Editorial "separation" is already working
4/24/01

Toronto - The ctvnews.com newsroom sits atop a balcony overlooking the main CTV Television newsroom. The 17 people perched up there are dedicated to the ctvnews.com web site, one of the best multimedia news sites in existence. It's a child of convergence - under the umbrella of Bell Globemedia - and they use all of the company's resources.

This idea of convergence scares many who worry about a growing homogeneity in editorial voices as fewer companies scoop up a growing number of media outlets, electronic or print.

When Quebecor Media went before the CRTC last month in hearings on its purchase of Vidéotron (which owns #1 French broadcaster TVA), Quebecor officials offered a code of editorial conduct where its print and TV journalists are prohibited from communicating with each other, "by phone, fax, Internet or other technology." Quebecor Media owns, among other things, French-language daily le Journal de Montreal, under the umbrella of and Sun Media.

At the ongoing broadcast license-renewal hearings for CTV and CanWest Global, CRTC Commissioners pushed both organizations for similar so-called protections since Bell Globemedia also owns the Globe and Mail and CanWest Global owns 50% of the National Post and numerous other former Hollinger newspapers. Executives from the two companies said they could not accept a code like Quebecor's and proposed their own (see full texts below) yesterday.

The two almost identical proposals from CTV and Global basically set out that the management of newsrooms will remain separate, while saying their print and electronic newsrooms must be allowed to co-operate.

So, back to the ctvnews.com gondola. The people up there tally the events of the day, post video and text reports and keep an eye out for updates. It's only natural that they would seek to use all of their parent company's assets, including the Globe and Mail.

"We're in pretty close contact with them on a daily basis," CTV's manager of regional news and new media, Mark Sikstrom, tells Cablecaster in its upcoming May issue, due out in a couple of weeks, about the Globe and Mail. "We (with globeandmail.com editor Neil Campbell) chat back and forth, especially if there's breaking news or if news is still a little unsettled and we're trying to determine where it's at. During the (last federal) election we did share coverage. They posted some of our stories on their site and we took some of theirs on ours."

"And, they are routinely linking, if they're doing a story on their site and we have television footage on that story, they'll link from their site to a TV story." In fact, a live link to ctvnews.com's coverage of the Summit of Americas in Quebec City was at the top of the Globe's web page for much of last week. Surfers can watch a live feed of Newsnet via a link through globeandmail.com.

When asked if he envisions a future where reporters might attend a morning event, file an immediate report on it for the web, appear during the noon news to talk about it and then write a more detailed report for the next day's paper: "Yes, I think we'll see that happen," said Sikstrom. "It's still early days and we're still trying to learn and understand and become acquainted with each other's operations."

But, he added, this multi-tasking reporter of the future - and there are journalists out there who would love to do all of this - doesn't mean the news operations will be merged.

"I must remind you that we are committed at BGM (Bell Globemedia) that, as we told the Commission, the Globe and CTV News are distinct and will remain separate news entities. While we're certainly going to co-operate and cross-fertilize, we're not merging as news operations."
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CTV STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES

CTV Inc. ("CTV") acknowledges the importance of diversity of voices in the context of commonly owned media.

CTV commits to adhere to the following principles and practices:

1. CTV adheres to the Broadcasting Act in its entirety and specifically in this context to sub-section 3(i)(iv) of the Broadcasting Act which requires that "the programming provided by the Canadian broadcasting system should provide a reasonable opportunity for the public to be exposed to the expression of differing views on matters of public concern";

2. CTV will maintain its own news management structure for CTV television operations which is separate and distinct from that of its affiliated newspaper holdings. Journalistic content and presentation decisions for CTV will be made by CTV television news management;

3. CTV news managers will not sit on editorial boards of any affiliated newspapers;

4. CTV will establish an internal mechanism to deal with complaints arising from any of the principles and practices included herein, and will report back to the CRTC on an annual basis;

5. CTV will maintain its membership with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and will continue to adhere to each of the Codes under its purview, including the CAB Code of Ethics, and will continue to adhere to the RTNDA Code of Ethics;

6. This Statement shall be communicated to employees; and

7. Through Public Service Announcements, our audiences shall be made aware of this Statement and the new complaints mechanism as well as the existing complaint mechanism through the CBSC.
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GLOBAL STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES

Global Television Network Inc. ("Global") acknowledges the importance of diversity of voices in the context of commonly owned media.

Global commits to adhere to the following principles and practices:

1. Global adheres to the Broadcasting Act in its entirety and specifically in this context to sub-section 3(i)(iv) of the Broadcasting Act which requires that "the programming provided by the Canadian broadcasting system should provide a reasonable opportunity for the public to be exposed to the expression of differing views on matters of public concern";

2. Global will maintain its own news management structure for Global television operations which is separate and distinct from that of the CanWest newspaper holdings. Journalistic content and presentation decisions for Global will be made by Global television news management;

3. Global news managers will not sit on editorial boards of any newspapers owned or controlled by CanWest;

4. Global will establish an internal mechanism to deal with complaints arising from any of the principles and practices included herein, and will report back to the CRTC on an annual basis;

5. Global will maintain its membership with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and will continue to adhere to each of the Codes under its purview, including the CAB Code of Ethics, and will continue to adhere to the RTNDA Code of Ethics;

6. This Statement shall be communicated to employees; and

7. Through Public Service Announcements, our audiences shall be made aware of how to contact us and the existing complaint mechanisms through the CBSC and Press Councils.




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