Friday, 2 July 2010

Canada Day score

July 1, 2010:

Canada's 143rd birthday, waterfront fireworks and all

Introduction of the HST, pushing gasoline prices to a buck-plus

The Toronto Sun sans Canadian Press and Associated Press

One out of three on the enjoyment meter sucks.

Where are the thousands of protesters when it comes to buck-plus gas prices when oil per barrel is well below $80? Where is the outrage over unchallenged gouging by the oil companies?

Canadians are getting hosed and thanks to the HST the nozzle just got shoved up our gas tanks a little deeper.

Meanwhile . . .

While reading the Toronto Sun on Canada Day, the apparent first day of the end of Canadian Press/Associated Press news services, the main thought was "what are readers missing?"

Some quality content, do doubt, but if they aren't sitting down to read the Globe, Star, Post and Sun with a CP/AP counter in hand, how do they know what relevant CP/AP content is absent?

What news didn't Sun Media newspapers get to cover?

Will your average Sun reader notice the absence of CP/AP credits? That is debatable. But they will notice the increase in QMI credits and perhaps wonder why QMI dominates content contributions.

QMI's recycling of Sun Media news, sports and entertainment from across the chain might fill the pages, but it is short-changing readers.

A classic example was a photo of a non-fatal house fire in Edmonton, with no flames, minimal smoke and no firefighting drama, that took up space in the Toronto Sun.

QMI Agency content will be only as productive as the contributions from Sun Media's overworked and understaffed newsrooms across the chain. It ain't going to be pretty on quiet news days.

If CP and AP have been permanently dumped by Sun Media, it is yet another case of paying more for less.


  1. They won't miss much CP because QMI was created to simply rewrite everything from CP/AP and CBC and leave a byline and placeline off it. Blantant rip-offs and CP should start cracking down on it.

    It has been going on for months and it's only going to increase.

  2. Interesting blog my friend

  3. That's already evident with their new hotshot Hill staff - "reporting" on events they didn't attend by rewriting wire and web copy, without a placeline but with a byline. It's the shameless behaviour long used by radio and TV stations now coming to a Sun Media paper near you!

  4. Ha! If I could only count the amount of times I've overheard our editor whisper "just copy-paste the CP story and change it a tad."
    Of course, the usual answer is just to shrug and sigh.
    Tis' the way of QMI, and the result of mass layoffs.

  5. Whatever the faults of CP were, and as anyone with time in will tell you they were legion, at least they had reporters at member papers everywhere - they claimed local copy first on breaking news, so you typically filed a few grafs to the network before filing your local story.

    QMI does not have reporters across the country, and I'm not talking in little towns but major cities, so I wonder how they're even going to get news any other way but rewrite web copy or CP. You need bodies on the ground, not a Quebecor priority. Significantly, there's already resentment growing in newsrooms about moving up filing deadlines on certain stories to keep QMI happy at the cost of other work (plus in the old, old days, children, CP would send you money if they picked up your work, which gave you extra incentive to keep them happy. Imagine that.)

    What QMI doesn't realize is that local reporters don't work for them and could give a rat's ass if QMI has the copy, much less in a timely fashion, don't see why corporate needs are their priority. Pick it up tomorrow when my readers get it if you want it, see if it makes any difference to me. Rent a helicopter and fly in a crack reporter from your Ottawa bureau if time is of the essence.

    I predict a LOT of drives on the scenic route back to the office along with mandatory lunch breaks along the way when we know QMI is hot for a story and has to have it 30 minutes ago. Hell, I might even leave my notebook there and have to drive back and get it before I can file a word.

    The danger on relying on your "team" of understaffed, demoralized and overworked reporters is that they are demoralized and overworked reporters whose job performance can't be linked to your national network because it's not in the job description. I already checked. That's why the network is gonna suck. Nobody, not even the interns, thinks this is a collective effort to make us all better, just more woofing via email about what we should do for people we've never met and don't care to and as reporters, that's already the accompaniment to our morning coffees.

  6. They also heavily rely on students at universities in cities where they don't have staff or a paper.

    The students rip off stories from the other papers and file nameless stories to QMI, usually a day after they've already been printed.

    Day old story? Ho-hum, who cares, is the bottom line.

    It's not getting the story first, it's getting it the cheapest is how this company operates.

  7. Wait until those same students wait 6-8 months to get paid for their cut-n-paste. They won't be so eager to do it next time.

  8. A freelancer we know says that beats waiting a year for a $150 cheque from the Globe and Mail.

  9. Paid? What on earth are you guys talking about? None of the students submitting work in Region 7 ever get paid for anything they do.
    I'd be surprised if any other QMI region does the 'right' thing...