Blog by John Miller

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Bail out yourself

October 2nd, 2016

Let's say your great-grandfather once made a wonderful living selling expensive fountain pens.

The man made a fortune because that's all people had to write with in the 1920s. He enjoyed his monopoly for years. Then along came a guy named Laszlo Biro with a better idea: a pen with a tiny ball in its tip that was free to turn in a socket.

The ballpoint pen was cheap, simple to use and less ...

RIP newsroom diversity

June 16th, 2016

If you Google "diversity in Canadian newsrooms," you will find that seven out of the first 10 results still cite my research prominently -- something that both surprises and concerns me. You see, the last research I did on that subject is now more than 10 years old.

Isn't that proof enough that diversity at news organizations has fallen off the radar?

No news organization seems to be openl ...

An affair at work

June 9th, 2016

Office affairs. They happen. Many are consensual, stay private and hurt no one. Some endure and can lead to marriage; of course, they can also break marriages up. Some simmer for a while and die out without affecting anyone else. Others can turn toxic and infect the entire workplace.
On balance, you can't call them good or bad. When so many of us spend as much time at work as we do at home, ...

Why Wente won

May 9th, 2016

I have never met or spoken to David Walmsley, who is editor of the Globe and Mail. But in many ways I admire the way he has set his paper's course in what are troubled times for the newspaper industry.

Among other things, he has invested heavily in investigative journalism, and embarked on a campaign to document the plight of Canadian victims of Thalidomide (who have not been adequately comp ...

Turning a blind eye

May 1st, 2016

At the bottom right-hand corner of the page her column usually occupies every Saturday, a note yesterday said "Margaret Wente will return."

Just that. There may be no column by her today, or perhaps next week, but she will definitely return.

That should tell us several things about how Canada's most respected newspaper is handling Wente's current bout with allegations of plagiarism.

First ...

Wente must go

April 26th, 2016
So let's call this Wentegate: The Sequel.

Once again, the Globe and Mail has been forced to correct and apologize for the ethical transgressions of its most prominent commentator, Margaret Wente.

And once again, it has handled the problem in a less than satisfactory manner.

Two correction/apologies published in today's paper address what the Globe calls errors in attribution in columns written b ...

Let's be accountable

December 4th, 2015

In case you haven't heard (and I'm sure you haven't), Canada has a new national body to hear complaints about what you think is wrong in newspapers, magazines and online news sites.

It's called the National NewsMedia Council, and it describes itself as an amalgamation of the old Ontario, Atlantic and British Columbia press councils. But that's not really correct: It's replacing the British ...

The Hall of Shame

November 26th, 2015
Even Paul Godfrey seemed surprised when he was installed in Canada's News Hall of Fame this week.

"I was quite surprised," he said in his acceptance speech. "I'm not a journalist, I don't pretend to be a journalist."

The man should not be surprised about another development, though -- the negative reaction his "honour" is receiving among many journalists. As CEO of Postmedia Network Canada ...

Bye bye newspapers

November 10th, 2015

Way back in the 1980s, Canadian publisher Stuart Keate said that being in the newspaper business doesn't make much sense.

"Ask yourself: is there another business quite like it? Where the product may vary widely, in size and content, from day to day, but always sells for a fixed price? Where, having gone through a sophisticated laser system straight out of NASA, it is handed over to a tw ...

A PR disaster

October 28th, 2014
If Jian Gomeshi was still on the air, he'd be all over this story. That's what Q did best.

It explored the intersections of interesting and emerging cultural trends. Like why a star has to lose his job because of what he does in his private life. Like what are the limits of consent in sexual relationships. Like when pandering to your friends on Facebook can help you and when it can be absolut ...
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