Posts Tagged ‘ newspaper ’

The Grid TO goes belly-up

Posted on July 2nd, 2014 Be the first to comment

Though there’s still no indication of this on their website, The Grid TO’s last issue will be tomorrow:

grid_closes

 

What makes this sad news is what appears between the lines:

“It’s a tough time, a really tough time,” Turnbull said in an interview.

“The media landscape continues to be impossible for a start up,” he said, calling The Grid a victim of timing.

Launched on May 12, 2011, three years after the Great Recession, Turnbull said, “nobody anticipated how dramatically print and online revenue would continue to decline after 2009. We all thought it would be a gentle landing. Instead, it’s been violent.

“If the Grid had launched eight years ago instead of three, there’s no question it would be a roaring success,” he said.

In other words, independent journalism (even when backed by a media giant like Torstar), is a real tough sell today (no small thanks, I’m sure, to when they’re dismissed or attacked by corrupt leaders).

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay, Pictures

Middle of the road

Posted on October 17th, 2013 Be the first to comment

If, for some bizarre reason, you happen to read this blog and you’re a Ford supporter, first off, kudos for making it this far without losing your shit (or at least keeping it out of my face). Second, I’m going to propose that we have something in common.

I’m totally serious.

Assuming that the Ontario Press Council had ruled against the Toronto Star, and the Globe and Mail, etc., would you agree that the Council should have some real teeth to go after infractions? Maybe monetary penalties? Maybe something tougher? Well me too.

Oh, I think the ruling was right on, and I would’ve been surprised at anything else. But I would want these oversight agencies, while being diligently transparent, to have the power to affect and mandate some actual change. Change like holding Ford to account, for starters.

We don’t have to get all medieval on anyone’s ass, just get a little closer to what they do in the private sector, as Ford and friends so wisely suggest.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Christopher Hume: bang on

Posted on May 21st, 2013 Be the first to comment

Although I tend to lace my political analyses with a lot more profanity and not so subtle calls to action, I’m heartened to see that the mainstream media seem to be waking up to what’s happening — at least here in Canada.

Christopher Hume’s piece in the Toronto Star today, for example, demonstrates a willingness to no longer tip-toe around the issues. Although I wish I could quote the entire article, the last few-ish paragraphs sum it all up perfectly:

It was painful to watch our prime minister and chief environmental scofflaw, Boss Harper, squirm in New York last week as he tried to talk his way out of his antediluvian attitudes to climate change.

It was just as excruciating to witness Sheriff Ford’s efforts to deal with reports of a video of him apparently smoking crack. The man has yet to mount any defence beyond, “ridiculous.”

Through it all we remain so polite, deferential and glad to be of use, that a good many Torontonians lined up to denounce the media that did them the favour of revealing the mayor for what he is, an overgrown man-child who does what he wants, the city be damned.

Harper, by contrast, knows what he’s doing. He knows his actions are reckless, but to him ethics are a nicety leaders can’t afford.

Neither Harper nor Ford respect government, its institutions or the positions they hold. Both believe themselves exempt. To them, Canadians are gullible or too preoccupied with getting by to hold them responsible.

As bad as things may be, Canadians are terrified they could be worse.

I applaud you, Mr. Hume, for taking a stand against the blithe illegality and corruption of our various levels of government. Now we just need more people to do the same.

Filed under: Dispatches, Pictures

Worthington’s final words

Posted on May 14th, 2013 Be the first to comment

I found it interesting to read what Peter Worthington’s final thoughts were about the paper he helped to found in his auto-obituary:

Of course, there is the Toronto Sun, which was never as good a newspaper as it could have been, but which was always a fun place to work, with good people who seemed to be forever being replaced by other good people.

The Sun was always pretty tolerant of me and, I must say, I was pretty tolerant of it from time to time. We both served each other’s purpose.

Not great, high turnover, and a necessary evil — or am I reading that wrong?

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Toronto Sun loses its founding editor

Posted on May 13th, 2013 7 Comments

You must know me by now, I’m not exactly what you’d call fond of the Toronto Sun. But I guess it must fill some void out there because it’s managed to stay alive since 1971, and credit for that certainly must lie with Peter Worthington, the paper’s founding editor.

Worthington died from staph complications today, and although I’d probably have nothing polite to say to him (despite him occasionally being right on the money), you gotta give it to the man — he gnarled on that conservative bone until there was nothing left.

peter worthington

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Star complaint against Ford tossed by Integrity Commissioner

Posted on March 28th, 2013 1 Comment

It’s been almost a year since I reached out to the Star to see what was happening with their complaint against the mayor. You may not remember it — it had to do with how Ford was excluding media from City Hall (and especially the Star).

Well, the much-maligned Integrity Commissioner recently released her report on the incident and decided that there was nothing to follow up on. In other words, case closed.

Unsurprisingly, no one from the Ford camp is so much as mentioning the decision. I suppose it must be a foregone conclusion now that Rob Ford gets away with breaking every rule and law out there, why should this be any different? And, of course, further discussions about the balance in the office of the Integrity Commissioner are completely absent. In other words, if she’s questioning the mayor and doing her job, then of course she’s irrelevant, biased, and just the scum of the earth. If she’s siding with him, it can be ignored so that she can continue to be demonized.

But let’s put this to the side for moment and see what the report actually said. First, some history.

In February 2011, members of the City Hall press gallery put together a brief note stating what they expected of the mayor as a public servant:

The Gallery expects that all of its members will be treated equally and fairly. As such, all media releases, circulars, agendas, notice of scrums and other events, and other official communications from the City of Toronto, including the mayor’s office, must be communicated equally to all members of the Gallery, without favour or prejudice.

Ford ignored this and didn’t respond (surprise!)

In December of that year, a formal complaint was filed and, indeed, Rob Ford was once again found to have been doing exactly what he’d been accused of doing:

The complainant provided examples of bulk distribution of news releases and statements made by the Mayor to the media that were not given to journalists writing for the Toronto Star. The Mayor acknowledges that these were not delivered to writers for the Toronto Star. A search conducted of press releases from the Office of the Mayor during the relevant time period identified the recipients.

Additionally:

The former Press Secretary for the Mayor confirmed that after taking office the Mayor’s flatly stated position was, “I do not talk to the Star.”

Furthermore:

One journalist for the Toronto Star described the situation as an “underground economy” in information. Material was often provided on an “off the record” basis. Another journalist from the Toronto Star described the relationship-building with the Mayor’s Press Secretary as a “long hard slog” which improved over time.

And just to clarify:

The subject of the Mayor’s relationship to the media was discussed with many of those interviewed in this investigation. Staff members from the Toronto Star spoke about the difficulty of doing their work without up to date information about the Mayor and his activities. This complaint was not limited to the Toronto Star. Other journalists described the flow of information out of the Mayor’s office in these terms:

  • “few and far between”
  • “we aren’t kept up to date regarding what he is doing”
  • “occasional” statements
  • “less than once per week and sometimes once per month”
  • “It is not as if we have a direct line to the Mayor”
  • The Press Secretary is “inconsistent” in responding to journalists

On the continuum of “sparse or sparser” access, members of the Press Gallery said that the Toronto Star has less access than others. The media members interviewed, and those who commented publicly on the issue have said a number of times that a Mayor should be even-handed with the press and treat all outlets “fairly.” Others felt strongly that there is a democratic obligation on the part of elected officials to be open with the press and to be fair in access to information about their activities.

In the end and despite this overwhelming evidence, the Integrity Commissioner ruled in favour of Ford:

I conclude that on the particular facts in this case, there was no breach of the Code of Conduct by Mayor Ford. The reasons for this finding can be summarized as follows:

  • There is an accepted practice of elected officials, including the Mayor, determining how and when they will grant access to the media, by way of interviews, answering questions during scrums or providing information about their views, outside of the formal and publicly accessible mechanisms that exist for ensuring transparent municipal democracy;
  • The Mayor did not interfere with the access of Toronto Star reporters to significant avenues of information about the workings and agendas of City Council, the public service, or other councillors;
  • The City of Toronto has an open access policy for disseminating information to the media and to the public;
  • The Mayor’s personal policy of “not talking to the Star” was incomplete, with his knowledge and approval, as shown by the following:
    • distribution of some bulk e mails to thestar.ca;
    • distribution of most bulk e mails to other members of the Star Media Group, all falling under the direct supervision of the Publisher of the Toronto Star;
    • distribution of all bulk e mails to the affiliated sister company of Metroland;
    • the unofficial and multiple “work arounds” by staff and Toronto Star journalists, known, tolerated and cited by the Mayor in his defence.
    • The originating story which led to the Mayor’s reason for not speaking to the Toronto Star was written during a political campaign and was newsworthy because of his status as a public and political figure;
    • The ability of the press to publish, comment and otherwise hold politicians to account for their media communications practices.

So once again, Rob Ford smugly walks away from the fray because there’s really nothing in place to hold him to account.

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay

The Star responds to Ford

Posted on March 27th, 2013 1 Comment

BRING IT

This is, of course, in response to Ford’s latest bluster about how people need to sue him when he calls them liars (I’m sure it makes sense to him).

Filed under: Contributed, Patrick Bay, Pictures

Time for a test

Posted on March 26th, 2013 Be the first to comment

The Star’s Robyn Doolittle seems to be gunning close to the core Rob Ford issue of the moment: his alcohol / drug abuse. Not terribly surprising given both the rumours and some earlier contacts (this date last year, in fact):

Doolittle-email

The story, apparently, is that Rob made another slovenly mess of himself at a war veteran’s charity ball, and had to be shown out.

Three members of the Garrison Ball organizing committee said Ford was asked to leave because he appeared impaired. One said, “he seemed either drunk, high or had a medical condition.”

Doolittle goes on to name a variety of sadly but understandably anonymous (all fearing the mayor’s wrath),  sources who detail the alcoholism that Rob Ford is “battling with” (seems like a warm embrace to me, but that’s just my take). Some of the guest descriptions of Ford from the military ball, however, should remind us that there’s probably more than alcohol involved:

“incoherent,” “stumbling,” “rambling,” “intoxicated,” “slurring,” “seemed to be drunk,” “was nervous, excited, sweaty, out of it.”

I’ve had my fair share of alcohol, and I can’t say that I’ve ever been nervous or excited. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I know that Fordites are going to cling to their main mass no matter what, but to the rest of us, doesn’t it seem like maybe it’s time for a random drug test? And before anyone raises a fuss about inequality, I’d definitely be in favour of all the Councillors taking one.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay, Pictures

Toronto Sun reaches new height of journalism

Posted on July 17th, 2012 2 Comments

The birdcage liner aimed at Toronto’s avid knuckle-draggers really outdid itself today. I am now no longer able to distinguish it from other vaunted tabloids like the Weekly World News (more interesting), or the Onion (more funny).

Story goes: dude walks up, sees other dude with bag on seat, screws up face, takes a photo, hobbles off on account of a gimpy leg. Didn’t ask for the seat, didn’t motion like he wanted to sit down, just cast a glance like, “who the hell are you to be taking up my seat with a bag?” Breaking news reported to Sun News who interview gimpy leg dude in the street; now front page of Toronto Sun and most likely running on high rotation on Sun News Network alongside the hot dog rat story.

And look, as of this post, 95 people registered their rabid displeasure at the event — that’s three times as many as the story in which a three-year-old boy kills his dad with his handgun.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay, Pictures

Levy logic in support of Ford

Posted on February 8th, 2012 Be the first to comment

You gotta love the twisted logic it requires to be a Rob Ford supporter these days. Sue-Ann Levy (thanks for the find, Sarah), is just one cautionary example.

In her article berating Councillor Karen Stintz’ and her “Gang of 23” for taking an “unprincipled stand” against Ford’s let’s shove all transit underground and out of sight philosophy. Just look at the Scarborough RT, for example, what a shambles!

Yeah, well I did my time in Scarborough and couldn’t help but notice how our crappy RT, which is above ground, compared to the rest of the TTC, large sections of which also runs above ground. Levy and Ford, though, probably wouldn’t know that. And yes, the RT is kinda famously not compatible with the rest of the subway system so making the systems link up would make sense. But that’s not what Fordo supported when he unanimously overstepped his bounds, declared Transit City dead, and pronounced that Eglinton would be getting low-floor underground trains requiring a different rail gauge — exactly like the LRT.

And besides, Sue-Ann’s got her crusties all in a bunch because it was Toronto that elected the mayor with a loud and plain voice (no doubt), of 47% of voters, while Stintz is running amok with just 23 renegade Councillors which, for some reason, is not a democratically elected, and arguably much wiser, majority (there are 44 Councillors in total).

Well, Sue-Ann, let me break it down for you: I’m sure these 24 Councillors, making up 54% of Council, collectively got way more votes than His Weightiness, and if you weren’t filled with such glaring blind spots and adoration for your rotund master, you’d realize that this is the actual voice of Toronto that this “gang” of Councillors represents. Or does the concept of representative democracy not really make sense to you?

Filed under: Patrick Bay, Why I'm Right