Blog by John Miller

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Whose head rolls?

August 28th, 2020

Bruce Arthur, the Toronto Star’s marquee sports columnist, signed it. So did veteran, award-winning reporters Peter Edwards, Jennifer Yang, Jesse McLean, Katie Daubs and Wendy Gillis. Scott Colby signed in his position of editor of the Star’s opinion pages. And so did what looks like a multi-cultural majority  of the paper’s younger journalists.

They included team editors, digital producers, ...

Fraudulent martyrs

July 10th, 2020

Protesters in Portland, Oregon, tore down a statue of George Washington the other day. One honoring John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, was taken down by a vote of Victoria city council.

A growing anti-racism movement is about to force its owners to rename the Washington Redskins and perhaps the same fate will befall the Edmonton Eskimos.

Professors and academic administrators ...

Let's get it right

June 16th, 2020

How can Canadian news organizations recognize and cure systemic racism?

It’s hard work. But it’s work that needs to be done.

Prompted by Black Lives Matter protests and fueled by years of empty promises to make themselves more representative of society, some news organizations and schools of journalism are wrestling with demands for change.

Some, like the CBC, are hemorrhaging in public, w ...

Call it racism

June 9th, 2020

I spent most of my academic career documenting the lack of racial diversity in Canadian newsrooms, and studying the stereotypical and inaccurate coverage it often helped to produce, particularly when the news involved Muslims, Blacks and Indigenous people.

I politely called it “blind spots” or being “out of touch with your community.”

It was really something much worse—institutional or syst ...

Under new owners

May 28th, 2020

Twenty years ago, when newspapers were still strong enough to go to war against each other, David Asper went out of his way to take a shot at the Toronto Star, which he said printed "irrational tirades" and was where "a dead owner is controlling the show."

The Asper family at the time owned Canwest Global, which had gobbled up Southam's chain of newspapers to join Izzy Asper's Global TV n ...

The paper killer

May 13th, 2020

That great showman, P.T. Barnum, once said: “He who is without a newspaper is cut off from his species.”

Welcome to the new normal in Canada: Since March 11, when the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic for COVID-19, tens of thousands of us have been cut off from our only sources of local news.

In a startling finding, the Local News Research Project at Ryerson’s School ...

Bad whitesplaining

February 18th, 2020

Call it the shameful ‘whitesplaining’ of the Wet’suwet’en protest.

As Canada’s crippling rail shutdown reaches into its third week, an overwhelming majority of voices in the country’s mainstream media have spoken: The Aboriginal demonstrators, who claim they are defending their lands from a natural gas pipeline they do not want, are lawless thugs or fringe activists and it’s time for actio ...

Trumping truth

January 26th, 2020

Mary Louise Kelly has been a journalist for 25 years. She anchors the American daily news show All Things Considered on National Public Radio, and usually asks tough questions but, in my opinion, fair ones. She is an experienced reporter, previously for CNN and the BBC, and has a masters degree in European studies from Cambridge University.

Mike Pompeo, the oil-rig salesman who Donald Trum ...

The wrong horses

November 22nd, 2019

The Toronto Star has never been good at saying goodby. Not only that, it has a long and disturbing tradition of choosing to do it just before Christmas.

I was reminded of that this week, when parent company Torstar announced the closing of its five free commuter newspapers across Canada, and cynically characterized the move as part of “our national expansion plan.” Seventy-three employees, m ...

A shameful failure

October 1st, 2019

One year ago today, at 1:14 in the afternoon, American journalist Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, where he’d been told he could be issued papers to marry his fiancé.

We now know that the Saudi-born columnist for the Washington Post was lured there under false pretenses. Waiting for him was a 15-person elite Saudi hit squad with orders to assassinate him ...

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