Blog by John Miller

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Road to oblivion

December 2nd, 2017

When the history of Canadian newspapers (or, more likely, their obituary) is written, this may go down as the week we heard the first death rattles.

It started with the largest mass closure of newspapers in Canada’s history. Staff at 11 Ontario community newspapers and two free dailies in Toronto and Vancouver arrived for work Monday morning to find the doors locked. Their jobs were gone jus ...

Step up to plate

October 28th, 2017
The Toronto Star welcomed news that a majority of its city's population now identifies as non-white by issuing a challenge to what it called the leading civic institutions: It's time to step up to the plate and reflect this diversity.

In an editorial, the paper said "there's still a yawning gap between Toronto's demographic reality and the makeup of its leadership in almost all sectors -- ...

Fight the right

August 15th, 2017

After Charlottesville, Ezra Levant sounds like a man who long ago jumped into shark-infested waters, and is only now starting to complain about the swimming conditions.

His far-right Rebel Media website is under fire for celebrating and catering to the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who fomented violence and death on the streets of the Virginia city last weekend. It is a charge Levant trie ...

This ship of fools

August 4th, 2017

“Do you need a break from Liberals and socialists?”

That’s what Rebel Media, Canada’s poor cousin of right-wing Breitbart News, is currently advertising on its website – a week-long November getaway to the Caribbean aboard a luxurious cruise ship.
The catch? You have to spend most of your seven days hanging out with Rebel Media’s loonie bin of right-wing commentators.

Imagine yourself r ...

A terrible idea

June 19th, 2017
Once upon a time, any possibility of the government intruding in the affairs of Canada’s newspapers elicited great caterwauls of protest from righteous publishers, who feared the alien hand touching their hems might be about to make a grab for their virginity.

That’s no longer true. Now publishers have their hands out and are shaking their booties.

The sluts! Things are so bad they want gov ...

Missing the story

May 20th, 2017

Sometimes if you need to wander into a forest to look for something, you can't find it. But you’re often so busy looking, you miss something more important – like a hungry bear stealing up on your flank.

That’s what happened to one of my favourite journalism sites, J-Source. “Canada’s National Newspaper Awards have a diversity problem,” it announced recently, following an analysis of the Nat ...

A humble suggestion

May 13th, 2017

Since I wrote about the controversy over a columnist’s activism at my old newspaper, I have been criticized for betraying long-held standards of journalism that say editorial employees cannot be both actors and critics. Journalists, in other words, cannot allow their outside activities to taint the paper’s reputation for objectivity.

Desmond Cole resigned his twice-a-month column on the Toro ...

Wake up. It's 2017

May 13th, 2017

Sometimes, when you do something stunningly boneheaded, you can get away with it. More often, you do not.

So it doesn’t take a genius to know that, if you’re devoting an issue of your magazine to a celebration of Indigenous writers, you don’t take the opportunity to encourage more white people to write about those subjects.

I mean, as if we haven’t had enough of that!

Hal Niedzviecki paid t ...


May 4th, 2017

This is a tale of two columnists, and how they were treated very differently by Canada’s largest newspaper.

All they have in common is that neither is still writing there.

That loss, I say, is the reader’s.

Catherine Porter is white and a longtime staff writer who wrote a column on social justice issues -- climate change, international development, women's rights, poverty and community ac ...

The Desmond Cole rule

April 22nd, 2017

Shortly after his most controversial public appearance yet, Desmond Cole tweeted: “Have y'all noticed that when I speak my truth, I'm often described as an activist, but no longer as a journalist or author or radio host?”

Toronto media reports told how Cole, who writes for Torontoist online and the Toronto Star in print, disrupted a meeting of the Toronto Police Service Board this week by ra ...
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