Black Press purchases Island newspapers in deal with Glacier Media


Glacier Media Inc. has sold its Vancouver Island Newspaper Group to Victoria-based Black Press.

Black Press takes operational control of that group on March 2. That includes Cowichan Valley Citizen, Nanaimo Daily News and Alberni Valley Times.

The sale does not include the Times Colonist.

read the entire story here

A Plan to Mend Our Stricken CBC

New governance is the best Rx, but there’s more to do as listeners and viewers.

Source: By Nick Fillmore, 11 Dec 2014,

The CBC, and particularly CBC Radio, is easily Canada’s most important cultural and public interest institution. I say this not so much as someone who worked at the Corporation during the glory days of the 1970s and ’80s but, like so many other people, as a kid who was brought up in a home that was always watching and listening to the CBC.

Residing in a small village in Nova Scotia, we greatly appreciated the voices and images, ranging from Clive Gilmore’s 40-year run of Gilmour’s Albums on radio to the hard-nosed journalism of Norman DePoe on TV.

But after decades of serving and educating Canadians, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s vicious cuts have brought the organization to its knees.

Can the CBC be saved and restored? Probably. But it will take significant time and good luck, as well as some heavy duty political lobbying. CBC supporters — including those who have fallen by the wayside during the destructive Harper years — will need to unite behind some common goals and pressure the two Opposition leaders to commit themselves to restoring the public broadcaster to its proper role in the country.

There has been much discussion about the kind of content the CBC should carry in the future. I believe that radio services should be more or less similar to what it was like 10 or 20 years ago. TV, however, should be changed dramatically. Instead of copying private broadcasters such as CTV, CBC TV should focus more than it currently does on the cultural, public interest, and the social needs of Canadians. To start, get the disgraceful Dragons’ Den, which humiliates people, off the air.

The Conservatives claim they cut CBC funding because its ratings in most service areas do not match those of private broadcasters. But given the way they spends millions of dollars on highly questionable activities, such as advertising and projects in the ridings of Conservative MPs, I believe their opposition to the CBC is more an ideological one. They dislike any programming that questions their policies or programs.

Audience ratings, which would not match private Canadian network ratings, should not be a major factor when determining the level of CBC funding. But more important for now, with an election coming in less than a year, we have to find out what the NDP and the Liberals would do with the CBC if elected. Because rebuilding the Mother Corp. will require a lot of work.

Change from within

Internally, there would be a number of to-do items. First, a new government would have to get rid of the imbalance of Tory boosters on the CBC board of directors — 10 of 12 have donated to the Conservative Party. And in his new book, Here Was Radio-Canada, Alain Saulnier, who was head of French language news at Radio Canada for many years, documents several occasions when board chair Herbert Lacroix pushed hard to make CBC journalism favourable to the government.

The government would need to create a new process for selecting CBC board members so that future governments will not be able to influence the body for its own gain. Such a model could have Members of Parliament appoint half the board members while the other half would be appointed, one each, by leading groups from the cultural and private sectors. Once in place, a new board would return the CBC to its rightful role of public service, not chasing ratings.

A new government would need to find people who know how to return the CBC to its rightful role of serving the public interest. I’m thinking of someone like Peter Herrndorf, the best boss the CBC never had. Herrndorf, a long-time CBC executive, was denied the opportunity to run the Corporation but instead did a marvellous job first heading up TV Ontario and then revitalizing the National Arts Centre. This could be accomplished within a couple of years.

Then they would have to see whether Heather Conway, who has been executive vice-president of English services for 14 months, can get it right with the wind blowing in a different direction. Hopefully, even though she has no experience in truly public interest broadcasting — she is a former marketing executive — she would possess the skills and instincts to fit into a new mold.

Once the CBC is in competent hands, Lacroix’s five-year plan to expand service on the Internet will have to be evaluated. The day after Lacroix announced the new plan — along with dropping a few hundred more job cuts on the CBC — the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting demanded his resignation. “CBC’s plan to privilege digital and mobile delivery over its radio and television broadcast platforms is a retreat driven by the federal government’s deep budget cuts that will leave the national public broadcaster smaller and weaker,” said the Friends.

In view of the fact that many young people have turned away from radio and TV, the Corporation does have to change. But I’m not convinced that Lacroix’s plan is best.

NDP, Libs must provide specifics

Now, the external politics: Both the NDP and Liberals must be pushed to spell out their specificplans for the CBC.

The NDP has made its position somewhat clear. In April, responding to the Conservatives’ $130-million budget cut to the CBC, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said in an email: “I assure you that an NDP-led government will support the CBC with stable and secure funding. We believe in CBC’s unifying role in a country as vast as Canada; especially in rural areas and minority-language communities.” The party circulated a petition opposing the CBC cuts. All this is pretty good, but too general.

What of the Liberals? Asked about the future of the CBC in an interview on Q in October, leader Trudeau said: “Where do we continue to fund it and how do we continue to fund it? All I know is the funding has to be substantial and significant… How much and exactly how depends on how we create a vision that is relevant for the 21st century.” It was a typical Trudeau sit-on-the-fence moment. Because he is ahead in the polls, he plays it safe.

To make sure that both leaders have firm and detailed plans for the CBC, we in English-speaking Canada must put on a campaign that matches what is happening in Quebec, where 20,000 people marched in support of Radio-Canada. The Friends of Canadian Broadcasting launched its campaign and should be joined by many other groups, such as the Council of Canadians, LeadNow, OpenMedia, the Canadian Media Guild, the Canadian Labour Congress, the Ontario Federation of Labour and others.

Five questions to ask

Mulcair and Trudeau need to be specific in answering some key questions, but Trudeau has to be pressed the hardest. Mulcair and the NDP have historically expressed their unwavering support for cultural institutions such as the CBC. The Liberals, not so much. Moreover, Justin’s overall performance since becoming Liberal leader shows he is not a small-l liberal like his father, and he is leading the party during highly conservative times. Most important, Trudeau has a much better chance of becoming prime minister than Mulcair. We can’t assume he would funnel more money to the CBC.

Here are five important questions and the kind of answers we should be looking for:

If they plan to change how the CBC is funded, what will that method be?

The right answer: Folks such as Barry Kiefl say the CBC would be better off if funded by an annual licence fee or a dedicated communications tax.

If they continue the current system, what level of funding will they provide? 

The right answer: About $1.6 billion per year, the amount proposed by the Canadian Media Guild, which would be a 50 per cent increase in funding.

Will they provide funding through automatically repeated five-year terms with no option for cuts? 

The right answer: Yes.

Will they change the current system under which the government directly appoints all board of directors?

The right answer: Yes. The government will consult with other parties in the House of Commons to appoint half of the members of the board. The other half will be named, one each, by leading groups from the cultural and private sectors.

Will they repeal Division 17 of Bill C-60, which went before the House and allows the government to be present at the bargaining table when CBC/Radio-Canada and its employees’ unions are discussing what constitutes news, etc.?

The right answer: Yes.

Many thousands of us who love the CBC — and love to hate some parts of it — spend far too much time discussing its future and not doing enough to help save it. But now, with the election only a few months away, we can do something constructive. We can, as members of public interest groups and NGOs, such as the ones listed above, contact our groups and tell them we want to be involved in helping to save the public broadcaster. Offer to get directly involved and see if you can help build a coalition of groups to save the Mother Corp.

Newsosaur: How Newspapers Lost the Millennials

American publishers and editors have only themselves to blame for failing to connect with the millennial generation that they—and most of their advertisers—covet the most.

The inability of newspapers to resonate with digital natives has left them with a daunting demographic challenge. Two-thirds of the audience at the typical newspaper is composed of people over the age of 55, according to Greg Harmon of Borrell Associates. “The newspaper audience ages another year every year,” he adds. “Everyone’s hair ought to be on fire.”

As the newspaper audience grays, the readers that newspapers and most of their advertisers would like to have are, instead, busily racking up page views at places like BuzzFeed, Circa, Mic, Upworthy, Vice, Vocative and Vox.

To delve into the demographic disparity, I pulled the audience data on, which comScore calls the favorite news destination for individuals between the ages of 18 and 34. Although many publishers and editors never may have heard of Mic, comScore reports that it is visited by a thumping 60 percent of millennials.

To make things interesting, I compared Mic’s audience with the aggregate data for the 28 geographically dispersed markets served by McClatchy Co., the largest newspaper company furnishing user data to, which requires publishers to opt in to its data service.

Quantcast indexes audiences against the national population to make it possible to compare the demographics of one website against another. This means a site whose audience perfectly mirrors the national age distribution would index at 100. Now, here’s how Mic compares with McClatchy, according to Quantcast’s data:

At Mic, users from 18 to 24 index at 156, meaning that the site has 1.5 times more readers in this age group than the national average. The index climbs to 171 for the 25-34 crowd.

The story is quite the opposite at McClatchy, where the under-34 age groups come in at less than 100 but where the incidence of older readers is above the norm, indexing at 108 for 35-44, 117 for 45-54, 126 for 55-64 and 125 for 65-plus.

Assuming McClatchy is representative of the industry—and I see no reason why it wouldn’t be— the big question is how so many highly intelligent and highly motivated newspaper executives failed to connect with this massive and influential market.

Here’s a not-so-subtle clue: In a recent study, researchers at the University of Missouri reported that only 29 percent of newspaper publishers conducted focus groups prior to putting paywalls around the digital products that most profess to be the future of their franchises.

Instead of talking to with their intended consumers, fully 85 percent of respondents to the survey said they asked other publishers what they thought about erecting barriers around the content that they had been freely providing for the better part of two decades.

While paywalls boosted revenues at most newspapers because they were accompanied by stiff increases in print subscription rates, the tactic gave the growing population of digital natives—and non-readers of every other age—the best reason yet for not engaging with newspapers.

Of course, newspapers were losing millennials well before they started feverishly erecting paywalls in the last few years. But what if publishers and editors had begun studying the needs and attitudes of the emerging generation from the early days of the millenium? Could the outcomes have been more positive?

In the interests of tuning into the thinking of those elusive 20-and 30-somethings, a newspaper client recently brought a panel of them to a strategy session. Here is what we learned:

  • The millenials said the only media that matter to them are the social media, where they get current news about their friends, as well as cues to other interesting or relevant content.
  • They put a great deal of trust in recommendations from their friends but are not motivated by loyalty to media brands.
  • They will click on whatever content interests or amuses them, and they make no distinction among news, entertainment and advertising.
  • They prefer graphic content—images, videos, GIFs, infographics, etc.—over text.
  • They will buy a book, vinyl record or other physical artifact that they view as a collectible, but see no value in paying for access to ephemeral headlines that are freely available everywhere.
  • They are turned off by the dispassionate voice that characterizes conventional media, preferring treatments that evoke an emotional response.
  • They are smart, engaged and want juicy articles that take stands on important topics.
  • They will exercise the full power of choice made possible by their always-on mobile devices.
  • They are decisive. If they don’t like the content they are getting, they will make their own.



Given the above, it is easy to see that publishers and editors have a higher regard for their products than the next-gen consumers they need to attract. Now, the only question remaining is whether they have the gumption—and time—to turn things around.

Alan D. Mutter is a former newspaper editor and Silicon Valley CEO who today consults with media companies on technology and technology companies on the media. He blogs at Reflections of Newsosaur (

– See more at:–How-Newspapers-Lost-the-Millennials#sthash.uEbSPKlg.dpuf

Rally to support Cowichan strikers

DEC 5, 2014
On Monday, December 8th, at 2pm – BC Fed President, Irene Lanzinger and Secretary Treasurer, Aaron Ekman will be joining the picket line in support of our strike at the Cowichan News Leader Pictorial.

The main issue is the employer’s insistence on a two tier wage system.We are asking our members and other locals to come and support our members behind the line.
The address is#2-5380 Trans Canada Hwy, DuncanWe look forward to your support! See you there!

News Leader Pictorial staff on strike in Duncan


Twelve employees at the Cowichan News Leader Pictorial newspaper in Duncan took to the picket lines on Monday in a dispute over proposed changes to their pay structure.

The strike is about blocking the implementation of a two-tier wage system by management, said Unifor Local 2000 representative Peter McQuade.

Right now, employees’ wages increase over time through a classification system. Management is trying to eliminate the top wage classifications for any new employees coming in, McQuade said.

Employees voted 100 per cent in favour of strike action.

McQuade said it was possible the paper would not be able to put out an edition for Wednesday. He had no indication when the strike might be over.

Calls to the News Leader Pictorial’s editor and publisher were not returned Monday morning.

– See more at:

Report on results of National Survey on the Impact of Domestic Violence on Workers and Workplaces

To: Members of the Canadian Council
CLC Women’s Advisory Committee
RE: Report on results of National Survey on the Impact of Domestic Violence on
Workers and Workplaces

Sisters and Brothers,
Attached please find a copy of the report of our National Survey on the Impact of Domestic Violence. We are releasing the report to the media this morning at 10am at concurrent press conferences on Parliament Hill and Western University. We have also produced a promotional video which is available along with the report at
As we heard at Canadian Council, the results are quite powerful and represent an opportunity for us to redouble our efforts to ensure our workplaces are safe and workers receive the support they need. We have requested a meeting with Kellie Leitch and have asked her to consider holding a roundtable of employers, unions and government to discuss the survey results.
We have also included a list of key messages. Many unions and federations will be participating in December 6 events, and we encourage you to incorporate this messaging into your speeches, social media and member communications.
We will be working in the coming months to develop a list of promising practices on domestic violence in the workplace. We are aware of some great initiatives?in collective bargaining, member education and public awareness?but your locals may be doing things we are not aware of. We will put together a package of resources and educational materials and would like to point to specific success stories, so please share any materials or language with our women’s and human rights department at
Questions about the survey and next steps can be directed to Vicky Smallman, National Director, at
Thank you once again for your work promoting the survey.
In Solidarity,

Barbara Byers
Destinataires : Membres du Conseil canadien
Comité consultatif sur la condition féminine, CTC

Let’s stop pretending all is OK at CBC — it’s not


LISE LAREAU | CMG National Vice-President

One day, in between one major layoff announcement and another terrible revelation in the Jian Ghomeshi case, an email appeared in my inbox declaring the winners of the CBC President’s Awards. It stunned me; it seemed so wrong to pretend things were normal and the annual tradition was going on uninterrupted, while so much at CBC was disintegrating.  I didn’t read on and tried — like many of us — just tried to get through another sorry day at work.

So hats off to the Radio-Canada employees in Sherbrooke, Que., who had the same feeling, but amplified it and acted upon it. They were the winners of a President’s Award for their coverage of the rail disaster at Lac-Mégantic. When CBC President Hubert Lacroix went to deliver it this week, in person, he was rebuffed.  The employees refused the award, citing the cuts.

Lacroix is quoted as saying their move was, in effect, useless. But that’s evidence of the massive disconnect between those making decisions to dismantle much about the CBC and the people who do the programming every single day that makes the CBC what it is.

No Mr. Lacroix, what’s useless is pretending it’s business as usual at the CBC these days.

When senior managers write memos of yet another cut (this one the outsourcing of weather to another network, no less) that say people are “pleased to announce” a “new content sharing agreement” before mentioning the people who will lose their jobs, and the president of the CBC declares it’s a “good day” to announce 1,500 job losses in the next five years, one has to seriously wonder if senior CBC managers are deliberately deluding themselves in the hope that if they use words like this, it will all be OK.

There is nothing normal, usual or “good” about any of this. That’s why employees openly ask their CEO who will be their champion as the CBC is attacked by government cuts.  The answer should be obvious, but in this strange world of dismantling a public institution, nothing is as it should be.

What we do see is an increasingly empty Broadcasting Centre. We see empty offices. We see one empty studio, another one used by a former network competitor (Rogers) and a few more slated to be shuttered by next year.

We see whole areas of expertise parcelled out (documentary production, weather, hockey). We see a single permanent reporter in a city the size of Fredericton. We listen to talk about selling the Broadcasting Centre itself. And today all of us will bear witness as hundreds more people across the country get notices that their jobs are redundant.

I could go on.

We at the CMG are planning to do a full inventory of the losses in all their grim detail, mostly because we know no one else will.  Others, apparently, will keep declaring things are “good” and be pleased to hand out awards – until the very last studio door is closed.

– See more at:

Despite all the doom and gloom about the print media industry, if there is only one paper in a metro market it will be profitable said newspaper analyst John Morton. “It just may not be as profitable as newspapers used to be.”