These are the stories we’re watching this week. Here is your Weekly Wire:
- Last week, the Globe and Mail’s Mark Medley and CBC q’s Candy Palmater separately interviewed novelist Joseph Boyden, whose long-claimed Indigenous ancestry came into question after an APTN investigation last month found little to substantiate it. (Check Karen McCall’s take on the headlines that followed.) Boyden largely stuck to a statement released last week, saying that while a “small part” of him is Indigenous, it’s a “big part” of who he is, but nevertheless apologized for his role as a de facto spokesperson for Indigenous issues in Canada. Critics said that Boyden only took on select interviews, that he failed to take on criticisms directly, and that the CBC’s interview was “clueless.” See Canadaland for a roundup of reactions.
- Last week, Buzzfeed published a dossier making “explosive — but unverified — allegations” that Russian security services have compromising information about President-Elect Donald Trump, a story several news organizations passed up. The story followed an earlier CNN report saying that both Trump and outgoing President Barack Obama were briefed on its contents, the details of which CNN refused to disclose. Trump responded by calling Buzzfeed a “failing pile of garbage” at his most recent press conference. Journalists were divided on how the dossier was reported. In the Washington Post, media columnist Margaret Sullivan called the allegations “scurrilous accusations,” a sentiment echoed by several others, while Glenn Greenwald, co-found of The Intercept, praised praised Buzzfeed in an interview with BBC. He isn’t alone. Buzzfeed’s Editor-in-chief Ben Smith explained the decision in an internal email later posted on Twitter.
- Russian journalist Alexey Kovalev inaugurated U.S. news organizations’ next four years with “A Message to my doomed colleagues in the American media” in a grim post on Medium that quickly went viral. In it, Kovalev dispenses advice gleaned from 12 years of covering President Vladimir Putin’s Russia, “with a short hiatus when our leader wasn’t technically our leader.” Kovalev’s main points: “Welcome to the era of bullshit”; “don’t expect any camaraderie”: “expect a lot of sycophancy”; and “you’re always losing.” CNN might have had the first look into the future when Trump refused to answer a question from its reporter, Jim Acosta, calling his organization “fake news.”
- TVO received a $2 million donation last week, which will be directed toward community news hubs: first in Thunder Bay, then toward three more that have yet to be named. The gift comes courtesy of Barry Green, a Toronto-based property developer, and his mother Goldie Feldman by way of the Barry and Laurie Green Charitable Trust. In an interview with J-Source, Green called TVO a “provincial treasure,” saying he and his mother enjoy discussing its documentaries. Despite the windfall, media-watchers say it’s unlikely to prompt similar donations amongst other philanthropists.
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This is a joint byline for the Ryerson Review of Journalism. All content is produced by students in their final year of the graduate or undergraduate program at the Ryerson School of Journalism.