Stop the presses Newspapers snubbed in Liberal governments cultural policy

VANCOUVER — The Canadian government’s new cultural strategy all but snubs so-called legacy media, industry experts say, and left out some key measures that could have given a boost to struggling newspapers expected in the lead-up to the long-awaited announcement.“I’m disappointed that the minister didn’t spell out more specifically her support for news media in Canada,” said Bob Cox, chair of News Media Canada, a group representing more than 800 print and digital media titles in the country.He was one of several voices lobbying the government to grow the Canadian Periodical Fund, which supports magazines, periodicals and local newspapers, from $75 million a year to $350 million.But Heritage Minister Melanie Joly left little doubt Thursday that the Liberal government finds little favour with traditional print news models.“Our approach will not be to bail out industry models that are no longer viable,” she said. Instead, the government will focus on supporting innovation, experimentation and the transition to digital platforms.The new framework doesn’t increase the amount of money in the fund, but will expand who is eligible to receive money, such as digital-only periodicals.All that means, says Cox, is that more organizations will be fighting over an already limited amount of money.“We didn’t get anything we were asking for,” he said.The group will make recommendations to the department about how to restructure the fund and how to support innovation and transition going forward, Cox said.Ottawa is ignoring an ongoing crisis in Canadian newsrooms, he said, and the onus remains on newspapers to create solutions and reinvent themselves as newsrooms are racked with layoffs and dwindling ad revenues.“The idea that there should be public support for our newsrooms is really off the table now and that’s disappointing,” he said.The government’s commitment to news media through changes to the periodical fund is quite vague, said April Lindgren, an associate professor at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism in Toronto.“I think that they’re taking a very much hands off let the market sort it out approach,” she said, adding that public opinion is divided on government subsidies to news media.She thought the federal government might embrace some tax changes to make it easier for news organizations to operate as non-profit organizations and receive funding from foundations.Removing obstacles to philanthropic financing was one of several recommendations that came out of a report from the Public Policy Forum in January. The minister ordered the study as part of a broader review of Canada’s media landscape.Lindgren said she’s surprised the government didn’t make such changes.While the policies relating to news media are vague at this point, Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey gleaned some positive elements.“Some of the things I’m pleased with is some consideration being given to innovation and experimentation,” he said.The government said it “will give consideration to ways to better support innovation, business development, start-ups and export,” which it will present next year.Postmedia is actively involved in innovation, Godfrey said, pointing to the organization’s launch of a digital development lab at Communitech Hub in Waterloo, Ont., in 2016. A development team there focuses on developing products for the company’s digital portfolio, among other things.While it’s unclear whether any funding will be made available or what the guidelines for it would be, Godfrey said he hopes Postmedia would qualify for any funding available.Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter read more

FLSmidths site services satellite offices expand reach in Africa

first_imgFollowing the success of its first Site Services satellite office in 2000 in Rustenburg, South Africa, to provide machine specific technical support and a rapid response to its end-users in the area, FLSmidth has established a second Site Services satellite office in Mookgophong (formerly Naboomspruit) and is presently in the process of moving this concept into other African countries. More such offices are being evaluated for mining development hotspots such as Mozambique, Ghana and Tanzania. Each of these offices will be self-sufficient in terms of having a specialised tool trailer and a strong OEM knowledge base across its personnel complement.FLSmidth Site Services activities form an integral part of FLSmidth’s Customer Services Department, offering a complete range of on-site services to help maximise plant availability.“Site Services is all about limiting plant downtime and optimising processes,” Tony Girodo, Site Services Manager at FLSmidth South Africa, says. “More and more clients, particularly those in remote areas of Africa, are focusing on keeping their plants running at peak levels, rather than to respond to breakdowns after the fact. From our point of view, as a single source provider, FLSmidth also aims to take an increasingly active position in the operation and maintenance of our equipment at customer sites throughout the life cycle of the equipment.“Last year our teams successfully completed more than 800 jobs of this nature at customer sites focused on limiting failures, which effectively reduced downtime at these plants in the long run.“When customer sites are running smoothly, the question is sometimes asked why our Site Services activities continue to be necessary. Yet it is these very services that are keeping the plant operating as it should. If equipment availability is high, then we regard it as a job well done, achieving a high return on the clients’ investment into pre-empting any problems, compared with the high cost of unscheduled shutdowns.”The Site Services team comprises seasoned FLSmidth engineers backed up by the full force of the FLSmidth’s global pool of technical expertise as well as access to global R&D and the latest innovations. Girodo says these local engineers are able to contact other group engineers based around the globe on a 24/7 basis “Phone a Friend”, allowing the team to consult on and rapidly resolve any atypical equipment and process related issues, if necessary.The team’s broad-ranging knowledge covering majority of FLSmidth equipment including winder and hoists; crushers, both cone and gyratory; minerals and cement mills; girth gears and pinions for both minerals and cement; flotation cells; filtration systems; thickeners; clarifiers; stacker reclaimer systems and coolers. All the equipment can be audited, serviced, repaired and upgraded by FLSmidth Site Services, in accordance with recommendations to suit the client’s needs.FLSmidth Site Services also carries out full installation of all its propriety plant equipment, and this can be done in various modes from supervision through to the complete installation.“Our team does a lot more than conduct inspections and generate reports,” Girodo comments. “These engineers actually determine what has gone wrong or what is about to fail, and do the repairs right there and then, if the appropriate spares and time are available. On larger installations and repairs, we assist plant personnel with their planning to ensure that the necessary spares are ordered in good time and that the programme for the work is detailed and realistic. We have a large installed base of equipment at many of these sites and this makes it easy for our specialists to inspect the entire process flow and observe the upstream and downstream effects.”Engineers from FLSmidth’s South African Site Services team are also frequently deployed to support the global team in places as far afield as Armenia and the United Arab Emirates.“Where Site Services engineers are contracted by clients in other African countries from our corporate head office in South Africa, we ensure that a suitable number of our personnel have up-to-date visa’s that allow them to be available on short notice,” Girodo says.last_img read more