You’ve almost got to feel bad for now-defunct British tabloid newspaper News of the World. Self-proclaimed as “The World’s Greatest Newspaper” with top-spot circulation, the 168-year old newspaper published its last edition on Sunday, bidding a “very proud farewell”  to its readers amidst a phone-hacking scandal that started out with a dead 13-year-old’s phone and later involved a former prime minister and other newspapers also published by News International Ltd., Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper division.

If someone else was guilty of phone-hacking, the staff at the paper would’ve had a field day, just like they did in 2006 with “Britain’s top policeman” Sir Ian Blair; the paper called his behaviour “highly unprofessional,” even though he was only recording his own phone conversations with higher-ups. 

 Or when the newspaper went after Sharon Shoesmith, the head of a London-area children’s council, who refused to take the fall after employees committed crimes on her watch. The paper wrote about Shoesmith, as reported on The Media Blog :

“Did this apology for a boss really believe that if she put on a sad face...she'd get away with this? Did she believe that would be enough to satisfy an angry, repulsed nation and detract from her mind-boggling incompetence?”

 One could ask Rebekah Brooks the same inflammatory questions, except Murdoch seems to be jealousy guarding his executive, who’s moved up in the company since her stint as editor at NOTW from 2000 to 2003. Still, angry NOTW staffers had the last laugh through their cryptic crossword. And despite previous plans, Murdoch withdrew his company's bid for British Sky Broadcasting on Wednesday.

Posted on July 14, 2011

Until last Thursday, Kai Nagata was the CTV Quebec City Bureau Chief at the tender age of 24. By the weekend, he had the Canadian news industry talking and the Twitter world buzzing when he quit a job many could only dream of and published a 3,000 word manifesto on his blog about why.
“I quit my job because the idea burrowed into my mind that, on the long list of things I could be doing, television news is not the best use of my short life,” he wrote when referring to how in the 10 months he worked at CTV, and time spent before at CBC, he had become disillusioned with how much attention broadcasters paid to increasing ratings, rather than focusing on real issues. The wall-to-wall coverage of the recent Royal visit was a glaring example in his eyes. The amount that TV focuses on appearance and the fact that he could no longer hold his breath on his political opinions also led him to his decision.
His site received more than 100,000 views within two days. Currently it has over 1,000 comments. He was re-tweeted with words of encouragement, among them many journalists. Some want him for prime minister.
But he also received comments on his naivety. Many agreed he was too quick to quit and his criticisms of journalism offered nothing new. Yes, TV news has its superficial downfalls, but it’s been like that for a long time, blogged journalist Max Fawcett. As a journalist, it’s part of the job description to keep opinions to yourself, he adds equaling Nagata’s post to a temper tantrum. In response to Nagata, Sandra Thomas wrote in the Vancouver Courier, “I didn’t quit my job because as a journalist I refuse to give up, pack up my truck and drive away into the sunset.”
Long-time news and documentary producer Howard Bernstein wrote  on his media criticism blog, “Nobody has ever changed things for the better by walking away. By leaving he has in fact, helped those that seek to trivialize broadcast journalism and ceased to be of aid to those who want to make it better.” He writes about his similar experience and regret of quitting Global TV after his boss pulled the news crew from covering the Oka Crisis because their license had been renewed.
Nagata isn’t the first journalist to quit and probably won’t be the last, blogged journalist Robin Rowland, but he struck a chord with many people, especially those of his generation, who feel the same way.
It wasn’t the best week for broadcast journalism either when a journalist of 42 years, Claude Adams, blogged about the end of his TV career at CBC where he was fired as a part-time writer for making a mistake in a story about a dog. His script for the anchor incorrectly said the animal was dead. For Adams, TV journalism has gone to the dogs.

Posted on July 14, 2011

 The Ryerson Review of Journalism recently won six awards in the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) student magazine contest, including the Winter 2011 issue finishing first place in the Single Issue of an Ongoing Print Magazine category. The rest of the winners, as well as links to their stories, are as follows:

Summer 2011

- “War Torn”  by Vesna Plazacic — Third Place, Consumer Magazine Article
- “Vice Goes Global”  by Stephen Baldwin — Third Place, Consumer Magazine Article

Winter 2011

- “Suicide Notes”  by Liam Casey — First Place, Consumer Magazine Article
“140 Characters in Search of a Story”  by Ashley Csanady — First Place, Consumer Magazine Article
- “Not All Smurfs and Sunshine”  by Matthew Scianitti — Second Place, Consumer Magazine Article

Posted on July 05, 2011