Bloggers help Globe & Mail create Toronto hub

Globe and Mail Toronto Hub announcementOne of Canada’s two national newspapers, the Globe and Mail, is going after Toronto readers with help from local blog site Torontoist.

In an announcement on the Globe’s website late Friday night, Toronto editor Kelly Grant [pictured with the announcement] said the newspaper had created an online Toronto hub that would include material from Torontoist, in addition to features such as a Toronto traffic page incorporating Twitter feeds.

The Globe would also increase its city hall staff from two to four.

Torontoist editor David Topping described the agreement as a content-sharing partnership, but didn’t say whether Torontoist would publish Globe and Mail content in return.

The arrangement doesn’t appear to be content-sharing in the usual sense, but rather link-sharing. So far at least, if you click on a Torontoist story from the Globe and Mail site, the story opens on Torontoist, giving the blog site a nice traffic boost.

Is the NY Times social media editor social enough?

Jennifer Preston

No sooner does the New York Times announce the appointment of a social media editor than bloggers wonder aloud why she has had such a low profile in the social media universe thus far.

The credibility of Jennifer Preston [pictured] has been called into question by Ben Parr at Mashable and Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb, who say they found little evidence of her in the usual social media venues.

And Gawker figures it’s all part of a NY Times plot to clamp down on the use of social media by staffers, rather than foster more of it.

Among Ms Preston’s alleged anti-social behaviour: she kept her Twitter updates private until after her appointment to the new position. Her Twitter followership appears to be surging now, however.

The Times’ move comes several months after a Canadian newspaper, the Globe and Mail, appointed a “communities editor”. The paper chose its technology writer, Mathew Ingram, who was already a prominent blogger and avid user of social media.

– Hat tip: J-Source

Digital is focus for new editor at Globe & Mail

Click to watch John Stackhouse video

Yesterday’s executive changes at the Globe and Mail are being described as “part of a broader set of changes to expand the newspaper’s digital strategy.”

Few hints of what that might mean are being made public at this stage, but statements by publisher Phillip Crawley make it clear that he wants changes to happen quickly. And the man appointed to lead the paper’s newsroom says the paper could charge for its online news coverage.

As a result of the shakeup announced yesterday:

  • John Stackhouse [seen in the above video] becomes Editor-in-Chief, replacing Edward Greenspon, 52, who led the paper for seven years. Mr Stackhouse, 46, joined the paper 20 years ago, and has been editor of Report on Business since 2004.
  • Roger Dunbar, who has been Vice President of Digital and Business Development since joining the paper in 2004, becomes VP-Business Development and Marketing.
  • Angus Frame, 37, becomes VP-Digital. He was the editor of globeandmail.com for seven years before being named Group Director – Digital Media last year.

The changes were effective immediately.

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Making a video from transit data

I love this data visualization, which anyone from Toronto will immediately recognize as a map of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) routes.

As the clock moves through 24 hours, it’s fun to see how the TTC comes to life, with the buses and streetcars getting thicker on the roads as day breaks and the first trains moving through the tunnels at 5.30am.

Congratulations Keiran Huggins and Kevin Branigan of myttc.ca.

For the much clearer HD version of the above video, plus the Saturday and Sunday versions, visit Kieran’s page on Vimeo.

NFB puts Canadian films online

Canadians miss out on some of the great online video options available south of the border (e.g. hulu. com, abc.com), but this week brought something to ease our frustration.

The National Film Board has posted 700 films on its website where they can be viewed in full, for free.

It’s a great move, considering the tremendous quality of the work and the modest exposure it tends to get.

Most are documentaries, and the NFB says it will be adding more films every week.

On launch day last Wednesday the website’s servers were overloaded, but things have reportedly settled down now.

The NFB is using the open-source Pyro video player API for Flash, from Turbulent Web Development in Montreal.

Questioning the obsession with economic growth

Growing up immersed in the environmental movement of the 1970s, my thinking on economics was definitely shaped by concepts such as resource sustainability and limits to growth.

Then came the 1980s and 1990s, when western societies seemed to reject such ideas as hopelessly naive, assuming instead that limitless growth was not only possible but essential to preserve our standard of living.

But the idea of living within the resources provided by Earth hasn’t disappeared altogether, as environmental writer Peter Gorrie explains at thestar.com.

Gorrie interviewed Peter Victor, a senior economist at York University and author of Managing Without Growth.

…Victor and others say the focus on growth diminishes us, largely because two-thirds of our economy is based on consumer spending: If we don’t work and earn so we can keep stuff flying off store shelves and into ever-larger homes, our industrial machine sputters and wheezes. Other important aspects of life – family, friends, relaxation, contemplation, health, hobbies and interests – are trampled in the mad frenzy to ensure the wheel stays spinning.

It’s a good read, and a timely alternative view when we are being urged to consume more to restore our ailing economic system.

Happy New Year!

Toronto Star blue ribbon nameplate

Happy New Year everyone and, if you’re a reader of the Toronto Star’s print edition, yes it is 2009 even though this morning’s newspaper might have had you checking the calendar for a moment.

The front page of today’s Star features the iconic blue ribbon nameplate which had been removed in a 2007 redesign.

John Cruickshank, the former head of CBC English language news who starts his job as Star publisher today, tells readers in a front-page column that the return of the blue ribbon is “a sign of the renewal of our historic editorial mission and as a symbol of our continuing commitment to our print and online readers in Greater Toronto, across Canada and around the world.”

CKPT AM shutdown renews radio memories

11 October 2013 update: Unfortunately the video previously embedded on this page from the Peterborough Examiner is no longer available online.

May 5th marked the end of an era in a small southern Ontario city, and brought back a few fond memories for me.

The radio station where I began my media career, CKPT in Peterborough, abandoned the AM dial in favour of a new home on FM.

The switch probably cuts the station’s power bill significantly (the AM transmitter ran at 10,000 watts day, 5000 watts at night) and delivers better-quality audio.

But it’s still a bit sad. AM radio is what drew me to broadcasting – staying up late as a youngster to tune in the super stations of the 1960s like WABC New York, WLS Chicago and KMOX St Louis – plus the dozens of lesser signals that filled the dial after sunset. As the signals faded in and out, I would strain to discern their callsigns and locations.

There was a sense of mystery and intrigue in those days that you just don’t find on Sirius or iTunes – or even on FM. Continue reading