Thursday, 20 December 2007

Odds & ends

Some odds and ends as another year winds down.

Saturday marks month eight in the Journal de Quebec lockout and strike, with little signs of a settlement. CUPE locals across Canada gave the 250 locked out Sun Media employees $100,00 last week to help boost morale and to continue publication of their free weekday MediaMatin tabloid. Another $320,000 was raised at a CUPE convention a few months ago.

The Winnipeg Sun site has added a link for its new "Virtual E-Edition" service, which provides the complete daily newspaper online for $4.99 a month. What would be ideal down the road is a Smart Card service, giving computer users the option of paying for single issues online when not able to get to a Sun box or store.

Police relations have been a priority at the Toronto Sun for most of its 36 years, so it was encouraging to see the tabloid pick up two Toronto Crime Stoppers awards last week. The awards were for best newspaper special reports and feature coverage. You can't beat focusing on the community and its police services.

Another lottery scam involving a $5 million Lotto 6/49 jackpot claimed by a Toronto store owner is yet another reason to have a year-round media watchdog. Tens of thousands of Ontario ticket buyers should have an outlet other than the OLG to turn to for information and complaints. A weekly column with a Q&A would give gamblers a much needed public forum.

Questions of the day: Should Quebecor Media be concerned about the ongoing debt woes of Quebecor World? Is there sufficient distance between the two Quebecor Inc. subsidiaries to avoid turbulence from Quebecor World? Selling off its once golden printing empire to focus on its media empire would be the Quebecor Inc. story of the year.

Conrad Black, Pierre Karl Peladeau, Brian Mulroney, George W, are all, thankfully, so distant from us common folk.

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