Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bergens Tidende - 7 Stories

1) Celebert og Sofistikert (Av Britt Sørensen) 30 April 2006
In this story regarding Canadian musician Daniel Lanois and his recent performance in Bergen the journalist writes her interpretation of one of Daniel Lanois most well-known Canadian songs: Jolie Louise. The song makes reference to French-Canadians living in the French part of Canada leaving to live in the English speaking part of Canada (travelling from the Province of Quebec to the Province of Ontario within Canada). The song is sung in French and English. The journalist interpreted the English speaking Canadians in this song as being "Americans" and French speaking Canadians as people from France! From her story before the correction: "«Jolie Louise» – der han pÃ¥ en blanding av fransk og amerikansk forteller om familiens forflytning fra Quebec til Toronto." How does a Canadian song referring to Canada become a song interpreted to be about Americans and people from France? France is in Europe and Americans live in the USA, the neighbouring country to the south of Canada. Even when writing about Canada and Canadians in this can we be seen as from France and the USA by this journalist? How is it that 33 million Canadians living in the second largest country in the world after Russia, marked "Canada" on any world map referred to as being "Americans" and from "France"? The worst part of this story was the lengthy convincing it took to try to explain to the author and editor of the newspaper that they are wrong in this story. From the first e-mail explaining to the journalist they were wrong to finally getting it changed it took from the 2nd of May, 2006 to the 26th of June - about 7 weeks and several e-mails and a lot of explaining. Why would BT be so resistant to do the right thing and correct their mistakes? Are they so convinced they know what they are writing about and that they know French-Canada and English-Canada, and Canadian culture so well that their story couldn’t possibly have errors?
The Norsk Presseforbund states:
Code of Ethics of the Norwegian Press (Norsk Presseforbund)4. Publication Rules4.1. Make a point of fairness and thoughtfulness in contents and presentation.4.13. Incorrect information must be corrected and, when called for, an apology given, as soon as possible.Reporting about the facts and not assumptions should not take so much time (weeks) and so much resistance in order to do what journalists are required to do under the Norsk Presseforbund. Some Norwegian journalists think they "know" the USA (even though most Norwegians don't really know the USA very well) so that when it comes to the country of Canada, Norwegians think they can apply their limited USA knowledge to the country of Canada forgetting or not realising it is a DIFFERENT country sharing the continent of North America with Mexico and the USA. It would be like a Canadian thinking they know Sweden and Swedish culture, way of life so well, that when arriving in Norway for a visit start assuming it is all the same as Sweden and Swedish culture and language, and not bothering to recognise Norway for being Norwegian. There is not a single Norwegian that would accept this insult to Norwegian culture, so why should we in Canada accept it when Norwegians can't properly identify Canadian culture in their media? But this story above is just another example of how some Norwegian journalists don't know Canada and just make unprofessional assumptions in their stories without checking the facts and details. In Canada we no more like being referred to as Americans as Norwegians like being referred to as Swedish or German. Why is it so hard to convince some in the Norwegian Press that we are Canadians in Canada?
2) Fra Whisky Junction til The Joint (Av Johs. Bjørkeli) 9 March 2006
In this story regarding the city of Minneapolis in the USA, the journalist writes that Mall of America is the world's largest shopping centre. That is wrong. The Canadian shopping centre - the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - is the world's largest shopping centre. After several e-mails and close to 6 months the story was corrected. Why is it so difficult to convince BT and have a story with incorrect facts changed? Wouldn't any professional journalist want to have mistakes in her or his story corrected?
3) Arbeidere i utlandet skal betale våre pensjoner (Kjell Østerbø) 20 August 2005
In this story the journalist writes about the Province of Alberta in western Canada as "delstaten Alberta" (the state of Alberta). This is a mistake. The geographic and political divisions internally in Canada are called provinces and have been called provinces in Canada since 1663 when Canada (New France) became a Royal Province of France. In Canada we have used the French term and system of provinces since then. Canada, like France, China, Afghanistan, and many other countries in the world have provinces. There have never been states in Canada and this of course is an American term Norwegians just blindly apply to Canadian provinces. But since Canada is not in the USA it is unclear why the journalist would use American political terms to describe a province in Canada? What is strange in the Norwegian media is that Norwegian journalists never refer to the provinces in China, France, Austria, Afghanistan (and other countries with provinces) as states, but the Norwegian habit seems to happen with just Canada for some reason? For some very odd reason some journalists must think we have states in Canada. E-mails have been sent to the journalist that made the mistake but to date (a year later) the story has not been corrected, nor a single response received from the journalist.
4) Har snart 100 konserter (By BT) 1 September 2006
In this story BT writes that Jan Blomsnes has been to five conserts in the USA and five conserts in Europe. That is a mistake. BT states: "Jan Blomsnes fra Oslo har vært fan siden han var 11 år og har fulgt «A Bigger Bang»-turneen tett. Så langt har han sett fem konserter i USA og fem Europa. - Begge konsertene i New York, Toronto, Little Rock, Pittsburgh, Amsterdam, to i London og i Glasgow forrige helg, gliser han." The Canadian city of Toronto is not located in the USA it is located in Canada, the neighbouring country to the USA. To be correct in what BT has written it should say: "Jan Blomsnes fra Oslo har vært fan siden han var 11 år og har fulgt «A Bigger Bang»-turneen tett. Så langt har han sett fire konserter i USA, en i Canada, og fem Europa. - Begge konsertene i New York, Toronto, Little Rock, Pittsburgh, Amsterdam, to i London og i Glasgow forrige helg, gliser han. Why does BT think Toronto is located in the USA? And, why would they write Toronto is located in the USA when it is located in Canada? To date, the story has not been corrected. The person quoted in the story doesn't mention Toronto is in the USA, it appears BT has decided to add the Canadian city of Toronto into the USA. That would be a Canadian journalist writing about five consert dates in Sweden with one of the locations being Oslo. The Norsk Pressforbund states:4. Publication Rules4.13. Incorrect information must be corrected and, when called for, an apology given, as soon as possible.To date, a correction, nor a response has been received from BT.
5) Vegvesenet får alkolås i alle tjenestebiler (By NTB) 26 September 2006 this story written by NTB and posted by BT it states: "I dag brukes alkolås i privatbiler i Sverige og i delstater i USA og Canada. I Sverige..." There are no states in Canada. To be correct regarding Canada, the setence should say: "...delstater i USA og provinsene i Canada." Canada has never had states and has been using provinces since 1663. Why would an NTB journalist write we have states in Canada when we have provinces? Why would NTB use an American term in reference to Canada? NTB has been informed of this mistake several times by Norway Media Watch, yet these mistakes continue to happen in NTB stories. If NTB and BT can correctly identify the provinces in China, Afghanistan, and France in their stories, why can they not correctly identify provinces in Canada?
6) Crash landing for vestens soldater (By Astrid Kolbjørnsen) 21 October 2005 this story about Caandian General Roméo Dallaire, the Norwegian journalist writes: "Nylig rystet featurefilmen «Hotell Rwanda» verden, og her spiller Nick Nolte den velmenende og rakryggede amerikanske generalen Dallaire. Det er samsvar mellom måten generalen blir skildret på i spillefilmen og i dokumentaren." First, he is a Canadian General, he is not an American. In the movie Hotel Rwanda there are Canadian flags on his uniform. Secondly, Canada is a French-Canadian and English-Canadian country, meaning that about 1/3 of Canadians are French speaking, and and 2/3 are English speaking. General Dallaire is from the part of Canada that is French speaking, hence his name is very French-Canadian, not American. Today he is a Senator sitting in Canada's parliament - the House of Commons in Ottawa, Canada. Even after contacting the journalist the mistake has never been corrected.
7) Skoleflink «Rainman»-variant (ASTRID KOLBJØRNSEN) 6 October 2006 is nothing "techinically" wrong with this story/review of this Canadian/U.K. movie "Snow Cake", but it would be nice to at least mention the movie takes place in Canada, and is a Canadian/U.K. co-production. In the review there is no mention the movie is a Canadian/U.K. co-production; there is not even a mention of what country the movie takes place in! All it mentions is Lake Superior in North America. Well, Lake Superior is an enormous lake in North America that is over 82,000 sq. kilometres in size and with part of it in Canada, and part of it in the USA. The stars American actor Sigourney Weaver who portrays a Canadian in the movie, British actor Alan Rickman, and Canadian actor Carrie-Anne Moss. The point being that here is a review of a Canadian/U.K. film, with no mention at all the Canadian city (Wawa) where the movies takes place, no province, no country, just Lake Superior and North America. Are Norwegian readers just left to guess or assume what country the movie takes place in? The Norwegian press is already quite poor at covering Canada, Canadians, and Canadian culture in much of their media, and here is an example of even when a Canadian movie is reviewed in the Norwegian press, not even a brief mention to Canada is mentoned. I guess it is just assumed by the Norwegian journalist that Norwegian readers will figure out what country the movie takes place in; or just assume it's from the USA.

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