Editors, Journalists, Publishers

Showing 1-8 of 183 books
Sort by:
View Mode:
Mass Disruption

Mass Disruption

Thirty Years on the Front Lines of a Media Revolution
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover
More Info
Once a Bitcoin Miner

Once a Bitcoin Miner

Scandal and Turmoil in the Cryptocurrency Wild West
edition:Paperback
More Info
Excerpt

 

There was a presentation by Bitwage, which offers a service that allows companies to pay their employees with cryptocurrency. I had been working on a second cryptocurrency article about that very subject, to coincide with Labor Day, and at that event, I met a lot who were taking salaries in Bitcoin—some entirely.

 

One of them was Gerald Cotten, a bright-eyed, sandy-haired 20-something, who like Mt. Gox’s Frenchman Mark Karpeles, seemed to be always smiling. Gerry, as he was known, had founded the exchange platform QuadrigaCX, where people can buy and sell cryptocurrency, and five years later, would die in India and send shockwaves across and beyond the cryptocurrency world—but that is a whole other story.

 

A business-school graduate, Gerry was a fixture in the Toronto’s burgeoning cryptocurrency scene, attending Anthony’s meetups even before the latter had secured his fashion-district building. Reserved, private and an avid player of Settlers of Catan, a nerdy, nerdy strategy board game, Gerry carefully avoided gluten and drank cider instead of beer due to digestive issues.

 

Gerry shook my hand and handed me a black business card, white text upon a dark, perforated steel theme. It was nice-looking, but it was clearly not made by a professional. There were at least three different types of fonts on it.

 

I had known Gerry a little by reputation, but of course, that was not unusual. At the time, there was few places in Canada where you could easily buy and sell cryptocurrency in an organized fashion, with Canadian dollars. Everyone knew Gerry and Quadriga. Aren’t you in Vancouver? I asked.

 

Oh, no, Gerry said, we were, but we just moved to Toronto.

 

I asked Gerry about Quadriga. It was then only nine months old, and it wasn’t doing that well. Only C$7.4 million worth of bitcoin traded hands on the platform that year, and it took in a meager C$22,168 in revenue December 2014 through January 2015, against almost four times that in losses.

 

Yet Gerry had gone all in. “I make all my money in Bitcoin,” he said. He was in for the long haul, a steadfast believer in the future of cryptocurrency.

 

For a while, I almost forgot about all the money I had lost. There was something oddly inspiring about Gerry. I decided to hold on to my Bitcoin.

 

close this panel
Newspapering

Newspapering

50 Years of Reporting from Canada and Around the World
edition:Hardcover
tagged :
More Info
Power, Prime Ministers and the Press
Excerpt

Chapter One: In the Beginning

On Wednesday, November 6, 1867, official Ottawa was abuzz with excitement. A nineteen-gun salute from the Ottawa Field Battery greeted Viscount Charles Stanley Monck, the forty-eight-year-old governor general, as he arrived to preside over the first session of the new nation’s Parliament. After the formalities of swearing in MPs and the Cabinet ended, Sir John A. Macdonald, the fifty-three-year-old prime minister picked by Monck for the role, moved the appointment of the first speaker of the House. Seconding the motion was Macdonald’s seatmate, Sir George-Étienne Cartier. Then, Joseph Dufresne, the Quebec Conservative MP from Montcalm, rose in his seat and, addressing the House in French, protested the election of Honourable James Cockburn of Northumberland West. In the words of the Toronto Globe the next day, Dufresne complained, “the gentleman could not speak the French language. He thought it was to be regretted that, at the inauguration of the new system, greater respect was not shown to Lower Canada in this matter. He looked upon this as a matter of national feeling.” Without further discussion, the House then went about its business in English. Along with the report, the Globe, a partisan Liberal outlet in its day, used an adjacent column in the November 7 paper to condemn Macdonald for using the speaker’s office as a reward for a loyal but unpromising follower.

So much for a smooth start for the first Parliament.

The Globe report was significant: it affirmed the vital role of the press gallery in national affairs, since there were no official records of debates — known as Hansard — until 1875. Indeed, the Parliamentary Press Gallery is as old as Confederation. While the great fire of 1916 that razed the Parliament Buildings destroyed most of the official records, the first volume of the House of Commons Journals mentions the “reporters’ room.” In 1872 the Canadian Illustrated News carried artist Edward Jump’s sketch of the press gallery in the Commons. In fact, pre-Confederation reporters covering the Parliament of Upper Canada actually worked out of the still-under-construction Parliament Buildings in 1866 — an anniversary the press gallery marked with the publication of a retrospective, Sharp Wits &Busy Pens, in May 2016.

The tradition of covering legislatures dates back to the colonial days. John Bushell published the first issue of his Halifax Gazette in 1752. Quebec’s pioneering paper, La Gazette, appeared in 1764. Journalists had reported on political debates in Quebec City since 1792 and established La Tribune de la Presse Québécoise on November 18, 1871. .tienne Parent, the young intellectual who was the guiding spirit of the nationaliste paper Le Canadien, later served as a senior Cabinet official for the Province of Canada, moving as the seat of government shifted among Kingston, Montreal, Toronto, and Quebec City between 1843 and 1859 — and submitting occasional articles to his paper. Other pre-Confederation journalists led the fight for press freedoms and reform. William Lyon Mackenzie, destined to mount the Upper Canada Rebellion against the Family Compact, wrote in his Colonial Advocate: “Wherever the press is not free, the people are poor, abject, degraded slaves.”

Halifax editor Joseph Howe of the Novascotian, George Brown of the Globe, and Parent were among the influential journalists who later played strong, controversial political roles in shaping Canada. Of the ninety-eight-member Province of Canada delegation attending the Charlottetown Conference in 1864, twenty-three were journalists. As educator George Grant observed in 1828, referring to Howe’s activities, “At this time in the history of the world, it was almost impossible to be an editor without being a politician also.”

And how the members of the press gallery could play politics. Thomas White Jr., called “the Father of the Gallery” by the Canadian Illustrated News in 1875, bought the Hamilton Spectator and the Gazette in Montreal before getting elected and becoming Macdonald’s influential minister of the interior. Henri Bourassa left Laurier’s Cabinet and founded Le Devoir in Montreal, later turning over direction of the paper to a gallery veteran, Georges Pelletier. In the 1900s, two English giants of journalism — friendly with the party in power — graduated from the press gallery to become editors of powerful newspapers: John Willison of the Globe in Toronto and John Dafoe of the Free Press in Winnipeg. In almost a direct line, Dafoe’s figurative descendants over the decades continued the close association and influence with Liberal governments, including Grant Dexter of the Winnipeg Free Press, Bruce Hutchison of the Vancouver Sun, and Blair Fraser of Maclean’s. For the Conservatives, there was the irrepressible Grattan O’Leary, who rose from poverty in the Gasp. to the editorship of the Ottawa Journal and was a confidant of three Tory leaders. In an era when there was no Twitter, Snapchat, or email, these men wrote diaries and exchanged letters with leaders and each other, providing a trove of archival material for historians about their thinking and their actions.

From all of that, we know that early press gallery members were a highly partisan lot. Indeed, the seating plan mirrored the one on the floor of the Commons below. London Free Press editor Arthur Ford, who covered his first Parliament in 1907 for the former Winnipeg Telegram, recalled in his memoir, As the World Wags On: “When I first went to the capital, the Liberals were in power and sat, of course, to the right of the Speaker. The representatives of the Liberal press sat in the press gallery also to the right.” When the Conservatives won the 1911 election, the Tory reporters swapped with the Liberals and moved over to the speaker’s right. So-called independent journalists were relegated to the cheap seats.

Until Laurier’s time, governments ladled out information — even including election calls — as patronage only to their friends in the gallery, the “ministerial press,” as they were known. Willison, who started in Ottawa in 1886 as a correspondent for the Liberal-leaning Globe, complained about his pro-Tory rivals having access to official documents before they were tabled in Parliament. “Their dispatches would be in the telegraph office before less favoured rivals could examine the reports,” he wrote in Reminiscences, Political, and Personal, his 1919 autobiography. “It was one way a grateful ministry paid newspapers for their support.”

close this panel
Embedded

Embedded

Two Journalists, a Burlesque Star, and the Expedition to Oust Louis Riel
edition:eBook
More Info
Excerpt

Blawsted Fence

“All the way up, stories have been retailed in the barrooms of the hotels of the most ludicrous character. Captain Cameron and his eye-glass comes in for a share of these remarks. It was told that he went boldly up to the stockade the insurgents had thrown across the Fort Garry road, took out his eye-glass, looked through it wonderingly at the impediments, and in a club-house kind of style, said, “take away that blawsted fence,” and when some of the half-breeds made their appearance, he took to his heels, and manfully ran for it.” — Robert Cunningham, “The Insurrection in the North-West,” Globe, January 13, 1870

In March 1869, the Canadian government and the Hudson’s Bay Company finally agreed to terms for the sale of Rupert’s Land, a vast tract bestowed upon the company by English royal charter in 1670. It stretched from present-day Labrador in the east to the Rocky Mountains in the west to Baffin Island in the north. The nearly 1.5 million square miles featured an extensive fur-based economy that supported 100,000 or so Indigenous Peoples and a few thousand non-Native settlers. It also contained 97 trading posts and a partially built telegraph line. In exchange for the land (and everything else), Canada agreed to pay the Hudson’s Bay Company £300,000 cash, grant it nearly 11,500 square miles of land concessions, and guarantee its ability to trade without “exceptional” taxation within its former territory.

The Parliament of Canada ratified the deal in July 1869 and set December 1, 1869, as the closing date for the transaction. It also passed legislation to establish a temporary government for the NorthWest Territories “until more permanent arrangements” could be made. Prime Minister Macdonald designated William McDougall, his public works minister and long-time advocate of westward expansion, as lieutenant governor.

On paper, McDougall wasn’t a bad choice; he at least had some experience on the file. Earlier in the decade, he’d served as commissioner of Crown land in Canada West, overseeing the department responsible for colonization in northern parts of the province. During Confederation debates, he’d been an outspoken advocate of Canada annexing Rupert’s Land, even helping to ensure that a provision for the admission of the territory was included in the British North American Act, 1867. And in Macdonald’s first government, McDougall, as public works minister, was responsible for transcontinental expansion. One of his first acts was to introduce a series of resolutions into Parliament calling on Great Britain to transfer Rupert’s Land to Canada outright.

While negotiations with the Hudson’s Bay Company dragged on into the summer of 1868, McDougall hired senior Dominion engineer Simon Dawson to map out the “best means of opening a line of communication between Lake Superior and the Red River Settlement.” Dawson recommended an old North West Company canoe route he’d run across back in 1857 — “impassable to any vessel larger or stronger than a bark canoe,” he said — linked by two new roads to be built at either end, one from Lake Superior to the start of the canoe route at Shebandowan Lake, the other from the western end of Lake of the Woods to Fort Garry. McDougall liked the plan and contracted Dawson to build the eastern road and another engineer, John Allan Snow, the western.

McDougall and the Dominion government billed Snow’s part of the project as a “humanitarian mission.” The inhabitants of Red River were desperate for food because their crops had been ruined by locusts the previous year and droughts had decimated buffalo herds and game and fish stocks. In October 1868, Snow and his crew arrived in Red River and were initially welcomed by the local population. But quickly the bloom came off the mission. Rather than pay local hires cash for services, Snow and his paymaster, a McDougall appointee named Charles Mair, developed a convoluted payment system involving credit for provisions that were scarce in the settlement. The system became a source of agitation when locals realized Snow’s credits had subpar value and could only be redeemed at a store owned by John Schultz, unofficial leader of a small group of outspoken immigrants known as the Canadian Party. Schultz was a strident advocate for Canada annexing Rupert’s Land and flooding the territory with English-speaking Canadian settlers. He’d also gained a reputation as an ”unscrupulous land-grabber.”

Mair’s presence didn’t help Snow’s cause in Red River. Mair was a 30-year-old poet and co-founder of Canada First, a movement dedicated to promoting Canadian nationalism and westward expansion. George Brown, editor of the Toronto-based Globe, shared similar politics, and on learning McDougall was sending Mair to Red River, hired him as a correspondent to “inspire eastern interest in the northwest frontier.” Mair’s columns began running in January 1869 and featured romantic accounts of an idyllic prairie landscape, as well as insulting caricatures of local residents, especially the “indolent half-breeds.” Annie Bannatyne, a Métis woman married to prominent businessman Andrew Bannatyne, took particular exception to a January 4 story in which Mair said Métis women had “no coat of arms but a ’totem’ to look back to [and who] make up for the deficiency by biting at the backs of their ’white’ sisters.” Bannatyne and two of her similarly slandered friends accosted Mair in her husband’s store shortly after the article arrived in Red River. They pulled his nose, slapped his face, and ran him into the street at the business end of a riding crop. Mair’s stories earned the Globe significant enmity in the settlement — enmity not forgotten when Robert Cunningham arrived on the scene as the paper’s special correspondent in January 1870.

close this panel
Show editions
X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...