Illustration of a news team, selling ads, writing copy and tweeting.

Journalism is the business of influence

Good journalists do what they do because they care. They have interests. The organizations that employ journalists also are guided by interests. They have purpose. The Washington Post wears their […]


A jumble of letters, spelling "fake news"

Journalism’s allergy to substantive regulation

Misinformation is a big deal. Hate online is a big deal. And as the public catches up to their reach and impact, we’ll see more and more talk about regulation […]


Maclean's cover mash up of Conservative figures; Maclean's is right wing.

Paul Wells, conservatism, satire, and Maclean’s footprint

I like Maclean’s about as much as I like the National Post. They’re rightwing, partisan, and legacy. On my view they have courted hate and burned trust, undermining journalism along […]


A field of burnt stumps for as far as the eye can see.

Hyperlinking in Canadian journalism (Case study, IPBES report)

If news orgs are serious about being good partners in mitigating misinformation, they need to link meaningfully to relevant references and especially science-based organizations…


Giant cogs drawn in blue and corral with small bodies ground between the gears.

The dominant press is a giant inertia machine

But here’s an old idea: what if dominant journalism, by and large and in the long run, is actually a drag on progress? What if dominant journalism, and by that I mean the mainstream press, is actually a conservative force? On this view, it’s a drag on change…


A video recorder makes a first pass at a woman speaking in a library, before massive edits.

Regulating fake video

Deep fakes, or the ability to manipulate people’s actions in videos, were in the news recently. Macleans wrote a very concerned article December of 2018. This will be the year […]


Angel in Islamic painting

Canadian journalism fails at nuance when it comes to jihad

On my view the news media in Canada have, by and large and in the long run, misrepresented the concept of jihad. They have positioned jihad as a form of villainy. In so doing they have portrayed Islam as a peril…


The Angel Gabriel as depicted by Bernardino de Betto.

Some notes on why jihad is good

If you read Canadian journalists on the topic, you might not understand that jihad has some very nice meanings. Most Canadian journalists seem to commonly misrepresent the concept. It’s not just them, mind you. There’s lots of misrepresentation of jihad to go around…


There are more ads than articles in the June 2nd BC Edition of the A Section of the Globe and Mail.

Ads versus articles in the Saturday BC Edition of the Globe and Mail, A Section

Here’s the A Section of the Globe and Mail. It’s the BC edition for June 2nd, 2018. There are 19 reports and 5 opinion pieces. I counted the weather section […]


A well worn drawer of type sits with a wide range of individual type setting pieces sitting on it.

Anadrome, semordnilap and levidrome: a whimsical example of problematic information

How a heartwarming news story about an interesting linguistic phenomenon widely mislead people that there are no words to describe that spell different words when they’re reversed…


Panels of illustrations from the Great Moon Hoax of 1835.

More nuanced theories of journalism needed

A good theory of journalism helps us understand what media are not journalistic. And, equally important, a theory helps us understand what unconventional kinds of media are journalistic…


Several rows of old school card catalogues at a library

A newspaper is an index

What does an Auto Trader, a phone book, a card catalog, a post office, a mall map, Google and a newspaper all have in common…


An 18th Century painting of the great fire of Salem, by Salemer Klosterbrand.

Salvaging trust: confronting journalism’s deep wrongs

News orgs make a big deal about fixing typos and issuing corrections. But what if there’s a much deeper trust problem…


Canadaland podcast issues a racist headline: Ezra Issues A Fatwa

Racist trope: fatwa as act of villainy

I’ve become numb to racism in legacy media in Canada. But to see Canadaland unthinkingly repeat a racist trope angers …


A close up of an old typewriter keyboard

Journalism techniques for avoiding criticism

There is a kind of journalist that pretends their work is beyond criticism. It’s an art form. Here’s a rough taxonomy of techniques..


Famous press release: Nederlands: Perskaart Wim Simons, De Dom.1948

Media should always link to press releases

Canadian journalists and other forms of media types rely on press releases written by public relations pros and the problem can be easily fixed by…


Colby Cosh says Stephen Marche is a cunt

That time Colby Cosh called Stephen Marche a cunt: casual misogyny among Canadian journalists

In which Colby Cosh calls Stephen Marche a cunt, and then Jonathan Kay and Stephen Marche and Andrew Coyne totally miss the point …


A sign with bullet holes in it says to keep out, private land

Why Queen’s Park Today might not be journalism (yet)

Some thoughts regarding what counts as journalism particularly as it relates to Queen’s Park Today, and subscription news that arrives by email…


Toronto Star seems to want to make sure that nobody knows who Barbara Davidson is

Toronto Star still getting the facts wrong about Pulitzer Prize winning Canadians

The Toronto Star continues to be wrong about “Canada’s only Pulitzer-prize winning journalist”. Yes, Paul Watson won a Pulitzer. But Barbara Davidson has two…


Booth and Bones pose in front of Medussa

The Evil Woman trope

In which the Evil Women trope is discussed. Women are over-represented as evil villains, murderers and criminal masterminds …


The Christians storm the beach during the crusades and capture a city of Muslims

Reframe: nobody has a right to be served by journalism

When critically considering a given piece of journalism, we might ask ourselves, was it informative? was it engaging? was it helpful? So it’s rather sad that others, when faced with criticism, are inclined to ask simply, was it legal?


Gears on the handlebars of the backwards bicycle

Cognitive bias and the backwards bicycle test

The backwards bicycle is a hilarious and damning insight into the challenges of understanding and resisting deeply ingrained ways of thinking and doing…


White journalists sit around a busy news room, black and white

Yes, journalists are* responsible for their headlines

Unfortunately, headlines are, often enough, hyperbolic, clickbaity, misleading, having secondary content, racist, priming, inappropriate or ill-judged. Engaged readers will complain to the author. The author, enraged with righteous indignation, will bark, “I didn’t write the headline…


a floating crown in triangles

What are your priors?

Maybe Bayes theorem can help right wing commentators better understand, and respect, the language of privilege …