Category: Journalism

Why do the majority of your executive lunch profiles feature men? How about a greater proportion of females?

Monique Morden from Vancouver asks: “Why do the vast majority of your executive lunch profiles involve men? How about a greater proportion of females?” Claire Neary, a senior editor in Report on Business who works on The Lunch, explains:

You’re right. Since we launched The Lunch in October of 2010 we have featured more men than women, and we know we need to do better at bringing more diversity to the popular Saturday feature and to the Report on Business in general.

Four years ago, we set out to sit down with big names and get them speaking about timely and provocative subjects. We tried to bring our readers some of the biggest names in corporate Canada and beyond and use our unique access as journalists to give readers a closer look at prominent business figures and what drives them. We’ve featured a number of Canadian and international CEOs and leaders, including Air Canada’s chief Calin Rovinescu, former Pimco boss Bill Gross, activist investor Bill Ackman, Kinross CEO Paul Rollinson, Virgin Group head Richard Branson and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz – and yes, like the c-suites of many of our biggest companies, we’ve had a lot of men.

But we’ve also featured some very powerful women, including media mogul Arianna Huffington, former Lululemon CEO Christine Day, former U.S. federal deposit insurance corporation chair Sheila Blair, former Rio Tinto Alcan CEO Jacynthe Côté and Ontario Teachers Pension plan chair Eileen Mercier.

This year in particular, we’ve tried to find lunch subjects beyond the corporate world to feature leaders making waves in various sectors. Recently we’ve lunched with copyright crusader Ruth Vitale, former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion, Peng-Sang Cau, an entrepreneur who escaped Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge and founded an innovative manufacturing company, India’s first female bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, McGill principal and vice-chancellor Suzanne Fortier, business journalist Amanda Lang and British investment executive and advocate for women on boards, Helena Morrissey.

And we’ve got our eye on many more. Not everyone is comfortable opening up to a journalist for a feature like the lunch and sometimes our requests get turned down, but we’ll keep trying.

Follow Claire Neary on Twitter, and tell her who the ROB should have lunch with next.

Magnotta admitted to killing Jun Lin: Shouldn’t the jury be considering his psychiatric assessment alone?

“Luka Magnotta has admitted he killed Jun Lin but says he is not guilty by reason of insanity,” writes Jennifer Sydenham from Vancouver. “So why are they reviewing all the details? Shouldn’t they just be looking at the psychiatric assessment?” Les Perreaux, national correspondent for The Globe who has been following the trial in Montreal, explains:

While the basic facts in the murder trial of Luka Magnotta are not in dispute, the meaning of those facts is hotly contested. Mr.  Magnotta’s murder trial has dragged on for 10 weeks, double initial estimates, as the Crown and defence have combed through every exhibit, crime scene photograph and piece of forensic evidence.

At first glance, it may seem like a waste of time given Mr. Magnotta’s defence team admitted on Day 1 of the trial that he killed Mr. Lin, dismembered his body, and mailed out some parts, including to Canadian political leaders in Ottawa. But Mr. Magnotta has pleaded not guilty, saying he is not criminally responsible (NCR) for the crimes because a mental defect made it impossible for him to appreciate the horror of what he did or to even realize it was wrong.

The Crown disagrees, saying he was of sound mind when he committed the crime.

Psychiatric experts have an important role to play in the trial offering opinions on Mr. Magnotta’s mental state but they don’t all agree. Experts for the defence say Mr. Magnotta is schizophrenic and was too ill to be held responsible for the killing. The Crown’s expert disagrees entirely.

A jury of 12 ordinary citizens will ultimately decide. This is where 10 weeks of facts they’ve heard become important.

“The case is heavily dependent on facts: on things he did, things he said, his demeanour and behaviour and reactions, all of that is evidence the jury could use to assist it in coming to that determination,” said Carissima Mathen, a law professor at the University of Ottawa.

“One of the interesting things about this area of criminal law is that the shrinks don’t have all the answers. It’s still very much a case by case determination. Shrinks don’t tell us whether someone was suffering from a mental disorder and should not be found not criminally responsible, a jury decides that.”

In the course of Mr. Magnotta’s trial, the Crown called one of Mr. Lin’s ex-lovers and the defence insisted on presenting before the jury each of hundreds of exhibits, from knives to an electric saw to bloody clothing to paper used to wrap body parts. Jurors have also seen terrible video depicting much of the crime, along with hours of tedious security camera footage showing Mr. Magnotta’s more mundane comings and goings.

Some of the evidence will help the jury decide Mr. Magnotta was either insane or fully functional but some “may also be window dressing,” according to David Butt, a Toronto-based criminal lawyer. “The prosecution may want to go into detail to persuade the jury he is fully functional. The other possibility is they want to go into those details to emphasize the horrific nature of the killing, which may make the jury more reluctant to accept the NCR defence.

“One reason is more substantive, and the other more strategic.”

Occasionally cases hinging on mental illness wrap up much more quickly. The trial of Vince Li, the man who beheaded a passenger on a Greyhound bus in Manitoba, wrapped up in just a couple days because the Crown did not contest that he was a sick man.  “If both parties agree the accused was not criminally responsible at the time, these cases can be done in an hour,” Mr. Butt said.

Prof. Mathen said finding precedents for guidance in an NCR murder case like Mr. Magnotta’s is not easy.  “It’s an extraordinary case.  I don’t know how many comparatives we would have where there’s a claim of NCR in a case so notorious with such horrific facts,” she said.

“But ultimately, the decision is what we call a question of fact. It is something that would need to be evaluated by the jury in light of all the evidence. So it’s not surprising to me that the Crown wants to paint as vivid a picture as possible.”

Read more from Les Perreaux, and follow the developments of the Magnotta trial

Where does The Globe have foreign and national correspondents?

Eric Jensen in Winnipeg asks: “How many correspondents does The Globe have in Canada and around the world?” The Globe has 10 foreign correspondents, based all over the world. See all of our foreign correspondents in the video above.  (Click the video to pause it.)

In order of appearance, along with the city they are based in:

Omar El Akkad  – Portland, Oregon.
Joanna Slater – New York City (Currently on a temporary assignment in Berlin)
Paul Koring – Washington, D.C.
Mark MacKinnon – London, England
Eric Reguly – Rome, Italy
Geoffrey York – Johannesberg, South Africa
Stephanie Nolen – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Nathan VanderKlippe – Beijing, China
Sonia Verma – Doha, Qatar
Patrick Martin – Based in Toronto, with frequent forays to Middle East (in Baghdad at time of publication.)

In Canada, The Globe has reporters in 8 cities across the country:

Ottawa

Kim Mackrael, News reporter
Josh Wingrove, Parliamentary reporter
Daniel Leblanc,Parliamentary reporter
Steven Chase, Parliamentary reporter
Gloria Galloway, Parliamentary reporter
Bill Curry, Federal policy reporter
John Ibbitson, Political writer (on leave)
Campbell Clark, Chief political writer
Kathryn Blaze Carlson, Parliamentary reporter
Erin Anderssen, Features writer
Jeffrey Simpson, National affairs columnist
Rob Carrick, Personal finance columnist
Barrie McKenna, Business correspondent
Shawn McCarthy, Global energy reporter
Chris Hannay, Digital politics editor
Ryan MacDonald, Politics editor

Montreal

Les Perreaux, News reporter
Ingrid Peritz, National correspondent
André Picard, Public Health reporter
Nicholas Van Praet, Business correspondent
Bertrand Marotte, Business reporter

Halifax

Jane Taber, Atlantic correspondent 

Calgary

Allan Maki, Sports reporter
Carrie Tait, Energy reporter
Jeff Lewis, Energy reporter
Kelly Cryderman, Business reporter
Jeff Jones, Business columnist
Eric Duhatschek, Sports columnist

Edmonton

Justin Giovannetti, News reporter

Victoria

Justine Hunter, B.C. politics reporter

Vancouver

Wendy Cox, B.C. editor
Ian Bailey, News reporter
Sunny Dhillon, News reporter
Andrea Woo, Multimedia reporter
Mark Hume, National correspondent
Gary Mason, National affairs columnist
Dave Ebner, Sports correspondent
Wendy Stueck, National correspondent
Brent Jang, Business reporter
Iain Marlow, Asia-Pacific correspondent, based in Vancouver
Marsha Lederman, Arts reporter
Adriana Barton, Life reporter
John Lehmann, Staff photographer
Alex Gill, Restaurant critic
Frances Bula, Urban affairs

Fort McMurray

Newly established bureau launched this month, with rotating reporters and staff.  Currently Colin Freeze.

Will newspapers survive?

“I’m a newspaper junkie. Will they survive?” Simon Dingley asked us on Twitter.  “I hope we don’t turn into Detroit where the paper is only available online some days.” James Bradshaw, The Globe’s media reporter offers his best prediction:

Bad luck, Simon – our crystal ball is on the fritz, and our backup Magic 8-Ball keeps turning up “Ask again later.” But let’s see what we can divine from the constellation of forces reshaping a centuries-old print business.

Will newspapers survive? Yes. (Though admittedly, as a newspaper reporter I may be predisposed to believe that). How many, for how long, and to what degree they will continue to resemble what lands on your doorstep each morning are all questions that are harder to answer.

Despite widespread uncertainty and a digital shift that is wrenching newspapers into a new era, there are some encouraging signs for a print junkie. Take The Globe and Mail’s own printing contract with Transcontinental Inc., worth $1.7-billion and good through 2028: The Globe plans to be in print for some time. Publisher and CEO Phillip Crawley told an audience at an industry event early this year, “I would expect to [still] print the Globe six days a week in ten years’ time.”

If you follow the money, you might also find some short-term comfort. One example: At Postmedia Network Canada Corp., which owns the National Post, Calgary Herald and Montreal Gazette among other papers, slightly more than 50 per cent of total revenue came from print advertising in the company’s last quarter. Digital revenue accounted for just 13.8 per cent. For now, print still pays the bills at many publications.

Yet that gap is narrowing by the month, with print ad revenue at some newspapers falling by upwards of 20 per cent year over year. Reader trends are undeniably pushing newspapers to build on their digital offerings, and in a time of shrunken budgets, that cannot help but pull resources away from print production. The American Society of News Editors estimates that U.S. daily newspapers shed some 20,000 jobs over the last decade. Some new jobs have been created in recent years, but research suggests most are digitally focused.

La Presse, the French-language daily owned by a subsidiary of Power Corp. of Canada, is out on a digital limb, all but promising readers its print edition will vanish in the coming years. Last summer, an executive at the newspaper predicted that day will be “before 2020.”

Instead, La Presse has been trying to shift its readership to a tablet edition, produced six days a week and free to download, which offers an experience much more like reading a print newspaper than most news websites. The Toronto Star is partnering with La Presse to build a similar tablet edition, and at launch, the Star will abandon its experiment in making readers pay for online news.

What seems clear is that news outlets will go where people will read their journalism, especially if those audiences will shell out a few dollars to do so. Increasingly that means online, particularly on mobile phones and tablets. Scores of print papers still deliver to devoted subscribers, but bankrupted Detroit isn’t the only place where some are struggling to sustain that: The National Post stopped publishing print editions on summer Mondays years ago.

This week, the Orange County Register – a daily in California – made headlines for a cost-saving gambit that asked reporters and other employees to volunteer to wake before dawn and help deliver the paper, and to answer calls from readers with delivery problems. (They were paid for their trouble, sometimes in gift cards, according to a story in The New York Times).

Whether that’s a canary in the coal mine, a testament to the industry’s determination to get a newspaper to your door, or a mixture of both is up to you to decide.

Shameless plug: If you love newspapers and would like to see them stick around, might we suggest a subscription?

Why is it that The Globe no longer shows the daily stock prices?

“Why is it that The Globe no longer shows the daily stock prices such as the TSX or the Dow?” Richard Boudreau from Gatineau asked. Many readers had questions about finding stocks on globeandmail.com. Alasdair McKie, the Globe newsroom’s ambassador with IT and Digital, explains:

The chart of main prices (TSX, S&P 500, Dow, Nasdaq, CAD, Gold and Oil) was removed from the homepage earlier this week due to its effect on site stability. We are working on a solution that will allow it to return soon to the main homepage. It is still present on the ROB homepage.

Any individual stock can be looked up using the search box across the site. For example, searching for “Royal Bank” gives this result in the live search results (the drop-down that appears as you type a search term):

Clicking on any of the results will take you to a stock information page for each stock symbol.

To track your stocks, mutual funds and cash balances, check out Globe Investor’s ‘My Portfolio’ tools.

What advice would you give an up-and-coming sports journalist?

Aspiring sports writer and Globe reader @casey_dulson asks: “What advice would you give an up and coming sports journalist?” As an experienced sports columnist, The Globe’s Cathal Kelly knows sports – but more importantly, his writing  appeals to those who don’t know everything about A-Rod, or anything about soccer. Following the day of the Ottawa attack, Kelly’s piece about the day of no hockey could serve as a lesson in sports-writing in itself.

Kelly’s advice for you:

Here’s the key ability of sportswriter – waiting.

Waiting in hallways, and press boxes, and offices, and outside arenas, in bad hotel rooms in worse cities, and by your phone. You spend half your life waiting for something to happen. Once it does, you spend the other half waiting for someone to talk to you about it.

It’s the spaces in between where you make your mark. Here’s my (totally flawed) formula for making it as a sportswriter.

Be good – This is a dual function of innate talent and reading. A very few of us are born with it. The rest of us copy it from our betters – and think more Richard Yates than Frank DeFord. You could be a natural genius. But you’re probably not. So read a lot and try to do what they did.

Be nice – Never fail to make a friend. The players can afford to be jerks. Everyone else in the game gets where they are because they are agreeable to be around. Do so. Never run anyone down. Be generous. Buy the first and last round. Talk people up. Ask questions. Do more listening than talking. Sow kindness and you will reap success.

Be different – You ever been to the Museu Picasso in Barcelona? It shows the young master doing the photo-realistic stuff everyone else had done. But he did it aged 11. By 20, he was in Paris doing something completely different. It’s a big world – be different. I can’t tell you what that looks like. Decide for yourself.

Do it alone – Look at what drunkjaysfans.com has managed. Call them, listen to them. Then ruthlessly exploit them. They are the 21st century Canadian-based template of DIY sportswriting excellence.

Be relentless – Once you’ve met the first four criteria, pick a half-dozen jobs you’d like and target them. Make calls. Ask stupid questions. You’d be amazed how open journos are to people who come without any answers. We love questions. We suspect answers. Find out who can hire you and begin – gently – badgering them. Be good. Be really good. Don’t come until you’re good. If you’re good, then come.

Remember what it’s about – It’s about writing. It’s not about sports. Sports is electricity. Writing is the delivery system. No one has ever made money off electricity. Adjust accordingly.

Be deferential – On the first day in the office, you will see me trying to figure out my expenses. Offer to help do my expenses. And when my expenses are refused, offer to pay them for me. It’s a long road. Start out with generosity.

Follow Cathal Kelly on Twitter and read more from Globe Sports here.

What does it take to get a journalism job with The Globe?

Recent journalism school graduate Steven Chmielash asks: What does it take to get a job with The Globe? Jim Sheppard, the Executive Editor of globeandmail.com, who often oversees the hiring of our summer editorial staff and academic-year internships, offers insight into the process and challenges of the industry:

Every hiring editor in The Globe newsroom is looking for a different mix of experience, news judgment, writing ability, personal determination and other qualities. In senior reporting or editing positions, there’s a heavy emphasis on past performance as well as future potential. I can’t answer on behalf of all of them, because each job and each editor is different. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. But you say you’re a recent journalism graduate, so I’ll try to tackle your question from the perspective of what we seek in a journalist trying to obtain an entry-level position.

First of all, in case anyone still doubts it, let me stress how very difficult it is to get a permanent-staff job at the entry level in almost any major Canadian media outlet. Staff levels are being reduced almost everywhere. New jobs are rarely being added – except in some highly specialized areas, most often in the digital sphere.

Add to that the fact that competition for these positions has become increasingly fierce in recent years. We have more than 800 applicants for 18 positions on our summer 2015 vacation-relief program. A committee of eight senior Globe staffers puts in many, many hours trying to determine whom to hire because these are fully-paid union-wage jobs to replace our vacationing staff during the summer months. We interview annually more than 100 journalists – young and old, experienced or recent graduates, from all parts of Canada and many other countries – before we make our final 18 choices.

So, back to your question.

With that level of competition in mind, we are looking primarily for three things regardless of whether we are hiring for a full-time, part-time, contract, summer or intern position. We want journalists, graduates or students who:

  • demonstrate a passion for their craft
  • express themselves intelligently and concisely across multiple platforms
  • are self-starting, problem-solving, idea-generating reporters, editors, designers, photographers, videographers etc.

It can be rewarding in the long term to pass these initial high hurdles. About one-half of the digital staff now working at The Globe have come to us through the academic-year internship program or the summer vacation-relief program, or both.

View our current job postings, and read more about working at The Globe & Mail

Why does The Globe spell ‘Quebecker’ differently than I do?

“Why do you insist on spelling Quebecers with a k?” asked reader Jesse Aubin on The Globe’s Facebook page.  “It’s not Quebeker, it’s Quebecer. Just like Quebecois is spelled with a c… In all of my years growing up and reading, I’ve never seen anyone spell it the way you guys spell it.”

Gerald Owen, editorial board member and expert on Globe style, found the answer. He looked up the word in the Globe & Mail Style Book, which is given to all journalists in our newsroom, used to consult our style on abbreviations, punctuation, and much more.

Owen says that “contrary to Jesse’s question, we never write Quebeker without the c, nor does anyone else.” Here’s what our Style Book has to say:

Quebecker

Use this for a resident of the province, following the style of frolic/frolicker, picnic/picnicker and traffic/trafficker. However, if the context demands that we stress we are speaking of a French-speaking resident, in contrast to others in the story who are not, we may use the word Québécois. The feminine is Québécoise.

and

Do not double if the final consonant is h, w, x or y (oohed and ahed, plowed, boxed, annoyed). If the final consonant is c, add a k: panicked, picnicker, Quebecker.

and

Note that franco- is an English prefix as well as a French one. Therefore, write franco-Manitoban and franco-Ontarian, not franco-Manitobaine or franco-Ontarien, unless the word appears as part of an organization name we are giving in French. For guidelines on when we use the word Québécois, see Quebecker (above)

As well, Owen points out, The Canadian Oxford Dictionary has “Quebecer (also Quebecker),” and “Quebecker”.

 A “c” before the vowel “e” suggests an “s” sound – but of course we wouldn’t pronounce it “Quebeeser.” “Quebecker” is long-established in Canadian usage, though some others do write “Quebecer.” “C’ is a letter with an odd, very long history, which admittedly does present problems. In any case, spelling in English is based on both phonetics and history. In fact, English is the most irregularly spelled language in the world.