‘Future of Media’ discussion September 24 in Toronto

From digitaljournal.com:

Citizen media news outlet DigitalJournal.com is proud to announce it will be hosting a unique panel discussion featuring some of the most influential leaders in Canadian media. Dubbed “The Future of Media,” the live panel discussion will explore how the mainstream media are implementing user-generated content and what challenges news organizations face in the changing news economy today.

The event will take place Thursday September 24 at the Drake Hotel Underground (1150 Queen Street West) at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and admission is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. The event will also be filmed and streamed live online, as well as broadcast after the event.

This newspaper owner is doing OK

Calixe in Toronto

Times may be tough for some newspaper owners, but Santa Barbara News-Press co-publisher Wendy McCaw appears to be getting by just fine.

Her helicopter-toting 193-foot motoryacht Calixe is in Toronto, drawing plenty of admiring looks.

Ms McCaw and her fiancé, Arthur von Wiesenberger, are co-publishers of the News-Press, a newspaper she purchased in 2000 from the New York Times company.

She is divorced from cellular telephone tycoon Craig McCaw and has been a controversial newspaper owner.

In 2007, a National Labor Relations Board judge ordered the News-Press to reinstate eight employees it had fired for union organizing.

In 2006, six editors quit the paper over editorial ethics, an issue highlighted in the film Citizen McCaw.

Calixe’s helicopter

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.

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.

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.”

Earth Hour is coming

Earth Hour

Last year it was in Sydney. Now, it’s all over the world, including Toronto.

8-9pm, Saturday March 29 is Earth Hour.

It started with a question: How can we inspire people to take action on climate change?

The answer: Ask the people of Sydney to turn off their lights for one hour.

On 31 March 2007, 2.2 million people and 2100 Sydney businesses turned off their lights for one hour – Earth Hour. If the greenhouse reduction achieved in the Sydney CBD during Earth Hour was sustained for a year, it would be equivalent to taking 48,616 cars off the road for a year.

With Sydney icons like the Harbour Bridge and Opera House turning their lights off, and unique events such as weddings by candlelight, the world took notice. Inspired by the collective effort of millions of Sydneysiders, many major global cities are joining Earth Hour in 2008, turning a symbolic event into a global movement.

For those in Toronto, there’s more info at thestar.com too.

My new job

thestar.com

I’m delighted to report that I have a new job, starting next Monday, at the Toronto Star.

As Assistant Managing Editor – Multimedia, my responsibilties will include editorial content on thestar.com, one of Canada’s most popular news sites.

The Star has an impressive commitment to digital publishing, and it’s an honour to join an organization with such high standards and values.

The next few weeks are going to be very hectic indeed as I get to know my new team — some of whom I was fortunate to meet, albeit briefly, this afternoon — and learn my way around a very large, dynamic operation.

I’m looking forward to working with my new boss, editor-in-chief Fred Kuntz, and everyone else at the Star.