Bell is cancelling its all-sports format on radio stations in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Hamilton, barely a week after announcing hundreds of job cuts at media properties across Canada.
TSN 1040 AM in Vancouver, TSN 1290 AM in Winnipeg and TSN 1150 AM in Hamilton will no longer be all-sports stations, Bell announced on Tuesday.
In a media release, the conglomerate said Hamilton’s 1150 AM will become a BNN Bloomberg station, covering business, innovation, technology and sports.
In Vancouver, the morning show cut away during a commercial break Tuesday before it was announced that the station would be “reprogrammed” as of Friday without elaborating.
“It was a difficult decision,” a statement posted on the websites of both stations reads, “but the realities of the quickly evolving broadcast media landscape in Canada have made this change unavoidable.”
Two channels switch to comedy format
Bell Media president Wade Oosterman told all staff in an email Tuesday that the Vancouver and Winnipeg channels will be converting to a “funny format, which has already proven highly successful in markets like Hamilton and Calgary with its stand-up comedy content.”
“While these are relatively modest changes to our overall radio business (we have more than 100 stations in 58 markets across the country), they align with our strategy of focusing on serving the largest possible audiences with the content they want the most while leveraging the efficiencies of our broader organization,” Oosterman said.
“The adjustments we’re making to some of our radio stations this week offer a good example of Bell Media’s readiness to change when it’s right for the business, especially when our costs are too high to justify or we simply have a better model to serve a given marketplace,” he said.
Bell still has TSN radio stations in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Edmonton. Neither the employee memo nor a media release from Bell Media announcing the change in Hamilton made any mention of job cuts as a result of the move.
Mike Jablonski, a board operator at TSN 1290 in Winnipeg, said the news came as a complete surprise to him. He didn’t actually know he had lost his job until he started getting text messages from friends and family members asking him what was going on.
He wasn’t scheduled to work on Tuesday, and eventually heard from his boss via text message that “the whole entire station [is] just gone,” he said in an interview with CBC News.
“The posts on the website … that’s when most of the top colleagues knew about it as well,” he said.
Jablonski said he had been thrilled with his job at the station. He had been there for just over a year and half, joining after a college broadcasting program.
The moves come in the aftermath of layoffs by Bell across multiple platforms last week. TSN television reporters/anchors Dan O’Toole, Natasha Staniszewski and Brent Wallace wrote on social media they were among those to lose their jobs.
The move also comes barely a week after the company’s highly touted #BellLetsTalk day, which raises money for mental health initiatives. This year’s campaign raised almost $8 million, Bell announced in a media release last month.
Profits up in 4th quarter of 2020
Last week, parent company BCE announced its quarterly profit rose to $889 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, up from $672 million the year before.
As a result, the company hiked its dividend to shareholders by five per cent to 87.5 cents per share, up from 83.25 cents per share previously.
Bell was recently criticized by Ontario-based regional rival Teksavvy for taking more than $122 million in government aid through the form of wage subsidies even as it was raising its payout to shareholders and cutting jobs.
Oosterman’s memo defended the company’s actions, saying the impact on jobs would have been far greater had the company not moved to streamline its operations.
“Considering the extraordinary losses in revenue across all of our media platforms and in many other parts of Bell’s business, we did apply for federal wage support in 2020 as a supplement to our cross-company program to redeploy affected team members into service and support roles, which successfully minimized the impacts on jobs last year,” he said.
How vaccine misinformation spreads on social media – Varsity
Misinformation about vaccines is widely recognized as a motivator for vaccine hesitancy and anti-vax conspiracy theories. Both attitudes could hamper COVID-19 vaccine rollouts across the country, and the government is very aware of the risk: Ottawa plans to invest $64 million in education campaigns to fight vaccine hesitancy and misinformation.
Misinformation can range from unwarranted suspicions about what vaccines are made of to claims that taking vaccines can cause infertility. Social media platforms are a major source of this misinformation — and companies are very aware of it.
On March 1, Twitter introduced a new labelling policy to alert users about misinformation and a strike system that would lock users out of the app if they repeatedly violate the company’s COVID-19 policy. Facebook and Instagram already announced a blanket ban on vaccine misinformation last month.
Vaccine misinformation on social media predates the pandemic. In 2016, information about an illegal vaccine distribution network that administered unrefrigerated or expired vaccines in China’s Shandong province spread on social media, which led to a 43.7 per cent decrease in the willingness of parents to vaccinate their children. Most of the people surveyed had learned about the story exclusively through social media.
How social media platforms shape beliefs and attitudes
To understand the roots of the vaccine misinformation problem, one has to understand how social media algorithms recommend content to users in the first place.
Social media allows anyone to share information. This is its primary strength, but it can also be a weakness when that information is unchecked, unverified, or unedited. Social media feeds can become catalysts for misinformation and a lack of trust in public officials. They have the power to change the minds of individuals on many different subjects, primarily through repeated suggestions of the same ideas.
Algorithms on Facebook and Twitter push accounts that users interact with the most to the top of their feeds. As posts or tweets become more popular, they are amplified and spread to more users. When these posts confirm existing biases those users may have, misinformation may spread. For example, those who are borderline questioning vaccine safety and efficacy might interact with a few posts that question the efficiency of vaccines, and then encounter even more similar posts due to the algorithm.
Misinformation researchers Claire Wardle and Eric Singerman wrote in the British Medical Journal that while Facebook, Twitter, and Google have “stated that they will take more action against false and misleading information,” it’s the personal stories and anecdotes on their platforms — which they are not controlling — that are potentially detrimental to users’ collective understanding of vaccine safety, necessity, and efficiency.
The duo also highlights the complexity of the situation: people accuse censorship of being a violation of freedom of speech, but at the same time, there is still an argument for platforms removing posts that spread misinformation entirely.
Closer to home, Deena Abul-Fottouh, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Information, researches the impacts social media networks have on their users. A recent paper she co-wrote with researchers from U of T and Ryerson University analyzes how YouTube handles vaccine misinformation.
The YouTube algorithm is built on homophily — the belief that “like-minded individuals… tend to act in a similar way” — in that it pushes content that users already find interesting or of priority onto other users who are judged to have similar tastes. According to the study, this creates a filter bubble, “which occurs when a recommender system makes assumptions of user preferences based on prior collected information about that user, making it less likely that the user would be exposed to diverse perspectives.”
How are social media companies responding to misinformation?
Facebook and Twitter began to take steps to prevent the spread of health misinformation in 2018. These were small measures, such as the addition of educational pop-ups and the suppression of false claims that were deemed threatening. Meanwhile, Pinterest changed its settings so that the search term “vaccines’” would only yield information from reliable sources such as the World Health Organization.
However, social media companies are still under increased pressure from governments, the public, and health authorities to alter their policies regarding public health. Following new guidelines, Facebook has been removing posts that include any false information regarding the vaccines, as well as adding labels to posts that need clarification.
Wardle and Singerman describe these measures as positive but still insufficient, relying on tackling individual instances of misinformation rather than the larger psychological effects of suspicion and fear they generate. The research sums up, “What’s required is more innovative, agile responses that go beyond the simple questions of whether to simply remove, demote, or label.”
YouTube has also made changes to its policies and is now more likely to recommend pro-vaccine videos. But Abul-Fottouh and her colleagues wrote that the “filter bubble” effect is still prevalent and that those who engage with anti-vaccine content will be on the receiving end of more anti-vaccine content.
Halifax police, school investigate attack on student in social media video – Global News
A video showing several teenagers attacking another student at the Halifax Common surfaced on social media on Friday. Halifax police and the regional education centre say they are investigating the “very disturbing” incident.
The incident, involving students from Citadel High School, occurred Thursday afternoon after class.
The video circulating on social media shows three teenagers walking behind a student. After the student lays on the ground, a second student is seen stomping on his head. Another individual filming could be heard egging the fight.
“The school has spoken with everyone involved and the aggressors and their families know there are consequences for those actions, even though it happened off school property,” says Doug Hadley, spokesperson for the Halifax Regional Centre for Education.
The school has also contacted police, who have confirmed they are investigating the incident.
“Halifax Regional Police would like to confirm that we have received reports of an incident captured in a video involving a physical altercation between some youths,” HRP said in a news release Friday night.
“We can confirm that we have an ongoing investigation into this matter. Due to the age of the parties involved, we are unable to provide specific details.
“We would like to assure the public that we take the matter seriously and are taking all necessary steps in this ongoing matter.”
Early Saturday afternoon, Citadel High School principal Joe Morrison released a statement saying the incident is being taken seriously.
“We were made aware of the incident on Friday and spent considerable time addressing the situation.
“Late Friday afternoon, we became aware that a video of the incident was circulating on social media,” Morrison wrote.
“We also learned there is a narrative circulating suggesting the person on the ground has special needs. This is not the case and distracts from what actually happened.”
Surveillance video shows RCMP officers after shooting at Nova Scotia fire hall
As for the student attacked, authorities say he is doing fine and attended school on Friday, but that doesn’t change the seriousness of the incident.
“It’s very disturbing for anyone who’s seen it, so it’s a matter of great concern for everyone who is involved,” Hadley says.
He is also pleading for everyone to stop sharing the video of the attack.
“It’s sharing a video of someone being attacked, and they’re being filmed without their consent, and so every time we share that it can lead to further victimization,” Hadley says.
“It can be harmful on many different levels,” he says, adding that there is also an issue of reputation. “This might be reflective of the larger community when in fact we know that not to be true, and that Citadel High and its students have many things to be proud of.
“But there’s also a feeling that there’s a risk, that others might think that’s acceptable behavior when it’s clearly not.”
Police say the investigation into the incident is ongoing and the school has stated that there will be consequences for the students involved.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
March 6th Media Release – Brandon Police Service
March 6th, 2021
Brandon Police Service Media Release for the Past 24 Hours.
Theft Under $5000
A male youth was arrested on Friday afternoon for Theft Under $5000. A report was received from a business in the 900 block of Victoria Ave of a male stealing $300 in electronics from the business. The suspect was identified and located on Friday afternoon. He was arrested for the theft and released to appear in court in May.
Fail to Comply with Release Order
A male youth from Brandon was arrested on Friday for breaching two conditions of a release order. On March 4th, he attended to his ex-girlfriends residence contrary to a condition of the order. He was also not located at his residence and was in breach of a second condition. He was located on Friday, arrested and held for remand.
Break and Enter Warrant executed
A 33 year old Brandon man was arrested on a warrant for Break Enter and Commit Mischief. The man was located in the 1900 block of Brandon Ave and arrested on the warrant. He was released to appear in court in May.
A male youth from Brandon was arrested on Friday afternoon on charges of Assault and Defamatory Libel. The accused assaulted a female by striking her with a stick while they were skating. The accused had also spread rumours that the victim was sharing nude photos with him. He will appear in court in May.
Breach of Release Order/Obstruct Police Officer
On Friday evening officers responded to a report of an intoxicated man causing disturbance in the 900 block of Victoria Ave. The man was located nearby and he was found to be on a court order with a curfew of 9 pm. The man was arrested and lodged. A second man who was the first man’s father interfered with the investigation and was arrested and charged with Obstructing a police officer. The two man, an 18 year old and 42 year old, both residents of York Landing Mb were lodged and later released to appear in court in April.
A 48 year old Brandon man was arrested on a warrant for Assault, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime and Failing to Attend Court. He was released to appear in court in May.
A 29 year old Brandon was arrested on an arrest for warrant for Breach of Probation. He was released to appear in court in May.
A 35 year old woman from Waywayseecappo turned herself in at the police service on Friday as she was aware of a warrant for her arrest. She was arrested and released to appear in court in May.
V.W. (Bill) Brown #114, Staff Sergeant
NCO i/c D Platoon
204 729 2319
Anyone with information on any unsolved crime is asked to call Brandon Crime Stoppers at 204-727-(TIPS) 8477, or by texting BCSTIP and your message to CRIMES (274637). Crime Stoppers pays up to $2000.00 cash for information that leads to the solution of a crime.
CRIME STOPPERS 204-727-TIPS
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