is a trainwreck! Of course, if you were paying attention, . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Trading press barons for social media behemoths: not an improvement for people who want news

In-Sights: Andrew Nikiforuk on LNG

There is an important article by Andrew Nikiforuk at The Tyee. He recaps work from various sources, in ways that are so indisputable that even the BC Liberal “Social Media Interns” and trolls have taken cover, at least in the first 75 comments. Perhaps… . . . → Read More: In-Sights: Andrew Nikiforuk on LNG

A Different Point of View....: Don’t weep for censoring, right-wingPostmedia newspapers

Another 90 dedicated journalists in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa lost their jobs Tuesday as cutthroat Publisher Paul Godfrey slashed away again in an effort to turn Postmedia into a profit-making business. 

In a bizarre move, two competing papers will continue to be separate entities, but there will be one set of editors and most journalists will be shared.

Paul Godfrey – CEO Postmedia Corp

In Vancouver, the Sun and The Province will come under one roof. In Edmonton, the Journal and the Sun will come together; in Calgary, the Calgary Herald and the Sun; and in Ottawa, The Ottawa Citizen and the Sun.

This latest maneuver, in effect, reduces the four cities to print media monopolies. Even as weak as the original Postmedia and Sun papers were, they still competed with each other. Now the same editors will assign reporters from both papers.

Competition Bureau screwed up

This fiasco is possible because the Competition Bureau was wrong in allowing Postmedia to buy the Sun chain less than a year ago. Godfrey had promised the Bureau he would run two separate chains, but this hybrid arrangement clearly violates the spirt of Godfrey’s promise.

Godfrey’s likely last move to try to save his flagging empire will see him close one of the papers in each of the four cities. Look for this to happen within a year.

Postmedia is losing millions each year because of the collapse of newspaper advertising. Meanwhile, the papers have failed to make a successful move to the Internet. Postmedia, which is controlled by American hedge funds, is carrying a debt of $671-million.

Martin O’Hanlon, president of the Communications Workers of America, said “This is not because these papers aren’t making money, this is because Postmedia has a massive debt. “This money that they’re saving by laying people off is going to hedge fund managers in New York.”

If Godfrey cared about journalism he would have been out of the field long ago. Anyone of integrity interested in good journalism would not have stayed around to see these papers turned into shells of their former selves. Maybe it helps that Godfrey commands a large salary, is a multi-millionaire and that, as a prominent (yet failing) businessman he can strut around town as though he is important. In 2014, when the company lost $263.4-million, Godfrey’s income was $1.7-million.

Media experts talk about the day when someone will come up with a formula for quality media to hold its own on the Internet. We’ve been hearing this for 10 years.

Canadians deserve better

While local communities still rely on the shrivelled remains of the once proud broadsheet newspapers, our cities deserve much better. In addition to the problem of the cuts, corporate-owned media in Canada censors or ignores important news. Officialdom commands their full attention, while unions, the climate crisis, and family issues are pretty much ignored. All Canadian papers except The Toronto Star supported Harper values during his ruthless run in Ottawa.

Because of their systematic censorship and support for damaging neo-liberal policies, we should not weep over the decline of Postmedia newspapers. But communities and all levels of government better wake up and get involved in re-establishing credible media.

Firstly, there are about 10 small, independent news sites on the Internet, ranging from iPolitics, to The Tyee to rabble.ca. None of them reach very many Canadians. I’ve been telling them that if they want to really serve the public, they should amalgamate or co-operate in some way. Among them they employ about 20 journalists. I have fundraising experience, and I know money could be raised for such a project. Nothing has come from my suggestion.

By the way, I’ve developed a model that I think would allow a community-owned, Internet-based news organization to become self-sustaining. If anyone is interested, please email me: fillmore0274@rogers.com 

I’ve berated progressive, experienced journalist for not getting out of the mainstream media racket and helping operate or set up media groups to serve their communities. But they’ve been beaten down so badly they don’t have any spunk left, let alone demonstrate a social conscience.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) is the one organization that could help lead Canadian journalism back from the wilderness. However, the CAJ has lost influence in recent years, and nothing on its website indicates it is concerned about the big picture of quality journalism in Canada being crippled.

If Canada were part of Europe, our mainstream media would probably be more healthy. Europeans read papers a lot more than Canadians. I recall a few years ago that the average Canadian read a daily newspaper once a week, while the average Dane read a paper every day. Those sales help cover more of the costs of European papers compared to fewer sales in Canada.

Some European governments, recognizing the importance of quality journalism, provide different forms of financial support for newspapers. Grants are either awarded to all papers or through a competitive process.

 I’ve discussed this possibility of government support for media with Canadian friends, and most of them reject the idea. They say people wouldn’t want government interfering with our media. Hmmm . . . . it’s true that Harper interfered with the CBC but, even so, the CBC remains the best broadcaster in the country and it does a lot of socially responsible journalism.

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CLICK HERE, to subscribe to my blog. Thanks Nick

Contact Nick Fillmore at fillmore0274@rogers.com

. . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Don’t weep for censoring, right-wingPostmedia newspapers

A Different Point of View....: Don’t weep for censoring, right-wingPostmedia newspapers

Another 90 dedicated journalists in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa lost their jobs Tuesday as cutthroat Publisher Paul Godfrey slashed away again in an effort to turn Postmedia into a profit-making business. In a bizarre move, two competi… . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Don’t weep for censoring, right-wingPostmedia newspapers

Politics and its Discontents: Robert Fisk

Last evening my wife and I attended a talk given by Robert Fisk, the renowned British journalist who has lived in and covered the Middle East for almost 40 years. The talk was quite dense, given the complexity of the issues and dynamics of that region, and I realized how little we understand about . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Robert Fisk

OpenMedia.ca: Tyee: Conservative MP repents for part of C-51 sermon

After a whirlwind of mockery on social media, MP Wai Young back-pedalled on some parts of her C-51 sermon…

Article by Jeremy J. Nuttall for The Tyee

Vancouver South MP Wai Young has apologized for one part of a controversial speech to a B.C. congregation, a talk that included a likening of her Conservative . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: Tyee: Conservative MP repents for part of C-51 sermon

OpenMedia.ca: Eyes on the Spies: Canadians deserve accountability

A version of this article by our David Christopher was originally published by The Tyee, as part of a new series about Canada’s Privacy Plan

For anyone involved in the privacy debate, it’s been a busy couple of years. Barely a week goes by without new revelations about the activities of the . . . → Read More: OpenMedia.ca: Eyes on the Spies: Canadians deserve accountability

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: The moderating effect of moderation

RossK writes about the Pro-Media Club and its implicit rulebook, which includes a requirement that no one reprove a colleague, even if overstatements and misrepresentations morph into purposeful lies. The blog world doesn’t follow those guidelines so we can point at any load of old codswallop encountered. In coverage of the Metro Vancouver transit plebiscite, . . . → Read More: Northern Insight / Perceptivity: The moderating effect of moderation

Politics and its Discontents: Harry Smith Has Stephen Harper In His Sights

Harry Smith is a man on a mission, one that should put disengaged Canadians to shame.

The 92-year-old long-time activist, who splits his time between Canada and England, is ashamed of what has happened under the rule of Stephen Harper, and plans to make a difference as soon as he returns from the United Kingdom, . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Harry Smith Has Stephen Harper In His Sights

Politics and its Discontents: Herr Harper Is At It Again, But The Media Revolt

H/t Kat McNamara

The Harper-led assault on our rights as Canadians continues, this time under the guise of Bill C-51, the new Anti-Terrorism Act. And finally, the media showed some resistance. Reporters in Ottawa became surly quickly Friday when it was discovered the government lock-up they attended for a briefing on proposed anti-terror legislation was . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Herr Harper Is At It Again, But The Media Revolt

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

– The Tyee’s recent series on important sources of inequality is well worth a read, as Emily Fister interviews Andrew Longhurst about precarious work and Sylvia Fuller about the role of motherhood.

– David Cole asks just how corrupt U.S. politics have become, while Frances O’Grady observes that . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Politics and its Discontents: And This Is A Good Deal Because?

Despite the best efforts of the ever-secretive Harper cabal, details about the CETA deal are finally emerging thanks to leaked portions of the text. And has been long-predicted, those details are not encouraging when it comes to Canadian sovereignty in general, and local sourcing of construction contracts, goods and services in particular.

While government . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: And This Is A Good Deal Because?

Cowichan Conversations: Make No Mistake, Academic Freedom and Tenure are Under Attack at the University of Saskatchewan

The fallout over the recent attack over the heavy-handed firing of Saskatchewan University Professor Robert Buckingham is rapidly gathering momentum, especially in the academic and educational circles.

In attempts to bring readers up to date here is Don Maroc’s original post followed by comments from a University of Saskatchewan Senator, an opinion piece from the . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Make No Mistake, Academic Freedom and Tenure are Under Attack at the University of Saskatchewan

Political Eh-conomy: Published elsewhere: Five myths to bust about minimum wage hikes

I wrote a piece on the very recent proposal to increase the minimum wage in British Columbia that was published over the weekend in The Tyee:

The B.C. Federation of Labour has just proposed to increase the minimum wage in British Columbia to $13 per hour. In short, it’s about time. With this proposal, B.C. . . . → Read More: Political Eh-conomy: Published elsewhere: Five myths to bust about minimum wage hikes

Politics and its Discontents: Ignorance Is Strength

At least it is so in Harperland.

Recommend this Post

ParliamANT Hill: CanadiAnt Taxpayers Federation Demands Accountability, but Not for Itself

Inspired by this headline: http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2013/09/17/Canadian-Taxpayers-Federation-Accountability/

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

– Robert Reich discusses how we’d all better off if we acted in the public interest and insisted that our representatives did the same: A society — any society — is defined as a set of mutual benefits and duties embodied most visibly in public institutions: public schools, . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

A Different Point of View....: WILL THE REAL GWYN MORGAN PLEASE STAND UP!

I have written this piece in an attempt to evaluate the actual contribution to society of a prominent Canadian who espouses extreme right-wing views. I feel it is important, from time to time, to compare actual performance to stated principles. If you find this critique of interest, please send the link to others.   Nick One . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: WILL THE REAL GWYN MORGAN PLEASE STAND UP!

The Canadian Progressive: TransCanada Pipelines Whistleblower Receives National Award

By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive A former TransCanada Corporation employee who blew the whistle on the rising pipeline incidents and rule-breaking by Big Oil has been chosen as the recipient of the 2013 Golden Whistle Blower Award. Evan Vokes, a former professional materials engineer at TransCanada Pipelines (TCPL), received the award in Ottawa . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: TransCanada Pipelines Whistleblower Receives National Award

The Ranting Canadian: Doug Christie: The Unauthorized Obituary (article in The Tyee)

Doug Christie: The Unauthorized Obituary (article in The Tyee):

Tom Hawthorn of TheTyee reiterates what I wrote in my post about the recently croaked lawyer Doug Christie. Despite his pompous self-declarations, Christie was not a true advocate for free speech; he was merely an advocate for racism, anti-Semitism and other far right views. Christie, in . . . → Read More: The Ranting Canadian: Doug Christie: The Unauthorized Obituary (article in The Tyee)

Earthgauge Radio: How do you know you live in a petro state?

From Andrew Nikiforuk in today’s Tyee. The full article, called ‘Why can’t Alberta break even?‘, is worth a read.

How do you know when you live in petro state? Here are some key signs:

When your government pays 30 per cent of its road, education, and hospital bills with finite and volatile hydrocarbon revenue.

When . . . → Read More: Earthgauge Radio: How do you know you live in a petro state?

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Wednesday reading.

– Pat Atkinson highlights what should probably be the story of the year for 2012: the continued degradation of Canadian democracy under a government which views Parliament and the public with an alarming degree of contempt: Harper’s Conservatives see Parliament as a nuisance. Committees meet in secret, and . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

– Michael Harris asks why Stephen Harper is afraid to look Theresa Spence in the eye: (Harper) believes that the government’s lying about all these things is far less important than the fact that it is the government. Incumbency is a magic potion. Under its influence, people are supposed . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Northern Insight: Pro-media: watchdogs or lapdogs?

Katie Hyslop has a worthwhile piece in The Tyee about the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation. Teacher Decries Pension Plan’s ‘Unethical’ Investments, The Tyee, Nov. 13/12 “[Paul] Hutcheson started researching the B.C. Teachers’ Pension … . . . → Read More: Northern Insight: Pro-media: watchdogs or lapdogs?

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, expanding on my previous post as to why we should be wary of Brad Wall’s plans for potash royalties.

For further reading, I’ll again recommend Mitchell Anderson’s Tyee series contrasting how Norway has handled its natural resources with Canada’s laissez-faire system. (And the lesson seems all the more applicable in the case of potash, . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: New column day