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Exploiting Osaka's vulnerability isn't a solution to media's dwindling access –



This is a column by Morgan Campbell, who writes opinion for CBC Sports. For more information about CBC’s Opinion section, please see the FAQ.

Naomi Osaka’s first news conference since early spring — an online press event connected to the Western & Southern open in suburban Cincinnati — unfolded smoothly until a columnist from the Cincinnati Enquirer stepped up with a question.

Osaka, of course, made headlines when she refused to do news conferences at the French Open, explaining that questions she perceived as negative affected her game, and that pressers triggered her anxiety and depression, first diagnosed in 2018.

The sports media, an industry that balances its narcissism with insecurity, took a story about a player’s mental health and spun it as a tale about a spoiled diva stiffing hard-working sports scribes.

Since then Osaka, currently ranked second by the WTA, has posted on social networks, penned a guest column for Time magazine, and starred in a Netflix documentary about her life and career. Busy media schedule for somebody who hates press conferences, isn’t it? So something had to give, right? All Microphones Matter. It’s impossible for a person to let a film crew embed themselves in her camp and find it unsettling to let strangers pepper them with questions about why they don’t play well on clay, don’t you think?

Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty, for one, had to know how Osaka could embrace some types of media interaction, but detest others.

“You are not crazy about dealing with us, especially in this format, yet you have a lot of outside interests that are served by having a media platform. I guess my question is, ‘How do you balance the two?'”

WATCH | Naomi Osaka emotional following exchange with reporter:

Naomi Osaka breaks down in tears following exchange with reporter

23 hours ago

World No. 2 Naomi Osaka briefly left her press conference in tears following a question about how she balances her dislike of press conferences with the fact that the press help showcase her outside interests. 4:37

That question elicited a long pause from Osaka, who turned her eyes to the ceiling as if somebody had written the answer there.

“When you say I’m not crazy about dealing with you guys, what does that refer to?” she asked, eventually.

Daugherty tried but didn’t quite succeed in making his question less clunky. Both versions included the phrase “I guess my question is,” and the awkward back-and-forth kicked off five tense minutes that ended with a tearful Osaka leaving the dais, and the moderator pausing the news conference. Osaka later returned and resumed answering questions.

If you’re a reporter or sports opinionator seeking proof of Osaka’s news conference anxiety, or the fraught mind state possibly fuelling her lacklustre performances this summer — including a third-round loss at the 2020 Olympics — she provided it Monday night. She took questions, thought hard before responding, and, above all, looked uncomfortable.

So, for the sports media folks who griped about Osaka in the spring — is this what we wanted?


Sports and mental health

The strained exchange with Daugherty generated more headlines than the on-court action at the tournament did, and swallowed five whole minutes of ESPN’s overnight SportsCenter broadcast. If we wanted Osaka to deliver compelling content we could disseminate, she came through.

But still, is this what we need?

Osaka’s original news-conference opt-out hit sports media in a sore spot. We’re eager to talk sports and mental health if it means pro athletes discussing it on the record. But Osaka citing mental health as the reason to trim her press obligations meant less access, and we, as an industry, didn’t handle it well, which makes sense given the sports media landscape.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, players had figured out they could spread whatever message they had — social justice, fitness tips, sponsor shout-outs — without a megaphone from the mainstream press. YouTube, Instagram, Players Tribune. Blog posts, branded content, behind-the-scenes videos. They all serve to connect athletes with audiences. None involve the traditional media.

WATCH | Bring It In panel discusses Osaka spotlighting athlete mental health:

Naomi Osaka speaks out for athlete mental health

2 months ago

Hosts of Bring It In Morgan Campbell, Meghan McPeak and Dave Zirin discuss Naomi Osaka pulling out of the French Open and the social media frenzy that ensued after. 14:50

Every aspect of the setup complicates work for people like us, who need access and honest answers, and license to tell stories that don’t first pass through the filter of the athlete’s or their sponsor’s interests.

The pandemic spurred safety protocols that demand even less face-to-face contact between athletes and the media. Now, writers try to spin interesting stories out of whatever teams and leagues manage to serve us via Zoom.

This problem will persist whenever the pandemic ends, and the sports world settles into whatever its new normal will be. But we can’t expect Osaka to solve it by volunteering for press events that trigger her anxiety, then turning tense moments into content.

If Osaka goes Marshawn Lynch, mumbling one-line answers just so she won’t get fined, you can’t say her relationship with the media serves either party.

If she goes full Hal McCrae, because she, like the short-tenured manager of the Kansas City Royals, grows “tired of these stupid a** m*****f*****’ questions every night,” she’ll star in a clip with a long internet afterlife. Still won’t make for healthy interactions between parties that need to coexist.

And if she keeps paying fines for the privilege of skipping press events, nobody wins — except whoever’s cashing those cheques.

WATCH | Osaka pulls out of French Open due to mental health concerns:

Naomi Osaka pulls out of French Open citing mental health concerns

3 months ago

Tennis star Naomi Osaka has pulled out of the French Open citing an ongoing battle with depression and social anxiety. Osaka had previously said she wouldn’t do any press conferences during the tournament because of mental health concerns. 1:58

I empathize with the media here. Over two decades in this business, I’ve been the guy hustling on a tight deadline to conjure something worth reading from a bland press event. Even these days, on some occasions, I’m still that guy. It’s an uphill struggle made even steeper knowing most people who care will already have seen the highlights before your story hits the internet, much less the printed page.

But I can also identify with Osaka. Dealing with the media is part of her job, even if she hates it as much as I hate doing taxes, which is part of mine. Except news conferences trigger actual anxiety in Osaka, where I’m simply unequipped to deal with that many numbers in that much detail. Also, I can outsource tax prep, while Osaka has to endure news conferences even if they erode her mental health.

And most of us know the frustration of fielding a muddy question from someone expecting a clear answer.

“I guess my question is…”


In a statement emailed to the New York Times, Osaka’s agent, Stuart Duguid, called the approach “bullying.”

Might be an overreach, but we know Daughtery didn’t even really know what he wanted to know, yet wanted a coherent, honest, thoughtful answer from Osaka.

News conferences, with their compressed schedules, nudge reporters toward compound queries, and broad non-questions that often start with the words “talk about.” And they ask the athlete to do most of the work. Receive disjointed questions; return quotable answers.

Repeat every night of the tournament. Repeat every tournament for the whole season.

It’s tedious, even if you like it.

That athletes with Osaka’s clout still participate speaks to the power of punitive fines and routine duty. But Monday night was a long way from routine. It was newsworthy, and a display of the vulnerability Osaka described before the French Open.

For us in the media, it helped us with headlines and gave us a one-day bump in viewership. It’s topical, shareable content.

But, in an era of dwindling access to big stars, it’s not a strategy.

And that’s not Osaka’s problem to solve.

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Company set to buy Trump’s social media app faces subpoenas – Global News



The company planning to buy Donald Trump’s new social media business has disclosed a federal grand jury investigation that it says could impede or even prevent its acquisition of the Truth Social app.

Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. dropped 10% in morning trading Monday as the company revealed that it has received subpoenas from a grand jury in New York.

Read more:

Jan. 6 committee hears of Trump’s pressure on Justice Department over election

The Justice Department subpoenas follow an ongoing probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission into whether Digital World broke rules by having substantial talks about buying Trump’s company starting early last year before Digital World sold stock to the public for the first time in September, just weeks before its announcement that it would be buying Trump’s company.

Trump’s social media venture launched in February as he seeks a new digital stage to rally his supporters and fight Big Tech limits on speech, a year after he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The Trump Media & Technology Group – which operates the Truth Social app and was in the process of being acquired by Digital World – said in a statement that it will cooperate with “oversight that supports the SEC’s important mission of protecting retail investors.”

The new probe could make it more difficult for Trump to finance his social media company. The company last year got promises from dozens of investors to pump $1 billion into the company, but it can’t get the cash until the Digital World acquisition is completed.

Stock in Digital World rocketed to more than $100 in October after its deal to buy Trump’s company was announced. The stock traded at just around $25 in morning trading Monday.

Digital World is a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, part of an investing phenomenon that exploded in popularity over the past two years.

Click to play video: 'U.S. Capitol siege hearings focus on Trump’s pressure campaign to overturn 2020 election'

U.S. Capitol siege hearings focus on Trump’s pressure campaign to overturn 2020 election

U.S. Capitol siege hearings focus on Trump’s pressure campaign to overturn 2020 election

Such “blank-check” companies are empty corporate entities with no operations, only offering investors the promise they will buy a business in the future. As such they are allowed to sell stock to the public quickly without the usual regulatory disclosures and delays, but only if they haven’t already lined up possible acquisition targets.

Digital World said in a regulatory filing Monday that each member of its board of directors has been subpoenaed by the grand jury in the Southern District of New York. Both the grand jury and the SEC are also seeking a number of documents tied to the company and others including a sponsor, ARC Global Investments, and Miami-based venture capital firm Rocket One Capital.

Some of the sought documents involve “due diligence” regarding Trump Media and other potential acquisition targets, as well as communications with Digital World’s underwriter and financial adviser in its initial public offering, according to the SEC disclosure.

Digital World also Monday announced the resignation of one of its board members, Bruce Garelick, a chief strategy officer at Rocket One.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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GUNTER: Coun. Michael Janz doesn't need a social media censor – Edmonton Sun



Janz should not be investigated by the city’s integrity commissioner, or as I would recommend renaming the position, the city’s social media censor.

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It should be obvious I’m not a big fan of Michael “Mosquito Mike” Janz, the city councillor most responsible for ending the city’s mosquito-spraying program. The flying pests are noticeably worse this summer; I’ve got the bites to prove it.

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Thanks, Mosquito Mike.

In general, I don’t care for Janz’s politics and especially his anti-police harangues. Check out his Twitter feed. He complains about police about once a month, sometimes even more often.

He accuses them of race and class double standards. He thinks they slough off investigations of alleged crimes against lower-income Edmontonians and routinely mislead the public to cover their own misdeeds.

I find it particularly detestable that he is alleged recently to have retweeted a post from a Calgary account referring to police as “pigs.”

(Calling the police “pigs” is not only detestable, but laughably archaic, too. Hey, Councillor, the late ’60s called. They want their tie-dyed shirt and peace medallion back. Groovy, man.)

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Yet, so long as Janz must account to his voters, he should be free to tweet and retweet as he sees fit. The relationship is between the electors and their elected representative. If they disapprove of his online behaviour, they can vote him out of office.

Janz should not be investigated by the city’s integrity commissioner, or as I would recommend renaming the position, the city’s social media censor.

It should be up to the voters who elected Janz to punish him, if they so desire, not some appointed adjudicator who doesn’t answer to voters directly.

A complaint has been filed with the integrity commissioner, Jamie Pytel, by sometimes local Liberal candidate, Thomas Deak. In the complaint, Deak says Janz retweeted the following post, “So this week a co-worker got a $409 ticket for failing to stop his bike at a stop sign. It was 7 a.m. in a residential area, the roads were empty, except for the pig hiding in the bushes.”

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Get outraged. Compose an email to the Sun. Post your own tweet condemning Mosquito Mike for his retweeting of juvenile, anti-police name-calling.

But don’t go running to the censor asking her to clap Janz in irons just because you find his opinion (in this case his second-hand opinion) infuriating. Grow up. This is a democracy. We get to have opinions, even unpleasant ones, so long as we respect the right of others to opinions we vehemently disagree with.

Remember, that any government tool that can be used to hush-up your opponents will almost most certainly be turned on you one day, too.

I find it hilarious that Janz, in his own defence, insists there is a plot to “erroneously paint me as some sort of anti-police radical.” Nothing “could be further from the truth.”

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Apparently, in his own mind, Janz is a big fan of police.

But remember, Janz was recently also hauled before the integrity commish for tweeting, liking or retweeting nearly two dozen anti-police posts near the end of last year.

Hmm, he certainly has an odd way of showing his love and respect for the Edmonton Police Service.

Own it, councillor. You don’t like the cops much.

But that is his right. He gets to have a seat on council and hold juvenile, archaic, anti-police opinions until the voters in his ward tire of his schtick and punt him from office.

Even after that, he still gets to hold his objectionable views, he just can’t do it as a councillor anymore.

In his run-in with Pytel earlier this year, Janz was not sanctioned by Edmonton’s in-house play-nice-children scold.

And he shouldn’t have been, just as he shouldn’t be reprimanded now.

The whole integrity commissioner ideal just gets in the way of democracy.

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Omnicom Media Group Heads Home from Cannes with 39 Lions, the Media Network Crown, a New Global Consultancy and a Big Lead in Connected Commerce – Canada NewsWire



OMG’s OMD Worldwide Named Media Network of the Year

NEW YORK, June 27, 2022 /CNW/ — With a combination of accolades and headline-making announcements, Omnicom Media Group (OMG), the media services division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) was a dominant presence at the 2022 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

On the accolades front, OMG agencies earned a total of 39 Lions and its OMD agency, the largest global media network by billings, was named Media Network of the Year. This marks the second consecutive year that an OMG agency took the Network of the Year title, which was awarded to PHD in 2021. 

Concurrent with its performance in the competition, OMG earned headlines each day of the festival, announcing a series of first-mover collaborations with retail media networks, as well as the global expansion of its TRKKNanalytics and ad consultancy that is one of the largest Google Marketing Platform (GMP) partners in Europe.

OMG’s Lions’ Share
The 39 Lions earned by OMG agencies – 7 Gold, 13 Silver and 19 Bronze – encompassed work from APAC, EMEA, North America and LATAM, spanning the automotive, CPG, Beverage Technology and Travel sectors; and including competition categories that reflect a wide range of both established and emerging priorities for clients – from data-driven targeting and insights to integrated media to corporate purpose and responsibility.

A strong global footprint was also evident in OMD’s Media Network of the Year award, with work from Portugal, France and Australia helping fuel the agency’s win.

“Being named Media Network of the Year is especially meaningful coming at a time when brands are re-evaluating their business, marketing and technology operations to better address new realities – both economic and cultural,” said George Manas, CEO, OMD Worldwide. “They need a trusted partner in transformation – and this recognition helps confirm that OMD is that partner.”

Taking the Lead in Connected Commerce
During the Cannes festival OMG announced four first-mover strategic partnerships with retail media networks, beginning Monday, June 20, with Walmart Connect announcing their first-ever agency holding company partnership with Omnicom. The agreement will enable cross-screen planning against Walmart audiences in Omni – Omnicom’s open operating system which orchestrates better outcomes for clients across the entire consumer purchasing journey – allowing Omnicom’s agencies to deliver connected experiences across media and commerce platforms with-in owned, earned, and paid environments.

Over the next three days, OMG also revealed details of its partnership with Instacart, that will help Omnicom clients better understand how media spend drives purchase of products on that platform; how Amazon is supporting OMG’s eCommerce training and certification programs; and its collaboration with Kroger Precision Marketing that will allow planners to optimize in-market retail media, utilizing shopper behavior data to shift spend based on product availability, and still have the flexibility to optimize media while maintaining national consumer demand.

Describing the collective impact of the announcements, Omnicom eCommerce CEO Frank Kochenash said, “With each collaboration, we are adding another layer of unique capabilities to a connected commerce offering that encompasses the totality of client investment across all media channels, screens and environments.”

A Global Expansion for the Cookieless World
OMG wrapped the industry’s most global of events with news of a global expansion, announcing on the last day of the festival that it is expanding TRKKN- its digital analytics ad technology and cloud consultancy that is one of the largest Google Marketing Platform sales partners across the European market – to APAC, the Middle East and North America. The expansion will assure global best practices that enable GMP & GCP efficiency and effectiveness, while also giving OMG greater flexibility to help in-housed media operations manage their Google marketing and cloud stacks to drive better business results in the cookieless future.

Summing up the desired takeaway from OMG’s high profile throughout Cannes 2022, OMG global CEO Florian Adamski says, “People were coming to Cannes this year looking for more than the big parties – they wanted big ideas and big actions that will help them solve the big challenges that we as an industry are all facing: privacy, connected commerce, measurement, the cookieless future, talent. Through the work we submitted, the partnerships we announced, the capabilities we’re expanding, and the close to 20 thought-leader forums we hosted over the week with clients and partners, I think the net takeaway for marketers is obvious: OMG is meeting these challenges- and we can help you meet them, too.”

About Omnicom Media Group
Omnicom Media Group (OMG) is the media services division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC), a leading global marketing and corporate communications company, providing services to more than 5,000 clients in more than 70 countries. Omnicom Media Group  includes full- service media agencies OMDPHD and Hearts & Science as well as the Annalect data and analytics division that developed and manages Omni, the open architecture operating system underpinning all Omnicom agencies.

SOURCE Omnicom Media Group

For further information: Isabelle Gauvry, +1-917-435-6457, [email protected]

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