These are the stories we’re watching this week. Here is your Weekly Wire:
- Postmedia announced last week it will lay off 54 employees from its Pacific Newspaper Group, which includes the Vancouver Sun and Province. The layoffs are the second phase of Postmedia’s most recent round of salary cuts, the first of which saw 38 PNG staffers take voluntary buyouts in January. A representative for Unifor Local 2000, which represents PNG’s employees, said the union intends to file a grievance. The layoffs come on the heels of Postmedia-wide cuts to benefits for non-unionized staff, and $2.3 million in retention bonuses for top brass, including CEO Paul Godfrey, who admitted to feeling “awkward” about accepting his.
- WikiLeaks published Vault 7 last Tuesday, a cache of over 7,000 pages detailing CIA techniques for cyber-espionage. The site claims the agency can crack Signal and WhatsApp remotely, maintains a covert listening site in Frankfurt, Germany, and can turn Internet-linked TVs into listening posts a la 1984. Journalists initially ran with this, until cybersecurity experts began examining Vault 7’s contents. Several key points WikiLeaks highlighted in its summary of the leaks are either outdated (the Frankfurt listening post was exposed by German newsmagazine Der Spiegel nearly three years ago) or appear to be flat-out wrong (Vault 7’s documents do not suggest, according to Wired, that Signal and WhatsApp can be cracked remotely).
- Lauren Southern has left far-right Canadian website The Rebel—and plans to go solo. The commentator and self-proclaimed “anti-feminist” made the announcement in a YouTube video posted Thursday. She intends to crowdfund her personal YouTube channel as a platform for her reporting and “totally unfiltered” and often inaccurate opinions and reportage. In the past, these have included stories on why rape culture is a myth, the portrayal of Europe as awash with violent Muslim migrants, and an Islamophobic anti-immigrant rant on Sky News.
- The Ryerson School of Journalism is hosting its first “teach-in” Tuesday. Professors and working journalists will be lead a series of seminars on, for exampe: the threats journalists face, like government surveillance and propaganda, how to report on difficult issues like Islamophobia and invective-rich populism, and where journalism is going. Ryerson professor Kamal Al-Solaylee will also read from his Governor General’s Award-nominated book, Brown. All Ryerson journalism students are welcome, and are exempted from their Tuesday classes so they can attend.
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The item regarding WikiLeaks’ release of the Vault 7 documents has been updated to further clarify what information was later refuted.
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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.