Journalism

Recent Posts

Globe and Mail union fights for all journalists, including those in communities

By Robert Washburn

As this is being written, the union representing Globe and Mail reporters and editors is heading back to the negotiating table to try and reach a deal after more than 90 per cent of its membership voted for a strike. One critical issue is a demand by management to get journalists to write advertorial content, meaning promotional material in the guise of a news-style story. The term used today is Brand Journalism. It is very popular in the marketing world and generates a lot of revenue for some publishers. It is unethical for journalists to write this content because it undermines journalistic independence and misrepresents what a journalist is suppose to do – tell the truth in a balanced, fair and unbiased manner. Continue Reading →

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Rob Ford story by Toronto Star hurts audience trust, damages credibility

By Robert Washburn

The journalism practices driving the Rob Ford story are deeply disturbing, damaging audience trust and credibility, not just for the Toronto Star but also for anyone wanting to do serious journalism. Globe and Mail columnist Lysiane Gagnon takes a pretty good shot at the heart of this issue in her column yesterday arguing social media is to blame for the actions of journalists. While this is one way to look at why the Toronto Star decided to publish a story about a cellphone video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford allegedly inhaling from what is being described as a crack pipe, there is a more invasive influence at work: celebrity journalism. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Responding to State of the Media 2013 requries new path for community journalism

By Robert Washburn

The State of the News Media 2013 annual report on American Journalism delivered some pretty somber results with its release on Monday. Newsrooms are shrinking to a point where it is having an effect on audiences and content in an unprecedented way. Cutbacks in 2012 reduce the number of journalists by 30 per cent since its peak in 2000 and its lowest since the 1970s. The results are a 31 per cent drop in people turning to news outlets for information because they are no longer getting the news they were accustomed to getting. Content is suffering. Continue Reading →

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Musing over the future of community newspaper in Southern Ontario (or bye-bye PKP)

By Robert Washburn
These are troubling days for community newspapers in Ontario. When Quebecor’s President and Chief Executive Officer Pierre Karl Peladeau stepped down last week, the news garnered headlines and fodder for newsroom chatter across the country. While some may welcome the change at the top as Robert Depatie, president of chief executive officer of Videotron, a Quebecor subsidiary, takes over, the future of the news media division of the company is worrisome for those who think about the future of journalism in Canada. Peladeau reported a significant drop in overall results for the division in 2012, compared to the previous year. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Journalism Strategies Conference: I want to be a Sunshine Boy

I want to be a Sunshine Boy. No, not the half-naked guys found the in Sun newspapers. For anyone who knows me, that is a terrifying mental picture. Instead, I want to join with Tony Burman, who spoke at the Journalism Strategies Conference in Montreal, last night. The former head of CBC and Al Jazeera, told an audience of more than 200, he can see some sunshine peaking through the rather dark clouds gathering around journalism in Canada. Continue Reading →

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Seven new hyperlocal websites launched in Eastern Ontario

Seven students in the Journalism: Online, Print and Broadcast program at Loyalist College launched their hyperlocal news website project today. Here is an excerpt from my comments at the media conference:

“Hyperlocal journalism, for those of you who might be unfamiliar with the term, focuses solely on news and information for a specific geographic or thematic area delivered online. What we are talking about are neighbourhoods, hamlets, towns or small cities.  They are not just limited by geography, but can also be thematic, dealing with a specific set of issues or area of a community. You will see examples today ranging from environmental sustainability, sports and politics. Continue Reading →

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COPA nominees announced

COPA nominees announced. I am very proud to be a member of a team of writers who are nominated for a Canadian Online Publishing Award for a series done on the Russell Williams trial for J-Source.ca. Congrats to all members and to J-Source. J-Source is also nominated for its three-part series on the coverage of the Russell Williams trial: Has coverage of Col. Williams gone too far? Continue Reading →

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