St. Joseph Communications (SJC) has entered into an agreement that will see the company acquire all seven of the Rogers Media consumer print and digital magazine brands, including Maclean’s, Chatelaine (English and French), Today’s Parent, HELLO! Canada, digital publications FLARE and Canadian Business, as well as the company’s Custom Content business. SJC is Canada’s largest privately-owned print, media and communications company. It owns and publishes Toronto Life, FASHION Magazine, Weddingbells, MARIAGE Québec, Ottawa Magazine, Quill & Quire and the Where group of magazines in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto. All current Rogers Media Publishing employees will be offered employment through the deal, which is expected to close in April. Financial terms were not disclosed. Read more here.
Budget 2019 offers more details of the Liberals’ previously-announced, three-pronged plan to support Canadian journalism, amidst the challenges of a huge shift to digital advertising. The pillars of the $595 million, five-year plan include a new refundable labour tax credit for qualifying journalism organizations; a new non-refundable tax credit for subscriptions to Canadian digital news; and access to charitable tax incentives for not-for-profit journalism. As previously announced in November, an independent panel of experts from the Canadian journalism sector will be established to assist the government in implementing the new measures, including recommending eligibility criteria for Qualified Canadian Journalism Organization (QCJO) status. The budget indicates Canadian journalism organizations producing original news, primarily focused on general interest current events, will be supported. Association, government, trade, and industry-specific publications or programming won’t be eligible, including those focused on sports, recreation, arts, lifestyle or entertainment. Broadcast Distribution Undertakings (BDUs) won’t qualify for the labour tax credit or the refundable digital subscription credit. Read the full story here.
Budget 2019 makes a commitment that 95 per cent of Canadian homes and businesses will have access to internet speeds of at least 50/10 Mbps by 2026 and 100 per cent by 2030, no matter where they are located in the country. To make that a reality, the budget proposes targeted initiatives supporting universal high-speed internet in rural, remote and northern communities. Those include up to $1.7 billion over 13 years, starting in 2019–20, to establish a new national high-speed internet program, the Universal Broadband Fund. The fund would build on the success of the Connect to Innovate program, and would focus on extending “backbone” infrastructure to underserved communities. Open Media executive director Laura Tribe says while a much-needed target, the funding structure “leaves many questions remaining about the implementation and how the government will be held accountable to ensure these goals are met.” Read the full story here.
Xplornet has announced an investment plan to deliver 5G service to over 20,000 rural homes in over 300 communities on Prince Edward Island. The investment will provide rural residents of P.E.I. with access to internet download speeds of up to 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) as early as next year. To deliver this service, Xplornet will deploy fibre as well as a 5G-ready wireless upgrade to its existing network using state-of-the-art hybrid fibre wireless technology. The first phase of the project is expected to begin this year and be completed by the end of 2023.
CBC Ombudsman Jack Nagler has reviewed a complaint from a CBC Radio listener in New Brunswick skeptical about reporter Bob Jones explanation of why local gas prices were higher than in neighbouring Nova Scotia. The weekly Information Morning Moncton segment called “The Gas Guru” features Jones discussing the latest gas prices in the province, which are set each week by a provincial regulator. Jones’ explanation for the six cent a litre difference between the neighbouring provinces: “A lot of people have complained about that and Nova Scotia regulates like New Brunswick does, uses the same New York numbers that we use but their formula operates differently. They set prices on Friday instead of Thursday and when you have prices going down that makes a bit of a difference, but the big difference is that they put more emphasis on the final day of trading so they kind of accelerate reductions but they also accelerate increases. I put it this way, Jonna, it’s like we’re on a roller coaster, they’re the first car, New Brunswick is in the last car. Everything happens to them first, up and down, but essentially we’re all on the same track, get the same prices in the end.” The complainant suggested that a better explanation for the discrepancy in prices was “the lack of real competition in NB and the dominant position of Irving Oil in the marketplace. The listener’s email exchanges with CBC New Brunswick suggested he also believed their coverage was subservient to the needs of Irving. Nagler found that Jones’ explanation was fundamentally correct. “As for whether there is a systemic bias at CBC in support of Irving Oil, you offered no evidence, nor could I find any,” concluded Nagler.
The Jack Webster Foundation has announced the 2019 recipients of the Jack Webster Foundation Professional Development Fellowships. They are Stephanie Ip, Van Live digital reporter, The Vancouver Sun/Province (Postmedia); Simran Singh, staff writer, Daily Hive, and Maryse Zeidler, digital reporter, CBC Vancouver. Ip will attend the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida where she will take the course, Summit for Reporters and Editors in Multi-Platform Newsrooms, while Singh will attend Poynter’s Reporting Workshop for Rising Stars. Zeidler is the recipient of a self-defined fellowship in order to further study photojournalism. The fellowships cover the educational/travel costs for professional development and are open to all working B.C. journalists.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) has announced the winners of its annual Media Awards. CBC claimed four awards, including Samira Mohyeddin, Susan Mckenzie, and Piya Chattopadhyay of CBC Radio One – The Current (Radio – Best in-depth feature or series); and Kas Roussy, Peter Leo of The World at Six (Radio – Best News Coverage). Avis Favaro, Elizabeth St. Philip and Daniel Otis of CTV National News took the award for Best Television News Coverage. Find the complete list of winners and links to their work here.
Troy Reeb, the executive vice-president of Broadcast Networks for Corus Entertainment, will be given an honorary Bachelor of Applied Arts degree from Lethbridge College. Reeb, who grew up in Westlock, AB, graduated from the college’s Communication Arts-Broadcast Journalism program in 1988.
The Radio Television News Directors Foundation of Canada has announced the inaugural JJ Richards Scholarship. The award is open to students registered full-time in their third or final year in a recognized journalism program in Canada. Candidates must submit a radio documentary between two and 30 minutes long, completed by the entrant and not a team. Judging criteria will be based on excellence in storytelling, originality and the quality of actualities and clips. The entry deadline is Mar. 29. JJ Richards was a pioneer in the broadcasting industry, starting his career as a teenage disc-jockey in Brandon, MB before moving on to CKUA Edmonton, CBC and CHUM in Toronto, CKDA Victoria and CFUN/QMFM Vancouver. More details here.
Martin Baron, the executive editor of The Washington Post, will be honoured with the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s Special Citation at the CJF Awards on June 13 at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. In a career that includes stints at some of the leading U.S. news outlets, his influence has been widespread. Newsrooms under his leadership have won 14 Pulitzer Prizes: seven at The Washington Post, including one for revealing secret surveillance by the National Security Agency; six at The Boston Globe, including one for exposing a pattern of concealing clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, later portrayed in the film Spotlight; and one at the Miami Herald, for its coverage of the raid to recover Elián González, the Cuban boy at the centre of a fierce immigration and custody dispute. As the The Post’s executive editor since 2013, Baron oversees its print and digital news operations with a staff of more than 800 journalists. Anne-Marie Mediwake, co-host of CTV’s Your Morning, will host this year’s awards ceremony.
CBC Vancouver reporter Curt Petrovich has authored Blamed and Broken: The Mounties and the Death of Robert Dziekanski. The book explores the case from the would-be immigrant’s fatal tasering in 2007 at Vancouver International Airport, to the viral video, inquiry and bungled prosecution.
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