CBC needs $ 65 million, fast

February 25, 2009

The CBC is deep in the redbecause, well, nobody’s buying advertizing time right now. Apparently discussions are already under way with Heritage Canada. Most government-watchers I talk to agree there will be some kind of rescue funding but some cuts will have to be made – the process is already underway internally. There shall be pain.

It’s nice to see the dismal situation has not affected CBC VP Stursberg’s metaphorical speaking style. “The revenues fell off a cliff. … I have not seen a slide that precipitous and that deep in my entire life.”

So is the Mother Corp sinking?

“We have not been able to bail the boat as quickly as the water is coming in over the gunwales.”

Better keep pumpin’, mate!

February 26 update: Okay, so it seems the government isn’t seriously considering additional funding for the CBC after all. Perhaps my contact were doing a little spin themselves… Still, there are many ways to get money to the CBC and not call it a bailout. Let’s see what happens now.

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Networks didn’t really want the Greens in the debate, Evil Consortium boss says

September 10, 2008

This morning, former Evil Network Consortium boss Tony Burman says that the networks couldn’t agree between themselves that including the Greens in a Leader’s debate would be good television, let alone present a common front to the political parties: Read the rest of this entry »


Media frames election agenda: “May the best PR win”

September 10, 2008

This  morning, a Toronto Star editorial is lamenting that “The early days of the federal election campaign have been dominated by images – mostly negative ones of Liberal leader Stéphane Dion – rather than substance.” The Globe’s headline is about process stories overshadowing policy announcements. The Ottawa Citizen’s sole front-page election text complains that there’s too much talk of gaffes and strategy in the campaign so far. Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese Olympic fakery sets off media trap

August 13, 2008

The Western media is abuzz with details of how China is working hard to get picture-perfect Olympic Games, even if it means cheating with camera images and slapping the voice of a little girl over the face of another. China is simply pushing one step further the standard gimmicks used by most large shows everywhere, but it doesn’t look good.

Sure, many reporters were actively looking for an opportunity to stick it to Chinese authorities. Some commentaries are dripping with malice and barely-contained contempt (and I haven’t turned the radio on yet).

But my point is this: Chinese authorities had to know many reporters would love nothing more than portray them as a band of old freak-control totalitarian maniacs. And wow, they really went out of their way to provide them with material to illustrate that. They fell into the trap big time.

Good luck to Vancouver in 2010. VANOC and the city will have their own tricky PR issues to deal with…


When computers pushed old-style reporters out the door

August 12, 2008

On this day in 1981, IBM launches their very first personal computer, the Model 5150. It has everything anybody could possibly want for home use: a keyboard, monochrome screen, two 5.25″ disk drives and 16 K of RAM, with a robust 4.77 processor MHz speed.

The “PC”, along with another beige computer launched three years later, spelled the end of the typewriter era in newsrooms and flack cubicles.

The Washington Post’s Ashley Halsey reminded us recently that the arrival of the computer also marked both the changing of the guard and of atmosphere in newsrooms.

The cigars and the men who smoked them departed with the typewriters. They wanted no part of these new machines. They fled from change that continued in the years that followed. Women and faces of all races became common in the newsroom. Ashtrays and liquor bottles that inhabited many a desk drawer disappeared. Televisions were hung from the ceilings, and when all-news cable came along, they were left on a lot more. Carpeting replaced linoleum, erasing even the come-and-go of shoe leather, but by then the clatter of rushing copy boys was gone, too. Finally, only the TV pierced the silence. But a clicker, and a mute button, restored quiet.

Many of those new arrivals are now in command positions in the newsrooms. Is there another technological revolution on the horizon that will push them out?


Final Spin on CNN.com

August 1, 2008

Well, this is a surprise… This post ended up today at the top of one of CNN.com’s automatic search pages. No wonder I’ve been getting a lot more hits than usual!

I’m not too sure what’s pushing my blog at the top of the “decapitation bus” search, in front of CBS, Fox News and others. The Internet works in mysterious ways.

I’d rather prefer this blog be known for something less creepy… Care to discuss how to deal with Angry Canucks, anyone? How about Tobacco smuggling? The use and misuse of statistical data by reporters and PR professionals?


Conrad Black on a shopping spree

July 27, 2008

On this day in 1995, Conrad Black’s Hollinger buys 19 local newspapers from the old Thompson chain. Later in the year, he grabs Regina’s Leader-Post and Saskatoon’s Star-Phoenix. Thirteen more newspapers would follow one year later, as well as a good chunk of Southam’s shares. It goes on and on until 1998, when Hollinger establishes the national Post and starts selling other assets.