The Humber School of Media Studies and Information Technology
CONVERGENCE WINTER 2008/2009
ANATOMY OF A KIDNAPPING MEDIA BLACKOUT REIGNITES DEBATE OVER THE ETHICS OF JOURNALISM
INSIDE INFORMATION WHAT ARE THE RULES WHEN POLICE POSE AS MEDIA?
HYPER LOCAL NEWS HOW LOCAL NEWSPAPERS ARE COPING WITH TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES
LIFE AFTER GUANTANAMO BAY
2008/2009 winter | convergence
TRUTH OVER FEAR CANADIAN JOURNALISTS FOR FREE Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX). With the operation of the network as the centrepiece of its work, CJFE has since become a major player in the field of international advocacy in the area of free expression. Having a strong membership base is crucial to CJFE. Your finanacial support is needed to help the organization carry out its press freedom and freedom of expression initiatives, both in Canada and internationally. Membership is open to journlaists and all who believe in the right to free expression.
convergence | winter 2008/2009
CJFE is a Canadian non-governmental organization supported by Canadian journalists and advocates of free expression. The purpose of the organization is to defend the rights of journalists and contribute to the development of media freedom throughout the world. CJFE recognizes these rights are not confined to journalists and strongly supports and defends the broader objective of freedom of expression in Canada and around the world. One of the principal activities of CJFE is the management of the worldâ€™s only freedom of expression clearinghouse, the International
Message from the Dean
CONVERGENCE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF KASSINA RYDER
hen the editors and writers of Convergence sat down to plan the Winter 2008/2009 edition, the world was still on what passed for an even keel. The chickens from toxic loans had yet to come home to roost in the U.S. banking sector; gas prices were making it hard to sell gas guzzlers, but the big three automakers still looked solid; the slash and burn of traditional newsroom jobs was still over the horizon and the word “prorogue” served no purpose other than to separate “prorector” and “prosaic” in the lexicographical landscape. Thus, faced with a banquet of issues, but a constantly changing main course, the staff of Convergence faced a tough challenge to come up with a theme guaranteed to capture the interest of already overfed readers. It took the kidnapping of a Canadian reporter in Afghanistan to finally clear the table for the “lost voices” theme. The voice of CBC correspondent Mellissa Fung disappeared from the airwaves and front pages for three weeks in the Fall and Convergence editors found themselves on the inside – with a disparate group of “in the know” journalists who had made the extraordinary decision not to report details of the kidnapping. The why and how of the blanket of silence – as well as the ethical dilemma – are explored here by Justin Robertson in a series of interviews with the Canadian media executives who made the decisions. The voice of Al-Jazeera journalist Sami al-Haj was lost for the 2139 days that he languished as a prisoner in Guantanamo Bay, an experience that left him little appetite to talk to the western media – even when it honoured his courage. Word on the street was that he was a bitter man – until Convergence’s Jason Sahlani tracked him down in Qatar and set the record straight. The extraordinary interview, done through an interpreter, is on page 26. Closer to home, Kenneth Brown, John Bkila, Eric Lo Maglio and Kyle Baron asked the questions: Where is the media voice of Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples and, perhaps more importantly, who gets to tell these
MANAGING EDITORS JASON SAHLANI CHRISTINA COMMISSO
EXECUTIVE EDITOR KYLE BARON
ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR JUSTIN ROBERTSON
SECTION EDITORS MICHAEL MELANSON CHRISTOPHER FRY JENNIFER CONLEY ERIC LO MAGLIO
RESEARCH CHIEF ANDREA ISEMAN
FACT CHECKERS Photo by Cecily Van Horn
stories? The complex answers can be found on pages 32, 35, 37 and 40. And what are the rules of engagement for a police officer adopting the voice - or at the least the image – of the media to pursue an investigation? Our Kassina Ryder discovered that even the police appear unclear. For good news in an otherwise bleak media environment, check out Christina Commisso’s article on the continued popularity of community newspapers. Since Convergence arrived more than a decade ago, we have always found ourselves able to claim that the latest edition was the best edition. This one will be a hard act to follow. Enjoy. William Hanna, Dean School of Media Studies and Information Technology
There was no shortage of newsworthy events in 2008. The United States elected its first black president, Stephen Harper had parliament prorogued, and a financial crisis crippled economies worldwide. This got the staff at Convergence thinking – how many issues can the media juggle before some start to fall off the radar? Oakland Ross, mideast correspondent for the Toronto Star, once said he believes the media can only focus on three wars at a time. Does the same idea apply to issues? We asked media critics and journalists: How many issues can the media keep in focus at a time, and what does it take to get on that list?
NAVREET DHILLON ROCK DE VERA
JOHN BKILA DAVID MIADOVNIK
PHOTO EDITORS EVAGELOS TZARAS CECILY VAN HORN
WHERE ARE THEY NOW EDITOR ROSELYN KELADA-SEDRA
FACULTY ADVISERS CAREY FRENCH TERRI ARNOTT ANNE ZBITNEW
SMS PROGRAM COORDINATORS Jane Bongers/Jerry Chomyn/James Culin Barbara Elliott/Carey French/Lorne Frohman Michael Glassbourg/Greg Henderson Michael Karapita/Vass Klymenko Heather Lowry/Terry Posthumas Chitra Reddin/Gary Richardson/Marie Rishea Rob Robson/Michael Rosen/Jamie Sheridan Lynne Thomas/Robb Wright/Ken Wyman Eva Ziemsen
Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning School of Media Studies and Information Technology 205 Humber College Blvd. Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 5L7 Phone: 416-675-6622 ext. 4111 Fax: 416-675-9730 http://magazines.humber.ca 2008/2009 winter | convergence
WINTER EDITION 2008/2009
15 Speech on Trial
Should Human Rights Commissions have the authority to muzzle media?
Anatomy of a Kidnapping The media blackout during Mellissa Fung’s kidnapping caused debates in newsrooms and homes across the country as to whether there was a double standard of reporting
32 First Here, Last Heard
Media and representatives of the aboriginal community across Canada weigh in with their thoughts on the coverage of aboriginal concerns nationwide
convergence | winter 2008/2009
CONTENTS 3 Dean’s Note 6 News Briefs 17 Jim Poling
The 2008 Vox Libera award winner talks about the innovative internship program at the Hamilton Spectator
22 Shakeman Mugari
Mugari has earned the acclaim of his peers through his constant pursuit of the truth
24 Press Predators 26 Sami al-Haj
The ex-GITMO detainee speaks to Convergence about his commitment to journalism and life after Guantanamo
50 Portfolio 58 Where Are They Now? 62 In Memoriam
Edward Samuel “Ted” Rogers, Jr.
Cops, Lies and Videotape The testimony of an OPP officer who posed as a journalist reveals shocking information about police undercover operations
Photo by Moe Doiron/THE CANADIAN PRESS
8 Community News Original content and guaranteed distribution of local publications keep advertisers coming back
10 Politics of Pizzazz The importance of personality in politics
11 Ain’t Dead Yet Amidst layoffs, hiring freezes and cutbacks, the magazine industry in Canada is holding on for dear life
13 Copy Wrong How new copyright technology is keeping original content safe online
28 Who Owns The Word? Political correctness versus actually being correct
35 Broadcasting History Aboriginal Peoples Television Network – Filling a void in mainstream media
37 Screening Storytelling Does one have to be aboriginal to adequately tell aboriginal stories?
40 Hot Northern Issues Get the Cold Southern Shoulder Covering all of it – in Nunavut
42 Recycling Old Ways New legislation on in-store packaging exemplifies the environmental shift in the package and design industry
43 Paper or Plastic? E-editions are preserving the semblance of the classic newspaper – delivered straight to your inbox
44 Balancing Act
Members of Falun Gong say the CBC is misrepresenting a massacre
46 Exploring The Myth Behind Analog’s Death The belief that 35mm film is on its last legs might just be an illusion
48 Swimming Downstream Online streaming is providing a new venue for advertisers, but not all networks are on board
2008/2009 winter | convergence
Convergence News Media at a Glance
Niagara Falls Review Comes Under Fire
Online Magazine Outsources Cheap Work to India
James Macpherson, publisher of Pasadena Now, is pioneering a new movement in journalism – “glocal news.” Macpherson told the New York Times he pays writers in India to produce the content for the online daily magazine. Using press releases, local news articles, and online streaming from Pasadena city hall, these writers piece together local news. “Many newspapers are dead men walking. They’re going to be replaced by smaller, nimbler, multiple Internet-centric kinds of things such as what I’m pioneering,” Macpherson told Times columnist Maureen Dowd in an article published Nov. 29, 2008. In Spring 2007, Macpherson began outsourcing news. He fired seven staff members, including five reporters who were each making $600-$800 a week. Currently, the magazine employs six people, all in India. “I pay per piece, just the way it was in the garment business,” Macpherson told The Times. “A thousand words pay $7.50.” The website makes no mention of outsourcing its news content. convergence | winter 2008/2009
The Ontario Press Council has ruled that the Niagara Falls Review failed to provide full and fair coverage of two sexual abuse trials involving a former teacher and his students, the Canadian Press reports. Dana Schug entered a plea of not guilty at his trials in 2002 and 2007 and was acquitted both times. His wife Rachel complained that the Review’s coverage of the trials overemphasized the evidence of the complainants while ignoring the evidence in favour of Mr. Schug. The Review argued that because criminal trials are becoming longer and more complex, “it would be inappropriate for the Ontario Press Council to hold newspapers to a standard of reporting that would oblige them to attend every day and follow every development over a period of years.” The Press Council accepts that a small newspaper’s resources make it difficult to cover lengthy criminal trials, but maintains that every newspaper has an obligation to report in a fair and balanced manner, especially in cases that could potentially destroy a person’s reputation.
The “About Us” section reads: In just under three years time, Pasadena Now.com founder James Macpherson and Candice Merrill have managed to build an online community newspaper the old fashion way – daily deadlines, plenty of shoe leather, and a grueling schedule of personally attending dozens of community events every month.
Queen’s University Students Monitor Hallways for Slurs University students in Kingston are watching what they say in the hallways at Queen’s. According to an article in the Globe and Mail on November 19, a team of six students have been hired as facilitators at Queen’s University to listen to their classmates’ conversations – monitoring them for politically incorrect statements. The facilitators can then jump in and talk to the student about their offensive language. “Retard” and “gay” are two of the words on the red-flag list. The Queen’s Journal, the university’s student newspaper, published an editorial about the program that said monitoring students’ conversations is an “inadequate, lackluster attempt to deal with social inequalities and racism on campus.”
Toronto-based Company Creates Cell Phone Advertising Model
CRTC Looks to Change Cable Package Framwork by 2011, says Vidéotron The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is making changes to the regulatory framework for channel packages. The CRTC is looking to Canadian cable providers for advice as it moves toward its goal of adjusting on-demand services by 2011, says Eve Lacasse, public communications officer and media specialist for Montreal-based Vidéotron Ltd. Vidéotron is Quebec’s largest cable provider and it’s looking to add on-demand services. Lacasse said the CRTC has sent out a notice of consultation to cable
A Toronto-based company, AskKinjo, is making waves in the world of mobile advertising. According to a Sept. 2008 press release, the company provides users with up-to-the-minute news on traffic, parking, gas prices, restaurants, nightclubs and the closest ATMs – sent directly to their cell phones. While the wireless network is searching for information, users listen to 10 to 12 seconds of interactive audio ads that are tailored to their search inquiry. Users can immediately connect with advertisers to place orders or receive coupons by text messaging the advertiser. The service is free to any mobile phone user. AskKinjo ads don’t require large screens, keyboards, data plans or downloaded applications, making the audio ads deliverable to any mobile phone. The service was launched last year and the company is expecting to have 1,000 users by the end of November. Advertisers currently on deck include MADD Canada, KeysToUs, 5th Element and Provence Delices.
providers to send in suggestions for the changes by Jan. 29, 2009. The CRTC will then decide on new regulations before they “gather the players” and present the new regulations. “At this point, this file is very complex,” she says, noting the regulations will affect “anyone that is involved by law like Vidéotron because we propose a video-on-demand service.” The CRTC will also impose an increase of financial charges from five per cent to six per cent to cable distribution companies for a local programming fund. Lacasse said Vidéotron has someone dedicated to the CRTC file that will look after each aspect of the changes. 2008/2009 winter | convergence
publications cope with the financial struggles that larger papers are facing. Ian Oliver, president of Metroland Media Group, says community papers are well equipped to handle tough economic times. Many community papers operate under the free distribution model and are not affected if circulation declines, says Oliver. “They are less impacted by national declines and by drops of employment advertisement because of the economy. They’re not impacted as dailies have been in the past.” Even before the current economic crisis, the Canadian Newspaper Association reported daily circulation had declined by 7.8 per cent between 2000 and 2006. However, the Ontario Community Newspaper Association (OCNA) reported a 14 per cent
“In an age where dailies are shutting down, new community papers are popping up.” - Mark Cripps
Photo by Jason Sahlani
Community News Journalism at its most intimate By Christina Commisso
Early in his journalism career, Mark Cripps travelled from Seaforth, Ont., to post-war Bosnia. Amidst the death and destruction, the community news journalist saw a story others may have missed. An asylum had been blown apart and its patients were roaming the streets. Canadian soldiers, with their limited supplies, were rebuilding the hospital. Cripps was a world away from his small town of 3,000 people. He travelled as a convergence | winter 2008/2009
reporter from the Seaforth Huron Expositor to Bosnia as part of a program organized by the Canadian military. Cripps was prepared to cover the bloody chaos of war, but says he wanted to cover the good stuff. The “good stuff”, Cripps says, is what sets community papers apart from dailies. Parades or picnics may not scream front-page news, but this type of coverage is helping smaller
growth in circulation in 2007, and then a further growth of seven per cent in 2008. Jill Davis, editor-in-chief for Halton’s Metroland community newspapers, says original content is the reason behind the continued success of community news. “We provide the news people can’t get anywhere else,” she says. “Your kids’ pictures in the paper, the local soccer game. That’s why we remain successful – people want to know what’s happening in their community.” The OCNA reports that the community newspaper industry in Canada earns more than $1 billion annually, and it’s growing. “In an age where dailies are shutting down, new community papers are popping up,” says Cripps, now the Hamilton Community News managing editor. “There’s a lot of pressure from the Internet, which leaves daily newspapers facing a lot of competition,” he explains. “What makes us different is that this is a niche market, the content is exclusive, and no one is seeing that margin on the Internet to do something like it.” Despite economic hardships, local businesses continue to advertise in community publications. Peter Mattei, director of digital employment classifieds at Metroland, says local businesses are guaranteed to reach their target audience through community newspapers. “To date, the Internet has not found a way to deliver purely local audience to advertisers,” he says. “But at some point the Googles and Yahoos will become savvy enough to deliver this audience.” Mattei says daily newspapers depend on national advertisers for revenue, but those
advertisers are hit first when the economy is in trouble and will likely cut back on their advertising budget. Another advantage for community papers is they are the only providers of “hyper-local” news. “There is no wire copy, just local stories, local advertisers, and local flyers. Local, local, local,” says Davis. She explains that these community papers provide a space where readers can have some control over what goes on in their community. “People can fight city hall – we get hundreds of letters to the editor,” she says. “Even though it’s a small thing, people have a voice with their community paper.” Daily newspapers are also tapping in on local markets through free weekly publications. “We always say local is our franchise,” says Irene Gentle, city editor at The Hamilton Spectator. While a Metroland daily, the Spectator is not a community newspaper and still follows the traditional path of ‘if it bleeds it leads.’ However, the Spec realizes its readership also wants local stories. “We try to find different outlets for that,” she says, referring to the Spectator Free Press, a free weekly publication that goes to non-subscribers. The publication, which was revamped in May 2008, delivers the hyper-local content Hamilton Spectator’s readers want. “We try to cover as many of those smaller community events in that paper so there is an outlet for coverage – not necessarily [The Hamilton Spectator’s] front page.” Community papers promote their communities and often feature softer news, but their reporters and editors do not turn a blind eye to negative news, says Cripps. “The community wants you to be a cheerleader, but we have to be critical too.” He cites the example of a story covered by the Dundas Star News about a 17-year-old who died after a drug overdose. “We never mentioned the name of the young Dundas student who died,” Cripps says. Instead, the paper featured a story about preventing drug use in schools. “We took a tragedy and turned it into a public service.” A strong presence in the community leaves reporters with few chances to make mistakes, he says. “If you take on a tough story that is critical, like on a city councillor, you have to walk downtown and face the very people you write about,” he explains. “[Some] Journalists
are trying to get ahead at the expense of one another – we can’t do that. We have to be respectful, we can’t just burn bridges.” When it comes to stories that are negative, the OCNA helps its papers tackle ethical issues. “Our goal is to promote community, convey involvement from the community and build commitment,” says Anne Lannan, OCNA’s manager of member services. “In order to get people interested, [community newspapers] cover good news, but they also give ample coverage to news that isn’t necessarily good.” To help guide editors when tackling tough stories, OCNA members receive a series of ethical case studies in their monthly newsletters, Lannan told Convergence.
Some of the topics include reporting on an unconfirmed “rumour” regarding local layoffs and whether identifying gangs by their gang names gives them legitimacy. The responsibility felt by reporters and editors to their communities is great, writes Jim Pumarlo, a long-time community news editor and author, in his book Bad News And Good Judgment: A Guide to Reporting on Sensitive Issues in a Small-Town Newspaper. “Community newspapers, at their best, are stewards of their communities,” he writes. Back in his office in Hamilton, Cripps agrees. “We become personalities in the community, and that builds trust,” says Cripps. “It makes us accountable, and that’s the part I love.”
Graphic by Christopher Fry
A graph showing the reading preferences of Ontarians in the course of an average week.
“Ideally, one gets to go big on the single story of the day. Blow it out. Be brilliant. Be deep. Be original. When there are two, you have to divide by half. When, as today, one has Ottawa, the economy, and Mumbai, you have to sort it out. There is no magic rule. The only question is being right.” — Colin MacKenzie, managing editor, The Globe and Mail
2008/2009 winter | convergence
Politics of Pizzazz
Courtesy of AP Photo
By Cecily Van Horn
The suit is not yet Armani, the tie still a little too “lawyerly”. But the soon-to-be-trademark “Peace” rose is in the lapel; the “so you wanna make something of it” grin is working overtime and the reporters are where they will find themselves – time and again. Losing traction. They bait him with charges that he’s turned Quebec into a police state. They demand to know how much further he is willing to go. He gets closer – not further – from the camera. “Just watch me.” Pierre Elliott Trudeau is about to become Canada’s first, and last, holder of superstar status in both the halls of Parliament and the livingrooms of the nation. The video of this exchange between the prime minister and reporters during the 1970 October Crisis had been viewed more than 100,000 times on YouTube by the time this article went to print. The media has changed in the years since Trudeau was prime minister, but his camera presence and
convergence | winter 2008/2009
charisma still draw an audience almost 40 years later. Whether he was sliding down the banister of an Ottawa hotel, or performing pirouettes while the Queen’s back was turned, Trudeau knew how to use the media to his advantage. John English says media was the key to Trudeau’s winning the election in 1968. “[The media] played a very, very large role in it. They were looking for someone very different from Diefenbaker and Pearson, who were very unpopular leaders, and Trudeau was the answer to their dream,” says English, co-editor of Citizen of the World, a biography on Trudeau. “The Canadian media was principally the reason that Trudeau became prime minister.” Television offered a new way for politicians to garner popularity. Some learned quickly to sell their personalities through this new medium– others didn’t. While Trudeau slipped easily into the role of celebrity, made possible by television, Lester Pearson’s personality didn’t translate
well on camera, says Andrew Cohen, one of the biographers and co-editor of Trudeau’s Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Pierre Elliott Trudeau. “When [Lester Pearson] became prime minister in 1963, the media and the television age was really only beginning to emerge,” Cohen said in a telephone interview. “Pearson led differently, he wasn’t sexy, he wasn’t made for the television age. By the time he arrived in the early 1960s, it was the Age of Aquarius and he was something of an anti-Aquarian.” Cohen says Canadians are less interested in personality. but does the ascendancy of Michael Ignatieff to the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, coming in the wake of the election of the most media-savvy U.S. president since JFK, indicate that pizzazz is back? NDP leader Jack Layton, himself no slouch in front of the camera, thinks so. At least as far as the media is concerned. “The attention to the important policy issues is diminished and the attention to personal characteristics and image has perhaps been increased, “ he told Convergence. “That is partly because the attention span of any media report has shrunk quite dramatically . . . now it can be measured in seconds.” Mitigating against the trend is the emergence of the Internet, which allows blogging politicians to sell themselves – and their ideas – directly to the customers, he says. Gretchen Rubin, biographer of Forty Ways to Look at JFK, says Barack Obama could not have won the 2008 presidential election if he’d been all sizzle and no bacon. “I don’t think [the media] created something that wasn’t there,” Rubin says. “There is something about Barack Obama – he somehow just communicates likeability, and his sort of easiness really shows up on television and the media very well.” Obama-mania mirrors that of Trudeaumania – a term used to describe the late prime minister’s impact on the political scene in Canada 40 years ago, says English. Adam Vaughan, a city councillor in Toronto, says over the last 10 to 20 years personality has become a bigger part of politics. “Boring politicians don’t create the same parade of followers that charismatic politicians do,” he says. “The next great leader is always around the corner and if you don’t believe that, it’s pretty dismal pickings,” says the former TV journalist. “If you don’t have charisma; if you can’t create followers as a leader, then you don’t have much to lead and you don’t accomplish much.” Veteran Toronto Star columnist Richard Gwyn says Canadians have historically shied away from political peacocks. “We prefer [politicians] more like accountants or bankers than heroes. It’s not very exciting, but it is the way we are,” Gwyn says. That could be about to change. “I think we will start looking for an Obama . . . it will be our version of Obama just like Trudeau was our version of John F. Kennedy. “Who that person is, I don’t know. It’s too early to tell. “
Ain’t Dead Yet Newspapers might be flatlining, but Canadian magazines still have a pulse
By Christopher Fry In November 2008, morning commuters in the Greater Toronto Area tuned in to Andy Barrie, the longstanding host of CBC Radio One’s Metro Morning. The guest was Marco Ursi, outgoing editor of Masthead, Canada’s leading magazine about magazines. The topic du jour: the apparent death spiral of the Canadian magazine industry. Like old crones around the guillotine, Ursi and Barrie talked about disappearing ad dollars, flat readership numbers, and major cutbacks and layoffs in newsrooms. This was raw stuff for Ursi: Masthead had just announced it was ceasing publication after 21 years in the business. Barrie closed the interview by directing his listeners to an American media blog website that, as studio director Gord Cochrane put it, showed “shocking numbers of layoffs in all the media in the United States.” The following day, the magazine industry was discussed once again. But this time the apologetic Barrie directed his listeners towards a Canadian website – with real numbers about an industry that is anything but on its deathbed. Canadianmags.blogspot.com reports that 281 new magazines titles have been created in the past five years. The long-term trend shows an average of 61 magazines launched with 19 closes a year. During this broadcast, Barrie read an email from Mark Jamison, CEO at Magazines Canada, a not-for-profit association representing the Canadian magazine industry. The email read: “We heard you and our friend Marco Ursi from Masthead on the program this morning [Nov 3]. We think this is an overly negative perspective of Canadian magazines being driven by U.S. media and newspapers – different country, different media.” Jamison says Internet muckrackers may be giving people the wrong perception about the industry. “They’re mostly coming out of the States and there’s some awfully whacky information about media floating around,” he says. As the American magazine market saw a 0.6 per cent drop in 2007, Canadian magazines enjoyed a 70 per cent increase in advertising pages from 1996 to 2007, and while advertising commitments are down for
Graphic by Christopher Fry
the first and second quarters of 2008, Jamison says, “things could be a heck of a lot worse.” And while there have been recent media job cuts at Rogers Communications Inc., CTVglobemedia, Canwest Global Communications Corp. and Quebecor, there are still some with hope for the industry. “When you look at Canadian newspapers, we haven’t seen the tremendous decline in circulation and readership and all those things that have happened in the U.S.,” says John Hinds, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Newspaper Association. Circulation of American dailies dropped about 2.5 per cent in 2007, which was a full percentage point more than the decline of Canadian dailies according to numbers from The State of the News Media 2008, an annual report on American journalism, and the Canadian Newspaper Association. Hinds says this canard has been floating around for years. “We were looking at a video that was produced 20 years ago and it was saying, ‘oh the newspaper industry is dying,’” he says. “Just look at Toronto,” says Hinds. “We’ve got the four big dailies, the commuter papers and there’s the community papers. If we were a dying medium something would be happening here.” Something is happening though. People are reading more and more stories in old-fashioned print. Newspaper Audience Databank, an organization that provides marketing information to aid in the buying and selling of ads in Canadian dailies, released a study that was conducted between Fall 2007 and Spring 2008. It showed about 75 per cent of Canadians, 18 years and older, who live in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto were reading a daily newspaper at least once a week. There is belief among many in the media industry that with the current economic
climate, new NADbank research will show readership numbers on the decline. However, NADbank president Anne Crassweller doesn’t think there will be much of a change. “We’ll see if there has been any kind of impact when we see the spring numbers, but there probably won’t be,” Crassweller says. Crassweller also says she would not be surprised if more and more people pick up a newspaper as the economy worsens. “If people believe newspaper to be a credible source of information that they will in fact turn to newspaper more often to get a deeper understanding of the issues they’re facing.” Hinds agrees. “It’s very interesting,” he says. “One of the things people have said again and again is that people are going to the medium of record, which is their newspaper, for information.” Media professionals say people are expected to keep reading longer print stories – in both newspapers and magazines – to gain a better understanding of the quick hits they are constantly hearing on the radio or reading online throughout the day about a turbulent stock market or the effects of global warming. “This is a time when people need to find more and better information before they jump off the 27th floor,” says Jamison. “The long form provides the thoughtful consideration which you’re not seeing on most online [sites].” The demise of newspapers is overstated says Crossweller, adding, “Newspapers are just evolving . . . they’ve changed because we’ve changed.” And things aren’t that different on the magazine side. “Yes, these are very challenging times for everyone in our society,” Jamison adds. “But the demise of Canadian-owned, Canadian content magazines is not, by any stretch, imminent. Quite the contrary in the long term.” 2008/2009 winter | convergence
convergence | winter 2008/2009
A Leg Up on Bootleggers Photo by Kenneth Brown
Newsrooms might be resistant, but new technology could make copyright infringement a thing of the past By Andrea Iseman While the Toronto Star and the Canadian Press may not want the software Mike O’Donnell is selling, he says it’s just a matter of time before they come knocking. He chuckles when he is told that some news organizations don’t see copyright infringement as a big enough bogeyman to fight with the latest technology. Many publishers including the Toronto Star use iCopyright to license material, but several are not interested in the recently-
launched copyright detection tool, Discovery. “It is a huge issue. They probably just don’t know the staggering statistics,” says O’Donnell, who is the president and CEO of the Issaquah, Washington-based company, iCopyright. “What we are finding is that [publishers] are overwhelmed by the number [of infringements] they have found. They are saying, ‘wow, it is a bigger number than I thought,’ and that is immediately followed by, ‘some of them [thieves] are making money from it.’” iCopyright is the company behind Discovery, a new technology that searches the web hourly to hunt down copyright burglars. Having just launched the program, O’Donnell says technology such as that employed by Discovery is the cheapest way to find and prosecute offenders. Toronto-based This Magazine employs three full-timers, not nearly enough people to deal with finding copyright infringement, says Graham F. Scott, the editor of the magazine. “I don’t know how big of a problem it is, and I don’t think anyone does,” says Scott.
“It is a matter of ‘do we have the time and money to go out and prosecute copyright infringement’.” It’s a familiar refrain for O’Donnell. “Even for the big guy – it is expensive for them to pursue it manually,” he says. “Discovery does it for pennies.” O’Donnell says copying and pasting online articles into text documents is the biggest copyright headache facing publishers. When someone distributes an article without using the “Email story” or “Print” options usually found alongside an online article, publishers are unable to track where and when their content is being used, he says. This is where money is lost, says O’Donnell. Publishers and writers lose out on ad revenue and, ultimately, control of their content as the brand, logo and copyright don’t tag along with those articles when they travel. “We live in a culture of cut and paste, which negatively impacts the value of content,” says O’Donnell. “In the past, there has been a notion that you respect people’s intellectual property rights by giving them attribution, but that has now been lost.” 2008/2009 winter | convergence
At the Globe and Mail’s Toronto headquarters, Celia Donnelly, manager of news research and chief librarian of editorial research, says the newspaper will soon start using the Discovery program. She suggests copyright infringement may be a bigger problem than people think, saying without the help of technology, the losses could be even more significant, as people access content through the back door without paying for it. “You couldn’t have enough staff on hand to monitor it – it is just too huge,” says Donnelly. “Unfortunately, people were getting away with ripping off all or parts of our articles and not paying to use them.” Because the technology is fairly new, Donnelly is skeptical of Discovery’s usefulness. But right now, it appears to offer the best chance of monitoring content. Before Discovery, “we just had to hope that people were honest and we could catch the odd one out,” she says. Most copyright crooks don’t wind up in court, but there are instances where The Globe and Mail has had no other choice but
to prosecute. Donnelly says cases that can tarnish the name of the paper are enough to get people talking. “We don’t want to have our content on a white supremacist site,” says Donnelly. “That is another issue that we are trying to deal with. If it does happen, that takes major priority over somebody just ripping it off for free.” Tim Clark, director of new product development for The Canadian Press, agrees. “Hypothetically, you wouldn’t want . . . a story on gambling or addiction to end up on a porn site that happened to have a gambling section,” says Clark. Although copyright infringement is a concern for Clark, he doesn’t think it is a huge problem for The Canadian Press, particularly because they provide news that is sold to other news organizations. “I could never really say I am not worried, but we don’t have a lot of control once it is posted on a website,” he says. Clark, no Pollyana, says he recognizes the potential threat posed by copy pirates. But right now he’s betting on old-fashioned manpower rather than sexy technology.
Photo by Jennifer Conley
Dr. Michael Geist gives a speech on copyright law at Humber College. Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa and an expert on Internet law.
Copyright Free Zone After three unsuccessful bids, Bill C61 died on Oct. 29, 2008. But advocates for changes to Canada’s copyright laws are determined to fight on. Some of the proposed alterations to the Copyright Act are designed to redefine issues of time shifting, limited format shifting and copying for personal use. Dr. Michael Geist, law professor at the University of Ottawa and the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law is upset, but not in mourning. Geist, who has been involved in copyright advocacy for more than 10 years, says Bill C-61 isn’t just about altering copyright laws. “It is about the kinds of copyright choices that this government makes.” As far as moving forward with copyright reform, Deborah Windsor and Bill Freeman disagree with Geist on one key point: the idea that some content should be made available for free under flexible fair dealings. “There are people who want anything on the Internet to be free – I am referring to the Michael Geists of the world,” says Windsor, executive director of the Writers’ Union of Canada. “But if the creators had wanted to distribute it for free, they should identify that and if they don’t want it reused . . . they should have the right to do that.” Freeman, chair of the Creators’ Copyright Coalition agrees. He says that creators should have the right to choose. “There needs to be an economic system in place where creators and producers will be rewarded for their work. I think when you point this out to people, they expect it,” says Freeman. “That is the way the system works.” In the Throne Speech at the opening of the 40th parliament, Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean said the Harper government would proceed with legislation to “modernize Canada’s copyright laws and ensure stronger protection for intellectual property.” This left Windsor skeptical. “We are always hopeful, but cautious . . . we don’t want to get giddy and excited because we don’t want to get disappointed again. It is like we have been to Christmas Eve three times and we never wake up in the morning.” – Andrea Iseman
It’s a myth to propose that the public can concentrate on only three issues . . . it speaks to media concentration and the way those who own/control the media choose to deploy resources. People are hungry for real news and analysis. And diverse communities and populations mean people are interested in a variety of topics. — Kim Elliott, publisher, rabble.ca
convergence | winter 2008/2009
Speech on Trial Is the CHRC an appropriate venue to discuss freedom of speech? Marc Lemire isn’t your average poster child for Free Expression. Nor is he likely to win any award as “neighbour of the year.” But some see the former leader of the neo-Nazi group “Heritage Front” as the canary in the mineshaft when it comes to online free speech.
By Roselyn Kelada-Sedra
hielding a small flame from the wind, Marc Lemire lights up another cigarette outside his Toronto apartment. He’s smoked so many during this cell phone conversation. He probably hasn’t taken a nicotine-free breath. But it’s nothing compared to the packs he’s smoked since March 2004, when he first heard from the Canadian Human Rights Commission. The independent computer programmer is the last leader of the now-defunct neoNazi group, Heritage Front. He was told that someone had flagged a comment posted on a message board he’d closed in January that year. The complainant was calling it hate speech, and the issue was to be decided before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Lemire’s lawyer, Barbara Kulaszka says that if her client is held liable for comments posted on his message board, then everyone posting online is at risk. General Counsel for the Canadian Free Speech League, Douglas Christie, has defended several people accused of violating Section 13, including notorious Holocaust denier and convicted felon in Germany Ernst Zundel. Christie says that when the Internet came under Section 13 in 2001, media websites, for the first time, were under the purview of the CHRT. Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits the communication of messages that could expose an individual or group to hate. The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the legislation making “willfully promoting hatred” a crime. Over the past few years, human rights commissions have been dealing with bigger fish than usual. Last year, the Human Rights Commission in British Columbia heard the Canadian Islamic Congress’s complaint that Maclean’s had printed a “flagrantly Islamophobic” article. The CIC press release said the excerpt from Mark Steyn’s book, America Alone, which ran in the magazine’s Oct. 23, 2006 issue, “subjects Canadian Muslims to hatred and contempt.” “The Ontario Commission has decided they have the right to look at hate distributed
Photos by Roselyn Kelada-Sedra
through signs, pamphlets, et cetera, but not against the media,” says Toronto Star columnist Haroon Siddiqui. “The B.C. HRC thought they had the perfect right to hear the same complaint, which they did.” The hearing ended earlier this year with the complaint being dismissed, even
though the decision noted Steyn’s article included factually incorrect material and misrepresented the tenets of the Islamic faith. Last January, another prominent journalist sat before the Alberta HRC. Ezra Levant, publisher of Western Standard magazine, printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed 2008/2009 winter | convergence
sparking outrage from Muslim readers. A vocal Conservative, Levant has worn the hats of columnist, publisher, blogger and even TV spokesman. He remembers the week the “media storm” struck – Feb. 13, 2006 – well. Since then, he says, “I have been hit with three complaints, two before Alberta HRC and one before the Canadian HRC.” Although all complaints were dismissed, it took what Levant calls 15 bureaucrats and 900 days of interrogation. Since the anti-terrorism legislation of 2001, Section 13’s boundaries have extended from limiting hate speech through telecommunications to include the Internet. “There have been a number of complaints that raise issues and contradictions about how speech and human rights issues are treated by different bodies,” says former Toronto mayor and current Ontario Human Rights commissioner, Barbara Hall. Even so, hearings relating to Section 13 make up only two per cent of the Commission’s work, says Philippe Dufresne, Director and Senior Counsel, litigations division. The CHRC commissioned Professor Richard Moon to analyze “mechanisms to address hate messages and more particularly those on the Internet, with specific emphasis on the role of Section 13 of the CHRA and the role of the Commission.” Moon, a law professor at the University of Windsor, concluded that, “Section 13 of the CHRA should be repealed.” His report adds the Criminal Code regulates hate speech sufficiently, “while respecting the public and constitutional commitment to freedom of expression.” Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, the Director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s Freedom of Expression Project, expresses some doubt about the CHRC’s motives in commissioning the report. “They’re at least considering [revising the section on hate speech], and that’s something. Why they’re doing it, I don’t know,” she says. “But once you give a body power to regulate freedom of speech, it’s hard to find the legal grounds to limit it.” Levant says when dealing with issues of free expression, the CHRC is more of an instrument of hurt than help, particularly to those too weak to defend themselves. “The only reason I was let go was because I was able to give them such a shellacking in the court of public opinion,” Levant says. “They keep picking on others who can’t.”
convergence | winter 2008/2009
Calgary Herald columnist Nigel Hannaford has written extensively on freedom of speech and remembers a time before Section 13 existed. “I notice that they started off with the people who have little capacity to defend themselves and have fairly outrageous views,” says Hannaford. “They built a body of precedent on the easy cases,” he says. “And they’re sort of working their way up to more restrictive cases and higher profile targets,” namely the media. Jonathan Kay, columnist for the National Post, says hate speech should be regulated under the criminal code and not by “bureaucratic do-gooders.” He says section
“But once you give a body power to regulate freedom of speech, it’s hard to find the legal grounds to limit it.”
- Mendelsohn Aviv 13 should be eliminated altogether. “The Lemire case was significant in that it focused attention on the workings of the CHRC. The fact that many people regarded an extremist such as Lemire as the more sympathetic party in the case shows how much the CHRC has succeeded in discrediting censorship in the name of human rights,” Kay says in an email. Kulaszka, Lemire’s lawyer, says the Steyn case demonstrated to the media that Section 13 is cause for concern. “Public interest, truth, fair comment – traditional defences in free speech – [if you put your material online] you have none of those. Then, you don’t have a democracy anymore.” She says hate speech can’t be dealt with outside of criminal court because there are no legal defences in a quasi-legal system. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal can make its order a federal court order, which means people who violate a ruling of the CHRT can be held in contempt of court and can face fines or jail time. Alan Borovoy, General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, was a key player in campaigning to create the Ontario HRC. When contacted by Convergence, he said the body had no place enforcing Section 13. “It is not an acceptable law in a democratic country where the importance of freedom of
speech is so central.” When Convergence asked Borovoy about potential for dangerous precedents in the current CHRT deliberation, he seemed taken aback. After a stunned pause, he loudly exclaimed: “Of course!” The danger is exacerbated by inconsistency and lack of regulation in the system, says the Star’s Haroon Siddiqui. “What we have is a jurisdictional mess.” Marc Lemire’s legal champion, Kulaszka, warns that in such a quasi-legal system the issue of entrapment becomes problematic. During a hearing before the CHRC in March, her client disclosed that someone posting under the name “Jadewarr” had been provoking hate speech on the white supremacist website, Stormfront. “Jadewarr” ended up being Dean Steacy, a CHRC senior investigator. Kulaszka says while there is no law against using pseudonyms to communicate online, “it can be a form of entrapment, enticement. It can amount to an abuse of process.” That’s one of the reasons she says Section 13 should not exist. “It’s very fertile ground for mischief making.” As long as the CHRT has legal grounds to enforce hate speech laws, Christie says the spectre of privilege will remain. “Maclean’s got off. Ezra Levant got off. Why? Because they have the ability to mobilize huge reactions . . . If this continues, free speech is for the wealthy, the powerful, the popular.” Slowly formulating her words with care, commissioner Barbara Hall says, “No rights are absolute. People should think about the impact their speech or writing may have.” Monette Maillet, Director and Senior Counsel of Legal Advisory Services at the CHRC, agrees. “If you commit a crime, you should be held accountable. If that means limiting freedom, then that’s the price you pay.” Over the sound of sirens, Lemire takes a long drag and exhales. After an hour and a half, his anger starts to show. “What more can they do to me? They’ve literally taken my life for the past five years!” What’s at stake, he says, is freedom of speech for the media and the rest of Canada. Left: Alan Borovoy was a key player in the formation of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Right: Former Toronto mayor Barbara Hall, current Ontario HRC commissioner, in her downtown Toronto office.
Photo by Jason Sahlani
A Journalist’s Journalist As a hardworking and down-to-earth journalist, Poling won 2008’s Vox Libera award for his role in mentoring internationally trained journalists. Convergence magazine was able to spend an afternoon with Poling at the Spec, inside his clutter-filled office, surrounded by stacks of papers on his desk. Over the course of the day we found out a little more about the roots of his career and his Journalists in Exile project. By Justin Robertson One of Jim Poling’s earliest memories is of his father, running into the kitchen to tell the family: “See ya, I’m off to Cuba. I’ll call you when I get back.” By writing time, the younger Poling still hadn’t retraced his father’s tracks to Cuba. But he had followed him into the news business – all the way into the managing editor’s office at Hamilton’s metro daily, the Hamilton Spectator.
Following the path trod by his father, who worked for the Sault Star and the Canadian Press, Poling started out on school newspapers and progressed to freelancing for community newspapers before getting his first big break as a reporter at the Kenora Daily Miner and News. Later, he moved to the Globe and Mail before joining the Hamilton Spectator. “I’m a natural storyteller. I love hearing people’s stories,” says Poling, who
has been at the Spec for two decades. During that time, Poling’s passion for journalism and his work with Journalists in Exile has earned him the respect of his colleagues and members of the freedom of expression community. Poling recognized a need for internationally trained journalists in the late ‘90s when the Ebola crisis broke out while he was the city editor at the Spectator. The virus originated from a Congolese woman living in Hamilton. “I had to marshal the story and caught myself in a moment where I thought we had somebody here from the Congo and we had no contacts in the Congolese community,” says Poling. “What kind of newspaper are we if we don’t know who is in our community?” Poling wanted the Spectator’s newsroom to reflect the diversity of the Hamilton community. To accomplish this, he decided to use writers from other countries who were accredited journalists in their homelands, but their credentials weren’t recognized in Canada. “We’ve all heard the stories, whether it be in a cab, or somebody doing a survival job as doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyers and welders, but they weren’t working in their chosen field,” says Poling. As Poling sifted through the list of journalists, some of whom faced persecution in their countries, he came across dramatic stories. “People were tortured for telling the truth, people were shot at, people were chained, there were stories about government food programs that were corrupt. [Those people] were either chased out of the country or their families were penalized,” he says. To assist the foreign journalists living in Canada but working in other sectors, Poling created two year-long internships that would help bring such journalists back into the fold. He also helped found the Canadian Journalism for Internationally Trained Writers program at Sheridan College and continues to sit as chair of the advisory committee. “Joyce Wayne at Sheridan College heard about what I was doing and I heard about what she was doing and we came together. She was looking to start a diversity program and she said ‘I hear you already have one’,” he says with a smile. “I said ‘I do, but it’s small and just a little incubator at the Hamilton Spectator. What do you need?’” Wayne ran with the idea and when Poling jumped on board to form the ad hoc advisory board for the program, things came together “lightning quick”. “We talked and then launched the program in a year,” Poling says leaning back in his chair. “It’s unique, it’s innovative and it’s a success.” Poling says he is deeply honoured to receive the Vox Libera award. He says it has shone a spotlight on The Hamilton Spectator and given it a place on the national stage. On the efforts he puts in, Poling simply says, “It’s giving someone your time and sitting down doing some editing, saying to someone ‘I believe you have a good story to tell and I will help you tell it’. That’s what we are all here for.” 2008/2009 winter | convergence
“This is a fascinating story. When I read it I thought ‘here is a Canadian who has been kidnapped – Why didn’t we know about this? Where did a blackout come from’?” - Jim Poling
Photo Illustration by Justin Robertson
convergence | winter 2008/2009
The Anatomy of a Kidnapping On Oct. 12, 2008, Mellissa Fung was confronted by two heavily armed men while travelling through the Afghan countryside. One man aimed his gun at her fixer as the other one threw her to the floor of the car. For the 28 days Fung was held, a worldwide media blackout ensured news of her abduction would be kept from the public until her release. On Oct. 29, the staff members of Convergence caught wind of the kidnapping, but like all media organizations, kept it to themselves. When Fung was released on Nov. 8, people around the world were relieved, but began to question why there was a media blackout in her case while other abductions routinely make headlines. Justin Robertson examines the debate that has ensued. He asks the hard questions: Was there a double standard of reporting? Is the safety of a journalist more important than that of an aid worker?
By Justin Robertson
t was the best-kept secret from the public. The worst kept secret in newsrooms. It was October, the colour was still deep in the trees of Vancouver – the hometown of CBC correspondent Mellissa Fung – when word began seeping through the spider-web of news organizations with correspondents in Afghanistan. The bad news: the Afghan correspondent had been snatched. The good news: It wasn’t the Taliban. That was the extent of the information being mulled over by editors and producers from New York to London to Toronto, where the staff of Convergence magazine faced the same question as more experienced counterparts in the news business. What to write? At the CBC, it was a no-brainer – sort of. With a colleague’s life hanging in the balance, Fung’s bosses and colleagues worked tirelessly to make sure that news of the Oct. 12 kidnapping didn’t spread. They succeeded beyond all expectations. At CTV, they bit their tongues. In the Big Apple, the New York Times sat tightlipped. Mum was the word over at The Chicago Tribune. In London, the venerable BBC played dumb. The Associated Press promised not to write a word. And in the process, 35-year-old Fung, a five-foot tall ChineseCanadian, barely a month into her second rotation in Afghanistan, went from being just another broadcast reporter to – eventually – a household name. CTV was one of the media organizations that provided initial assistance when news was circulating about Fung’s kidnapping. The rival network already had people on the ground in Afghanistan and assisted the CBC in trying to secure elusive details. John Cruickshank, then publisher of CBC News, had no choice but to sit in Toronto and wait.
CTV News and Current Affairs president Bob Hurst understood what his counterpart at the CBC was going through. One of CTV’s local reporters in Afghanistan, Jojo Yozemi, had been taken by American authorities and locked up. Yozemi was beaten and accused of being a Taliban spy. “We worked both the front and public scenes [and] behind the scenes to get him released,” recalls Hurst. “Internally, we had a very large debate about when we go public? Do we go public? As well as the pros and cons. It’s not an easy call.” Globe and Mail editor-in-chief Edward Greenspon, explaining his newspaper’s silence in an online forum after Fung’s release, said, “Consequences are not something journalists usually think about because they aren’t in the business of shaping outcomes. If a given piece of information is newsworthy, in the public interest, it’s ‘publish and be damned’. On the other hand there are no absolutes.” For Cruickshank, Fung’s kidnapping was up close and personal. For 28 days, while Fung was shuffled around several locations somewhere outside of Kabul – at one point spending time blindfolded and chained in a small cave – the publisher walked a high wire, balancing the demands of kidnappers, advice from negotiators, and his responsibilities as Fung’s boss against inquiries by journalists not “in the loop”. All the while he knew whatever course he charted, he would eventually face stormy waters. From A.K.E, a British-based security outfit hired by CBC to train journalists and provide protection in the field, the advice was simple: “Don’t report on the story until we know more about Fung’s situation”. So when Convergence called for information shortly after the kidnapping he politely, but uncomfortably, demurred. Finally, on Nov. 8, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in an offical statement that the correspondent had been released. “Her safe release has always been the main objective of everyone involved. I want to thank all those individuals and organizations 2008/2009 winter | convergence
Photo by Kassina Ryder
John Cruickshank, former CBC News publisher, discusses Fung’s kidnapping in a boardroom at CBC headquarters in Toronto on Nov. 21, 2008. both here in Canada and in Afghanistan who worked so tirelessly to assure this outcome,” Harper said during the press conference. It was only then that Cruickshank went public with an official response. The boardroom at CBC headquarters, where Convergence eventually caught up with Cruickshank 13 days after Fung’s release – and 40 before he jumped ship to take over as publisher of the Toronto Star – is small and not well lit. Sitting in a black boardroom chair in a navy blue suit jacket and open-neck shirt, his face betrays the stress of the recent weeks. The brow is furrowed and the laugh lines around the mouth seem a little lost without the customary easy smile. “Our best understanding was that we would potentially do harm if we published,” says Cruickshank, who in earlier incarnations had been publisher of the Chicago Sun Times, editor-in-chief of the Vancouver Sun and managing editor of the Globe and Mail. “The pitch I was using in the early going
was, ‘we haven’t talked to the kidnappers. Give us time to establish reliable contact and figure out what’s going on,’ ” he says. “Until we resolved that we asked everybody for their help letting us come to grips with it.” It was a stance made in heaven for J-School debates for years to come. Fred Kuntz, editor-in-chief of the Toronto Star, says he was asked by Cruickshank not to run the story on the agreement that they were not left out in the cold once the story become public. ”We agreed not to print what we knew – what everybody knew – only if everyone else agreed to the blackout,” says Kuntz. “I think this is very situational. It’s one thing to have a policy . . . but sometimes they are written in fairly broad terms and then it’s all about how do you apply it? The devil is always in the details.” At the Hamilton Spectator, Managing Editor Jim Poling first read about the story in the Toronto Star after Fung was released. If he’s ticked-off, he doesn’t show it, but he says
the debate is only just beginning. “This is a fascinating story. When I read it I thought ‘here is a Canadian who has been kidnapped – Why didn’t we know about this? Where did a blackout come from’?” “There are lots and lots of questions and I don’t know that we [in the media] have all the answers,” Poling says. Would he have gone along with the blackout? “It’s difficult to answer because it’s so theoretical. I don’t know. Frankly, I don’t know.” Complicating the debate is the tendency by the CBC and other Canadian news outlets to go public with the names of other kidnapped westerners. In Aug. 2008, Amanda Lindhout, an Alberta freelancer for a French network, was taken hostage in Somalia. Her abduction was reported. Khadija Abdul Qahaar, a journalist from British Columbia, was kidnapped in northern Pakistan just days after Fung’s release. Her case was reported as well. Katherine Borlongan, executive director of Reporters Without Borders Canada, says she believes hostages and kidnap victims who work for big networks such as the CBC have an advantage in these situations. “When you want to impose an embargo, you can because it just so happens that CBC is well connected to all the possible networks,” she explains. “An aid worker with some small NGO gets kidnapped and even though the people handling the situation may think that the best thing to do here would be to impose an embargo, technically it’s very hard to coordinate.” When Cruickshank was asked if he can cite another case in which the CBC sat on a story during a hostage situation, he leaned back the chair, the eyebrows came down and the voice was coloured by a tinge of irritation. “No.” How does he respond to those who weren’t there, but say he dropped the ethical ball? “We weren’t hypocritical about it. We take real care in all cases where the issues are as crucial as this,” he says. “All the talk of hypocrisy, in my perspective, is just B.S.” Ironically, the person most surprised by the decision to delay publication was the woman at the centre of the story. “I thought for sure it would already be in the media,” Fung said in an interview with CBC’S Anna Maria Tremonti on Nov. 13. “As a journalist, right, I’d want to report on it. But if you’re talking about somebody’s life, I think that sort of supersedes a good story.”
I think the media has to develop a much more complex understanding of the world so that they can understand that there is a series of issues. But at the same time the media should be looking for those connections, which help to explain and make some sense out of what otherwise would seem like a whole bunch of other things that have no relationship to each other. — Michael Shapcott, journalist, director of community engagement, Wellesley Institute
convergence | winter 2008/2009
2008/2009 winter | convergence
Shakeman Mugari No Byline for the Brave
Due to the continued nature of the dangers facing journalists in Zimbabwe, we at Convergence have decided to omit specific details in the following profile
By Jason Sahlani The flickering light from a paraffin lamp sets spectral shadows dancing across whitewashed walls. Eyes set in terrified faces follow the green fatigue-clad members of Robert Mugabe’s youth militia as they pace back and forth, screaming abuse. A boy whips a woman who lies on the ground. The meaty smack of leather striking flesh is the only sound in the room after her screams of agony stop. Bearing witness to the horrific scene is Zimbabwean journalist Shakeman Mugari who has lied his way into the village, putting his life on the line in order to provide a first-hand account of the state-sponsored violence that has become commonplace in his homeland. Over the past two decades, Zimbabwe has seen Mugabe turn from a revolutionary liberator to a dictator and international pariah. During that time, Mugabe has clung to power by threatening the population and placing the blame for all the problems facing the nation on the British and the media. It wasn’t until it looked as if Mugabe was going to lose an election that the violent repression of the population – particularly political dissidents and journalists – began to escalate. It’s the end of October – known to Zimbabweans suffering through Zimbabwe’s hottest, driest month as “suicide month” – and Mugari is on his cell phone speaking with Convergence. A conversation on a cell phone is his preference now that Mugabe’s agents are monitoring calls made on landlines, but eavesdropping is the least of Mugari’s concerns. In the precise but accented diction, unique to educated Africans, he says laws in
convergence | winter 2008/2009
Zimbabwe now make practicing journalism without accreditation a criminal offence. The dilemma facing Mugari and his colleagues is that the information required to win credentials gives the government officials everything they need to execute a quick arrest, should they feel the need. He understands his role in this cat and mouse game between the government and the media well. “If you are not accredited you don’t have access to government meetings, if you are accredited then you are a target . . . and the people who [are sent to silence journalists] are not like police who you can ask for identification, they are like shadows.” Mugari’s continued efforts to report Zimbabwe’s state of affairs in light of the constant risks from Mugabe’s agents is the reason Globe and Mail foreign correspondent Stephanie Nolen nominated him for the CJFE’s International Press Freedom Award. “He’s politically astute and has an extraordinary ability to get people to talk to him, people from deep inside the power structure,” she says in a telephone interview from the Globe’s Johannesburg bureau. “I just can’t believe he gets the people who talk to him to do so. But he also does a lot of work on the ground, stuff where if people knew or heard that he was [a journalist] he would be in extraordinary danger.” She says there is a tendency for articles written about Zimbabwe to focus on broad concepts of the country’s depression or general accounts of organized violence, but Mugari’s front line reporting provides the world with the chilling details that make these abstract horrors real. “He’s able to . . . tell the story of the 80-year-old woman beaten unconscious with chains,” says Nolen. “He once sent me this completely professional, incredibly chilling file, and the Globe ran it on the front page. It was the first time, and remains the only time that I’ve seen a report [that detailed] the mechanics of [state-sponsored electoral violence], showing exactly how it works and what it looks like.” Mugari was one of several Zimbabwean journalists Craig Timberg relied on during his tenure as the Johannesburg bureau chief for The Washington Post. Echoing Nolen, Timberg praises Mugari’s skill as a reporter working under very dangerous conditions. “It’s hard to really explain the kinds of peril Zimbabwean journalists are under every day of their lives,” he says. “All of us
who worked as foreign correspondents took on a degree of peril that was frankly pretty unnerving . . . but the fact is Zimbabwean journalists were in 100 times more peril than we were ever in. They’re known quantities in their country so if they publish [a story critical of the regime] the secret police will go after them and their family.” While foreign correspondents can run for diplomatic cover – or the border – when the secret police come knocking, foreign embassies or consulates offer no sanctuary to local journalists. Foreigners who are arrested get headlines back home, but Timberg notes the same can’t be said of the Zimbabwean journalists who end up in prison – or in shallow graves. Mugari is well aware of the risks he takes every day – that every time he leaves his wife and daughter he may never see them again – but says the need for journalists in Zimbabwe is now greater than ever. “When the depression hit, and I saw newspapers closed, I saw what it was like to lose your voice, not as a man but as a people,” says Mugari. “We have to shout louder to make it heard and the fear and intimidation, it’s something you have to deal with, to move past . . . because we need to defend journalism as a profession, but beyond that, it’s about wanting the world to know.” He says he could “take up arms, throw stones like the others”, but instead he’d rather tell the stories of the “thousands of the common people, the opposition members killed, the majority who suffer all over this country.” One night, several people were beaten in a village 80 km east of Harare and the next day Mugari went to report the story. Arriving just after noon he found a survivor in a hut and spent half and hour listening to the man’s account of the preceding night’s horrors. He was told of how men and women were beaten ruthlessly regardless of political affiliation – how villagers were dragged in front of a crowd, forced to gather against their wills, and beaten. He sat and listened to a story he had heard many times before. He left to smoke a cigarette and when he returned the man had died, leaving Mugari as the keeper of his final words. Another eight people from the village died that day. “How can I not tell the story? How do I walk away?”
“We have to shout louder to make it heard and the fear and intimidation, it’s something you have to deal with, to move past…because we need to defend journalism as a profession, but beyond that, it’s about wanting the world to know.” - Shakeman Mugari
Photo by Jason Sahlani
2008/2009 winter | convergence
convergence | winter 2008/2009
International Freedom of Expression Exchange International News Safety Institute International Federation of Journalists Committee to Protect Journalists
Graphic by Nick Farnell
2008/2009 winter | convergence
Sami al-Haj Prisoner no. 345 No Longer
When the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression marked Sami al-Haj as a recipient of an International Press Freedom Award, they never really expected him to show up and accept it. A full month prior to the gala event, al-Haj had gone off their radar – emails went unanswered and phone calls weren’t returned. The impression was that he didn’t want to leave his friends and family after missing the last seven Eid al-Adhas while held in prison. After weeks of dead ends and requests to Al Jazeera’s head office in Qatar, Convergence’s Jason Sahlani was able to track al-Haj down in Doha, Qatar and have a conversation about his imprisonment, his commitment to journalism and life after Guantanamo Bay.
By Jason Sahlani It’s 3:30 in the afternoon on a warm, arid day in Doha, Qatar and Sami al-Haj is exactly where he wants to be. Surrounded by fellow Al-Jazeera journalists, whom he calls his “family”, al-Haj can’t help but flash back to that moment, just one year earlier, when he was a detainee in one of the most infamous prisons on earth. Gitmo. In a voice so soft the ear strains to hear his words over a long-distance connection, he recalls the day that changed his life. With the help of an interpreter he paints a picture of a frigid and rainy December day – cold, crisp air filling his lungs as he and about 70 other journalists wait to cross from Pakistan into Afghanistan. He had been sent by Al-Jazeera to cover the flight of the Taliban from Kabul after the initial American invasion. He hoped to get in, report on the story and get back out fast enough to make it home so he could celebrate Eid al-Adha with his loved ones. When it was his turn to cross he says the Pakistani officials pulled him aside and began to question him. He was certain his detention by the Pakistanis would be brief. He had crossed into Afghanistan via Pakistan twice before, the previous trip to film a documentary. The piece showed how the Pakistani military crossed into Afghanistan shortly after the fall of the Taliban. He figured the border officials were just hassling him as pay-back for the report. Hardly an offence serious enough to precipitate his detention and eventual deliverance into the hands of American inquisitors. “I had everything I needed to enter legally
convergence | winter 2008/2009
so I was shocked,” he says. “I showed them who I was – I was a journalist. I worked for Al-Jazeera and at first the U.S. military told me that I was being held by mistake, that the Pakistanis had made a mistake, and that I would be held shortly and be released shortly. They kept saying that for a long time.” The voice at the end of the phone is calm, as if it is recounting the plot of a movie. As if this never really happened. Like many before him, al-Haj was declared an enemy combatant, put on a plane and sent to the place he would be forced to call home for the following six and a half years. The abuses he suffered at the hands of his captors at Guantanamo are well documented: Time incarcerated – 2139 days. Time force-fed while on hunger strike – 465 days. Al-Haj won’t go into detail over the phone, but those who gathered in his honour for the International Press Freedom Awards in Toronto were told his captors tormented him not for what he had done, but for what he could do for them. The intention was to turn him into an informant for the Americans to help prove a link between Al-Jazeera and alQaida. Throughout his time in Guantanamo, alHaj says he never stopped being a journalist. “It’s almost impossible for a journalist to [enter Guantanamo], but I found myself with the opportunity where I was inside and saw the truth completely, no lies or stories from the officials. I saw it all. I lived it all,” he says. “I was completely isolated from the outside world, and as a journalist in Guantanamo I felt I had a duty to tell the outside world what was happening to the people around me.”
In 2005, al-Haj was able to meet with a lawyer after a U.S. Supreme Court decision allowed prisoners to contest the basis of their detention. He says that when he was finally able to meet with his counsel, he jumped at the opportunity to relay a first-hand account of the misery and inhumane conditions. “I felt that getting these accounts out was a noble thing, and I was more convinced that this is not a job anymore, but a noble cause.” For the first time in the conversation he allows emotion to slip through. “I took some joy from that.” It was this inner strength that impressed Clare Algar. Algar, is the executive director of Reprieve, the London-based human rights litigation organization that took on al-Haj’s case during his imprisonment. As of October 2008, Reprieve’s lawyers were acting on behalf of 32 prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, and while
Illustration by Lewis Peake
This illustration was reproduced by Lewis Peake based on descriptions relayed by al-Haj’s lawyer, Cori Crider, from notes she had made after speaking to al-Haj about the original drawings he had produced while detained. To see his other illustrations, visit www.illustration-art.co.uk. no case is more important than any other, Algar says there was something emblematic about al-Haj’s case. “There is a symbolism of Sami representing journalism and the attack on journalism, which is also pretty profound [given] the fact that the attack is coming from a country that espouses freedom,” she says. “The treatment of Sami was disgraceful, but the entire attitude [of the U.S. administration] to Al-Jazeera was pretty astonishing . . . Sami was essentially arrested because the administration was convinced there was a connection between Al-Jazeera and al-Qaida, and I think the world becomes a very dangerous place when reporting on an incident forms a connection where a news channel is punished for it in the most extraordinary way.” At the time of the telephone interview with Convergence, Algar had just returned
from Qatar where she attended the launch of a new Al-Jazeera desk – the Public Liberties and Human Rights news desk – that was to be headed-up by al-Haj. Back in Doha, al-Haj is apologetic as he explains why he can’t attend the awards ceremony in person. He cites previous engagements as the reason he won’t be making the trip, saying, “otherwise I would have loved to come and be with my friends and shake their hands one by one, and be with them during that beautiful night.” He says winning the award brought “self-healing and an inner joy, especially because this is coming from my family, from journalists. This gives me the push to work even harder. I know that all I endured while in prison was not for nothing – all the pain – the hard time was not in vain. “When I was told about the award I felt so happy that my journalist friends from all over
were following my case. It doesn’t matter if you’re from the Middle East, Europe or Canada. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, we’re all in one family.” Al-Haj says he has returned to work for Al-Jazeera “because I was convinced that journalism is the way to make the most change.” He adds, “since I was released I’ve developed a new goal in life. I lived the life of a prisoner and saw how people were treated so I know that I had to act as an activist to help humanity and people suffering . . . . In prison those people had no one to help them. They were left alone and after all I saw, I had to.” Convergence would like to thank K. Sahlani for interpreting the conversation with al-Haj, and A. ElMoula at Al-Jazeera for his assistance in securing the interview. 2008/2009 winter | convergence
Illustration by Daniel Kirk
Who Owns the Word? By Rock de Vera “There’s a sign on the wall, but she wants to be sure, ‘cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.” – Led Zeppelin It all began innocently enough. Dick Pound, the now notorious Vancouver Olympics organizer, told a reporter during an interview that 400 years ago, Canada was a land of savages. In October 2008, Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente wrote a column about the blunder – and agreed with Pound. The controversy that followed prompted Convergence to make an attempt to determine, once and for all, what umbrella terms like “aboriginal” really mean – and which groups fall under which category. But while hunting down stories, Convergence’s writers found themselves stepping through a journalistic minefield. In Canada, the Constitution Act of 1982 recognized three main groups of aboriginal peoples: the First Nations, the Métis and the Inuit. The majority of Métis people in Canada now reside in western Canadian regions and are descendants of French and English fur traders who partnered First Nations women. The formerly used (and now offensive) term Eskimo was replaced by the word Inuit in the 1970s. Inuit is plural and Inuk is singular.
convergence | winter 2008/2009
Referring to an Inuk as Eskimo in Canada is like asking for a punch in the face – you just don’t do it. But across the border in Alaska, many Inuit still refer to themselves as Eskimo. Information from Citizenship and Immigration Canada explains that Inuit are aboriginal people who live in the North, but it doesn’t make any mention of subgroups like the Inuvialuit of the Western Arctic or the Innu of Labrador and northeastern Quebec. Jospeh Brant, Indigenous Communications manager at the First Nations Technical Institute in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory says when writing about aboriginal people, proper identification is vital. “I would look at it as though you’re talking to someone from France versus someone from Germany,” Brant says. “You can call them all European, but if you want to call them by who they are, you would call them French.” Keeping up with the times can be difficult for journalists. Brant remembers 15 years ago when an instructor at his high school referred to native people as “Amerindians”. “I remember thinking ‘who in the world are you talking about?’ It took me about ten minutes then I thought ‘wait a minute– he’s talking about me’,” says Brant. “So it seemed that was the label du jour that year.” The Canadian government, political
correctness, and the preference of individuals and groups often conflict, Brant says. “The umbrella law for all of us is still called the Indian Act so legally, we can still be called Indians, but its just a matter of what the law says versus what’s politically correct versus what we say.” Harold Perry, honorary chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation in Ardoch, Ontario says he would rather be called aboriginal than Indian. “I really do not like the term [Indian], simply because people don’t know what it entails,” he says. “We are not ‘indigenous peoples’. We are smart and have the most unique cultures in the world.” “Ultimately, language is dictated by the people,” says Jeff Keay, head of media relations for CBC. “We try to stay away from terms that target a group of people who might find the term offensive. That’s why policies are in place to keep us from making large mistakes that will get us in a lot of trouble.” Brant says when he is making reference to aboriginal people, the word he uses depends entirely on whom he happens to be talking to. “If I’m talking to a non-native person in the city I will use aboriginal. If I’m talking about me, I’m going to say Mohawk or,” he says with a laugh, “if I think they’re bright enough, I’m going to say Indian- just because it’s going to shake them up a bit.”
Cops, Lies and Videotape People should be able to trust the media. Police pretending to be journalists threatens what little trust is left By Kassina Ryder
t’s pitch dark by the time the cameraman arrives at the barricade. A painted school bus and a bonfire block the intersection at Wyman Road and Highway 2 outside the town of Deseronto, Ontario. The Mohawk warriors’ flag hangs near the protestors, pick up trucks and cars are parked along the side of the road. Steve Martell can see people using wooden skids to fuel the bonfire. When the reporters walk behind the barricade, he grabs his video camera and walks in, too. He didn’t know it at the time, but the OPP constable was about to create a media firestorm that would see the police and journalists reexamining the role of the “undercover” operative. On Aug. 27, 2007, two months after the National Aboriginal Day of Action, Martell testified that he played fake journalist to capture images of protesters blocking Highway 2 and a CN railway line. Giving evidence at a preliminary hearing for Mohawk protestor Shawn Brant, who was facing charges of mischief and breach of probation, Martell told Justice Robert Fournier: “I was assigned to try to get close to the barricades or the blockades to see what was going on and possibly tape them, and blend in on an undercover capacity . . . I was asked by the OPP Intelligence Unit just to take videos of the site, and it was a pretty brief description of what they wanted.” During the hearing in Napanee, Martell said he did not have permission from a superior officer to pose as a journalist. At the same time, he claimed there are no guidelines surrounding the roles police can play while undercover except to refrain from illegal activity. He also said two other officers at the protest had video cameras. “Who suggested to you that you should act as part of the media in your role?” defence counsel Peter Rosenthal asked. “Myself.” “You just decided that’s what you would do?” “Yeah, I decide my cover story when I do an undercover operation,” the OPP officer responded. That has Peter Edwards, a reporter for the Toronto Star, fuming. “I find that really, really troubling,” says Edwards. “So if he says he’s got no permission and they look the other way, then he’s got unspoken permission.” Edwards covered the Ipperwash crisis near Sarnia, Ont. as investigative reporter for the Star in 1995. He is also the author of One Dead Indian: The Premier, The Police, and the Ipperwash Crisis. An OPP officer shot and killed protestor Dudley George during the crisis, which resulted in an inquiry into the events surrounding his death – the Ipperwash Inquiry. “The bit about there being no guidelines, something doesn’t smell quite right about that one,” he says. “If he’s telling the truth and there are no guidelines – that’s shocking, especially after the Ipperwash Inquiry.” Contradicting the man at the centre of the controversy, OPP spokesman Inspector Dave Ross told Convergence police aren’t given a free hand when it comes to posing undercover. “These are all evaluated before they happen. All the officers are trained as undercover officers. There is an evaluation made on what role the officer will play,” says Ross. Christine Rae, a sergeant with the east region headquarters of the
Photo Illustration by Cecily Van Horn
2008/2009 winter | convergence
OPP agrees. “Any time an officer goes undercover, whether it be posing as a journalist or someone else, undercover officers do so under authorization,” she says. But just when Convergence thought it had it clear, OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino muddied the waters. “I don’t think that one size fits all,” Fantino told this writer during a phone-in television broadcast on Toronto’s CP 24. “There is an element of discretion left to them [undercover officers] depending on what kind of investigation, and those kinds of issues, so I can’t give you a definitive answer. But there are guidelines and there are protocols and policies in place.” Exactly how much discretion is hard to determine. OPP undercover policies are closely guarded and officials will not speak about Martell’s testimony. Convergence’s requests to see the guidelines were turned down repeatedly by the OPP and a Freedom of Information request was sent to the Freedom of Information Unit of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. The response was still pending at press time. For the Star’s Peter Edwards, that silence is deafening. “How in God’s name would that compromise police investigations if we knew what the guidelines are?” he asks. “How could that possibly hurt anything if we knew just the really general framework? It’s just rubbish to say that you can’t get them, but they have them.” Susan Eng, the outspoken former chair of
the Toronto Police Services Board agrees. “Every police force ought to have a guideline that deals with that and if they don’t, they should,” she says. “Secondly, if they do have such a guideline, it should be a matter of public information and the refusal to give that public information should be condemned.” Eng says because journalism is based on public confidence, journalists in Canada are often allowed freedoms that are not available to ordinary citizens or police officers. Police impersonaton of media erodes this confidence. “If they were in a situation and they were disguising themselves as a bus driver, there’s
are a problem.” Arnold Amber, president of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression says police going undercover as journalists “means that parts of society are spied upon.” He also says it is significant that the tactic was used on aboriginal protesters. “It’s interesting that two of the most noted cases in Ontario concern aboriginal groups, the one in 1995 [Ipperwash] and then last year,” Amber says. “It seems like there are certain groups that the police seem to use this device on.” Phil Fontaine, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations says the maneuver breeds distrust on all sides of the argument. “That’s a pretty deceitful way to try to get information about our people. It’s unfair. Shame on the OPP,” he says. “What it speaks to is a lack of trust in our people… they see us as an enemy of the - Susan Eng state and we certainly are not.” In July 2007, CJFE along with no public trust issue around bus drivers,” Eng the CBC and the Canadian Association of says. “There are certain leniencies that are Journalists wrote a letter to the Minister of allowed to journalists that are not allowed to Community Safety and Correctional Services, police or to the general public . . . there are Rick Bartolucci and Julian Fantino. The letter certain concessions around certain types of requests that legislation be passed to ensure professions.” police cannot impersonate journalists while She also says Martell’s testimony shows working undercover. a lack of accountability on the part of police “The answers that we get back from administrators. anybody at any level of responsibility of “I would say that that’s a failure of oversight for how police work is that this oversight and for this reason, it’s really not is not a concern for them,” says Julie Payne, the constable’s fault – assuming of course Toronto-based manager of CJFE. he’s telling the truth,” says Eng. “Either there Bartolucci says the ministry is not aren’t any guidelines or he doesn’t know responsible for the undercover procedures of whether there are guidelines, and both things the OPP and that the responsibility lies solely
“At the end of the day you’re really making a philosophical choice between absolute control and absolute chaos.”
Protesters man a barricade close to the Ipperwash Provincial Park entrance in 1995. Opposite, top: Protesters rally just outside of Caledonia; Centre: Passionate participants beat a drum at the 2008 Aboriginal Day of Action in Toronto; Bottom: Media capture shots of protesters outside Deseronto on the Aboriginal Day of Action in 2007.
Photo by Moe Doiron/THE CANADIAN PRESS
convergence | winter 2008/2009
with OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino. “We have absolutely no role in the operational decisions made by the OPP or, for that matter, any other police service in the province of Ontario,” he says. “So the police have and can use a variety of methods to gather information to aid in their investigations. We don’t interfere with those because that would be inappropriate.” While Martell’s testimony is the most recent publicized instance of police impersonating media, it is not an isolated incident. Since 2001, there have been four known cases of Canadian police officers impersonating media to make arrests, according to Mary Agnes Welch, president of the CAJ. The first was in 2001 when RCMP officers pretending to be a CBC documentary crew lured John Bjornstrom, who was escaping his eight-month sentence for breaking and entering, out of the woods near Shuswap Lake, British Columbia. In 2007, anti-poverty protestor David Cunningham was arrested by a Vancouver police officer pretending to be a reporter from 24 Hours, a free daily newspaper. Welch says police in Canada do not need to impersonate journalists to get the job done. “It’s always these kinds of petty, small arrests that could have been affected by many other investigative techniques that the police have,” Welch says. “We always say that the police have infinite resources at their disposal, they do not need to resort to the laziness of posing as journalists in order to arrest somebody. That has ramifications for freedom of the press and democracy that I don’t think police officers think about particularly.” Philip Tunley, a lawyer with Stockwoods LLP Barristers and a CJFE board member says there is no law in Canada preventing police from impersonating media. “As far as I’m aware, there isn’t a direct statuatory provision nor does it seem that the OPP has a policy on that,” Tunley says. “So there’s nothing in writing, it’s just left up to the individual officer, and that’s obviously a concern in itself.” Tunley says for the first time, media organizations in Canada are planning to bring the issue before a court. “From a legal point of view, when there is no law on the subject, no statute passed by either the federal or the provincial governments, the only thing that the media organization can do is rely on the constitution, the Charter of Rights,” Tunley says. “Anyone who has the standing can bring a challenge in a court to say that a government agency is acting in breach of the rights that are guaranteed by the Charter.” Eng says authority is given to the police to keep the public safe, but safety shouldn’t come at the expense of accountability. “At the end of the day you’re really making a philosophical choice between absolute control and absolute chaos,” Eng says. “Somewhere in between is the acceptance of a level of control by police that is subject to political and democratic processes.”
Photo by Evan French
Photo by Jason Sahlani
Courtesy of Mohawk Drummer
2008/2009 winter | convergence
Photos by Jason Sahlani
First Here, Last Heard Recognizing the challenges of covering aboriginal issues on a national scale By Kenneth Brown
n the day following the 2008 federal election in Ohsweken the only telltale sign was a homemade poster at the main intersection of the Six Nations community near Brantford, Ont. “Vote! John Doe for a better understanding for human rights and not for the love of self-greed.” Just down the road sat the Caddy Shack, a trailer converted into a coffee and snack shop. After a brief discussion with an employee about the coverage of aboriginal issues by the Canadian media during an election, a confidently voiced, “Hello, I’m Ruby Montour,” came out of nowhere. Montour, a stout fourfoot-eleven woman in a bright red hat and plaid pants that set her apart from the seasonably fall backdrop, means business. Montour is actively involved in Six Nations disputes – never letting her small stature distort the idea of how powerful one person can be. She didn’t vote, and she’s royally ticked off at Stephen Harper.
“We could shut Canada down in one day.”
- Ruby Montour When the Prime Minister was out on the campaign trail, Montour, along with other First Nations people, were halted by police at the gates of a campaign stop in Brantford, Ont. As others strolled through unimpeded, Montour’s group was left with their faces up against the window. Montour insists this was racially motivated since they were the
convergence | winter 2008/2009
only ones excluded. “We could shut Canada down in one day,” she says. “Aboriginal reserves are spread out all over. If they all did their part we could bring this country to its knees, and we could do it in one day.” With just a word, blockades could be set up on most major highways and railways. So why isn’t the same solidarity and unity of purpose reflected at the polls? The Globe and Mail’s Joe Friesen tackled the question of voter turnout for aboriginals in a report that stated that in 2006 there were 10 ridings in Ontario alone where the native vote could have been the determining factor in the election. The report showed that only 28 votes decided the Parry SoundMuskoka riding in the 2006 election, with Tony Clement, winning by the slimmest of margins. Of the 900 aboriginal voters in the riding, only 25 per cent voted in 2006; a stronger turnout could have made a real difference. Speaking from Ottawa following an annual Assembly of First Nations meeting, Grand Council Chief John Beaucage of the Union of Ontario Indians says the aboriginal vote didn’t mean much in 2008. Clement, newly appointed minister of industry, won by more than 11,000 votes. However, Beaucage believes the native vote might have helped decide some Northern Ontario ridings. “There are some ridings in Northern Ontario that swung abruptly to (the) NDP, who were one of the very first parties to come out with a native platform,” he says. According to Joseph Brant, indigenous communications department manager at First Nations Technical Institute, there is no
cut-and-dried solution to addressing issues facing aboriginal populations. “The big issue is that our population is small and, of course, we’re spread out across the entire country,” he says. “So when it comes right down to it – as a voting block – it’s hard to really identify when and where and how our voice is heard.” Brant isn’t sure if larger news organizations should have reporters in aboriginal communities, but understands even the Toronto Star would be hard pressed to justify sending a reporter six hours away for a 20-minute interview. The Globe and Mail has reporters in several areas across the country that can cover native affairs, says Colin MacKenzie, managing editor of the Globe. But “we’re not about community building or that sort of thing as our main agenda – we’re about the news.” That’s especially true when politicians take to the road. “The agenda of an election campaign drives the coverage.” The Globe devoted an entire page in midcampaign to the various parties’ positions on aboriginal issues, but MacKenzie says those concerns were not a focal point of any party platform. George Hoff, managing editor of CBC’s parliamentary bureau says the difficulty with covering native concerns at election time is avoiding “marginalized” coverage while reporting on what he considers to be the main obligation – election issues. Hoff says that news managers should look closely at the last time native issues hit the front pages of their papers. “I think they should measure what they’re doing,” he says.
For the first time, the three main political party leaders all visited Iqaluit, Nunavut during an election campaign. The CBC’s coverage of the event hit television and radio. Hoff, who was in charge of the CBC’s election “war room,” says they had a panel specifically for the purpose of discussing aboriginal matters along with another segment devoted to native affairs. “There were a number of opportunities and we obviously seized those opportunities when we could,” he says about the network’s aboriginal election coverage. “We cover the issue as thoroughly as we can.” Chief Ghislain Picard of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador says the media should put more pressure on politicians to take responsibility for how they approach aboriginal issues by making native affairs front-page news. The AFNQL formed an election watchdog group to ensure First Nations voices were being heard during the federal election, and did the same provincially in 2007. While Picard says First Nations typically stand back during elections because they try to avoid conflict, “we feel that more and more we need to get involved.” In Quebec, unless there’s a big “coup” says Picard, the media gives aboriginal issues very little attention. As an example, he cites Quebec’s Oka crisis in 1990, where developers wanted to add nine holes to a golf course on Mohawk ceremonial and burial grounds. “Maybe sometimes we don’t really take the pulse of the community that we are talking about,” says Picard, adding that it’s difficult to cover native affairs nationally. Phil Tank, city editor at The Expositor in Brantford, Ont. says the daily community paper has a reporter on the Six Nations beat, but focuses most of its attention on city matters. However, the 11,000–person Ohsweken community is only 15-minutes away by car,
Signs sit just outside Caledonia to welcome travellers into Six Nations territory. Opposite Top; Left: A homemade election sign posted at Ohsweken’s main intersection; Right: Ruby Montour is highly active within her native community, the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve.
Windspeaker Speaks Out
Who better to weigh in on national native media coverage than a national native newspaper? Windspeaker, published by the Aboriginal Multi-media Society of Alberta, has a circulation of 25,000 copies and covers Canada coast to coast. The AMMSA is celebrating 25 years of news coverage in Canada. Paul Macedo, Windspeaker director of print, says at election time the paper looked at issues affecting its readership, and then took those issues to the various party leaders. Windspeaker then spoke to people in native communities across Canada to “ascertain” what they wanted from the results of the election. “We try very hard not to be viewed as Alberta-centric,” says Macedo, adding a lot of the paper’s writers and contributors are from outside the province. “The luxury is that we get to do it month
after month after month,” he says. “Whereas maybe publications like the Globe and Mail have one page dedicated and they better get it all in there, and forget about it.” If the paper skews its coverage toward concerns on the West Coast one month, the challenge will be to look at perspectives from another region the following month. Macedo says over the course of a 30-plus-day election period, the paper might get “two cracks” at tackling election issues. Windspeaker partly exists to shed light on greater national concerns that don’t necessarily fall under the aboriginal heading, he says, adding when you look at the issues of poverty, education, economic development or water quality, “you don’t have to scratch at it for very long to realize, ‘wow, there’s definitely an aboriginal component to this.’ ” Macedo is finding that at the more grass roots levels,
community news organizations are realizing it’s not an “us and them” situation. Instead of feeling like they have to cover the aboriginal beat local news outlets are simply covering their community, which has aboriginal issues, interests and sensitivities they “need to pay attention to.” Macedo says the AMMSA also does its best to help develop aboriginal journalists. “What we’ve always advocated and what we’ve done internally is we provide opportunities for young aboriginal people who want to consider this as a career,” he says, noting the training they receive isn’t specifically to cover aboriginal stories. “We’re always focused on training journalists with skill sets that they can take anywhere around the globe wherever they want to work.” – Kenneth Brown 2008/2009 winter | convergence
so the beat produces frequent stories that are shared throughout the newsroom. “I think we have to sometimes work a little harder to try to establish good relationships” [with Six Nations members], Tank says. He acknowledges that national coverage of aboriginal issues during this past election was lacking. “It obviously did not become a gripping national issue and that’s something of course we noticed here because it was the issue,” he says, adding that some stories often go “undiscovered or unexplored.” Situated on Vancouver Island’s west coast, Port Alberni is home to Ha-Shilth-Sa, a native community newspaper with a subscriber list of 3,100. Working for 15 years at native papers, managing editor Debora Steel says comm-unity papers take national stories and localize them. However, opportunities to report aboriginal perspectives are often
missed. She says marginalized and aboriginal people were hit first when the economy began to slide, and that was “an opportunity to insert First Nations into the main discussion or dialogue about the economy.”
Evan French, Parry Sound North Star reporter (non-aboriginal), and Jennifer Ashawasegai, Moose FM news director (aboriginal), both covered a Georgian Bay allcandidates forum for Mohawk voters during the recent federal election. They saw the events through different cultural eyes. One thing that set the meeting apart was the “smudging,” a ritual where
the smoke from burning sage is used to purify attendees. As with non-aboriginal gatherings, the moderator set ground rules that included being polite and standing on their own political platforms. And there would be no arguing.
“Our native people still need to learn the power of media.”
- Joseph Brant
Mitzi Brown, a freelance writer who founded an aboriginal journalists’ group formerly known as Native Media Watch, says, “I think, probably more so than previous elections, native peoples have really been pushed aside.” Whenever a member of the nearly
100-person collective encounters a case in the media of racism towards aboriginals, he or she spreads the word. “I just think there has to be more native journalists working in newsrooms,” she says. “I mean we really have to be involved in the creation of the stories, in the production, the news choice and they have to be engaged in a very active sense.” When FNTI scrapped its journalism program in May 2008 due to low enrollment, Brown’s hope for greater numbers of native journalists took a severe blow. Back in the FNTI office in Tyendinaga, Brant says even “mainstream” schools are having difficulties reaching out to native populations. “Our native people still need to learn the power of media. We’re in this information age, and it’s been maybe 10-15 years and we’re just catching up right now.”
A Tale of Two Perceptions French: “I’d say from a reporter’s perspective it’s a lot more fun to go to a normal debate.
Photo by Cody Storm Cooper/Parry Sound North Star
Conservative Tony Clement takes part in the smudging ritual at the all-candidates forum.
The people who are standing up and asking questions, they’re not so much questions as just sort of making comments and trying to find out how the candidate feels about it, and obviously the candidate’s always going to be compassionate and understanding. So whether it works or not, I guess, is left to be said. But it’s certainly a different way of doing things. It’s like being polite is more important than getting to the issues, really. And you’d think the First Nations people who are arguably left out often . . . they’d be in there hammering the candidates and they’d want the candidates hammering each other on issues. But that’s really not the way it goes.” Ashawasegai: “From my perspective I found it quite refreshing because I really don’t like reporting . . . ‘he said, she said’. You know, the NDPs are not going to live up to their promise because they made a promise years ago and they didn’t. Well, I don’t care, I want to know what’s going on now. I thought it was a great advantage because you got rid of the party wrangling. It’s not just a non-confrontational thing. It’s just give me the details and don’t beat around the bush. And we don’t want to hear what you have to say about somebody else. We want to hear what you have to say from your party platform. I think that when I was speaking with the politicians later on that they also found it quite refreshing and they were much more subdued than normally.” – Kenneth Brown
We find that the media is very selective in the issues they choose to cover and it seems that the more dramatic a story, the more coverage that story will receive . . . So what gets left behind or ignored are the success stories, the feel good stories and that’s unfortunate. — Phil Fontaine, national chief, Assembly of First Nations
convergence | winter 2008/2009
Photo by Cecily Van Horn
Broadcasting History Ten years ago, APTN began solving a lack of aboriginal people in Canada’s television media. Now, the broadcaster is continuing to create opportunites for aboriginal journalists By John Bkila Decked out in mittens, a parka, and toque, Kent Driscoll braves the frigid cold of an Iqaluit winter while delivering the top story for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network’s evening newscast. Much like Driscoll’s defence against the cold, APTN faces the challenge of operating without receiving a cent of government funding since going on air in 1999. And that’s the way CEO Jean LaRose likes it. “It would be the kiss of death,” says LaRose. “Governments change and their policies and priorities change and you get cut – a lot of organizations die. I didn’t want APTN to be operating under that model and under those conditions.” Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, APTN is unique among Canadian broadcast and cable television networks because it is made by, made for, and is about Aboriginal Peoples. LaRose says APTN was created to
address the lack of aboriginal content and professionals in the industry. “Until APTN came along, you probably would have been very, very hard pressed to find any aboriginal producers with mainstream media,” he says. “I think there are two or three shows being broadcast by mainstream and sometimes not at the best timeslots.” LaRose says in most cases, Aboriginal Peoples are not represented by mainstream media, and when they are it’s usually a misrepresentation. “We were invisible . . . we didn’t exist as far as mainstream,” says LaRose. “To 95 even 99 per cent . . . we didn’t exist.” There were no opportunities for Aboriginal Peoples either in front of or behind the camera, says LaRose. “So APTN was the opportunity to give us a voice, to make sure our stories could be told,” he says. “But also [to] give opportunities to our community to be in television; to tell the stories, to be in
front and behind the camera and actually show that we can do pretty well anything that anybody else does.” This goal is shared by Carla Robinson, the first and only aboriginal national TV anchor on three major Canadian networks including CBC Newsworld. She is also the host of the First Peoples’ Edition. “I don’t think a lot of people know that Canada’s reputation in the world is based on the relationships that native people had right from the very beginning . . . Canada is the way it is because of the richness and openness of native people,” says Robinson. Robinson says she doesn’t see this message being represented by any of the networks, including APTN. “It’s not a message that’s been explored or honed yet,” she says. “We’re still trying to figure out how to communicate the knowledge that we hold, with Canadians and with the world . . . I think [the media] has still got a long way to go in terms of really understanding native peoples’ culture and contribution.” She says having APTN around has given a lot of native producers and journalists an opportunity to tell the stories of native peoples, but the network still has a lot of challenges to face. “There are over 600 different native communities in Canada . . . [APTN is] trying to meet a lot of needs,” says Robinson. She compares APTN’s challenges to those faced by the CBC in trying to cover native issues and the stretching of resources that can occur. “It’s very hard covering native issues in 2008/2009 winter | convergence
television because you have to send camera and crew up to the areas,” says Robinson. “Something happens in Kashechewan [northern Ontario], you know you’re talking $10, 000 to go up there . . . for your crew and your salaries, because you know you have to pay overtime, because you can’t go in and out of communities like that. It’s a lot of resources to cover aboriginal programming.” In an article published by the Canadian Journal of Communication, a federally funded academic research journal published by Simon Fraser University, Doris Baltruschat writes that Canada’s aboriginal communities are seeking new opportunities within television to blend traditional forms of storytelling with contemporary genres adapted from mainstream media. In this fusion, APTN is able to feature programs on aboriginal affairs, news in Inuktitut – the variety of Inuit dialects spoken in Canada – cooking and craft shows, documentaries on First Nations artists and community leaders, and children’s programming.
“I don’t think a lot of Canadians understand how influential native people are in our society and how influential they have been.”
- Carla Robinson
Baltruschat also writes of the challenges APTN television producers face; from competition with mainstream broadcasters to accessing production funds for expensive television dramas. While the funding concerns raised in the Baltruschat article have been minimized for APTN through subscription and advertising dollars – something LaRose says has no effect on content or coverage – that alone is not enough to overcome the challenges of competition. The solution taken by the network reflects the timeless adage, “if you can’t beat them, join them.” He says APTN has begun to create good relations with mainstream media organizations in a combined effort to produce television series that include both non-aboriginals and aboriginals. APTN is currently in talks with CanWest Global about creating a new comedic drama series called Cashing In that will air on both networks
Courtesy of APTN
An APTN cameraman out on the job. beginning March 2009. “The series is set on a casino on a reserve,” says LaRose, “but it has relationships with the non-aboriginal community very close by.” Christine Shipton, senior vice-president of drama and factual content for CanWest MediaWorks says she was surprised by the quality of “commercialness” of the story, which is written by both aboriginal and nonaboriginal writers. “I was so impressed at the work they had done, not just in terms of how do we reflect story telling to an aboriginal audience,” she says, but also how the show took aboriginal story telling into the mainstream. Shipton says the joint series between CanWest and APTN was not a predetermined effort to introduce aboriginal culture to the network, but rather because the show was just that good. LaRose says paving new relationships with mainstream broadcasters such as
Global, CTV, OMNI, and the Rogers network is an effort to slowly build credibility in the industry. And it seems to be working. The network has become popular with non-aboriginal communities as well. When LaRose took over as CEO of APTN in 2002, the network had some 500,000 viewers in urban areas according to the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement. “We’re now roughly at the three, sometimes three-and-a-half million mark of viewers per week,” he says. A demonstration of the network’s growth is that in 2010, APTN will join broadcasters such as CTV and the Roger’s network in hosting the Winter Olympics, LaRose says. The APTN CEO is confident expansion into the mainstream media will help break down stereotypes and “generate interest in both the aboriginal and non-aboriginal community.” And in the process, “it will generate a different perception of who we are.”
Just because we stop hearing something, often people conclude that the thing is resolved or over. In Darfur . . . it’s more or less the same when it was making the news in 2003/2004. Media always has been and certainly are now very strategic . . . But if there’s no evolution, if nothing happens and there’s the same drama then the . . . media gets very selective in what they deliver. — Alexandre Trudeau, filmmaker/journalist
convergence | winter 2008/2009
Screening Storytelling: Is Credibility a Birth Right? By Eric Lo Maglio Videotapes line the bookshelves in Michael Glassbourg’s office at Toronto’s Humber College as he explains how he spent four years of his life producing and directing the film Policy Baby: The Journey of Rita/Bev –the story of a “person caught between two cultures actually feeling the racism of both.” And while the film was successfully accepted at Vancouver’s DOXA Festival, it has been a no show at other aboriginal film festivals because the filmmaker is the wrong colour and culture. “I was disappointed, but was I surprised? No, because that’s their policy,” says the filmmaker, professor and coordinator of Film and Television Production at Humber. “It’s not my business to change their policy.” He says native film festivals are reluctant to screen documentaries that are not directed by native people, so getting Policy Baby screened at native festivals has been a challenge. Glassbourg has produced and directed several television shows and documentaries
and as such knew the movie was a long shot for acceptance in a majority of native festivals, but felt it was important to apply anyway. Glassbourg tried to submit his film to the imagineNATIVE film festival in Toronto, but was turned down. “I felt that [I should apply] because of the nature of my documentary and what I think is the power of the documentary,” he says, noting the message of his film transcends specific cultures and speaks to a wide range of audiences. Since the film’s 2007 release, it has been screened at several reserves, which Glassbourg says speaks to the relevancy of the film. And while the protocols of submission for many native film festivals make it unlikely Policy Baby will be screened for the festival-going audience, the underlying issue raised is whether non-aboriginal people can adequately tell aboriginal stories. There are advocates on both sides of the debate.
One filmmaker who believes that a person’s cultural heritage has no effect on the ability of that person to properly tell a story – any story – is Tracey Deer. Born and raised in Kahnawake, a Mohawk reserve located in Montréal, Deer discovered her love for filmmaking at 12 and started making films professionally in 2000. She says it’s not her place to dictate what issues other artists pursue. “To say that only aboriginal people can tell aboriginal stories, that’s not something that I can comfortably say,” says Deer, who to date has released four feature documentaries and is currently working on her first short fiction. “I think that when we’re telling stories about our own people, we tell it differently than say, a non-native person would tell it. I think there’s value in both stories.” According to Deer, a non-native filmmaker recently visited her community who was relatively uninformed about First Nations issues and history. Deer says the filmmaker
Courtesy of imagineNATIVE
Film still from The Last Explorer, which aired at imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival on Friday, Oct. 17, 2008. 2008/2009 winter | convergence
“It’s kind of like saying you have to be a lawyer to cover a Supreme Court decision, or you have to be a doctor to write about health care.” - Susan Bailey
Photo by Michael Melanson
Inuk filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk at imagineNATIVE became so interested during her trip that she made a film about a Mohawk language teacher from one of the immersion schools. “How can anyone say that there isn’t value in that?” Deer asks. “I think this film, because it’s made from non-native eyes, will be made to really speak to people who don’t know anything [about First Nations issues] because as a filmmaker, she’s going in and exploring it as she’s going. I do think that there’s value in that type of storytelling.” Apart from the intrinsic value of having different viewpoints examining the same issue, Deer says she can’t imagine censoring someone else’s creative process or deciding what artists should explore. “I don’t want to necessarily be told I can only tell aboriginal stories.” While not opposed to outside voices, Danis Goulet, Artistic Director of the Toronto-based imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival, says it’s not a free-for all. “We are looking for work that has been written, directed or produced by an indigenous person and we look at work that has been produced within the last two years,” says Goulet. “Obviously, our festival encompasses tons of indigenous content but that alone does not make the work eligible for imagineNATIVE.”
Not all festivals operate under the same principle. Major North American showcases for aboriginal art include the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival, Dreamspeakers Film Festival (Edmonton), Terres En Vues (Montréal) and American Indian Film Festival (San Francisco). Submission criteria vary from site to site with some, such as the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival restricting the work to aboriginal filmmakers while others, including American Indian Film Festival, leaving the door ajar for outsiders. Even though imagineNATIVE doesn’t accept work by nonaboriginal artists, programming coordinator Lisa Charleyboy says the debate over voices is too big to be discussed in terms of a single film festival’s submission policy. “It’s always that outsider perspective that’s difficult because you can’t really experience another person’s life experience through an objective lens,” she says. In an interview with Convergence at the ninth annual imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival in October, renowned Inuk filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk, said, “I only do aboriginal. I’m only comfortable doing Aboriginal stories because I could have a different point of view.” Kunuk, who premiered his latest film, Exile, is best known for the ground (or ice) breaking Inuit odyssey Atanarjuat. Describing the camera as “the perfect tool, ” Kunuk – who still lives in Nunavut – is the president of Igloolik Isuma Productions, which focuses on aboriginal themes. “We try to get it from the inside.” Can outsiders tread in his tracks? Susan Bailey says yes. “It’s kind of like saying you have to be a lawyer to cover a Supreme Court decision, or you have to be a doctor to write about health care,” says the Canadian Press reporter who covers native affairs. “I think an outside perspective can be valuable. It’s a matter of…trying to do your homework as best you can and meeting and talking to as many people as close to the story as you possibly can. Objectivity, I’m not sure it exists. But you have to do your best to be as fair and balanced as you can.” Filmmaker Glassbourg says he understands “where people are coming from” when they say only aboriginals can tell aboriginal stories. But “If we go to another medium, like the novel, we see men telling stories about women, women about men; authors telling stories about Italian immigrants who aren’t necessarily Italian, Jews writing about Anglo-Saxons. “I think there has been a history of native stories being misappropriated and mis-interpreted by non-native filmmakers, and I think that’s wrong, but I do think it would be a shame to say no one could tell stories from anybody else’s culture because that would be terribly limiting.”
“We pride ourselves on providing something approaching a comprehensive presentation of the world, or its leading stories, but in fact our attention is patchy and partial and apparently only becoming even patchier and more partial . . . [A] trigger for attention is change. Once a story stops changing, the media soon lose interest . . . The world’s failure to demonstrate a sustained and effective interest in Darfur may reflect this attitude. The story there, horrible as it is, rarely seems to change. It just stays awful . . . We cover the world, not with mirrors and not with floodlights, but with very focused spotlights, none of which remains stationary for long.” — Oakland Ross
convergence | winter 2008/2009
Photo by Kassina Ryder
Hot Northern Issues Get the Cold Southern Shoulder By Kyle Baron Darrell Greer has a tough time wrestling with “southern” visions of his Arctic backyard. “It’s not all smiling faces and elders and drum dances,” says editor, reporter, chief cook and bottle washer at Kivalliq News. “That’s the majority of what you see in the mainstream media. I always remember a time when there was a special ceremony here and the southern media tripped all over themselves to get the premier in an igloo to sign the document and it was so ‘romantic’ about the North – so romantic and 40 years outdated.” Originally from Timmins, Ontario, Greer left his job at a local Timmins paper and moved his family to Yellowknife after accepting a job as an editor with Northern News Services in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. He was later transferred to Nunavut. Greer remembers his first winter in the small, isolated town of Rankin Inlet. A fullblown Arctic blizzard was raging while he was at the Kivalliq News office one evening and his wife and daughter were home alone. A veteran northerner would have told him to stay put until the weather cleared, but Greer tightened his parka hood around his
convergence | winter 2008/2009
face, put his head down and headed out into the blinding white nothingness. This rookie mistake could have been his last. “Suddenly I caught a glimpse of the house on my right that wasn’t familiar to me at first, it just set a bell off in my head,” he says. “I waited for a few seconds and I realized it was elder Tatty’s house, which is the very last house on the road before you walk out onto the land. If I had walked a couple hundred more yards I would have been out on the ice, I would have had no landmarks any way I looked – it would have just been white. I probably wouldn’t be sitting here today.” While not a journalistic mistake, the lesson exemplifies the importance of understanding the North. Bruce Valpy the managing editor of Northern News Services, which publishes both the Kivillaq News and Nunavut News North, says one of the biggest problems facing journalists in the North is the lack of knowledge of northern issues by southern journalists. All of the reporters at Kivalliq News and Nunavut News North are originally from the South.
Valpy, originally from New Brunswick, has been a member of Northern News Services for 18 years, and a manager for 12. “If you don’t understand the history of a people, you don’t understand why they’re reacting the way they’re reacting,” he says. “It’s our frontier . . . I think people need to know the history of the Inuit in order to report on them.” Karen Mackenzie is formerly the Iqaluit bureau chief of Nunavut News North, one of only three newspapers in the territory. She shared an office with one other colleague and says that two reporters are enough to cover the region. Mackenzie, who doesn’t speak Inuktitut, says language is the biggest barrier. English is a second language for many people in the territory and Inuktitut is still the language used most often by Inuit elders. In Nunavut, 85 per cent of the population are Inuit. She says some of her interviews had to be translated with the help of a family member of the person she was speaking to, and at times interviews couldn’t be done at all because no translator was available.
“That’s difficult to overcome,” Valpy says. “But we do have syllabics in our newspaper and we have translators on board.” Nunavut News North and Kivalliq News are both published in English and Inuktitut. In order to adequately cover such a broad cultural landscape, a journalist needs an understanding of local issues and history says Valpy. However, members of the community with both the language skills and knowledge necessary for the job rarely choose journalism as a profession. “The skills journalists have – communications skills, writing skills, and the ability to analyze complex situations – those are in such high demand in the North that aboriginal people who have all those skills are usually well placed in the government,” Valpy says. Faced with a choice of a modest paycheque in the media and a fatter stipend from a government job the decision, for most qualified Inuit, is a no-brainer – particularly given the cost of living. “If you’re making $40,000 in Iqaluit you’re pretty close to the poverty line,” Valpy says. Greer acknowledges mainstream media’s efforts to cover the North: “I really do think they try but I have learned the hard way that it’s 110 per cent true; you have to live here to ‘get it’. It’s hard . . . in many ways we live in a third world country within one of the richest nations in the world.” He says for outsiders, that’s a difficult concept to grasp. “People don’t realize what it’s like to be paying $15 for a jug of milk, $40 for a case of Pepsi, $20 for a 10 pound bag of potatoes. The list goes on and on and on.” Greer says there are specific issues that the mainstream media focus on when reporting on the North. Suicide is one issue that journalists from the North have trouble reporting on that tends to make headlines in southern media. According to Health Canada, the rate of suicides for Inuit youth is 11 times that of Canada’s national average. “Suicides are a very risky business in any form of media for any culture,” Greer says. “I’ve taken workshops in the past on media covering suicides and there is a great deal of threat of copycat suicides. “We can’t address this problem behind closed doors. We have to talk about it, we have to bring it out in the open. I’m an advocate of that, but at the same time, I’m a human being before I’m a journalist and I don’t want to live with the knowledge that maybe my story contributed to the death of another human.” So what can a journalist new to the North do to make sure he/she doesn’t end up as another hack from the South? “Honest reporting,” Greer says. “Northern journalists, by reporting accurately, by focusing on the issues that directly impact the readership – the people who live here. I don’t like to use the term ‘educate’ because that kind of says that your readership needs to be educated, but it shows that change comes about through discussion, through awareness. That’s why newspapers will always be around, because they’re a learning tool and I take that very seriously.”
Graphic by Nick Farnell
Opposite: Landscape photo taken outside of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. Above: Communities Map of Nunavut to show the challenge of covering the territory. Below: Darrell Greer multitasks in Rankin at the Kivalliq News office.
Courtesy of Darrell Greer
2008/2009 winter | convergence
Recycling Old Ways The future of packaging is leaning green
Photo by Evagelos Tzaras
York School students in Toronto are calling on the City to push the environmental envelope.
By Navreet Dhillon Bright-eyed 11 year olds from Toronto’s York School gather in front of Toronto City Hall holding their handmade signs. “Ban the bag” is written in red and white marker as the kids call on the city of Toronto to ban plastic bags. “Together we looked at environmental issues and that’s how we found out about plastic bags and how they were ruining our environment and wrecking our eco-system,” says York student David Cash. “We though that is a really important thing to start thinking about.” The future of packaging, embodied by a group of sixth graders. In December, the city approved a five-cent charge for plastic bags used by grocery and retail stores as part of Toronto’s packaging reduction plan. The plan includes banning disposable coffee cups that don’t meet Toronto’s recycling requirements. Tim Michael, the city’s manager of waste diversion, says for every ton of in-store packaging that doesn’t enter the waste cycle, the city
convergence | winter 2008/2009
saves $100. Michael could not comment on how much the city will spend to enforce the package reduction initiative. While the concept of environmental friendliness isn’t new, these proposals reflect the shift in attitude toward the packaging industry. People are demanding change and the industry is listening. “You know how DJ’s scratch records? We sell those types of needles, but we also sell it in a special kind of packaging,” says Doug Sapp, managing director business development of Catapult Thinking, a package design advertising firm in Boston, Massachusetts. “The thing about the packaging is you don’t have to throw it away. You can keep the needle in it when you don’t use it and join the packaging to the product. It was kind of funny, I mean, people were coming to us just to buy the plastic casing.” Sapp says one of the ways his company tries to stay environmentally friendly is by reducing the amount of paper and plastic
that goes into packaging. “We’ve also introduced water-based ink rather than the regular chemical inks, as well as organic inks made from plants,” he says. James Downham, CEO of LeaderLinx, a Chicago-based company that networks with packaging industries across North America, says the switch to environmentally friendly packaging is one of the most noteworthy transformations in the business. “The most significant thing that has happened in the last few years is related to the environment,” says Downham. “In our world, we call it sustainable packaging. It’s a holistic approach to packaging.” He says the move has been important in terms of environmental sustainability, but less packaging means less manufactured material, which is bad news for the people who work in the industry. “It will likely affect jobs,” says Downham. “There’s no question about that because the packages of tomorrow will be smaller in size generally speaking, and so there’s going to be a capacity issue.” Vass Klymenko, package and graphic design program coordinator at Humber College says using less packaging will be beneficial for companies. “If we’re being told to use less packaging for an item, then leftover packaging can be used to package more items. So we can ship maybe twice as much and it will save the company money on gas for the truck that is used to deliver the merchandise.” Klymenko says that companies are often being portrayed as being inadequate when it comes to being environmentally friendly. “Changes have been made in the last couple of years. Major stores like Wal-Mart have guidelines on the appropriate packaging standards they want, and we have to abide by them,” he says. Plastic water bottles have also been banned from Toronto’s civic centres and City Hall, but industry professionals say banning plastic water bottles is unrealistic. Fred Edgecombe, a technical consultant at the Canadian Plastic Industry Association says that he doesn’t expect to see plastic bottles disappearing. “Water bottles might be banned, but they’re not going away. There’s too much of a convenience for people to have them,” Edgecombe says. “Sure, the sale of water bottles won’t be allowed, but we still make bottles for the soda, and juice, and whatever else. Water bottles aren’t leaving any time soon.” The American Institute of Graphic Arts Center for Sustainable Design was established in 1914 and remains the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design, with over 60 offices throughout the United States. In a phone interview, Marc Alt, a member of the advisory board and co-chair of the centre, spoke to Convergence about the environmental influences on the industry. “The idea is to not make waste. If we do that, then we can get rid of trash. The problem won’t be fixed in the next five years, but it’s on its way.”
Paper or Plastic?
Newsprint for the Future By Jennifer Conley When Peter Martyn went back to school, he discovered that his fears were true. Reading a newspaper was a dying art. “There is an entire generation . . . called digital natives who are basically now in journalism school,” says Martyn, a 40-year veteran with the Toronto dailies who had returned to the classroom to complete a master’s degree in mobile journalism. “They are entirely familiar with reading all kinds of interactive experiences on computer screens. This is what they’ve grown up with, not with paper.” Initially, he felt frozen out – but relief came when he realized that he could still read the newspaper – in its old comfortable format – but as a PDF rather than a pulped tree. “I really like the look of the (e-edition) newspaper,” says Martyn. “Newspaper design has been a part of my life . . . so to see that familiarity, it is a very comfortable thing for me.” With the launch of Sun Media’s online editions this year, subscribers are able to view exact PDF duplicates of what they’d normally find at newsstands by clicking the e-edition link on the publication’s website. With the e-edition Sun Media gives subscribers the option to read their hometown newspapers on the road wherever they may be and still feel connected to their communities, says John Wildgust, media representative for the newsgroup. “For example, when they [subscribers] go away on holidays they temporarily have to suspend their delivery,” he says. “But they could easily stay in touch and see their daily paper in its format everyday using the e-editions.” Nikolay Malyarov, director of digital media and business development at NewspaperDirect, a Vancouver-based company that helps more than 700 newsgroups market e-editions, says the company wanted to be able to offer different solutions. “The e-editions are filling the need for those people that want to read the newspaper . . . in a format that they’re most familiar with in terms of the layout and the ads,” says Malyarov. But unlike the newsstand product, the
Photo Illustration by Cecily Van Horn
digital editions typically offer features such as voice translation, blogging capabilities and advanced search features. When users sign up for a publication’s e-edition they are prompted to indicate which types of stories they prefer to read. When a story that may interest them is released, readers are notified by email. The PDF also makes writers, advertisers and employers easily accessible. When readers scroll over a reporter’s name or an advertisement, phone numbers and email addresses are displayed. E-editions can be put on mobile devices such as BlackBerries, iPods, iPhones and the electronic paper. Glenn Garnett, vice-president of editorial at Sun Media says he wants to be able to tell his readers they can have their news their way: “It’s making more options available to our readers instead of one news print version. Going forward, we’re going to have to try to reach our readers in any way that we can.” Garnett says the e-editions have received positive reader feedback. Darren Murphy, publisher for the Peterborough Examiner, is also a fan of
e-editions. “I think they’re great,” he says. “It’s a changing industry – reader habits are changing . . . so essentially what we’re doing is responding to readers’ needs.” So where does that leave the traditional newspaper? “Newspaper print editions may very well become, unfortunately, the providence of only the elite,” says Martyn. “Newspapers may decide that they need to
charge real costs of printing and distributing a newspaper to subscribers, therefore, they (newspapers) will be limited to people who can afford them because as you well know it costs a whole lot more to print newspaper than the subscriptions costs.” The newspaper industry’s most expensive cost is in printing, says Martyn, now a journalism instructor at Humber College. “So if e-editions can rescue newspapers from some of those costs . . . it will enable them to survive – it’s a good thing,” Research released by Ernst and Young, a London-based accounting firm, shows that the U.K.’s top newspaper websites could raise advertising revenues by $218 million to $450 million by using a cost-per-click charging system. The findings were released in a March 2008 newsletter, Media & Entertainment . . . by numbers. Using this method, advertisers would pay the e-edition publisher for a single click on an advertisement that would bring a visitor to their website. Martyn says this technology would be a no-brainer for e-editions. “It might cost a little bit more, but it will bring in a huge amount of revenue. “It’s what Google does to make money from their ads – and they make millions. “Newspapers need to lower their production costs not by cutting newsroom staff, but . . . by not printing on dead trees.”
Courtesy of Plastic Logic
2008/2009 winter | convergence
Balancing Act Somewhere between the claims of media and Falun Gong lies the truth
Falun Gong members re-enact the torture of its members in China on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Courtesy of Falun Dafa Association of Canada
By Michael Melanson When Lucy Zhou and Joel Chipkar stand on street corners and hand out leaflets condemning the repression of Falun Gong, they find themselves battling the chill of the Canadian winter, the heat of displeasure from Beijing and the dulling effects of what they see as biased reporting by the CBC. On October 30, 2008, Radio-Canada’s Enquête aired a report entitled Malaise in Chinatown, which looked at the presence of the Falun Dafa Association of Canada within Montreal’s Chinese community. After seeing the report, practicing member of the FDAC Zhou was so disappointed with the portrayal of Falun Gong that she, among other sources who appeared in the 27-minute report, lodged a complaint with the broadcaster. Though Radio-Canada did make an official response acknowledging their feelings, both Chipkar, the Director of the FDAC, and Zhou feel their concerns were not sufficiently addressed. That might have something to do with the network airing the program twice, more shortly after its initial release. “As the chief news editor of the reporter and the producer, I, quite frankly, am extremely happy with what they’ve done and I stand by them all the way,” says Enquête’s
editor-in-chief Alain Kemeid. “This has been a very serious investigation by our journalists, all of them, all the way through their inquiry. It was seriously made and we totally refute the allegations of the Falun Gong and their attacks against us.” Chipkar says the report portrays Falun Gong advocates as secretive individuals belonging to a bothersome religion in Montreal’s Chinese communities. “When the [Enquête] report hit the air everything was manipulated, they made it sound like we were afraid of the media – that we didn’t want to talk to them. They never talked about the reasons why we didn’t want to talk to them; that we had concerns that the CBC was wanting to write a biased report.” Former MP and FDAC supporter David Kilgour says he thought the Radio-Canada report was outrageous and totally onesided. He made his feelings known to Solveig Miller, a CBC journalist who worked on the documentary, following the report’s debut. When he spoke to Convergence on December 16, 2008, he had yet to receive a reply. “It seemed to me like they were just going through the motions of saying that they interviewed me,” says Kilgour, who worked with human rights lawyer David
Matas to publish a report in 2006 on their investigation into claims of organ harvesting from imprisoned Falun Gong followers. The Malaise in Chinatown incident is not the first time the CBC has been criticized for its coverage of Falun Gong. In November 2007, the broadcaster pulled a documentary called Behind the Red Wall: The Persecution of Falun Gong just hours before it was set to air. A CBC spokesman told the New York Times the decision was linked to phone calls that had been received from the Chinese embassy in Ottawa. In the past the Epoch Times, a media outlet founded by members of Falun Gong, have been noted for exaggerating details pertaining to the persecution faced by practitioners in China. But Kilgour says they are working on turning that perception around. “I grant you that sometimes The Epoch Times will over-state something, but most of the time they try to be as accurate as they can. David Matas and I have told them that if you’re wrong on one little detail, people will hammer you. You have to be accurate on everything and when in doubt, understate don’t overstate,” says Kilgour. “We work on the premise in free society that sooner or later the truth will get out and the people who are giving us the untruth will be cast aside.”
“I don’t believe the problem lies with the ability or inability of the media to maintain focus on multiple problems. Rather, the problem is with the public . . . Reader attention span today is very narrow. Peru would be front page tomorrow if it slid into the ocean today. But it would be inside on day number two, then briefed on day number three.” — Conrad Fink, professor/journalist
convergence | winter 2008/2009
2008/2009 winter | convergence
Photo of Gallery 44 darkroom by Kenneth Brown
convergence | winter 2008/2009
Exposing the Myth Behind Analog’s Death By David Miadovnik As the explosives detonate and Toronto’s Kodak plant begins to to try to keep it around forever, but I think it’s a fascinating time to crumble in upon itself, Robert Burley is standing at a safe distance, watch, like these last five years especially and the next five years. One capturing the moment on his trusty analog camera. In a paradoxical of the other interesting things about this whole phenomenon is that endeavour, he has been travelling the globe since 2005 documenting it’s happened so quickly.” the demolition of analog film plants using the very film placed on the According to Neil Fox, professor of creative photography at Humber chopping block, photographing demolitions as close as New York and College, the remaining analog enthusiasts want to keep film around to as far as France. honour the culture, tradition and history of what was once the staple In an interview that aired on CBC Radio’s As It Happens on Sept. of photography. 22, 2008, Burley contextualized the destruction of Toronto’s Kodak “One of the things about analog is its continuous scale [a tonal plant by telling listeners about the vast amount of film that used to be scale that moves from light to dark smoothly with no tonal stepping],” produced every day. “The [plant] here in Toronto, now gone, used to says Fox. “So if you want to get to a sort of purist frame of mind . . . produce 40 rolls [of film] that were one mile [long] by 52 inches wide in photography when you break [images] into 16 million colours, it’s a day,” Burley told guest host Helen Mann. essentially hell . . . to any human eye. It’s a bit of a moot point but that’s In an interview with Convergence, Burley explains that the size and the argument that [analog enthusiasts] would use.” scale of the plants has made production of film financially impractical Though he recognizes analog photography has its benefits, Fox in light of digital photography’s ever-increasing popularity, and from concedes he never met a photographer who would abandon digital. what he understands, “Kodak isn’t really producing any new film.” “It’s better and it does more, and it’s much more economical,” he says. “I feel a bit like a painter who’s watch“You learn very quickly that there’s a lot of ing the Winsor and Newton [the notorious savings in shooting digital where you don’t England-based art supplies company] factory have that huge expensive film.” being destroyed and not replaced with According to Kodak, despite the growing anything,” says the associate professor of dominance of digital photography, analog photography studies at his office at Toronto’s photography is experiencing a resurgence Ryerson University. “In the future, it means among student and young professional - Christopher Smith photographers. really [more than] the disappearance of those buildings, [but] all the craft and processes Spokesman Christopher Veronda says: that [film manufacturers] supported for the “We have continued to introduce new films last 100 years. I think it’s a very interesting time not just in the history . . . and that’s actually brought quite a few professional photographers of photography but in the history of representation,” he says. “There’s back to working with black and white film.” a methodology that’s been used for almost two centuries now that I In the past two years, Kodak has introduced several new lines of think is going to disappear.” professional films, including Kodak Ektar film, a new line of Portra Burley likens the situation causing the potential death of analog films suited for portrait photography and a new Tri-X black and white photography to a scenario that would result in the loss of symphony film. orchestras. If “all of those acoustic instruments disappeared, and the “As long as there’s demand, and right now certainly there’s some reason they disappeared is because there was one or two or three resurgence among professionals, Kodak will still sell several hundred companies that manufactured all those instruments and suddenly it million rolls of film this year,” he says, speaking from the Eastman was no longer economically viable for them to continue making them Kodak corporate headquarters in Rochester, N.Y. . . . that’s the situation that you’re running into with photography.” Unlike Veronda, Christopher Smith, manager Jones House Imaging As an artist, he would like to see both analog and digital Services, says he believes analog has been reduced to an alternative photography coexist. And while he enjoys exploiting the advantages photography process for artists, lacking any quality that digital has of the two styles, his love affair with both formats may soon be coming not already trumped. to an end. “In this world of commerce, where time is money, professionals In the As It Happens interview, Burley noted that “film is like food are finding that ‘hey, we need to take things speedy, and digital offers because it has gelatine in it and it expires, it has a limited shelf life so that for us,’” says Smith. “Nowadays digital quality is as good as or the shelf life of the Kodachrome that’s available today expires in 2009, superior to film in many aspects, and I think that threshold – that so the question is will Kodak do another batch . . . and at what point divide of which is better – has been crossed now.” do they say we can’t afford to do another batch because there aren’t Back in his office at Ryerson, Burley says his ultimate plan is to enough people using the material anymore.” compile the images of factories being demolished and publish them On the phone with Convergence he says he’s not “going to in a book. What remains unknown is whether his book will end up try to work against” history. “I’m going to carry on with [analog as a glimpse at a transitional period for analog photography, or its photography], and when it’s gone it’s gone,” he says. “I don’t want requiem.
“Nowadays digital quality is as good as or superior to film in many aspects...”
2008/2009 winter | convergence
aham by Gr
g n i m m i m w a S e r t s n w Do By Evagelos Tzaras The Beijing Olympics was the first time self-described “crazy sailing fan” Jeff Keay was able to watch the sport he loves – live. Sports such as fencing or sailing tend to get pushed aside during the traditional coverage of the Games offered on television. But through live streaming on the Internet, Keay was able to get his sailing fix whether in his office or relaxing on his couch. The ability to stream content online has allowed broadcasters – such as CanWest Global, CTV, CHCH, Leaf’s TV and City TV to name just a few – the opportunity to offer online content to satisfy a number of tastes and move their television content into a new medium. Apart from the capacity to reach a larger audience base with content, live streaming has also given broadcasters a third forum to sell their content to advertisers, says Keay, the head of media relations for CBC. Over the course of the Beijing Olympic Games, broadcasters for CBC sports and
convergence | winter 2008/2009
NBC sports offered most of the coverage of Olympic events through live streaming, with promising results. “I can tell you not only the Olympics, but the website generally has had phenomenal
“So advertising has a significantly higher impact in video online than it does in broadcast, probably as a result of attentiveness and the way it’s measured.”
- Greg Stuart
growth in the last couple of years,” says Keay. “I think the numbers were like more than 27 million page views [during the Olympics].” CBC and NBC offered more Olympic content online than they ever had before. Of the 2,000 hours of CBC programming, 1,500 of those were provided online, while NBC offered 3,600 hours of programming, and 2,200 hours on the web. Over the course of the Games, close to 2.l million live streams were viewed through the CBC’s website. The 65 million video streams on NBC’s website were more than six times the total for Athens and Turin. The success of live streaming Olympic action has spread to other sports under the CBC sports umbrella. Hockey Night in Canada and Toronto FC games have been offered to consumers through the Internet. “The hockey stuff, all the CBC sports stuff has been phenomenal,” says Keay. “Especially since we’ve been streaming the Games, not only
hockey, but soccer. So it makes it increasingly attractive to advertising.” Broadcasters are making sure they capitalize on the huge number of page views on their websites. Advertisers are eager to get their products online and broadcasters are happy to provide them with a venue. “We have organized our media sales and marketing departments into areas of expertise . . . we’re looking to address the specific needs that advertisers have beyond the simple 30 second and 60 second commercial,” says Keay. Greg Stuart, former CEO of the New York-based Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), an association focused on helping web
“All of these things are a possibility. That’s the conversation we can now have with a potential advertiser . . . not just a 30 second spot, but ‘here’s a whole bunch of things that may appeal to you.’ ”
- Jeff Keay
publishers and advertisers sell interactive advertising, has been in the advertising business for 20 years. He says there is a fantastic opportunity for broadcasters to make money through live streaming. “Online, if a commercial plays, there’s a very high, I mean a 95 per cent probability that they will be sitting right there in a highly attentive mode,” says Stuart. “So advertising has a significantly higher impact in video online than it does in broadcast, probably as a result of attentiveness and the way it’s measured.” During the Games, CBC Sports.ca received 27 million hits compared to the 1.2 million hits the website received during the same two week span a year earlier. This disparity in number of webpage hits is not confined to broadcasters’ sites. Streaming websites such as YouTube and Veoh provide the same content as the broadcasters’ sites and are able to make a profit. A lot of the time, the content is from major broadcasters such as CBC and NBC.
Both broadcasters have mixed reactions about websites poaching from their product. “We see it as a win-win situation when we get out content on other platforms,” says Keay. “Because it has the potential to drive or bring viewers either to our own website, CBC.ca, or to our own programming on CBC television.” Perkins Miller, senior vice-president for Digital Media at NBC Sports and Olympics, says he is against the idea of his network sharing its content with YouTube and doesn’t feel that it would be something his advertisers would accept. IAB Canada bureau president Paula Gignac agrees. “You’re talking there about video distribution strategies,” says Gignac. “So you know lots of big networks are looking at sites like Hulu and Veoh etc . . . as possible new distribution mechanisms for them.” But she also says the IAB wants to ensure advertisers are getting advertising dollars when their content is being streamed. “The other thing they’re trying to do is make sure that where their content is being shown, they’ve got a tag so they know where it’s distributed and they can get a percentage of the ad’s fare,” she says. But the former CEO of IAB says he believes that major broadcasters have nothing to worry about. Stewart says new media require new models that, in the future, will allow broadcasters to honour their advertising agreements. The former IAB CEO says one of these new models is called FreeWheel.tv. Created by Doug Knopper, the technology determines who has the rights to sell ads into specific broadcast content. “Let’s take NBC with the Olympics,” says Stuart. “They make their content available. Hypothetically IBM could say ‘I want to sponsor all the Olympic content, so I don’t care if this appears in YouTube, in Veoh . . . that ad stays in there and I get paid based on that ad occurring.’” Tough economic times haven’t slowed
down advertising on the web. IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers recently came out with numbers suggesting an increase in online spending in the U.S., despite the downturn in the economy. Third quarter online spending rose to $5.9 billion, up 11 per cent over the same period in 2007. The first nine months of 2008 saw overall online spending hit $17.3 billion, an increase of 14 per cent from the previous year. A 2008 biannual news consumption survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shows a slow shift of news consumers from traditional print sources to online. Since 2006, the number of Americans who get their news online three days a week has risen from 31 per cent to 37 per cent. The survey also shows the number of people getting their nightly news online is at 37 per cent as opposed to the 29 per cent who receive it through the nightly television broadcasts. An increase in consumers online makes advertising spots online more attractive and live streaming has allowed broadcasters to come to the table with something more to entice potential advertisers says Keay. “All of these things are a possibility,” he says. “That’s the conversation we can now have with a potential advertiser . . . not just a 30 second spot, but ‘here’s a whole bunch of things that may appeal to you.’ ”
Photo by David Boily/ THE CANADIAN PRESS
“The media is run on the basis of what makes for good business and what sells advertising, so the more that we can invent things that appeal to that sector of the communities, the more hope I will have with the media.” — Duke Redbird, reporter, Citytv
2008/2009 winter | convergence
Media Studies Portfolio A collection of work from students enrolled in Humberâ€™s School of Media Studies & Information Technology
Package and graphic design
convergence | winter 2008/2009
Advertising and graphic design
2008/2009 winter | convergence
convergence | winter 2008/2009
Humber Et Cetera
Convergence Spring 2008
2008/2009 winter | convergence
Film and television
Colin Hall photos
convergence | winter 2008/2009
Creative photography Dan Robb
2008/2009 winter | convergence
convergence | winter 2008/2009
Visual and digital arts Megan Bray
2008/2009 winter | convergence
Where are they now? Convergence catches up with Humber School of Media Studies & Information Technology graduates. Here is a little of what they have to say about life after college.
Aamer Haleem Journalism Aamer Haleem hosts The Point, an afternoon current affairs show on the CBC Radio One. He graduated in 1993 and has had a career filled with “start-up” positions, going from Inside Sports at TSN in Toronto, to a music channel in Hong Kong, then back to Canada to work for VTV in Vancouver before landing his gig with the CBC. Haleem says the practical training he got at Humber gave him the tools to start his career. The greatest challenge for young professionals is “building something new and hoping that you’re following the right path,” he says. “You set goals for yourself . . . and then you hope you are fulfilling them.”
convergence | winter 2008/2009
Felipe Nogueira 3-D Animation
Charlotte Empey Journalism
Corey Bellamy Journalism
Felipe Nogueira’s interest in 3-D multimedia was inspired by video games and movies – so much so that he decided to make a career out of it. The 2007 graduate of the 3-D animation program at Humber stuck around to add a post-graduate diploma for 3-D animation, entertainment and gaming, under his belt. “I [was] always trying to improve myself – trying to be the best I could . . . to get a good job in the industry,” he says of his time at Humber. And it worked. Before completing his post-grad studies, Nogueira had set up a job at Red Rover Studios where he still works as a 3-D generalist, reading, scripting and producing the company’s commercials.
Charlotte Empey graduated from Humber College in 1974 with a diploma in journalism. After graduation, she started in corporate communications and in a few short years landed a job as health and beauty editor at Flare magazine. She continued to work in the magazine industry as founding editor of Modern Woman, then as editor, later publisher of Canadian Living and Homemakers. In 2005 she returned to Humber as associate dean of the School of Creative and Performing Arts. Empey says the broad range of liberal arts courses she took at Humber helped shape her creative thinking, which has enhanced her career over the years.
Having graduated in September 2003 from the journalism program, Corey Bellamy currently works as a video producer for CTV. ca. Bellamy spent his last two semesters at Humber working for CTV.ca in Toronto as a full-time intern. After graduation, CTV wasted no time hiring him for its online division. Bellamy owes his career to dedication, reliability and compliance with superiors. The 2006 federal election was a milestone in Bellamy’s career, as it was the first election he ever covered – the only drawback was that he had to work 21 hours straight.
Duncan Christie Film & Television Production
Eric Cerrudo Graphic Design
Angela Mattka Advertising & Graphic Design
A 1997 graduate of the film and television program, Duncan Christie has hit a career landmark with Confessions of a Porn Addict, his first self-directed feature film. Until 2007, he freelanced as an editor and producer, while making electronic space rock with his band, Madrid. He has worked with A&E on several documentaries and with CBC on Kenny vs Spenny. While the show garnered two Gemini nominations for best comedy series, He says his greatest professional achievement was winning best feature at the 2008 Mockfest in L.A. for Confessions of a Porn Addict.
Eric Cerrudo shot right out of the gate after graduating in 2008 from the graphic design advanced diploma program. He now runs the website for Metalworks Institute, and is in charge of the web and graphics department. “Anything web related, anything graphic design related, I do for them,” he says. Right now, Cerrudo is working to revamp the company’s website, metalworksinstitute.com. He also helps with marketing and promotions for the institute. “I design posters, postcards and little flyers,” says Cerrudo, “I manage and maintain their social networking website.”
Angela graduated from Humber College in 2001 from the advertising and graphic design program. She has worked with the Linea Marketing Group in partnership with nexxt, a home décor company, as a graphic designer for two years. “If any of the products need artwork, we’ll do the artwork and then we do the packaging and catalogues and photography of the products,” she said. Angela worked a series of graphic design jobs before landing with nexxt by Linea. But that was fine with her, it’s “kind of what you have to do to get up there.” 2008/2009 winter | convergence
Paul Bliss Journalism
Dave Haggith Public Relations
Jennifer Barr Journalism
Paul Bliss graduated from the journalism program in 1988. He moved from reporting and anchoring at CKEY 590 to reporting for the Toronto Sun. He also worked at CBC Radio and CFTO TV. a CTV affiliate. Bliss started his own show, Investment Television, with former Liberal MP Garth Turner. He returned to CTV in 2001 and won the Edward R. Murrow award for best news series worldwide. Bliss still loves his job and advises those looking to succeed in the industry to “arrive early, stay late and work your ass off.”
Dave Haggith left Humber with his public relations diploma in hand in 1995. After interning with the Toronto Raptors, he worked with the team for the next five years as manager of media relations. Haggith’s next opportunity was working for Vince Carter. He handled the PR for Carter’s sponsors and charitable foundation. Now at a global sports management company, Haggith does the PR for all its golf clients. As Director of Communications at IMG Golf Division, Haggith represents the company’s global events and all its clients including Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods.
Jennifer Barr graduated from Humber’s journalism program in 1999 and began working at 680 News, reporting on traffic and weather and producing overnight shows until she got a job as an editorial assistant with the CBC. She became a researcher for the weekend show before becoming a producer for CBC NewsWorld. Barr spent the next four years as a producer for The National magazine before becoming a producer for Hockey Night in Canada. In 2008, she won a Gemini award, but says the highlight of her career is meeting hockey players.
Karen Mackenzie Journalism
Katina Constantinou Advertising and Graphic Design
Theo Gibson Advertising and Graphic Design
Graduating in 2007 from the journalism program, Karen Mackenzie’s career has led her all the way to Nunavut. She is the former Iqaluit bureau chief of Nunavut News North. Mackenzie was hired at Northern News Service and sent to Baffin Island shortly after graduating. As bureau chief, Mackenzie was responsible for both writing and developing story ideas. She currently works in Iqaluit as an outreach coordinator for International Polar Year through the Nunavut Research Institute.
Katina Constantinou graduated from the Advertising and Graphic Design program in 1996 with no prior computer experience. So, she enrolled in electronic publishing to gain the skills she needed. After graduating in 1997, she freelanced in London, England for a year. When she returned to Canada she continued to freelance before starting her own business in 2002. With 30 clients a year her company, Sugar, is doing very well. On top of managing a design studio, she also has taught at the Ontario College of Art & Design and designs a luxury line of coats for dogs.
Since graduating in 2007, Theo Gibson has made a name in graphic design. He interned at OgilvyOne, an interactive agency of Ogilvy & Mather in Toronto. There, Gibson worked with blue chip clients including American Express, Cogeco and Barbie. He went on to intern with the art director at Partners and Edell, serving clients such as the Ministry of Health. As art director, Gibson now manages ad campaigns for BBL Proximity. He says the highlight of his career is winning the 2008 Globe Cannes Young Lions award in the cyber category.
convergence | winter 2008/2009
Kwabena Agyapong Multimedia Design & Production
Kim MacGillivray Journalism
Nick Chamberlain Multimedia Design and Production
Kwabena “Kobe” Agyapong graduated from the multimedia design and production technician program in 2008. He moved to Edmonton this past July and is currently working two jobs until he establishes himself in Alberta’s multimedia industry. He works on a contract basis for companies designing graphics and doing animation for their commercial production. He spends the remainder of his working hours as a receiver for a logistics company called ATS Transportation. Working on a project for Lego and on a personal portfolio website are just two of the things on the go in Agyapong’s burgeoning career.
Kim MacGillivray graduated from the journalism program in 2002 and uses her training every day as a communication specialist for the Regional Municipality of York. She worked with UPS Communications for two years while freelancing – making regular contributions to Active Woman Canada and her internship hosts, Oxygen Magazine and Canadian Living. She started working as a communication specialist with the York Region four years ago. She says a lot of trained journalists work in corporate communication: “Here, writing and editing is my bread and butter.”
Graduating from the multimedia design and production technician program in 2005 and from the post-grad 3D modelling for production program in 2006, Nick Chamberlain is currently working as the media centre adviser for the Rexdale Pro Tech Centre. Run by the YMCA of Greater Toronto, the centre introduces youth to new media careers and teaches computer literacy. As the media centre’s adviser, Chamberlain develops and conducts computer workshops. He says the highlight of the job is working with the kids.
Geoff Rohoman Journalism
Pierre Hamilton Journalism
Sarah Lott Advertising and Graphic Design
Geoff Rohoman has been a busy man since graduating from Humber’s journalism program in 2005. He is now a news and sports anchor at News 1130 in Vancouver, where he moved after working for Fan 590 and AM 640 Toronto. He originally went to Vancouver for a vacation but decided to bring along his demo tape – just in case. He went on some interviews and got a break with News 1130. Rohoman says he can’t wait until the 2010 Olympics come to his city. “The dream is to cover the gold medal hockey game,” he says.
A graduate of Humber’s accelerated journalism program in 2005, Pierre Hamilton is one person who will never complain about having nothing to do. Aside from teaching page design at Humber and working on the Radix newspaper, Hamilton is also a freelance writer, a page designer/copy editor for the National Post and has other projects on the side. He interned for Strategy Magazine, the National Post, the Toronto Sun and The Toronto Star. While interning, Hamilton was also writing for popmatters.com, exclaim.ca, and any other place that would publish his work.
Sarah Lott graduated in 2008 from the advertising and graphic design program. The marketing agency where she interned, Grip Limited, offered her a job as soon as her internship ended. She is now a designer and art director for Publicis Toronto, a Canada-wide communications group and is responsible for producing concepts and designs for advertising projects. Although new to the field, she says her highlight was seeing a promotion she did for Rogers Communications displayed for all to see. Lott credits her success to her dedication. “I lived and breathed what I was doing.” 2008/2009 winter | convergence
In Memoriam Ted Rogers By Roselyn Kelada-Sedra Magnate. Philanthropist. Workaholic. Visionary. Edward Samuel “Ted” Rogers Jr. left all these titles behind on Tuesday, December 2, 2008. The communications giant died at 75 from congestive heart failure. He is survived by his wife, Loretta, and four children. Born into the world of radio, his father, Edward “Ted” Rogers, Sr., invented the alternating current (AC) radio tube in 1925 and spent his short life trying to expand broadcast technology until his sudden death at age 38. The radio station Rogers Sr. had started, Canada’s First Rogers Batteryless, was sold after his death, and even though Rogers himself was just a child, his mother began to instill in him a drive to rebuild what was lost. Up until his final days Rogers was trying to buy back CFRB. The elusiveness of this prize was a burr under the saddle of the man behind the brand – at one time prompting him to publicly muse “I have always believed my father’s estate got screwed.” Rogers began his career selling Polaroid snapshots and sound systems in the 1950s but it didn’t take long for the salesman to pick up where his father left off. In 1960, he bought CHFI, the only FM station in Canada, for $85,000 and with that purchase Rogers was off on a career that, more than once, looked like it was running off the road. “I was just fascinated by this man with these big ideas,” says CFRB’s chief correspondent Tayler Parnaby. “[He] had the moxy to buy an FM radio station . . . when AM was everywhere.” Broadcasting historian J. Lyman Potts says the once-lagging FM station’s success shows Rogers’ resolve. “He had to get the right place on the dial, and he had to get the power to deliver the station . . . And he did that.” Meanwhile, the hard-nosed businessman fell in love. He and Loretta married in 1963 and stayed together for 45 years. In the early days, Rogers ran large debts to make new ventures. “He and his wife were up to their necks in mortgages, short-cashed to meet the pay rolls,” recalls Parnaby. “When they found enough cash they paid the staff, put all the bills in a hat and pulled out those they could pay. And if somebody yelled at them, he threatened to take their name right out of the hat.” By the seventies, Rogers had revolution-
convergence | winter 2008/2009
Courtesy of Toronto Star/THE CANADIAN PRESS
ized radio with Muzak and personality-driven DJs, says Potts. “He took chances that other people wouldn’t take.” In 1989, Rogers invested $500 million to compete with Canada’s long-distance telephone monopoly. The gamble nearly bankrupted the company, but Rogers moved on to the next venture. The “communications czar,” as newly appointed National Post CEO Paul Godfrey calls him, bought Maclean’s and the Toronto Sun in 1994 as part of the Maclean Hunter package. At the time, Godfrey was The Sun’s CEO and president. “Ted said to me at the very first meeting, ‘I’m not very happy with these results.’ And I was sort of taken aback,” he says. The new boss said, “You gotta do better.” Working for Rogers was difficult, Godfrey says, “but if you look in the rear view mirror at the past, you find that he did you a big favour.” Rogers pushed his employees to improve themselves and their products, says Godfrey. “And guess what – we did a lot better.” When cell phones crept onto the horizon, CFRB’s Parnaby remembers the research saying they’d never succeed. “Yet there was Ted Rogers prancing out through one means or another into the cellular telephone business and becoming a huge carrier.” But as the communications mogul built his empire, his health began to falter. The public doesn’t realize how much hard work it takes to do what he did, says Parnaby. “People who begin something from scratch and achieve the kind of success that Ted Rogers achieved, they don’t do it by simply flipping open a wallet.” It’s hard work and sacrifice, he
says, which inevitably takes its toll. During his career, Rogers went nearly blind in one eye, suffered from skin cancer and a blocked carotid artery. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 1992 and since then, ran his company with a pacemaker in his chest. True to form, Rogers Communications Inc. picked up 78 more publications after the Maclean Hunter package, including Chatelaine, Flare, Hello! Canada and Money Sense. The company turned to sports in 2000 when it bought the Toronto Blue Jays and renamed their home stadium the Rogers Centre. Always at the cutting edge, RCI launched digital television service in 2001 and homevideo libraries a year later. The company partnered with Yahoo! in 2004 and recently with Apple to become the only iPhone distributor nationwide. Having built a multi-million dollar empire, Rogers put his fortune to good use. “Here’s a man that realized that if you take something out of the community, you’ve got to put something more important back in,” says Godfrey. “And that’s what he did,” funding advances in education and health care. Rogers was named to the Order of Canada in 1991 and was dubbed “Mr. Toronto” in 2000 as Toronto Life’s “Man of the Year.” Two years later, the Association of Fundraising Professionals honoured him and his wife as Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year. “There’s a huge void in the media right now,” says Godfrey. “People like Ted Rogers only come around once in a blue moon . . . and his shoes may be impossible to fill.”
2008/2009 winter | convergence
convergence | winter 2008/2009
Published on Feb 10, 2009
An award-winning publication that examines media-related issues. The magazine is made by the media, for people in the industry.