Tag Archives: Canada

Canada encourages MPs to tweet from parliament

The Canadian House of Commons has issued MPs with Blackberry devices and encouraged them to tweet and post messages on Facebook during their parliamentary work.

According to the Canadian Press newswire, about half of Canada’s MPs are already avid social media users and others are setting up new accounts as elections near.

It is expected that the move will improve public access to information and encourage debate.

Iranian blogger jailed for 19 years

An Iranian journalist and blogger has been sentenced to almost 20 years in prison and a five-year ban on working in politics or journalism upon his release, after being accused of managing an “obscene website” by Iranian authorities.

Hossein Derakhshan, who has dual citizenship in Iran and Canada and reportedly previously studied in London, was convicted yesterday of “collaborating with hostile governments, committing blasphemy and propaganda against the Islamic Republic, and managing an obscene website”, according to a report by Al Jazeera.

Reporting on the ruling, press freedom group Reporters Without Borders said the sentence was the longest to have ever been made against a blogger in the country.

He is the victim of political rivalry within the government and the case against him was fabricated. We urge President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to intercede personally in order to obtain his release without delay.

Derakhshan defended the Islamic Revolution’s principles, supported Ahmadinejad’s policies and returned to Iran from Canada after being assured by people close to the president that he would not be arrested. Canada and the rest of the international community must press for this harsh sentence to be quashed and for Derakhshan to be freed at once.

Derakhshan can appeal the decision, according to reports. A petition has been launched calling for his release.

What do you want first, the good news or the good news?

A free newspaper launched today in Canada will aim to put a smile on its readers’ faces – by promising to only cover good news.

The publication, called Zoom NB, will be distributed in cafes and restaurants in Moncton.

Speaking to CBC News, publisher Daniel Mlodecki said the newspaper will focus on the local community, using images to tell many of the stories.

What we’re tying to focus on are the people in our community and the things they’re doing. We’re going to demonstrate that through photography. So we’re going to have big, bright colourful photos of people we know in town of things that are happening.

It is reported that 10,000 copies of the paper will be printed in the first run. Mlodecki says so far the feedback has been positive.

We’ve got a very vibrant first issue coming out, We’ve got great reaction from advertisers. We’ve actually sold more than we thought we would and have been frankly a little overwhelmed with it.

Despite strong competition from established Irving-owned publications in the same area, the publisher is confident that there is enough room for the two of them.

Read the full report here..

BBC News: Canadian magazine The Beaver changes name – to avoid spam filters

BBC News reports on how a Canadian magazine, the Beaver, has changed its name after 90 years, because its content was getting blocked by spam filters.

[I]n recent times the magazine’s attempts to reach a new online audience kept falling foul of spam filters – particularly in schools – because beaver is also a slang term for female genitalia.

The publishers of the magazine – now to be known as Canada’s History – also noticed that most of the 30,000 or so visitors to their website per month stayed for less than 10 seconds.

Full post at this link…

PS. Looks like LSE student newspaper the Beaver hasn’t yet given up on its name…

Location-based restaurant reviews

An innovative partnership has formed in Canada: between free daily paper, Metro and Foursquare, a location-based social network.

Foursquare users share location information with their friends, in a gaming format. In this new partnership, Metro will add location-specific editorial content to the Foursquare service.

Metro uses the example of restaurants to explain how it will work:

People who choose to follow Metro on Foursquare will then receive alerts when they’re close to one of those locations. For example, someone close to a restaurant that Metro has reviewed would receive a “tip” about that restaurant and the have ability to link through to the full Metro review on metronews.ca.

Full post at this link…

The Star: ‘Locked-out’ Canadian journalists lead scandal coverage

What do you do when you’re locked out from your own paper? Set up a website of course and investigate the allegations and goings-on behind the stand-off.

Such is the story of Canadian website Ruefrontenac.com, the work of 253 employees  from Quebec newspaper Journal de Montreal who have been ‘locked out’ by their employer Quebecor following dispute over jobs and working hours between the publisher and the union.

“Ruefrontenac.com has set up in an old dance studio overlooking the Journal’s parking lot.

“The journalists choose their own topics to write about without having to consider corporate interests, Bousquet [Richard Bousquet, the website’s co-ordinator] said. ‘It’s a bit of a journalistic experiment.’

“Journalists divide their time producing content and picketing.”

Full story at this link…

New Rue89 venture for Canada goes live

As we reported last month, Quebec89, the new venture from independent French news organisation Rue89, has gone live.

The new site also has a nascent Twitter account.


The site is a partnership with Quebec-based internet company Branchez-vous.com and will feature content from Rue89, which was recently shortlisted for a Online News Association’s general excellence award, and employ a three-person team to produce some local content, Pierre Haski, Rue89 founder, told Journalism.co.uk prior to launch.

The new Canadian site follows previous expanison by Rue89 after the launch a local French news site covering Marseille, Marseille89.

Update on Futurity.org: the science news site run by US universities

Last week Journalism.co.uk reported on Futurity.org, publicised as an online news service through which US university departments will publish their scientific findings directly online in a digestible format – a project designed to combat a reduction in science reporting in mainstream media.

We were interested to learn that the site would be included in Google News and asked Lisa Lapin, one of Futurity’s founders and assistant vice president for communications at Stanford University, for more information.

“Google News is recognising Futurity as a news organisation and will be capturing our news for search, and for display within Google News, as they would another news organisation,” she told Journalism.co.uk.

A release initially announced 35 partners, although we now count a total of 39 participating universities featured on the site. All are members of the  Association of American Universities (AAU), an association of leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada.

We asked Lapin if they would be adding even more to the service:

“As for partners, we wanted to begin with a reasonable size and institutions that have strong research programmes – thus it was natural for us to include AAU universities,” she said.

“To be elected to the AAU is quite an accomplishment and there is already criteria that we didn’t need to develop. There are 62 AAU universities in the US and Canada. We will discuss expanding futurity.org membership, but we would need to develop some criteria to assure that the news remains truly the greatest discoveries coming out of research universities.”

The project has attracted some criticism, as reported by the San Jose Mercury News:

“Any information is better than no information,” said Charlie Petit, a former science reporter at U.S. News & World Report and the San Francisco Chronicle.

“The quality of research university news releases is quite high. They are rather reliable,” he added. “But they are completely absent any skepticism or investigative side.”

Petit followed up with a lengthier comment and example on the Knight Science Journalism Tracker, and said that press releases published by Futurity should be clearly labelled as such:

“Press releases can and often do carry real news, and in professional and ethical style. In aggregate, they serve reporters and the public in an essential way. However:  They may be science writing. They are not independent journalism that seeks (if not always successfully) to get wide opinion and angles on the news. This is not a fine point. It is essential that the distinction be clear.”

Related: Columbia Journalism Review: Is Futurity the Future?