Bill C-10 may be dead for now (Senate discussions on returning during the summer will reportedly not include the bill), but CRTC Chair Ian Scott has signalled a willingness to move ahead with Bill C-10-like policies. In fact, even without legislative reform, the CRTC last week announced that it is re-opening its approach to a digital media survey by seeking to expand it to cover foreign streaming services. The decision is notable for several reasons, not the least of which is that the survey would overlap with the data disclosure provisions in Bill C-10 and Scott had previously indicated that he did not believe he had the legislative tools to require data disclosures. – Michael Geist
One of the Canada’s most recognizable broadcasters is calling it quits after 38 years with the Mother Corp.
In the 1980s, Mesley was a hard-nosed political reporter on Parliament Hill. She later went on to become a ferocious consumer journalist at Marketplace. And she spent many years hosting the National on Friday and Sunday nights.
In between these CBC gigs, she hosted a media and technology program called Undercurrents. Prior to her suspension, she hosted The Weekly with Wendy Mesley. That struck me as a consolation prize for CBC deciding to go with younger anchors to replace Peter Mansbridge upon his retirement.
Then there was her relatively short-lived marriage to Mansbridge, which provided plenty of fodder for Frank magazine. – The Georgia Straight
Wendy Mesley finally tells her side of the story and the political fix the pubcaster put her in. It’s a story that points a finger at the CBC culture that is protected by unions, fearful of government appointees, and it would appear spineless when it comes to standing up for their own credible assets. – The Globe and Mail
For Glen Clark, a former B.C. premier, NDP politician and union organizer, redemption came from an unexpected place.
A conflict-of-interest scandal had forced him to resign as premier in 1999. With his political career in tatters and the NDP nearly wiped out by the Liberals in the provincial election in May, 2001, Clark’s employment prospects appeared limited with criminal charges hanging over him for alleged breach of trust and accepting a benefit. He would later be found not guilty.
Dave Barrett, who served as B.C. premier from 1972 to 1975, phoned Jim Pattison, the billionaire owner of the Vancouver-based Jim Pattison Group, to recommend that he hire Mr. Clark, and he did. – The Globe and Mail
While news outlets should be a neutral source of information, research has indicated that Canadian media shows implicit biases and racism. In particular, articles describe crimes against white victims with significantly more fearful language. – The Conversation
Even if you don’t know his name, you’re familiar with the megadeals — from WarnerMedia’s merger with Discovery to Amazon’s purchase of MGM — that the LionTree investment banker has helped engineer: “He’s a face-to-face guy. He gets that this business is about connection.” – William D. Cohan, The Hollywood Reporter
The lawsuits (embedded below), which were filed in federal court in Florida on Wednesday and list both the companies and their respective CEOs as defendants, are being supported by the America First Policy Institute, a political nonprofit culled together several months ago by former members of the Trump administration. – Lucas Ropek, Gizmodo
Weeks after his buddy Bernie Kerik asked people to spare whatever they could for Giuliani‘s legal bills, the “Rudy Giuliani Legal Defense Fund” has raised a mere $9,590, or less than 0.2% of the $5 million goal. (It’s not clear if the RGLDF is a separate entity the “Rudy Giuilani Freedom Fund” that Kerik helped create.). Kerik, the former NYC police commissioner, knows a little something about legal woes, having pleaded guilty in 2010 to tax fraud and other charges, before being pardoned, of course, by Donald Trump. You may also recall Kerik from other hits like reportedly conducting an affair at an apartment near Ground Zero that had been reserved for 9/11 rescue workers. On the fundraising page, the organizers encourage whatever kind of person identifies as a Giuliani groupie to pony up as much cash as they can to defend the former president’s former attorney, explaining “The swamp is revolting by placing a bull’s eye on the backs of every Trump loyalist. That puts Rudy at the top of their list. Rudy’s fate will determine if America still is a Republic governed by We The People!” Sadly for Rudy, that pitch has apparently mostly fallen on deaf ears. – Bess Levin, Vanity Fair
New media personalities have gained enormous traction over the past year by catering to individuals who feel disillusioned by the mainstream press.
Why it matters: A convergence of trends over the past year has made it easier for writers to launch new entities that can rival mainstream outlets and it’s given these creators the freedom to criticize big media institutions. – Sara Fischer & Hope King, Axios
Historically, media and entertainment CFOs were seen as leaders who managed spending, always looking for ways to cut overhead. But those views are becoming obsolete.
Media and entertainment CFOs today are preparing for tectonic shifts in consumption as the pandemic winds down.
The pandemic accelerated trends toward convenient, in-home streaming services that delivered a variety of choices. Many media and entertainment companies acquired new customers without much cost. But now, retaining those viewers’ subscriptions will require fresh content and affordable pricing options. – Stephen Blume, CFO Dive
quarter of a century after he founded Amazon in a Seattle garage, Jeff Bezos is preparing to loosen his grip on his $1.7TN (£1.2tn) company. Few employees in the sphere conservatories at Amazon’s sprawling Seattle campus headquarters reckon Bezos will relinquish that much of his iron grip on the company’s big decisions when Andy Jassy succeeds him as CEO on Monday. After all, Bezos will become executive chairman of Amazon’s board and remains the company’s biggest shareholder. But Bezos, 57, told his 1.3 million employees (whom he refers to as “fellow Amazonians”) that “as much as I still tap dance into the office, I’m excited about this transition”. – Rupert Neate, The Guardian
CBC grapples with how to program an Olympics in the social media age – The Globe and Mail
After dozens of Olympics on television, you might think it would be easy for a network programmer to figure out which sports Canadian audiences want to watch. But conventional wisdom goes only so far. “In a Winter Games, it’s pretty much: hockey, figure skating, curling – and then you sort everything else out,” said Chris Irwin, the executive producer and head of production for CBC Olympics, in a recent interview. “But a Summer Games, once you get past the big three – athletics, aquatics, gymnastics – everyone in the room has a different opinion.”
In the entertainment realm, TV networks that are programming a new show might base decisions on the performance of similar fare: if CSI Miami pulls in 10 million viewers on Thursdays in primetime, it’s a safe bet CSI: Poughkeepsie would do more or less the same. That works for sports, too: Networks can project with some accuracy the viewership numbers for a typical Yankees or Maple Leafs game.
But the relative rarity of the Olympic Games, combined with their changing locations and the head-swirling developments in both technology and viewer habits, have made historical comparisons of little use for the Tokyo Games, which will unfold 11½ to 16 hours ahead of viewers watching across Canada.
“It’s definitely part science, part art form,” Irwin said.
Looking at data from the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, “you have the right time zone [as Tokyo], but it’s winter sports, so nothing is relevant. You go back to Rio, and it’s summer sports on the same schedule, but nothing is relevant from a time-zone perspective,” he said. “So, when you get people weighing in and saying, ‘The highest-rated sporting hour in Rio was this [particular event],’ you say, ‘Yes, but that’s because it was at 9 o’clock eastern time and it followed that big, huge other thing.’ And then you try to map that to Tokyo, and [that same sport] is at 8 a.m. and the available audience is one-tenth of what it is [in primetime].
“So, the last comparable Olympics with information that could help you make better decisions was [the Beijing Games in] 2008 – and you can imagine how irrelevant that research is. Nobody was watching streaming. There wasn’t even an app in 2010,” for the Vancouver Games. “So the idea that people [might watch the Olympics] on their phones, and in their beds and on trains and planes and everything, was just non-existent until this cycle.”
Canadians will have a dizzying array of ways to access these Games: five broadcast channels (the main CBC network, which will devote 23 hours every weekday, and 24 hours on weekend days, to coverage; two channels each of CBC’s sub-licensees, TSN and Sportsnet); up to 20 livestreams at once on CBC’s Gem app, the new CBC Olympics app, and the CBC Olympics website. Amazon Prime will have a CBC Olympics hub filled with live games and replays. Select bits of content will run on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. CBC Sports even started up a TikTok account for Tokyo.
“As we look at these Olympics and [the 2022 Winter Games] coming up, and Paris [in 2024] down the road, I’m convinced it’s our responsibility not to just expect Canadians to come to the main channel and watch it like they used to,” said Chris Wilson, the executive director of CBC Sports and Olympics. We’ve got to challenge ourselves to present the Olympic content in different ways, on different platforms and be very creative with our partners.”
Mindful of its role as a public broadcaster, the CBC will be offering the opening ceremony, which airs Friday morning, in eight Indigenous languages on its online platforms: Eastern Cree, Dehcho Dene, Denesuline, Gwichʼin, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, Sahtu Dene and Tlicho.
And while TSN and Sportsnet are only available to paying subscribers, all of the action airing on those cable networks will also be available free on the CBC’s streaming platforms.
That free and universal access – at least for those who have broadband internet – contrasts with the United States, where NBC will spread content across its over-the-air network and several of its pay cable channels. And it is using the Games to push subscriptions to its new streaming service, Peacock.
The CBC is also treating these Games as a promotional opportunity. “We’re certainly interested to see if we can drive additional awareness and additional free subscriptions to Gem,” Wilson said. “There’s no question that Gem is a massive part of our future.”
During the Games themselves, all of those online platforms will help Irwin and his team take the country’s pulse on a continuing basis: They’ll be able to see, in real time, what people are engaging with, what they’re sharing. “Actual clicks, actual minutes, actual numbers, when [viewers] joined, when they left: There are some very specific things that the digital and social metrics can tell us all about what the country is thinking, what the users are thinking,” Irwin said. But, he adds, those numbers need to be read with some caution. Social media is not a perfect proxy for the wider world.
And while the CBC can simply run all of the available sports on its online platforms, it needs to aggregate the largest possible audience for the five broadcast channels at its disposal, especially the main CBC network. That’s where it will aim to show the biggest event of interest to Canadians at any given moment. Long-form competitions – including team sports, road races, golf – will be carried on TSN and Sportsnet, with the CBC main channel possibly cutting in to the final minutes.
Recognizing that many viewers can and do access results on their phones as soon as they occur, the CBC decided years ago it would prioritize live events. “That’s where the change has come to the global media [landscape],” Irwin said. “You can no longer stage the release of information in a way that makes a show [of tape-delayed content] work, or make an audience play along.”
So the broadcaster decided “live trumped everything, and that your filters to make decisions started with live – live Canadian, live of Canadian interest – and worked its way down, to delayed international events that aren’t for medals.” That made it immediately clear where an event might end up on its matrix of outlets.
Irwin knows that makes it challenging to bring in a primetime audience, but he says there is still a hunger for that communal, narrative experience. “The audience, if they love [a particular sport], they did see it when it happened live,” possibly hours before. “And we told them about it on our digital platforms and in our shows and social [media] talked about it, and our daytime show reviewed it, and we’ve interviewed athletes since it happened. But now we have a very captive audience that has made an appointment to come and watch us tonight, when they have a chance to sit down. And we’ve made them a promise that we’re going to tell them a story.”
Sign up for The Globe’s Olympic newsletter and follow all of the news, features and opinion in the leadup to the Summer Games in Tokyo.
U.S. senators want social media to be held liable for spreading health misinformation – Global News
Two Democratic U.S. senators on Thursday will add to the stack of bills going after Section 230 — a law that protects tech companies from being sued over content posted by users — making such platforms responsible for health-related misinformation.
The legislation introduced by Amy Klobuchar and Ben Ray Lujan requires internet platforms such as Facebook to take down health and vaccine-related misinformation during public health emergencies or be held liable for that failure.
It also directs the Department of Health & Human Services to issue guidelines on what constitutes health misinformation.
“These are some of the biggest, richest companies in the world and they must do more to prevent the spread of deadly vaccine misinformation,” Klobuchar said.
The bill quotes a study from the Center for Countering Digital Hate that found social media platforms failed to act on 95% of coronavirus-related disinformation reported to them.
Kevin Martin, a vice president of public policy at Facebook, said the company supports reforming Section 230.
Increasing concerns about COVID-19 misinformation
“We believe clarification on the difficult and urgent questions about health related misinformation would be helpful and look forward to working with Congress and the industry as we consider options for reform.”
The Health Misinformation Act is not the first bill targeting tech firms’ liability shield from Senator Klobuchar, who chairs the Senate antitrust subcommittee.
Earlier this year, she co-sponsored another bill called the Safe Tech Act with two fellow Democrats. It aims to make social media companies more accountable for enabling cyber-stalking, targeted harassment and discrimination on their platforms.
The chief executives of Google, Twitter and Facebook have said Section 230 is crucial to free expression on the internet. They said it gives them the tools to strike a balance between preserving free speech and moderating content, even as they appeared open to suggestions that law needs moderate changes.
Health officials warn about disinformation, conspiracies
Several Republican lawmakers have separately pushed to scrap the law entirely over decisions by tech platforms to moderate content critical of former President Donald Trump and his supporters.
There are several other pieces of legislation aimed at changing the law that have been making the rounds for over a year, including a bipartisan bill from Democrat Brian Schatz and Republican John Thune.
Trump repeatedly pushed for the legal protection to be stripped away over what he alleged was censorship against conservatives.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Dan Grebler and Sam Holmes)
© 2021 Reuters
Current's 2021 Public Media Salary Survey – Current
Earlier this year, we asked our readers to take an anonymous survey about what they earn as a public media employee. We received more than 1,900 responses. Below, you can enter your salary and use the filters to explore the results and see how you compare to similar public media professionals. Read more about our key findings and email us with any questions, comments and observations.
This survey was conducted as part of On the Money, our special coverage of money in pubmedia.
Thanks to Eric R. Schuler, quantitative/computational research methodologist with American University, who advised us on designing and fielding the survey.
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