What gives us the right to call ourselves Canada's national newspaper? Or in this space, Canada's national news organization? In print, The Globe is distributed daily in every province. We have 12 national bureaus in six provinces. Our political, business and sports departments span the nation. (Who else will staff NHL games in four Canadian cities this weekend?)
Of all the qualities that make us "national," our arts coverage vies for the most enduring in value. For decades, The Globe has covered arts and culture from coast to coast to coast. We have trimmed our printed space, but not our ambitions. We now aim to be the digital voice of Canadian culture, the place you can find independent reviews of the performing and visual arts as well as film, music and books.
Vancouver arts correspondent Marsha Lederman inspired me with her piece this week on the unusual "production" Do You See What I Mean? When I started reading, I thought the endeavour might be a case of interactive art run amok. When I finished, I was dazzled enough by Lederman's writing about the experience to check when I might next be in Vancouver.
That's our goal: to explain Canada on a daily basis through the arts. It means we do less Hollywood coverage than others, but that's just fine if it opens space to tell Canadians, as we have in the past week or so, about the Calgary Opera, the Toronto Symphony and the National Gallery. To be Canadian in this vast land, we need to understand each other's cultural ambitions.
We will continue to do the same with books, a pillar of both our weekend newspaper and our digital arts hub. My week was momentarily upended by a misinformed Toronto press report suggesting we were doing the opposite, slashing our books coverage. In fact, we will soon announce a new books editor to vault our coverage into a new era as we continue to offer robust treatment of both Canadian and international titles.
Speaking of titles, the big business-news story of the week included a big name change, as Research in Motion dropped that quirky name, which had been given to it by its now departed founders, in favour of a simpler one, BlackBerry. Not so fast, said the business editors. You may have noticed on our site this week that we stuck with Research In Motion as the company's official name. We only change names when a company legally does so, not when it wants to use a title as a marketing ploy. Here is an explanation from our business section's long-time style enforcer, Greg O'Neill:
"Research In Motion Ltd. is planning to change its name to BlackBerry, supposedly without a liability designation of Inc. or Ltd. It is reported that the name change will become official when it is voted on by shareholders at the next annual general meeting. According to Globe style, we use a company's legal name. Therefore, the company should be published with its present legal name of Research In Motion Ltd., with RIM as second reference. An editorial notice will be sent out when the company legally changes its name. It is acceptable to mention the company's plan for its name change in a story but the use of "BlackBerry" should only be used to refer to the smartphone, not the company itself."
Several banks have long pushed O'Neill to bend and use their snazzier public names, which usually include euphemisms such as "Financial Group." No dice, at least not without legal papers to prove it.
BlackBerry, be forewarned.
One of our best videos this week was Iain Marlow's interview with RIM chief executive Thorsten Heins.
Enjoy the weekend,