There was a time, not so long ago, in Canada when we depended on the editorial decisions of a few at the hub of a few daily newspapers and a couple of television stations, notably the CBC and its rival CTV. Rapidly, these sources are becoming like rotary landline telephones. Sure there are people who use them, but with each obituary, they become fewer.
The "reality" of public broadcasting, in principle at least, is that it exists precisely in order to provide a service that is not a commercial, for-profit undertaking. It is intended to be distinctive, to be free from the influence of vested interests either commercial or governmental, and to serve its audiences as citizens rather than as consumers.
The CBC's decision to air the Tragically Hip's farewell concert Saturday was a stroke of public broadcasting genius. Better than almost any event one could imagine, it demonstrated the power of a national public broadcaster to bring a nation together to celebrate its shared values, to honour its prodigies, to connect.
Below the surface of the proposed British exit from the European Union is a sense of great consternation in the smaller countries that make up the United Kingdom. Having lived, studied and worked throughout the U.K. for the past two years, the divisions within the country are striking and broader than most North Americans realize.
Bell Media's brusque announcement that it is killing Canada AM represents more than the loss of a morning news and current affairs program with a 40-year legacy. It is further evidence that private television, now in the hands of a clutch of corporate behemoths, is no longer in the business of serving the public interest.
Any idiot knows dry-humping staff is a no-no, and Ghomeshi is a lot of things, but he isn't an idiot. Ghomeshi was a left-wing women's-rights advocate, he had to know that the actions and comments he engaged in were inappropriate -- he just didn't think that applied to him. It was a choice, not ignorance. Intense narcissism is no excuse for wilful ignorance.
I am invested in this issue because women are my relations. I'm a dad, a son, a husband, a brother-in-law, and thinking, sentient member of the human race! The reasons this keeps happening cannot be solely blamed on the legal system; they start at home. There is a profound sickness within a society that would allow men to perpetrate violence against women with virtual impunity. What is it within men that we see women with so little regard? Too many men don't think there is a problem.
Somebody at Coors Light had a horrible, no good, very bad day last week. Several people at Rethink, a well respected Vancouver advertising agency responsible for the #BraveTheCold campaign, also likely had a sleepless night trying to put the breaks on creative that was set to launch that week, after negative publicity threatened to take over. And that doesn't even credit the hundreds of thousands spent on scripting, casting, filming and editing in the first place that became unusable. Ouch.
This is the first time I have ever spoken publicly about what happened to me. It wasn't the first time I'd had an experience like this, but I pray to God that it was the last. I have been through countless hours of therapy and am now in a very healthy relationship with the greatest human being anyone could have the pleasure of knowing, and for that, I consider myself to be very lucky. Even though I felt better, I stayed silent, but the reason why I kept my silence for so long is not because it didn't happen. I kept my silence because of what happened during the Jian Ghomeshi trial.
Media managers are wondering what went wrong. They are asking why journalism doesn't pay any more. If the solutions are hard to discern, they have only to look at the technology they so eagerly embrace. It's the digital technology. It has spread throughout many industries including journalism, like a virus.
CBC has boasted that 50 per cent of the cost of its TV services is paid for by advertising revenue. No more. In the year ending August 2015, CBC English TV ad revenue fell off a cliff and was barely $100 million, well under 20 per cent of TV revenues. Funding from taxpayers is now four times greater than ad revenues.