Media Beat: Jan. 02, 2019
2018: The SOWNY Year in Radio & TV
Happy New Year and welcome to 2019 to all fellow SOWNY-ites and guest viewers. For those with a nostalgic bent (or like me, just plain bent!) here’s a look back at some of the stories of the year just passed as they appeared on the Big Yellow Board. Thanks for all your posts and here’s to more of them over the next 365 days.
Jan. 22: Rogers Loosens Its “Vice” Grip
After pouring a lot of money into Vice News, a network primarily aimed at Millennials, Rogers cuts ties with the money-losing network. That didn’t scare Bell Media, which later took up the cause and made a deal allowing Vice’s U.S. programming to remain in Canada. — cursor click the headline to continue reading
Gone but not forgotten
SOWNY.net board member Dale Patterson provides a roll call of radio people who passed away in 2018.
Saluting Jim Jj Johnston’s 365 initiative
JJ "Jim" Johnston did something rather extraordinary last year. He committed to writing a blog everyday saluting someone in the radio or music industry. In an era where the social media stratosphere is predominantly negative, JJ embarked January 1, 2018, with Bruce Barker, wound his way through Victoria Day weekend with a tribute to yours truly, and then concluded on December 31 with David Marsden. (I've reposted the salute JJ made to me at the bottom of this post. JJ did 365 of these!)
These posts were shared across all social media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. When you think about it, these posts can live on next year too when shared and re-shared by everyone going forward.
The above was penned by Matt Cundill who features JJ on his SoundOff podcast below.
The Fresno Bee and the war on local news
Local newspapers like The Fresno Bee have long been an endangered institution in America, and that was before California Rep. Devin Nunes began waging a public campaign against his hometown paper. Zach Baron spent time with the reporters fighting to keep news alive in an age when the forces they cover are working equally hard to destroy them. – Zach Baron, GQ
The media’s post-advertising future is also its past
Publications that were once the crown-jewels of publicly traded firms are finding refuge in the arms of affluent patrons. Many legacy titles have already landed with millionaires and billionaires, including Time (bought by Marc Benioff, the founder of Salesforce), Fortune (bought by Chatchaval Jiaravanon, a Thai businessman), and The Washington Post (owned by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon). Emerson Collective, an organization founded by the billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs, purchased a majority share of The Atlantic in 2017.
Those nostalgic for the lucrative old days might curl their toes at the mention of a Medici-esque sponsorship model. But billionaire-supported investigative reporting is surely better than no investigative reporting at all. So what’s the matter with patronage? – Derek Thompson, The Atlantic
2018: The year in Ideas–A review of Ideas
Do we remember a year by the events that happened in it — the births and deaths, the battles and truces — or do we remember it by the ideas that shaped it, the revolutionary new ways of thinking that emerged in those 12 months? Mostly the first way, with deaths and wars and so on, but the latter makes for a more interesting end-of-year feature peg.
That’s why, when Verizon Media Group asked me to curate HuffPost’s 2018: The Year in Ideas: A Review of Ideas, I was honoured. But I knew I couldn’t do it alone. So I asked 10 of America’s foremost thought leaders, authors and political figures to help me put together a definitive list.
All of them refused.
Undaunted, I forced a bot to review the collected writings of each person I asked, and then write essays for me. The bot instead crashed a Tesla into a Checkers.
So I wrote them myself. – Alex Pareene, HuffPost US
The bootleg video vans of the Soviet Union
Rafiks were normally used for public transit, an intermediate alternative to buses and taxicabs. A Rafik always felt bigger on the inside. The running joke went, How many people can you fit into a Rafik? One more. Rafiks made getting around town cheap and easy, and Rafik drivers maximized their efficiency through this always-room-for-one-more-passenger business model. The vans were stuffy, dark, dirty, and usually saturated with cigarette smoke. I suspect that some of these van drivers did both jobs—smoke-soaked taxi by day, smoke-soaked movie theatre by night.
Like an American ice-cream truck, a video-salon Rafik would show up in the neighbourhood at seemingly random times. The drivers/projectionists were often trying to avoid the police, and the petty bribe that would be required to get them to look the other way. For that reason, the mobile theatre would park somewhere in an alley and entertain the neighbourhood kids with dozens of guerilla-dubbed, bootlegged Hollywood movies and cartoons. – Elmar Hashimov, The Atlantic
Where have all the music mags gone?
In early 2018, Wax Poetics subscribers received a terse email: “After sixteen years in print, we will cease being a traditional newsstand publication.” The email detailed how financial issues forced the magazine to restructure and relaunch with print-on-demand issues. They apologized that they couldn’t fulfill existing subscriptions, but they promised what other music magazines had before: that their new business model would let them stay committed to in-depth music writing.
Maybe in the end, most music publications are ephemeral expressions of their time and place, rather than fixtures. Maybe it’s best that music magazines be like the timeless musicians they cover: bright, brilliant flashes that grace the earth for only a brief amount of time rather than overstay their welcome, more Iguanas and MC5 than The Rolling Stones. – Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads
China’s gov’t puts the nutcracker to Christmas
In 2017, the Communist Party of China's central committee and state council issued an official document entitled “Suggestions on the implementation of projects to promote and develop traditional Chinese culture excellence”. They outlined a cultural revival project that lists Chinese festivals like the Lunar New Year and the Lantern Festival, among others, as cultural conventions worthy of celebration.
To implement this policy, Chinese authorities have launched a series of ideological campaigns to crack down on non-Chinese celebrations. This year, just before Christmas, authorities in some cities such as Langfang, in Hebei province, have demanded shops to remove Christmas decorations on the streets and in window displays. – Oiwan Lam, Global Voices
Google caves in to Russian demands, censors videos promoting a protest rally
One day before a major rally against an unpopular pension reform was planned in Russia, Google informed the rally organizers, the Anti-Corruption Foundation, that it was taking down their YouTube videos promoting the rally, citing a violation of Russia’s laws. – RunNetEcho, Global Voices
No paper, electricity or news: Information controls keep coming in Venezuela
The road has been long and steady. What began with limitations on access to radio and television spectrum during the administration of deceased former president Hugo Chávez has since expanded, under president Nicolás Maduro, with many once-privately run broadcast and press outlets having transitioned toward a model wherein the state has either explicit or soft power over editorial and commercial activities. – Marianne Díaz Hernández & Laura Vidal, Global Voices
Japanese media struggles to translate Trump’s “shithole”
On Thursday, January 11, United States President Donald Trump generated instant controversy when he reportedly referred to Haiti, El Salvador and countries in Africa as “shithole countries.” While many newsrooms in the English-language world debated whether or not to reprint the US president's expletive, journalists working in other languages struggled to translate the word “shithole” properly. Japanese media was no exception.
While many English speakers will immediately grasp the meaning of the term used by the President, for non-English speakers the nuances of the word “shithole” can be hard to grasp. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word as “an extremely dirty, shabby, or otherwise unpleasant place.”
However, some major Japanese media outlets chose to use a direct translation of the word… – Nevin Thompson, Global Voices
Barb McLintock, who built a reputation for delivering scoops, first for the Victoria Daily Colonist and then for The Province of Vancouver, died in the early morning hours on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018. — Tom Hawthorn, The Tyee