On the Future of News - Part One. From November 4, 2021. On various occasions this season I will explore aspects of The Future of News from perspectives of news production, distribution, audience -- including uses and gratification, user experience, and user feedback and response. I will connect these episodes with research I am conducting. In part one here, I scratch the surface on some recent changes at three AM radio stations in Toronto that have news and news-talk formats. The news-talk stations focus on talk; the amount of local news they generate and broadcast uniquely to their listeners has been drastically reduced by corporate moves that leave them sounding much like promotional arms for the corporate news products; and much less-equipped to generate local news on their own. For educational purposes. Makes fair dealing use of top-of-the-hour station identification and news sounders from AM640 Global Newsradio Toronto, CityNews680, and Newstalk 1010.
On resisting the ongoing abuse of the War of the Worlds broadcast. From October 27, 2021 - just ahead of World Audio Drama day October 30th. This is the fifth episode in my ongoing defence of War of the Worlds as brilliant fiction on radio; so powerful it gave the aggrieved print media of 1938 more fuel for its outrage about a newer, faster medium. For educational purposes. The previous episodes exploring my concerns regarding the ongoing mistreatment and miseducation about the broadcast are here:
From September 30, 2021. On the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. There is a role for everyone to play. Here are some thoughts, based on points I raised in a letter to my member of parliament, in the days following the Every Child Matters march in July.
From September 10, 2021. On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the events of September 11th, 2001. Broadcasting, podcasting, newspapers and online sites are full of features, analysis, documentaries and special reports about 9/11 including the memories of people who reported the events. Some of that is by or about people who were on tv that day. But for millions of people, the story started on the radio on their way to work. I was on my way to work on the radio...hearing the people already there at work on the radio starting to tell the story from the moment it started. Some radio reporters got a call: get over the border...now...before it is closed; get to New York and start sending back news. Some of my recollections of that day, and how the story was covered on the radio. You won't hear this on the news.
On Emancipation Day. Suppose it's the first time Canada officially commemorates Emancipation Day as a national holiday. That would be on the news that day, would it not? I think news coverage was severely lacking. Not a word in some major newspapers that weekend. Almost nothing on broadcast news or newsroom social media. Why not? Do we just not want to know what it's really about? From August 5th 2021, having waited a few days after August 1st to see whether follow-up coverage came. Unscripted.
From July 1, 2021: The Every Child Matters March through downtown Toronto. This time: walk with thousands from the Toronto Council Fire building at Parliament and Dundas Streets to Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto City Hall. Days after unmarked graves are discovered, containing the bodies of more Indigenous children who died at places Canada calls "residential schools", thousands of people join in marching and demanding action. News coverage I have seen does not reflect the feeling of the event. In 15 minutes here, join the march from the starting point to the beginning of ceremonies. Stereo, edited but no processing. Recorded on H2Zoom handheld recorder.
Cross Talk extra: The Erasure of Race: The murder of Howard Joel Munroe. Part 1 - A Killing in the Park - documentary
The murder of a young Black man by members of a racist white gang in a city park during fireworks for the Victoria Day holiday in 2001 should have sent waves of shock and outrage through the mid-sized city where it happened. And beyond. It was two years before anyone was arrested in the killing of Howard Joel Munroe in Victoria Park in Kitchener, about an hour west of Toronto. This is not a true-crime series. This is an examination of the death of Howard Joel Monroe; a story that should be well-known across Canada...but is not.
We begin our examination which includes historic and contemporary perspectives and theory with a documentary originally produced in 2016. A Killing in the Park is based on original reporting and interviews by Paul Cross, with audio first gathered in the weeks and months following the murder.
In the follow-up discussions, commentary, and historic audio, listen as Dr. Stanley Doyle-Wood and Cross analyze the issues, events, and story. Our intention is to do this in a way that honours the memory of Joel, and the strength and resistance of his family and friends.
The Erasure of Race: The murder of Howard Joel Munroe. Part 1 - A Killing in the Park.
WARNING: The content of this story may be upsetting. The language reported by people involved, and the descriptions given, as well as the substance of the story may be triggering. Please be advised.
Thank you for listening; we'll soon provide a new link for the entire series, rolling out over the days across the 20th anniversary of Joel's murder.
In April 2021 there has been a great deal of coverage on podcasts, radio and tv of the one-year anniversary of the mass murder in rural Nova Scotia: April 18 and 19, 2020. For an in-depth examination of the case I highly recommend the series 13 Hours: Inside the Nova Scotia Massacre from CuriousCast. Episode six is particularly valuable for its examination and exposure of communication and coordination failures by the RCMP. But I want to return to an examination of the news industry in Nova Scotia. The news media missed the story Saturday night after the the first tweet by the RCMP. The story could have, should have been on the radio and on newsroom social feeds late Saturday night. On-call reporters could have inserted cut-ins on radio; information could have appeared on tv. A year later, I'm still wondering...how did the news media miss it? Many newsrooms seemed to be aware of nothing about the case until a follow-up tweet from the RCMP Sunday morning; more than eight hours after the first. I'm left to believe that not one single person who works in media in Nova Scotia -- news, production, programming, music, sales, promotion, management, creative, administration -- caught a very unusually-worded tweet from the police before midnight on a Saturday night. Because it was unusual enough that anyone with any connection to any form of news media should have contacted someone else from their workplace about it. Newsrooms could have been on the story hours earlier; it could have been running overnight and much earlier Sunday morning. But newsrooms missed it...and too many are playing the game of blaming the RCMP for not doing more. Yes, it should have. But where was the media for eight hours?
Updated from April 30, 2020 with one small edit: I originally mis-identified the opening emergency audio as being from the RCMP; it's other first-responders arriving at the scene Saturday night.
There's more detail in this post, too: https://paulcrossradio1.wordpress.com/2020/04/22/novascotiashooting-no-emergency-alert-is-that-why-local-broadcasters-missed-the-story/
Regarding any conflict in timing of communications: The timeline appears to be 11:32pm local time for the first RCMP tweet, and 8:02am for the second.
The photo shows the timing of the first time the story appears on the Canadian Press newswire feed that would go to radio stations: 9:10am Toronto time, Sunday April 19th.
The government of Ontario wants police to start random stops of people on the street or in traffic to make them justify having left their homes during the stay-at-home rules of the pandemic. Who do you think would be likely to get targeted and stopped? A frightening order to be taking effect on the 39th anniversary of the formal signing of Canada's constitution. But what's this? Some municipal police forces, including the one where I live in Toronto...are telling the government...we're not going to do that.
Update: Later in the day April 17 2021 the provincial government announced it was rescinding its direction for police to conduct random stops.
On the first all-female broadcast crew in NBA history. From March 25, 2021. The Toronto Raptors become the first team in NBA history to have a game with an all-female broadcast crew: play-by-play announcer, analyst-colour commentator, sideline reporter, and broadcast show co-hosts. It's just the third time in history a woman has performed the play-by-play. First time was in 1988; and then, not again until 2018. Meghan McPeak -- an alum of the Broadcasting - Radio program at Humber College in Toronto -- makes history as the first woman to do it a second time. And as the first woman of colour. Of course it's all very exciting for one of her former professors. For Educational purposes. Makes fair dealing use of bits of audio from TSN Toronto, WUSA-TV Washington D-C, and highlights posted by the NBA on YouTube. (Image taken from TSN.)
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