Saturday, September 22, 2007

Canadian anti-trafficking author/activist/jourmalist receives award

Victor Malarek, Senior Reporter at CTV's W-FIVE, was named recipient of the John Syrnick Award for Journalism, sponsored by the Ukrainian-Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko. The award is named in honour of John Syrnick, who served as editor of Ukrainian Voice from 1947 to 1970.

Malarek is also the renowned author of five books of non-fiction. His most recent book, The Natashas - The New Global Sex Trade (Viking), was published to critical acclaim in 2003. In 2006, he was instrumental in CTV's production of a documentary W-FIVE: Forgotten Children which highlighted the plight of orphans in Ukraine.

With a keen eye for hard-hitting investigative journalism, Malarek has worked for The Globe and Mail, CBC television's Fifth Estate and currently for CTV. He has received a Michener Award for investigative reporting a record four times, most recently in 2001 for his exhaustive study of the Toronto police union. He received a Gemini Award in 1997 as Canada's Top Broadcast Journalist.

In 2003 UCPBA(O) invited Victor Malarek to do the Ottawa launch of his seminal book on the topic, The Natashas .... Working with community groups and government agencies, they helped organize the Forum on Human Trafficking in 2004. This year, working with the Embassy of Ukraine and community groups, they brought speakers from the Anti-trafficking Initiative of the Children of Chornobyl Fund to speak in Ottawa. It is gratifying to see the person who inspired such action recognized by the wider Ukrainian Canadian community.

Malarek was chosen from a short list of Canadian journalists who provide illuminating coverage of issues important to a readership of over one million Ukrainian Canadians. The Award was presented by Andrew Hladyshevsky, President of the Shevchenko Foundation in Toronto on May 14, 2007, at the Faculty Club, University of Toronto. Invited guests included Ontario dignitaries, leaders of the Ukrainian-Canadian community and the media.

More on Malarek's book The Natashas here.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Let's dance on this industry's grave ...

So music videos are a dying art form...

With the music industry in crisis from falling sales and file sharing, labels have less cash to subsidize elaborate videos that will mostly be seen in miniature on computers. The result has been a major shift in the art form, as artists increasingly embrace the YouTube esthetic with cheap, stripped-down, low-production videos.

Too bad, so sad. It's an industry that deserves to die. It has created such an incredibly jaded attitude of indifference towards women's dignity that pimps have become fashionable and what they do apparently not only acceptable but worth emulating.

Even Kanye West - one of the most video-conscious artists in music - experimented with a small, quirky clip ... [starring] white comedian Zach Galifianakis.

Pimping an orange tractor on a country farm, he lip-syncs: "Homey, this is my day."

What the hell does that mean? Pimping a tractor??? Is that cool-speak for selling a tractor? Or earning money by working on one? Or just a laughable attempt by pompous urbanites who consider themselves cool to glamourize farm work?

Of course, the imagery is so ridiculous that you might wonder if the unnamed writer(s) of this article and/or the editors at AP are so desperate to be considered cool they are trying to to re-create the English language in the entertainment industry's image. In which case, how pathetic is that?

By using such deplorable, lazy writing, they are being irresponsible and are just perpetuating that blasé attitude of disrespect towards women. Not to mention our society's growing idolization of those who trash even the idea (let alone display) of respecting the dignity of women. (And less importantly, but still deplorably, respect for the English language and good writing.)

However, no doubt that arrogant attitude is considered ultra cool in the media/entertainment industry, and I'm just not. Anyway, who wants to be responsible? That's no fun. And, I'm told, it doesn't sell papers.

Whatever. At least every now and again there is justice in life, thanks to the force of the marketplace (and no thanks to those who try to manipulate it).

... a longtime producer of videos for acts ranging from Britney Spears to Will Smith, doesn't expect to ever see another $2 million video: "The record industry as a whole has shrunk. There's not as much money to throw around."

[He] sees the effect particularly in hip-hop, where sales declines have been the steepest ...

You can read the full article here. I, for one, am not weeping over this news. With any luck, publications and newswire services that sacrifice quality to be "cool" will soon follow.