Well, it's better than the death penalty—but Iranian blogger Hossein Derakshan has been sentenced to 19 1/2 years in prison for postings on his Farsi-language blog. According to the Associated Press, Derakshan has been a vocal supporter of President Ahmadinejad, and is credited for launching the Iranian blog revolution. Formerly based in Canada, the blogger was arrested during a visit to Iran in 2008 and has periodically been held without communication with lawyers or families. Derakshan will have the chance to appeal.

How's this for your resume: Students from the University of British Columbia's master of journalism program have won an Emmy for their work on Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground. The documetary about digital waste won for outstanding investigative journalism in a news magazine. The students and professor Peter Klein beat 60 Minutes, CBS' 48 Hours and ABC's Nightline.

Science-phobic journalists rejoice! The Science Media Centre of Canada launched this week with the purpose of linking journalists with the experts and research they need to cover scientific news. The organization hopes to help general assignment reporters who've been thrown on the science beat without the required expertise. 

Canadian filmmaker Richard Phinney wrote an account of his bizarre arrest in yesterday's Globe and Mail. The journalist says he was making a film about golf in Scotland when he was arrested this summer for "just carrying out interviews to establish the truth and hold people to account."

A big win for CBC Radio: the broadcaster won 17 awards at the 2010 New York Festival's International Radio Awards, most notably, broadcaster of the year. Other awards winners included The Current, Dispatches, Ideas, The Sunday Edition and Q.
Posted on September 29, 2010

The giant timers John Stackhouse brought into The Globe and Mail’s newsroom still say there’s four days until the newspaper’s redesign goes public, but we got a sneak peak at what’s in store thanks to a prototype released over the weekend.

It has only been three years since the newspaper launched its last redesign, which then editor-in-chief Edward Greenspon described as “the next generation of The Globe and Mail.”

But they really mean it this time, says Phillip Crawley, Publisher and CEO of the Globe, who claims the newspaper is “embarking on a new era.” Friday’s issue, we’re told, will be a “dramatically redesigned newspaper that features the most significant changes in the Globe's history.” In other words, expectations are high.

Charles Apple, a visual journalist based in the U.S., wrote an extensive early analysis of the redesign for The American Copy Editors Society, saying it looked “very, very Guardian-esque.” He commented on the large lead art at the top, the row of smaller stories at the bottom and said “smart stuff out of Toronto.”

True, but it’s still looking an awful lot like its former self, but with snappier visuals and a bit more white space. I guess we’ll have to wait for the physical copies to hit the stand to see why the Globe believes “colour on every page, outstanding photo and graphic production, special stock paper and custom print options for advertisers” will ring in a new era.

Posted on September 27, 2010

In a matter of seconds... a thief that is much stronger than me could break into your car.

Posted on September 24, 2010

Last night's fundraiser was a big success. Thanks to Clinton's Pub, the many stores that generously donated prizes, all who came out to show their love for the Winter 2010 RRJ. See you at the launch party!


Posted on September 24, 2010


The Toronto Star is reporting that a Toronto-based blogger who has been locked up in an Iranian jail for two years on propaganda charges could now face execution. Prosecutors apparently think initiating a dissident Persian blogosphere calls for the death penalty.

CBC News Toronto viewers will be seeing some new faces this fall. Anne-Marie Mediwake—morning news desk anchor on CBC News Network— and Dwight Drummond—who is leaving CityTV after 20 years—will co-anchor Toronto's local news at 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 pm. Their takeover begins October 12.

The broadcaster also announced that it will sell its “landmark” Sackville Street building in downtown Halifax. All radio and television operations will be operated out of the CBC Bell Road location, which will undergo an expansion. 

Well, whaddoyaknow? Friday is International Freelancers Day—at least, according to organizers of a freelancers event (hmm...). Why not celebrate freestyle working with an online conference for “solo professionals”? I predict celebratory Hallmark cards—probably including some squiggly stickman sleeping in until noon alongside a “Tough Life of a Freelancer” caption—in the near future. 

Reporters Without Borders has announced it will join French newspaper Le Monde in its complaint against Sarkozy’s office. The complaint alleges Sarkozy aides violated a recent law that protects journalists’ sources by using a French intelligence agency to track down who was leaking information to Le Monde. The adoption to increase source protection in French law had been personally supported by Sarkozy. 



Posted on September 22, 2010

Journalism is serious business. Except when it's funny — then it's hilarious.

For most of the week, this blog will bring you hard-hitting, thoughtful, unimaginably brilliant analysis of media issues. Then Friday will come, and we'll post bloopers — or rather, anything else that's funny and hopefully vaguely related to journalism. Sound like a deal?

For our first edition, an homage to a few of the classics.

Boom goes the Dynamite: Sports + debilitatingly nervous j-school student = internet phenomenon, obviously.

But, he's gay: Many things could impede a journey up a mountain. This is not one of them.

Skateboarding reporter: I don't think she'd been practicing that hard.

Insane News Man: File under "When you really could have used a pause"

Reporter can't stop laughing: You don't have to speak the language to understand what's funny

And finally, a hilarious work of journalistic blooper fiction:

Have a recommendation for the Friday Funny? Email the RRJ blog editor (wendy.gillis@ryerson.ca) or DM the Review on Twittter @ryersonreview

Posted on September 17, 2010


Sometimes, how the story was broken becomes a story in itself.

First, yesterday's big news was that Postmedia News offered the National Post's entire newsroom buyouts. An internal memo, sent to all Post staff last Friday, informed employees they had until the end of this week to accept the deal, which offers three weeks of pay per year on the job, to a maximum of $125,000. 

Considering Paul Godfrey's recent takeover of then-Canwest — something that ushered in a new era of hope for the chain, as well as a name change — word of buyouts at the flagship paper seemed somewhat shocking. 

The news came from the Canadian Journalism Project's j-source.ca website, was tweeted to their over 2,000 followers on Twitter, then quickly picked up by other media. 

But as the day progressed, a Postmedia spokeswoman explained that the buyouts are only the latest in a series across the country, part of the chain's attempt to cut operating costs. The staff had also previously been offered buyouts near the time the company offered bankruptcy protection.

"Voluntary buyouts are a tool that are available to operations as they undertake budget and strategy reviews for the new fiscal year," Phyllise Gelfand told the Canadian Press. 

She said not everyone who agrees to take the offer will get it, adding that Ottawa Citizen employees have already been offered buyouts, as have staff at the Victoria Times Colonist, the Province and the Vancouver Sun. 

In other words, don't worry — journalists are being asked to leave their jobs nation-wide, not just at the Post. Besides, it's not the first time.

As word spread that this was, sadly, not big news, the interfolk — particularly Post staff — on Twitter began jumping on j-source.ca, saying the site was overreacting. One Post sports columnist, Bruce Arthur, was particularly blunt.

“In conclusion: Please cut the alarmist crap @jsource. And you too, @BlogTO. Try to practice, oh, I don’t know, journalism,” he tweeted Tuesday.

Others, as a Toronto Life blogger pointed out, simply didn’t see it as a big deal. 

But perhaps the best tweet of all came today, from Post senior producer of digital media Chris Boutet:

"BREAKING: Entire National Post newsroom to show up for work today, just like every other day. Some may eat lunch later. Follow @jsource more".



Posted on September 15, 2010

Amongst some journalists, you’ll still witness a slight shutter at the mention of bloggers. It’s not that they feel challenged anymore (the threat of citizen journalism is so 2008) or fear for their jobs. But, whether they’ll cop to it or not, there’s still a sense that blogging is not “real” journalism.

But this sentiment is quickly dying off. Not only have journalists realized there’s plenty of bandwidth to go around — that there’s room for news, links, analysis and, yes, the occasional meaningless post about breakfast — but they’ve come terms with the fact that journalism itself is changing (and if they haven’t, they won’t be around for long). There is no longer an easy definition for journalism, let alone a way to know what’s “real” and what’s not.

This year’s RRJ.ca blog aims to be your number one way to keep pace with journalism itself. It intends to inform, entertain and analyze the ever-changing face of online news, multimedia and maybe even plain old words on paper. And if we do a good job of it, maybe we’ll wind up convincing even the harshest critics that blogging can be real journalism — whatever that means.

Posted on September 13, 2010