Rogers Sports & Media has made changes to its radio and television management structure that see Amber LeBlanc promoted to National Programmer, News & Talk, in an expanded role leading all CityNews news and talk radio stations across all markets, while still running the day-to-day of CityNews 680 (CFTR-AM) Toronto. OMNI and CityNews Director Amar Sodhi, who oversees OMNI News and the CityNews newscasts in Montreal, Winnipeg and Edmonton, is adding CityNews Vancouver and Calgary to his oversight, with all local supervising producers now reporting to him. Charmaine de Silva, who had been with Rogers since 2018 and News Director of both CityNews 1130 (CKWX-AM) and the Vancouver television newsroom since 2020, adding Calgary in 2021, has decided to leave the company. Mark Day has additionally been hired as the local News Director for CityNews 660 (CFFR-AM) Calgary. Currently covering a mat leave at CityNews Ottawa (CJET-FM/CIWW-AM), Day will transition over to the new role in a few months. Read more here.
Harvard Media has completed a round of layoffs that it says amount to roughly 10% of the company’s workforce as the media group moves forward with a digital-first business model. In Regina, the casualties include Andrew Wilcox, Program Director at 104.9 The Wolf (CFWF-FM) and Play 92 (CHMX-FM); 620 CKRM PD Abbey White and CKRM host Nick Kaczmar, in addition to marketing consultant Dave Hanni, sales rep Bhavik Shah, and creative writer Rob McWhinnie. 96.3 CRUZ FM (CFWD-FM) host Dave Morgan was impacted in Saskatoon, along with FOX FM (CFGW-FM) Yorkton morning co-host Avery Leblanc; afternoon host Calvin Tokarchuk and GX94 (CJGX-FM) Yorkton weekend host Stephanie Turchyn, in addition to Riley Barton, the recently-hired swing host for both Yorkton stations. In Fort McMurray, the layoffs included Mix 103.7 (CFVR-FM) afternoon host and music director Marc O’Connor and midday host and assistant music director Lauren (Lita) Squires; as well as 100.5 CRUZ FM (CHFT-FM) afternoon drive personality Jackson Ducharme. As previously reported, layoffs were initiated in the Edmonton cluster, including Program Director Chris Myers. Read more here.
Meredith Geddes and Jason Manning are joining JACK 96.9 (CJAX-FM) Vancouver. Geddes arrives from the afternoon drive show at 102.1 the Edge (CFNY-FM) Toronto, while Manning was released from Pattison Media’s The Peak in January as part of the brand’s transition to HD Radio. The hires mark a return to announcers outside the morning show daypart.
Eleanor Wachtel has announced she’ll be retiring from CBC Radio next month, concluding a more than 35-year career with the public broadcaster. Wachtel officially began working with the CBC in 1987 as a literary commentator on CBC’s State of the Arts, although she started contributing as a freelancer for CBC Radio in Vancouver prior to that. Following a move to Toronto, she hosted shows including The Arts Tonight and Wachtel on the Arts. She helped co-create Writers & Company in 1990, which she’s hosted ever since, engaging world-renowned writers from Alice Munro to John Grisham with her intimate conversation style. Her final show will be taped in front of a live studio audience at Toronto’s Luminato Festival on June 16 and air Sunday, June 25, marking the finale of Writers & Company after 33 years as CBC moves to develop a new literary program. Read more here.
Karyn Pugliese has been named the new editor-in-chief of Canadaland as founder and publisher Jesse Brown steps back from the podcast network’s chief editorial post. Pugliese, who’ll take up her new position in July, has already been working with the network as host and co-producer of canadaLANDBACK, which explores the history of Indigenous resistance, produced in partnership with Canada’s National Observer, where she’s served as editor-in-chief for the past year. Early in her career, Pugliese worked for APTN as a Parliament Hill correspondent, going on to take up the position of Director of News and Current Affairs in 2012. She also served briefly as Managing Editor of Investigative for CBC Television. Read more here.
Steve Futterman has been caught up in layoffs at CBS News after nearly 25 years. The former CBC correspondent, who has also done work for NBC Radio, NPR and the BBC, joined CBS in 1998 as its West Coast correspondent, based out of Los Angeles.
Bill Barker has retired from Global News Toronto, capping a 43-year career shooting television news. Prior to Global, Barker worked with Citytv and CKCO Kitchener.
Alicia Draus has moved on from Global Halifax where she’s been a digital broadcast journalist for the last five years. Prior to joining Global, Draus was the afternoon news anchor at CityNews (CJNI-FM) Halifax and before that a reporter for Pattison Media’s stations in Medicine Hat.
Simone Gavros has joined CHCH News Hamilton as a video journalist. Gavros arrives from CTV Toronto where she’s been a freelance chase producer for the past year.
Katie Girard has left Acadia Broadcasting to join Dougall Media’s TBNewswatch as an online reporter. Girard had served as morning news announcer at Acadia’s Thunder Bay stations since Sept. 2021.
Ben Makuch has been caught up in layoffs at VICE News, which is reportedly headed for bankruptcy. Most recently covering National Security for VICE, based in New York, Makuch joined the outlet in 2014. Prior to that, he worked as a Parliament Hill reporter for The Canadian Press. Makuch made headlines in 2018 when he was compelled by the Supreme Court of Canada to hand over communications with a source to RCMP.
Kayla Goodfield has been upped at The Canadian Press to the role of Assistant Managing Editor. Goodfield has been with CP for the past year in the role of Assistant Business Editor. Prior to that, she was a Senior Digital Producer with BNN Bloomberg and an online journalist with CTV News Toronto and CP24.
Srushti Gangdev and Simran Singh have been released from the Burnaby Beacon and Overstory Media Group, almost two years to the day of the online news outlet’s launch. Singh, former Vancouver City Editor at Daily Hive, had served as Managing Editor since the Beacon’s launch, while Gangdev, a former 980 CKNW Vancouver anchor was a reporter.
Mel Woods has a new role with Pink Triangle Press (PTP) as Senior Editor, Audience Engagement, at Xtra. In the newly-created role, Woods’ duties will include hosting to “bring content and advocacy to life” on Xtra’s social media channels, including a new TikTok channel, as the company moves to establish a strong presence in podcasting and more video-based storytelling moving forward. A graduate of UBC’s Master of Journalism program, Woods’ has been with Xtra since 2021, most recently serving as Senior Editor of Culture.
Joanne Levy, the CRTC’s commissioner for Manitoba and Saskatchewan, has extended for a five-year term, starting in July. Levy has already served one full term, starting in 2018. A former reporter for CBC Calgary and Director of Programming for APTN, Levy was also previously a television producer under her Scorpio Productions banner, and served as Head of Convergent Content for Winnipeg’s Buffalo Gal Pictures.
Juan Cruz Baldassarre has announced his departure from Halifax-based Copernicus Animation Studios as co-founder and CEO, as he pursues a new opportunity in emerging technologies for animation and virtual production. Alongside Paul Rigg, Andrew Holland and Murray Bain, Baldassarre co-founded Copernicus in 2003 and has led the company to produce top-tier 2D shows like Teen Titans Go!, Care Bears – Unlock the Magic, and Solar Opposites, in addition to expanding into IP development and production. Baldassarre will continue to assist Copernicus as a non-executive, advising on the studio’s service productions.
Marie Nelson is the new President of Hot Docs, starting June 1. Nelson has held senior positions at American networks, most recently as Senior Vice President at ABC News/Disney where she led brand and content strategy. Prior to ABC News, Nelson was VP of News and Independent Film at PBS where she oversaw programming for documentary series Frontline, Independent Lens and POV. She has also held executive positions at WGBH Boston, National Public Radio as well as at Viacom/BET Networks. After 25 years, first as Executive Director and then as President, Chris McDonald has decided to step back from his role on the Executive team. He will continue to work with Hot Docs in a voluntary capacity on special projects.
Lindsay Monture has been named the new Director of the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, and David Morrison as Associate Director, in advance of the 24th Annual Festival this fall, Oct. 17-22 in Toronto. Monture is Kanyen’kehá:ka (Mohawk), Turtle Clan from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Among the non-profit organizations she’s worked with are Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Native Earth Performing Arts, imagineNATIVE, Maoriland Film Festival, Revolutions Per Minute, Royal Conservatory of Music, Woodland Cultural Centre, and Indigenous Climate Action. Morrison is Dene from Yellowknives Dene First Nation and has been with imagineNATIVE since 2019, most recently as Fundraising Manager.
Catherine Mitro has stepped down as Chair of the Board of Directors for not-for-profit Toronto station JAZZ.FM91 (CJRT-FM). Peter von Schilling, currently Vice Chair, has been appointed by the Board of Directors to take over from Mitro. Marc Paris and Thompson Egbo-Egbo, also directors, have been appointed Vice Chairs. Serving as Chair since March 2022 and Vice Chair since Feb. 2019, Mitro will continue to serve as a director, lending her expertise in music education and artist outreach.
RADIO & PODCAST:
Benztown has released its ninth annual Benztown 50 List of Radio’s Biggest Imaging Voices, its annual release of the top 50 voiceover artists in the U.S. and Canada, based on industry data compiled from more than 300 radio groups by P1 Media Group. Among the Canadians on this year’s list are David Kaye, Amanda Madi, Lisa Keys and Erin Setch, with Matt Fogarty named one of the “Ones to Watch in Voiceover” for a second year in a row. Legendary Canadian voice talent Earl Mann is the recipient of this year’s Chris Corley Lifetime Achievement Award. Mann started his career as a singer for 1960’s folk act, The Gaslight Singers, before becoming an all-night disc jockey on CKEY and CHFI Toronto. Sports fans will recognize Mann as the voice of NFL Films as well as several college football programs. He’s also served as the imaging voice for numerous Sports, Classic Rock, Classic Hits, Country, Pop, and Rock stations throughout North America, in addition to 20 years as the voice of the CTV network. Read more here.
Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap has come to an end on Corus Radio with the April 30 show. Following a 16-year run on CBC Radio and its subsequent cancellation in 2021, Vinyl Tap got a second life in March 2022 when it re-launched across Corus Entertainment’s Rock and Classic Hits stations. “Randy wants to thank all of his Canadian affiliates and fans for their tremendous support over the years as he winds down his show,” wrote Orbyt Media, the show’s distributor, in a notice to stations. “I’ve always loved playing music and telling stories,” added Bachman. “Sharing these stories with my fans for so many years has truly been a dream come true.” Vinyl Tap is still available as a podcast.
630 CHED Edmonton has renewed its broadcast partnership with the Edmonton Oilers, which is marking 28 consecutive years. For the next three years, Oilers fans will once again experience each home, away game and the action in between on 630 CHED, with its Oilers coverage including play-by-play announcers Jack Michaels and Cam Moon, and colour commentator Bob Stauffer. Adding to the game day lineup will be Reid Wilkins and Rob Brown with the Oilers Face Off Show and Overtime Open Line. Oilers Now featuring Stauffer will continue to be part of the hockey lineup every weekday. The partnership also includes community and promotional support from Corus radio stations CISN Country 103.9, Chuck 92.5 (CKNG-FM) and 880 (CHQT-FM) Edmonton.
CBC Podcasts’ Let’s Make A Sci-Fi has won a Webby Award in the Limited Series category. Produced by Vancouver’s Kelly&Kelly, the eight-part adventure explores the creative process as three comedians (Maddy Kelly, Ryan Bell and Mark Chavez) try writing a successful sci-fi pilot.
CBC Podcasts has introduced Let’s Not Be Kidding with Gavin Crawford — part memoir, part stand-up, part meditation on grief and loss. In the seven-part series, Crawford tells the story of losing his mother — his best friend and the inspiration for a lot of his comedy — to Alzheimer’s, a disease that can be as hilarious as it is heartbreaking. He’s joined by fellow performers along the way who share their own experiences caring for family members with dementia. You can binge all seven episodes via CBC Listen or by subscribing to the CBC Stories Premium channel on Apple Podcasts.
The Sound Off Podcast Network has signed its first true crime podcast as Buried Motives joins the network. Creators and hosts Christie Halvorson and Melissa Nielsen, who launched the show in Aug. 2021 and have grown a loyal following, are taking the next step in moving to monetize the show. Based in Alberta, the true crime enthusiasts dive into the lives of notorious killers.
SiriusXM Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA), is inviting Canadians to help choose the 2023 SiriusXM Top of the Country champion. The voting phase is now open through May 10, featuring eight semi-finalists: Hailey Benedict (St. Albert, AB); Noah Derksen (Winnipeg); Teigen Gayse (Kelowna, BC); Amanda Jordan (Smith Falls, ON); Mark Ledlin (Vancouver); The Prairie States (Edmonton); Dayna Reid (Elmvale, ON); and Lydia Sutherland (Montréal). Fans can watch studio sessions of each semi-finalist at topcountry.siriusxm.ca, where votes can be cast daily.
SiriusXM Canada has announced that eight-time Grammy winner Carrie Underwood will launch an exclusive year-round channel, Carrie’s Country, in June. Curated by Underwood, the channel will be available to subscribers across North America as she highlights her friends, favourites, and influences spanning new and classic country, gospel, and beyond from Dolly Parton to AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses. Original programming will include monthly themed shows, morning workout and late-night hard-rock blocks, as well as Saviour Sunday – a full day of inspirational music including Carrie’s own gospel catalogue.
Tom Webster will be joining Radiodays North America as a speaker on Thursday, June 8. With over 25 years of experience in the audio business, Webster is known for having led audience research projects over six continents, and as a co-author and driver behind influential audio studies like the Infinite Dial series, Share of Ear, and the Podcast Consumer Tracker. Webster will be on the panel, The Truth About Podcasting, alongside Dan Misener of Bumper, on the current state of podcasting.
LISTEN: Jeff Smulyan, the founder and CEO of Emmis Communications, creator of all sports radio, one time owner of the Seattle Mariners, and now an author, is on the Sound Off Podcast. Smulyan’s new book, Never Ride a Roller Coaster Upside Down, chronicles his career in broadcasting, including managing talent like David Letterman, Ken Griffey and Don Imus, the creation of the all-sports radio format that morphed into the legendary WFAN, and what the future for radio and podcasting looks like.
TV & FILM:
The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) is reporting another record year for Canadian film and television, however its Profile 2022: Economic Report on the Screen-based Media Production Industry cautions it will be difficult to sustain that level of production. Looking at the state of film and television production between April 2021 and March 2022, the report indicates total production volume leapt by an unprecedented amount, reaching an all-time high of $11.69 billion. The industry added over $2.56 billion in production spending, pushing it 21.8% higher than the previous pre-pandemic high of $9.60 billion in 2019/20. The biggest growth contributions came from foreign location and service (FLS) production, increasing 27.3% to $6.71 billion, and Canadian television production, increasing 38.9% to $3.51 billion. Broadcaster in-house production also recovered from a COVID-19 downturn, increasing by 1.9% in 2021. Read more here.
ACTRA Toronto announced the winners of the 21st ACTRA Awards at an intimate, in-person gathering at the Palais Royale in Toronto on April 26. Among this year’s winners were CBC/HBO Max comedy Sort Of, which won the Members’ Choice Series Ensemble Award. FX Network’s What We Do In The Shadows claimed the 2023 Stunt Ensemble Award. Find the full list of winners here.
APTN and Radio-Canada, in collaboration with the Indigenous Screen Office (ISO), have launched a new pilot project to support Indigenous creators in the pre-development stage of their project. The Radio-Canada-APTN Early Stage Scripted Development Program for Indigenous Creators, in association with the ISO, is open to emerging Indigenous audiovisual content creators. Selected participants will have access to Radio-Canada and APTN executives, and receive tailored support for their projects with the aim of progressing them to the next stage of development, and ultimately into production. Funding will be distributed based on project need, to a maximum of $18,000. The deadline to apply is June 7.
The Toronto International Film Festival has announced a new partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in support of science on screen. Breakthroughs: The Sloan Science on Screen Programme equips screen creators with industry connections and creative support to further their science- and/or technology-focused projects. The program will run at TIFF from 2023-24, funded by a gift from the foundation, comprised of the Sloan Science & Technology Project Pitch, the Sloan Science & Technology Writer Fellowship, and the Sloan Science on Film Showcase. Applications for the Project Pitch are now open.
Bell Media has announced a landmark longterm, exclusive licensing agreement with Warner Bros. Discovery that makes Crave the home of programming from the studio for years to come, in addition to feeding Bell’s suite of specialty channels and CTV platforms. Expanding on a previous licensing agreement announced in 2019, the deal includes HBO and Max Originals; the DC universe; the Wizarding World of Harry Potter; new cable series; library television series; pay and post-pay window rights for Warner Bros. films; and library films. French-language rights are also secured for HBO and Max Originals, Pay 1 films, Friends, the Harry Potter collection of films, and other select content. Read more here.
Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana has announced a development deal with Japan’s Polygon Pictures to deliver Japanese originated animated content for kids. The development collaboration leverages Polygon’s position and reputation in the Japanese market, with Nelvana’s track record of partnering to bring Japanese animated properties like Bakugan, Beyblade, and Cardcaptor Sakura to global audiences. Assisting Nelvana and Polygon with the venture is veteran animation expert Rika Sasaki, who brings experience managing Japanese IP for global export from her previous roles at d-rights Inc., ADK Emotion and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions. Corus says the collaboration will focus on Japanese properties aimed at younger audiences, drawing inspiration from both existing legacy content and creating new perspectives such as lifestyle, publishing, and design.
CTV News will provide live coverage of King Charles III’s ascension to the throne with CTV National News special The King’s Coronation, airing live from London on Saturday, May 6 at 4 a.m. ET across CTV, CP24, CTV News Channel, CTVNews.ca, and the CTV and CTV News apps. Led by Chief News Anchor Omar Sachedina, the special will start with the Royal Procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey, and continue with the Coronation ceremony itself. Along the route will be reporters Paul Workman, Genevieve Beauchemin, Joy Malbon, and Daniele Hamamdjian, as well as CTV News Channel Anchor Merella Fernandez and CTV Your Morning host Anne-Marie Mediwake. Additionally, CTV Chief Political Correspondent Vassy Kapelos co-hosts special coverage live from Ottawa, joined by Mike Le Couteur and Royal Commentator Richard Berthelsen.
CBC News’ Chief Correspondent Adrienne Arsenault is in London for The Coronation of King Charles. Special guests will include former CBC London bureau chief Ann MacMillan and historians Dan Snow and Peter Johnson. The live coverage starts at 4 a.m. ET on CBC TV, CBC News Network, CBC Gem, CBC Explore and the CBC News App. Nahlah Ayed and John Northcott bring the view from Canada in a live CBC Radio special with Canadian royal historian Carolyn Harris, also streaming on CBC Listen, beginning at 5:30 a.m. ET. Following the events in London, CBC News Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton will be live from Ottawa, beginning at 10 a.m. ET. On Sunday, Ian Hanomansing hosts a special edition of Cross Country Checkup live from London with Canadian reaction to the weekend’s pageantry, and special guests reflecting on the future of the monarchy. The show will air across CBC Radio, CBC News Network, CBC Listen and Facebook at 4 p.m. ET. CBC News Explore is featuring Arsenault’s exclusive interview with Princess Anne, to broadcast on CBC News Network at 7 p.m. ET.
The CW has picked up CTV Original drama series Sullivan’s Crossing, based on the books by best-selling author Robyn Carr (Virgin River). Shot in Nova Scotia, The CW pickup for the 2023-24 TV season sees alumni Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill) and Scott Patterson (Gilmore Girls) return to the network. The show also stars Morgan Kohan (Transplant).
Global has unveiled its summer programming lineup, highlighted by the return of Global scripted series Family Law (May 22) and Departure (Aug. 7) and new reality competition series Superfan. The new six-episode, one-hour unscripted series features Kelsea Ballerini, Gloria Estefan, Little Big Town, LL COOL J, Pitbull and Shania Twain as they each crown their biggest fan. Debuting June 9, the musical game show sees contestants vie in multiple rounds of play to prove they are their favourite artist’s most devoted supporter.
CBC Gem original comedy ZARQA is in production on Season 2 of the series from Zarqa Nawaz (Little Mosque on the Prairie) and produced by her Regina-based production company FUNdamentalist Films. The new six-episode season will premiere on CBC Gem later this year. It follows Zarqa’s (Nawaz) pursuit of a holier-than-thou social influencer’s friendship and clout that backfires when she gets cancelled, sending her life spiralling out of control. Joining the cast are Aliza Vellani (Sweet Tooth), Greg Ochitwa (Corner Gas), Mark Claxton (Corner Gas), Kayvon Khoshkam (No Way! Podcast), Dakota Ray Hebert (Shelved), and Pam Haig Bartley (My Chernobyl, True West).
Rezolution Pictures has announced that APTN has greenlit Season 3 of GESPE’GEWA’GI: The Last Land for a nine-episode, half hour series. Principal photography is set to start in May on the heels of Season 2 which has just finished post-production and will be broadcast on APTN in late 2023. The character-driven series features people who do sometimes volatile and dangerous, yet exciting jobs, celebrating the Indigenous people of Atlantic Canada and the fisheries that sustain them. Season 3 will expand coverage of Mi’kma’ki, bringing viewers to different communities in Unama’ki, the Land of the Fog (Cape Breton) and Epekwitk (meaning lying in the water), aka P.E.I. The first season is available on APTN lumi and CBC Gem.
Thunderbird Entertainment Group has optioned New York Times bestselling novel Mad Honey, co-written by Jodi Picoult (My Sister’s Keeper, Wish You Were Here) and Jennifer Finney Boylan (She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders, Good Boy: A Life in Seven Dogs), for a premium series adaptation. Thunderbird CEO and Chair Jennifer Twiner McCarron, Thunderbird President and Chief Creative Officer Matthew Berkowitz and Tuatara Media principal Barbara Wall will executive produce on behalf of Thunderbird, along with Picoult and Boylan.
Super Channel’s GINX Esports TV Canada is adding movies to its programming roster on Monday nights. Beginning May 8 and running weekly for nine weeks, gamers can put down their consoles and kick back on Monday nights to enjoy classic movies that appeal to a gaming audience. The GINX Canada Movie Night will kick off with titles including Power Rangers, Gamer, Fubar and Henchmen, among other films.
Discovery is offering a nationwide free preview of its complete family of channels, including: Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Velocity, Discovery Science, and Investigation Discovery until May 30 via Bell, Cogeco, Eastlink, Rogers, SaskTel, Shaw, Telus, and participating members of the CCSA. New and returning series include the debuts of Discovery original series, Bush Wreck Rescue (May 17) and East Harbour Heroes (May 29).
Pluto TV is offering an exclusive look at new Paramount+ series Fatal Attraction, starring Joshua Jackson and Lizzy Caplan. Viewers can stream the first two episodes of the new series beginning May 5 at 8 p.m. ET on Pluto TV’s Fatal Attraction Paramount+ pop-up channel or on demand. The new, eight-episode series, which debuted on Paramount+ on April 30, is a reimagining of the 1980s feature film through the lens of privilege, personality disorders, family dynamics, and murder. Canadian users can watch Pluto TV via pluto.tv, the Pluto TV app for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Android TV, Chromecast, Samsung and LG devices, and mobile apps on the App Store and Google Play.
Wheelchair Basketball Canada (WBC) and CBC Sports will provide live streaming coverage of the Canadian Men’s games at the Ottawa Invitational tournament, May 18-20. Additionally, the final two games on Sunday, May 21, will be streamed. The action includes games against the U.S. and the Netherlands, live from Carleton University Ravens’ Nest on CBC Sports digital platforms, including CBC Gem, cbcsports.ca and the CBC Sports app, as well as WBC’s YouTube channel.
ONLINE & DIGITAL MEDIA:
Le Journal de Montréal and Le Journal de Québec have launched a new mobile app which Quebecor Media says will make it easier for readers to access their content. The entirety of the content published by the two dailies will be available on the app, including breaking news, opinion columns, sports, cultural, and international news. Readers will also be able to consult, in a version adapted to the narrow format of mobile phones, the popular graphic page En 5 minutes, highlighting popular topics. In addition to the new app, the daily newspapers are introducing an interactive tool dedicated to the real estate market.
The Sprawl Calgary is being put on pause as founder and editor-in-chief Jeremy Klaszus cites burnout. Klaszus writes in a post to the online community news publication’s site that The Sprawl will go dark until September. Klaszus, a Calgary journalist who has been reporting on city politics for nearly two decades, launched The Sprawl in 2017 to help fill a gap in the city’s media landscape. Prior to starting The Sprawl, he was a staff writer for Fast Forward Weekly, a columnist for the Calgary Herald and Metro, and a radio reporter for CBC.
A Canadian Journalism Foundation-commissioned survey has found that a strong majority of Canadians (92%) believe that news organizations should have clear and transparent policies on how they use artificial intelligence (AI) to produce content. Relying on data provided by Maru Public Opinion, the survey found that a vast majority are concerned AI in journalism will produce or spread misinformation (85%), bringing with it the potential for inaccuracy (86%). A significant number (85%) also believe that a governing body should have strict oversight of AI practices in journalism. NewsGuard, a provider of software that helps advertisers identify credible news sources for ad placements, says since April it has identified 49 websites spanning seven languages that appear to be entirely or mostly generated by AI language models. Read more here.
REGULATORY, TELECOM & MEDIA NEWS:
The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB), Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), and Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) are among the industry groups lauding the passage of Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act, in the Senate, ahead of a long policy journey yet to come. Bill C-11 received Royal Assent late Thursday afternoon – more than two years after the tabling of the original Bill C-10 (which died before clearing the Senate when an election was called) – aimed at compelling digital platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube to adhere to Canadian content guidelines and invest in Canadian culture, similar to traditional broadcasters. The legislation will task the CRTC with new regulatory powers, following policy direction consultations with stakeholders and Canadians. The bill is short on specifics with publication of a draft version anticipated in the coming month. Read more here.
The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association has rebranded as the Canadian Telecommunications Association. The organization says the new name reflects an expanded role “promoting the importance of both wireless and wireline telecommunications to Canada’s economic growth and social development, and the crucial role of ongoing investments by facilities-based service providers in delivering world-class internet and mobile-wireless services to Canadians.” Founded in 1975 as the Canadian Radio Common Carriers Association, the association’s name and branding has evolved over the decades to reflect the changing nature of telecommunications in Canada.
Air Canada and Bell have announced a multi-year partnership that will make it easier for travellers to stay connected. Starting May 15, Air Canada and Bell will offer free messaging for all Aeroplan members worldwide on all wi-fi equipped aircraft across Air Canada’s fleet, including Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Express flights, enabling customers to send and receive text-based messages via messaging apps like iMessage, WhatsApp, Messenger, Viber, and Google Messages. The benefit will also be available to strategic partner airline loyalty members, including customers of United MileagePlus, Lufthansa Group Miles & More and Emirates Skywards when their account numbers are associated with an Air Canada booking. Newcomers and visitors to Canada will be offered complimentary mobile SIM cards on select inbound international flights under the partnership.
UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day marked its 30th year Wednesday with Canadian journalists recognized at a luncheon in Ottawa, including La Presse’s Vincent Larouche, the winner of the 2023 Press Freedom Award. WPFC also recognized Rachel Pulfer, executive director of Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), with the 2023 Spencer Moore Award for Lifetime Achievement, honouring sustained and demonstrable commitment to improving press freedom and freedom of information. WPFC awarded a Certificate of Merit to freelance journalist Justin Ling, and Charlie Pinkerton, who broke the story of Greenbelt developers attending the wedding party of Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s daughter. Pinkerton resigned from iPolitics-owned QP Briefing over alleged interference. Read more here.
The Michener Awards Foundation has announced the finalists for the 2022 Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism: CBC News Saskatchewan, The Eastern Graphic, The Toronto Star, Radio-Canada and The Globe and Mail. Founded in 1971, the prize honours excellence in public-service journalism with the judges’ decisions heavily influenced by the degree of public benefit generated by the stories submitted for consideration. Read more about the work of this year’s finalists here.
The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) has announced Leïla Ahouman, Serena Lopez, Mzwandile Poncana, Rahma Shafi and Daniel Reale-Chin as recipients of the Black Journalism Fellowship Program, in partnership with CBC/Radio-Canada, CTV News, The Globe and Mail and the Investigative Journalism Bureau (IJB). The program aims to amplify Black voices, improve coverage of Black issues in the news and cultivate future Black media leaders. Each fellowship provides a unique opportunity for an early-career Black journalist to be hosted for six months in one of the aforementioned newsrooms or at the IJB at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health Sciences.
Rise, a virtual conference sponsored by the Canadian Association of Black Journalists and Communicators (CABJ), is set to take place May 26-27. Among the topics to be explored are crime reporting in Canadian newsrooms, sinophobia in media coverage of China; and mindful journalism methods.
RTDNA Canada’s upcoming webinar on May 8 will feature CTV National News correspondent Tom Walters on powerful writing. Walters will share tips on writing to pictures and emotional engagement. Click here to register
WAB (Western Association of Broadcasters) has confirmed that CRTC commissioners Joanne Levy (MB/SK), Claire Anderson (BC/YK) and Nirmala Naidoo (AB/NWT) will be on hand for a meet and greet at this year’s WAB Conference, June 7-8 at Banff Fairmont Springs. This year’s gala will feature British Columbia-by-way-of-Manitoba country act Tim & The Glory Boys.
The Jack Webster Foundation has opened nominations for the Shelley Fralic Award, celebrating a B.C. woman journalist who exemplifies the late Shelley Fralic’s legacy of making her community a better place. In choosing the recipient, the all-women judging panel will consider the nominees’ commitment to both journalism and their communities. Find out more here. Nominations close June 9.