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NowVertical Group Solidifies its Media and Entertainment Vertical with Renewal of The Economist Group



TORONTO, March 20, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — NowVertical Group Inc. (TSX-V: NOW) (OTCQB: NOWVF) (“NOW” or the “Company”), the Vertical Intelligence (“VI”) company is pleased to announce it has renewed its contract with The Economist Group, the leading source of analysis on international business and world affairs. This most recent renewal marks the second consecutive service extension between the two companies. Based in London and serving a global readership and client base, the Economist Group’s flagship businesses include The Economist newspaper and website and a research and analysis division.

NOW’s UK-based Acrotrend Group began working with the Economist Group in 2020 to establish capabilities to define and standardize strategic and operational KPIs, provide critical insights for acquisition, retention and engagement, and provide solutions to improve the experience for their subscribers. The Company has also created a framework for delivering a modernized data platform to better serve demands from The Economists’ Marketing, Finance, and Customer Services teams. Under the renewed contract, NOW will continue to provide services to the Economist Group to support its robust architecture and introduce new technologies from the NOW VI-OS.

With this recent extension, NOW builds on its established list of approximately 30 media and entertainment customers. NOW’s current and past customers include Universal Music Group, Starz, Spotify, and Lionsgate, amongst many others.

“NOW continues to add incredible value for our Media and Entertainment customers,” said Daren Trousdell, Chairman and CEO of NOW. “This renewal further confirms our strength in the media and entertainment vertical, demonstrating how NOW delivers long-term value through the Vertical Intelligence (VI) approach. We look forward to continuing to drive value for The Economist and showcasing these winning use cases to more customers in this rapidly growing vertical.”


About NowVertical Group Inc.

NowVertical Group is a Vertical Intelligence (VI) software and services provider that delivers vertically-specific data, technology, and artificial intelligence (AI) applications into private and public verticals globally. NOW’s proprietary solutions sit at the foundation of the modern enterprise by transforming AI investments into VI, enabling its customers to minimize their risk, accelerate the time to value, and reduce costs. NOW is rapidly growing organically and through targeted acquisitions. For more information about NOW, visit

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

For further information, please contact:

Daren Trousdell, Chief Executive Officer
t: (212) 302-0868

Glen Nelson, Investor Relations
t: (403) 763-9797

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Blue Jays' Bass apologizes for sharing anti-LGBTQ social-media post – The Globe and Mail



Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass apologized Tuesday for expressing support on social media for anti-LGBTQ boycotts of Target and Bud Light.

Bass shared a post on his Instagram stories Monday urging others to spurn the U.S. companies over support they showed for the LGBTQ community. Both companies are dealing with fallout from those campaigns, which have included hostile and homophobic criticisms and calls from LGBTQ activists not to cave to anti-LGBTQ groups.

The right-handed reliever made a brief statement on the field but did not take questions before the Blue Jays played host to the Milwaukee Brewers.


“I recognize yesterday I made a post that was hurtful to the Pride community, which includes friends of mine and close family members of mine,” Bass said. “I am truly sorry for that.”

Bass said he had addressed teammates about the controversial post and apologized to them for sharing it.

“As of right now, I am using the Blue Jays’ resources to better educate myself to make better decisions moving forward,” Bass said. “The ballpark is for everybody. We include all fans at the ballpark. We want to welcome everybody. That’s all I have to say.”

Manager John Schneider said Bass apologized to him and general manager Ross Atkins when he arrived at the ballpark Tuesday. Schneider suggested Bass speak to the team.

June is Pride Month in Toronto, with an accompanying festival that is one of the largest of any kind in Ontario. More than 200,000 marchers and over two million spectators are expected at Toronto’s annual Pride Parade on June 25.

Schneider said Bass’s post “doesn’t represent our overall feelings as an organization.”

The Blue Jays are celebrating Pride Weekend on Friday June 9 and 10, with plans to give out 15,000 rainbow flag jerseys on Friday night.

“The message to the fan base is that we have and will continue to be a huge part of the Pride community,” Schneider said.

Schneider said the Blue Jays did not discuss disciplining Bass.

Pride Nights have prompted division across sports in recent years. On Monday, Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw told The Los Angeles Times that he disagreed with his team’s recent decision to welcome a satirical LGBTQ group called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at the team’s annual Pride Night. Last season, several players with the Tampa Bay Rays cited their Christian faith in refusing to wear Pride jerseys.

Earlier this year, Bass sparked criticism when he posted a tweet complaining that a flight attendant had asked his pregnant wife to clean up popcorn their toddler spilled on the floor during a flight.

Now in his 12th season, Bass has also pitched for the San Diego Padres, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, the Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners and Miami Marlines. He’s 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA in 20 games this season.

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Writing in Dana White's world or, popping the feeble MMA media bubble – Bloody Elbow



The latest kerfuffle

I doubt many of you noticed, but there was a little bit of a dust up in the cozy world of MMA media last weekend.

It started when TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter tweeted that:

“(Dana) White gives a media member $100 for successfully guessing that Henry Cejudo called him and offered to fight O’Malley in August. White says that Sterling is “one of those guys who can’t get out of his own way” But White says the fight with Sterling and O’Malley is on.”


So apparently Bronsteter felt that a “media member” taking money from UFC boss Dana White was newsworthy.

I’d agree. It’s a deed every journalism school on the planet condemns in blanket terms. I grew up under Boomer reporters who regarded taking a free cold fajita buffet lunch from somebody they wrote about as anathema.

This is the Bloody Elbow newsletter. It’s for passionate fight fans who’ve had enough with MMA media as usual.

That triggered NY Post reporter Scott Fontana into tweeting “Which media member took a Benjamin from Dana. Out yourself.”

Immediately, Amy Kaplan who writes for FansidedMMA replied, “It was me. I’m the ‘media member.’”

Her reply led to the following back and forth:

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If you can’t see the image the money shot is Fontana saying, “I didn’t invent the standards. I was taught them in college journalism courses, and had them enforced at every media outlet I have ever worked. But that’s good to know about FanSided. Thanks for the insight.”

I took to Twitter myself to state the Bloody Elbow position:

“I’d happily take $100 from Dana White in public. I don’t think that’s a violation of journalistic ethics. I’m guessing less than 5% of the “MMAJA” has read @jayrosen_nyu on “the view from nowhere” and the importance of disclosure above all. She disclosed it. It’s ok.

“Ask anyone who’s ever worked for me, if they got offered some cool swag from a promoter or whatever, I just said “ok but disclose it publicly” In future we’ll be (hopefully) featuring sponsored posts by promotions etc. They can buy some space on our web site.

“But ask anybody who’s ever worked for me: You can’t buy our coverage. And that’s why my people don’t get offered the real payoff in this industry: access in return for favorable coverage.”

Bloody Elbow alum Jonathan Snowden had more to add in his thoughtful piece “MMA Media Ethics: Are Reporters on The Take?

Like many of my peers, I’ve been fully indoctrinated and have a visceral, gut reaction to seeing journalists serve as a PR branch of the events and athletes they are supposedly reporting on. But I’m also a critical thinker—some might say provocateur or shit-stirrer—and I wonder what makes some behavior ethical while other, seemingly more profitable graft, exists completely in the realm of acceptability?

Here’s an example from my own life—I’ve sat in valuable floor seats at dozens of events over the years. Hundreds. The cumulative value of those tickets is in the six-figures, especially when you start factoring in what it would have cost to attend an event like Mayweather-McGregor where I was sitting (more than my mortgage payment for a year)! I’ve eaten finely catered meals, played Top Golf and received plenty of lucrative job opportunities based merely on my proximity to decision makers in combat sports.

Dig a little beneath the surface and the picture somehow gets even murkier. For years, at SBNation and then Bleacher Report, I watched the fierce competition between outlets for ad campaigns targeted at UFC fans. Often this ad money came from a company UFC was doing business with and the promotion (allegedly) had a hand in deciding who received the largess.

Think about this for a second.

A journalist offered a hotel room by Dana White is, by most accounts, violating ethical standards. But a media outlet paying for a hotel room with money coming directly or indirectly from a fight promotion through ad money? That’s just capitalism baby!

Let’s not forget that it was long an open rumor that USA Today provided extremely favorable UFC coverage in return for ad buys. Deadspin’s Kevin Draper wrote this up in 2015:

Within mixed martial arts circles, it has long been taken as a given that the UFC pays USA Today for coverage. As the rumor goes, the UFC buys advertising from USA Today with the tacit understanding that USA Today will cover the sport, and do so favorably.

To be clear, the actual evidence for a media ethics scandal here has always been highly circumstantial, which is why we’ve never written about it. It’s true that MMA Junkie runs broadly positive coverage, and treats some important subjects—like efforts to unionize the sport—with kid gloves. But that’s not unusual. The UFC is much more hostile to the press than almost any other major promotional body in sports, and while part of this is just UFC figurehead Dana White’s pugnacious personality, it also has to do with the nature of the sport, which is highly centralized, making it much easier to control media access.

To stay on White’s good side, some sites go so far as to brainstorm lists of topics not to write about so as to avoid incurring his wrath, such as financials. That doesn’t mean they’re all on the payroll. (It should be noted here that Deadspin is blacklisted by the UFC.)

Even so, there have always been things that make you scratch your head. Why would MMA Junkie send writers to cover boring third-tier fights in far-flung locales, for instance? Who has the budget to do that, and why would they choose to spend their resources that way absent some hidden motivator? This is the sort of thing that comes up in inside-fight circles when this subject is discussed.

Anyway, we’re writing about this now because among a barrage of angry tweets White sent out over the past two days was this one, seemingly confirming the whispered accusations:

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All of this is just by way of saying, MMA journalists getting worked up over Amy Kaplan and the $100 she took from Dana White is the definition of trivial pursuits.

At Bloody Elbow, we’ve fought hard to earn our reputation for honest coverage of the UFC. But I have to admit that we buried many stories over the years due to conflicts of interest rising from being owned by Vox Media and MMA Fighting and Ariel Helwani’s relationship with Dana White.

Those days are over and I am already working on getting some of those stories to light.

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About the author

Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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Jamie Sarkonak: David Johnston attacked media for not pushing pro-Liberal narrative



The first report into foreign interference against Canada from David Johnston is the Laurentian correction to a media narrative that got out of hand. Like a fact check article that doesn’t actually manage to disprove the “misinformation” it decries, it seeks to correct the public narrative more than it does the facts.

Johnston report is a great example of how Liberal Canadian elites are fairweather friends of the media. When coverage isn’t critical of the establishment, Laurentians style themselves as defenders of the free press, applauding the media and screeching when conservatives dare to criticize. When the media turns its attention to the elites themselves, the news morphs from a public good into a public bad, threatening national security and democracy.

In the case of reporting on Chinese interference, Liberals went as far as hiring a friendly member of the Laurentian class as a special rapporteur to “fact check” the media in an unaccountable, non-transparent process. Amazingly, the fact check confirmed much of what was reported by Global News and the Globe and Mail, instead of refuting it, and where Johnston did confirm media reports, he downplayed the details as unimportant.

Intelligence records showed that China indeed intended to send $250,000 to federal political candidates and influence them generally, as journalists had previously reported. Whether they succeeded was unknown, according to Johnston’s review of the records. He couldn’t disprove that political interference was happening, but he did show that it was a concern. However, he tried to frame it as relatively unconcerning because it did not alter the outcome of prior elections, but none of the media reports being scrutinized ever suggested the outcome was affected.


It’s entirely appropriate for a free press to publish on such matters, but Johnston was keener on blaming the messengers for tainting confidence in the security of Canadian elections.

Johnston did refute a report by Global News that alleged that Liberal MP Han Dong advised a Chinese diplomat to delay the release of the Canada’s “Two Michaels” from Chinese prisons. However, he downplayed the fact that Han Dong’s run for Parliament wasn’t squeaky clean: “Irregularities were observed with Mr. Dong’s nomination in 2019, and there is well-grounded suspicion that the irregularities were tied to the PRC Consulate in Toronto, with whom Mr. Dong maintains relationships.”

But while he acknowledged irregularities existed, Johnston was dismissive because it isn’t clear whether or not Dong knew about any interference.

“In reviewing the intelligence, I did not find evidence that Mr. Dong was aware of the irregularities or the PRC Consulate’s potential involvement in his nomination,” Johnston wrote. “The Prime Minister … concluded there was no basis to displace Mr. Dong as the candidate for Don Valley North. This was not an unreasonable conclusion based on the intelligence available to the Prime Minister at the time.”

Johnston didn’t explain what the irregularities were.

The media, in Johnston’s view, failed because it “amplified” public concern over Chinese election interference. Despite the confirmation of interference intentions and actual “irregularities” in Canadian politics, the media reporting was somehow, to Johnston, irresponsible.

“Based on my full review of the intelligence and context, it is my view that the leaks and the subsequent media reporting have led to such misapprehensions, particularly relating to incidents that are alleged to have occurred in the 2019 and 2021 elections,” reads the report.

Media reporting, Johnston wrote, led to “further unsubstantiated speculation, inaccurate connections being drawn, and a narrative emerging that the government allowed or tolerated foreign interference.” The narrative that the government failed to deal with the interference, in Johnston’s view, wasn’t a fair one to make.

Johnston went as far as implying that the concern over foreign interference was based in racism, as sending busloads of people to nomination meetings was normal, and may have received extra attention in this story because the buses contained “racialized Canadians.” This is clearly contradicted by the existence of irregularities that the report itself acknowledged to exist.

Johnston’s verdict: The media focuses on unimportant things and is also somehow racist. It’s exactly the conclusion, one would expect from an Ottawa governing class veteran and family friend of Liberal leaders.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been an ardent defender of media — when it suits him. When U.S. Donald Trump was in power, he spoke publicly about and critically about undermining the legitimacy of the media. When the CBC faced criticism by Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre for biased reporting, Trudeau was quick to accuse the party of attacking the free press.

“They’re choosing to constantly attack independent media organizations, journalists who are working hard to keep Canadians informed and support our democracy,” said Trudeau in April.

Regardless of whether one thinks it’s fair for Poilievre to criticize a broadcaster that launched an unsuccessful lawsuit against his party during an election period, it’s hypocritical for Trudeau (via a hired family friend to investigate the matter) to run to the same defence now that the spotlight is on the government.

It’s not the government’s job (or the special rapporteur’s job, for that matter) to hold media accountable. On a day-to-day basis, that’s the job of the readers. When serious disagreements arise, it becomes the job of the courts. Johnston tried to insert himself into the relationship between journalism and the public, but the effort came across as entitled. It’s the writers and the readers, not the Laurentian elites, who decide what elements of a story deserve focus and which parts are unimportant.



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