Perhaps you have seen this speech Kevin Spacey gave at the Edinburgh Television Festival last month. It's been making the rounds on tech and entertainment sites, and has more than a million views. But if not, please take four minutes for the pithiest explanation I've heard of the disruption that has upended the television and motion picture industries. [Video link] A few excerpts: The success of the Netflix model—releasing the entire season of House of Cards at once—proves one thing: The audience wants the control. They want the freedom...

Please read journalist Peter Maass's spellbinding account of how reporter/polemicist Glenn Greenwald and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras collaborated in bringing to light NSA leaker Edward J. Snowden's disclosures about massive illegal spying by the US Government. Seriously, if you read nothing else this week, do read this richly detailed, 10,000-word account of how Snowden made contact with Poitras, how Poitras roped Greenwald into the project, and how they communicate privately when all three are targeted by the most sophisticated electronic spying in the world. It reads alternately like a novel, a spy thriller, a quirky travelog, and most importantly, like detailed expose of...

The tagline at the top of this blog, which many readers will recognize as a phrase from the 1967 Beatles song, A Day in the Life, was also the name of a column I wrote for the Boston Globe, where I worked from 1968 to 1970. It was my first job in journalism. The Globe was the most progressive big city daily in the United States, the only one to favour unilateral withdrawal from Vietnam.  It was also a great place to work. In an era of political and cultural tumult, the paper's managers reached out to rebellious young readers in a concerted...

After months of counting tiny beans, Nova Scotia's politician-despising, publicity-loving, limelight-hogging Auditor General has grudgingly conceded what everyone knows: MLA Michel Sampson Samson lives in Arichat and fully qualifies for reimbursement of necessary Halifax expenses. [See: news release. Full report (pdf)] Then, predictably, Lapointe found a mean-spirited technicality on which he could deny Samson those legitimate expenses. Samson's Halifax residence doesn't qualify because it's a "house" not an "apartment." What tendentious pettifoggery! The campaign to deprive this elected MLA of the tools needed to do his job effectively was cooked up by a not very discerning CBC reporter, who couldn't distinguish legitimate living...

I enjoy Malcolm Gladwell's writing, and often feel I come away with fresh insights into the way the world works, as opposed to how it appears to work. But I will read Gladwell with more skepticism after reading a spectacular takedown in an unlikely blog called "Ask-a-Korean." If you have followed media coverage of the July 6 crash of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco Airport, you have doubtless heard speculation that Korea's culture of deference to authority, a culture deeply embedded in the Korean language, played a role in the crash. This theory owes much to Gladwell, who devoted a...

The provincial government has changed the Labour Standards Code to protect the jobs of parents who take time off because their child is critically ill or has fallen victim to a serious crime. The changes guarantee a parent's right to return to work at the same pay and working conditions after: up to 37 weeks if they have been caring for a critically ill child up to 104 weeks if their child has died as a result of a crime up to 52 weeks if a child has disappeared as a result of a crime. Who could possibly question measures to ease the suffering of...

Patrick Smith's Ask the Pilot blog adds an astounding data point to the accident, which killed at least two people and injured many more, some very seriously. [T]his was the first multiple-fatality crash involving a major airline in North America since November, 2001. The streak has ended, but it lasted nearly twelve years, with some 20,000 commercial jetliners taking off and landing safely in this country every single day — an astonishing run. Is it perverse to suggest that Saturday’s accident, awful as it was, serves to underscore just how safe commercial flying has become? [Emphasis added] 20,000 x 365 days x...

One month after the apparent death of chronic lobster poacher and trap vandal Philip Boudreau, the CBC continues to falsely identify him as a fisherman.     [Click images for full-sized image.] This is perplexing  The CBC's very capable reporters and editors know full well that Boudreau held no commercial or sport fishing license of any kind. They know his status as a non-fisherman is both a key fact, and a probable factor, in the events leading to his disappearance. Never discount the role of haste in deadline journalism. Toronto web editors who are not the primary reporters covering this story may have simply assumed that a...

On Wednesday, I questioned CBC reporter Phonse Jessome's reporting on the Philip Boudreau killing, and the broader media failure to probe allegations the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the RCMP received many complaints about Boudreau's chronic lobster thievery and trap vandalism over the years, but did little or nothing. In an essay on the CBC's website, Jessome elaborates on his approach to the story (though he makes no overt reference to my criticism). Unfortunately, he sheds no light on why the CBC continues to skirt the DFO-RCMP angle....

On Monday, CBC reporter Phonse Jessome recounted sensational excerpts from what purported to be a confession by one of the fishermen accused of killing Philip Boudreau June 1. He supplemented his reporting with editorial comments that portrayed the killing as an unfathomable escalation of a feud over "fishing territory." Based on widely known but lightly reported facts, the escalation is not unfathomable. To portray it as arising out of a "feud" over “territory” is to adopt one side in highly contentious matter. Tuesday, while reporting a brief court appearance by the accused men, Jessome added more editorial commentary, stressing the trauma experienced by the Boudreau's family, portraying defense...