Media Beat: June 1, 2020

By David Farrell

Shaw asks for CRTC exemption for its ‘Fibre+ Gig’ service

Shaw Communications is requesting that the CRTC allow the company to not have to offer its recently launched ‘Fibre+ Gig’ internet service to resellers at regulated rates.
The submission requests to be exempt from having to sell the new service to resellers at regulated rates until the CRTC completes its review of the rates. Shaw argues in its submission that phone companies like the Big Three (Rogers, Bell and Telus) are not bound by the same requirements as cable companies and that this forms a “regulatory asymmetry.” – Aisha Malik, Mobile Syrup

Ottawa pledges millions to promote tourism within Canada amid pandemic

The funds announced by Economic Development Minister Melanie Joly on Sunday include $30 million originally intended to attract foreign visitors through the federal tourism marketing agency, Destination Canada. – The Canadian Press


The fall of Canada’s razzle-dazzle paper. Can it find glory again?

The burly man banged on the door of apartment No. 5 at 1 Ainmillerstrasse in Munich. It was March 11, 1966, at the height of the Cold War. A tall blond woman opened the door, took a step back – and waited for the bullet. It didn’t come. The man was a reporter from the Toronto Star, not an assassin sent to silence her.

At that moment, the reporter knew he had the greatest scoop of the year – maybe in the history of Canadian newspaper publishing.

The woman was Gerda Munsinger, a prostitute and alleged Soviet agent from East Germany whose affairs with at least two senior cabinet ministers in the government of John Diefenbaker were monitored by the RCMP for security breaches. She had been reported dead, but that was just a cover-up. Her preferred lover was Pierre Sévigny, a war hero who had lost a leg in battle and was Diefenbaker’s deputy defence minister. An audio recording of one of his trysts with Ms. Munsinger began with a mysterious thump. The RCMP later learned it was the sound of Mr. Sévigny’s artificial leg hitting the floor before he hopped into bed with her.


The reporter was my father, the late Robert (Bob) Reguly. The type size used in the headline for his story was normally reserved for events such as the end of world wars. “Star Man Finds Gerda Munsinger,” it blared.

The story, Canada’s first sex-spy scandal, triggered a political firestorm and guaranteed the Star’s reputation as Canada’s premier razzle-dazzle paper and scoop machine. – Eric Reguly, The Globe and Mail

CAJ Awards

The annual Canadian Assoc. of Journalists’ Awards were presented online March 30, with finalists invited to participate in a video conference that was also live-streamed on the CAJ’s Facebook page. The complete list of winners determined from 343 entries can be found here.

Distributel permanently waives data overage charges on all Internet plans

The Ontario-based ISP has permanently extended a temporary perk offer announced in March to support the large number of subscribers forced to work from home.

BNI closing community newspaper offices across New Brunswick

Community newspapers across New Brunswick are losing their offices and employees will work from home, according to a decision shared with staff this week by owner Brunswick News Inc., the privately held company owned by James K. Irving.

Offices of the Kings County Record in Sussex, the Miramichi Leader, the Campbellton Tribune, the Northern Light in Bathurst, the Bugle Observer in Woodstock, the Victoria Star and Cataracte newspapers in Grand Falls are affected and BNI offices in Richibucto, Edmundston and St. Stephen will also close.  


The newspaper company will keep the locations open the Telegraph-Journal in Saint John, the Daily Gleaner in Fredericton and the Moncton Times & Transcript.

FCC approves Cumulus foreign ownership request

Since 2018 Cumulus has been seeking approval from the FCC to allow foreign investment in the company up to 100%. FCC rules prohibit more than 25% foreign investment. On Friday The Commission approved Cumulus’ request.


The Commission stated that “we find that the public interest would not be served by prohibiting foreign ownership of Cumulus in excess of the 25 percent benchmark.”

The petition to the FCC was unopposed. – Radio Ink

The answer to the media industry’s woes? Publicly owned newspapers

As the economic fallout from the coronavirus further decimates financially struggling small-town and city newspapers — still Americans’ main source for original local journalism — a desperate search is underway for alternative models. Analysts are looking around the world and back through history for examples of news media that don’t depend on advertising revenue — a collapsing business model that is unlikely to ever return. Ideas range from starting donor-funded nonprofit organizations to repurposing public broadcasting systems. But one intriguing experiment from American history has been almost entirely forgotten: the municipal newspaper. – Victor Pickard Victor, Washington Post

Microsoft 'to replace journalists with robots'

Around 50 contract news producers who selected and edited stories will lose their jobs at the end of June, but a team of full-time journalists will remain. One journalist quoted in The Guardian said: "I spend all my time reading about how automation and AI is going to take all our jobs - now it's taken mine."

How media and advertising markets around the world are beginning to restart

The global media worlds are haltingly restarting.

With lockdown restrictions now being eased by some governments, small green shoots of recovery are beginning to emerge. Digiday reporters took a (virtual) trip around the world to see where activity is beginning to restart. – Digiday

China: Tentative recovery

Growth will come almost exclusively from digital, which makes up the lion’s share of China ad spending and is predicted by eMarketer to grow 13% to $81 billion this year… – Digiday

Trump plays ‘Macho Man’ as America burns

There was a moment on Saturday afternoon when President Trump stood on a rooftop in Florida for what could have been a sorely needed moment of national unity. A made-in-the-U.S.A. spacecraft was about to blast off from Cape Canaveral, bound for the International Space Station with astronauts aboard, the first time an American craft had done so in nine years. Trump was so eager to witness the launch that he had flown to Florida twice, first for a scrubbed effort, on Wednesday, and then a return, on Saturday. In the short time between launch attempts, the country, already struggling with the death of a hundred thousand Americans from COVID-19 and concurrent economic devastation, had exploded over the police killing of George Floyd. Captured on video, the horrific act in Minneapolis led to days of protest, chaos, and looting. When Trump arrived in Cape Canaveral, though, he seemed to want a campaign ad, not a moment of American reconciliation, and soon after he walked onto the rooftop, the song “Macho Man,” by the Village People, a staple of his campaign rallies, began blaring from the speakers. The spectacle of a florid disco tribute to the President at such a time could not have been more discordant, or the message clearer: it’s all about Trump. It always is. – Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker


It’s a mad, mad world inside the GOP

Being a Republican now requires believing in a jaw-dropping series of claims… One has to believe that a cabal of evil scientists is making up climate science in exchange for grant money; that there is rampant, widescale voter impersonation fraud carried out by thousands of elections officials nationwide; that the “Deep State” concocted a scheme to frame Trump for Russian collusion but chose not to use it before the 2016 election; that shadowy forces are driving migrant caravans and diseases across American borders in the service of destroying white Republican America; that the entire news media is engaged in a conspiracy against the Republican Party; that grieving victims of gun violence and their families all across America want to take away guns as a pretext for stomping the boot of “liberal fascism” on conservative faces; and so on. That and much more is just the vanilla Republican belief system at this point… – The Washington Monthly


5 good things that will follow from this pandemic

Cashless payments, remote work, and better crisis management… – Niklas Göke, Medium

 Drake and Rick Ross attend Sean Diddy Combs Ciroc The New Years Eve Party at his home on Dec. 31, 2013 in Miami Beach, Fla.
Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Drake and Rick Ross attend Sean Diddy Combs Ciroc The New Years Eve Party at his home on Dec. 31, 2013 in Miami Beach, Fla.

Music News

Drake Reacts to Rick Ross’ Nose Job Claim on Diss Track: ‘Don’t Worry We’ll Handle It’

"You're one nosey goof," Drizzy wrote on Instagram.

Drake is responding to Rick Ross‘ claim on a diss track that he had a nose job.

On Sunday (April 14), the Toronto rapper took to his Instagram Story to share a screenshot of a text message conversation with his mother, Sandi Graham. In the text, Sandi playfully addressed online rumors about her son allegedly getting his nose fixed.

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