The future of Le Journal de Montréal

July 28, 2009



The future of the Journal de Montreal, the legendary No.1, is rather confusing!

The current labor dispute and lockout declared by the management shall ensure that the newspaper continues to be published by the management on the one hand, and on the other, unionized employees receive 76.2% of their pay through their strike fund. They can hold out financially for more than 2 years, according to the union president, Raynald Leblanc.
Negotiation is the art to manage people and one can compare this action to the sport of golf where the personality of each individual plays a significant role and influence the final result. (Tiger Wood has already said that golf is a mirror of the soul of the player and his reflection is ruthless …)
In my opinion, the best negotiator that the Quebec media world has ever known was the former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney who was counsel in labor relations before becoming a politician and Prime Minister. His first mandate was with Paul Desmarais Sr. who was seduced by the dynamism and intelligence of Brian Mulroney. Brian also worked on behalf of Pierre Péladeau when negotiating the first collective agreement for the Journal de Montreal in the late 1960s. Péladeau and Mulroney thereafter became friends and they stayed close to each other until the death of the founder of Quebecor in 1998.

I had the opportunity to meet a former director of Le Nouvelliste Trois-Rivières (GESCA), now deceased, Charles D’amour. After retiring from Nouvelliste, he was mandated in 1984 by a group from Moncton to launch a new daily to replace Evangeline. It is in this project that I have known Charles D’Amour. One day he told me the following anecdote that demonstrates very well the talent as negotiator of Mulroney.

Brian Mulroney had to settle a labor dispute between Power Corp. and the union Nouvelliste. The day before the first meeting between the two parties, Brian telephoned the union representative on the pretext of asking if he could travel in his car from Montreal to Trois-Rivières, to save the gazoline of one of two cars …
The plan was, however, more calculated. Mulroney wanted to learn more about the union and discuss with he representative about his claims. The discussion was very fruitful because once arrived in Trois-Rivieres, the two travelers had agreed on all points, so that when Brian came into the office of the publisher (Charles D’Amour), who was expecting a tough negotiation, he was instead presented with an agreement ready for signature. The conflict was resolved during the short trip of an hour and a half between Montreal and Trois-Rivières.

According to Brian Mulroney, a good negotiator must first analyze the personality of the two opponents. Who is the union representative and what kind of personality does he have? It is the same exercise with the leader employer and the negociator must try to find common ground to open the dialogue and get commitments. Only after analyzing the characters, can we address the issue as such, which is ultimately less important than the human personalities involved. (As in the golf game…).

At the Journal de Montreal, it is clear that Pierre-Karl Péladeau and Raynald Leblanc (President of the union employees) have no points in common, or mutual sympathy.

Pierre-Karl is a predator accustomed to the harsh business environment, while Raynald is a photographer led by its nature, to be gentle with the subjects he has to take picture. I know well Raynald LeBlanc and I have worked with him when he was the photographer for an edition of the Annual Report of Quebecor for which I was responsible. This is a very good guy but he has not the stuff to cross swords with the Knights of finance.

The previous conflicts in the Journal de Montreal have always been resolved because the dialogue between interlocutors was equal to the level of personalities. “Street fighters” on both sides of the table! (The actions were much more rough than simply come and say hello at the premises of the company headquarters …)

It is likely that the conflict in the Journal de Montreal will go for a long time and that ultimately, Quebecor will merge the bulk of the Journal to bring it closer to the world of Internet and Videotron. A merger with the daily 24 hours would not be illogical.

If I were the president of the union, I would try to convince Brian Mulroney, or another of his rank, to serve as a partner and negotiator. This is the only chance for the employees.

The negotiator will discover that employees have a card (an ace of hearts) in their game that can convince Pierre-Karl that there is a hidden value in the union coffers and if he does not recover it quickly, others could swap it and do like his father Pierre had done during the strike at the Montreal Matin and create a new empire. This hidden value is the website Rue Frontenac and his team. If an investor, enemy of Pierre-Karl or someone wanting to compete at Quebecor, seized it, he could then create a new leader in the information business. Currently, with very little means, Rue Frontenac has become a News site in Montreal, both liked and respected as well as the other sites that are Cyberpresse, Le Devoir and Canoe.

Good luck to the employees and may the best man win!

Bernard Bujold 
Photo 1: Le Journal de Montréal, Pierre Péladeau,Pierre-Karl Péladeau, Brian Mulroney et Raynald Leblanc;Photo 2: Pierre Péladeau au golf
Lien site Canoë 
Lien site Rue Frontenac

www.LeStudio1.com

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The Press Council of Quebec

July 28, 2009

The Press Council of Quebec is currently recruiting to select members from the public who will sit on this panel of honor, whose mandate is to protect the rights of the public to a proper information from the media.
The Press Council had to accept the resignation of its two main leaders last May and some large media groups have also decided to no longer support financially the Council. These two actions have almost caused the death of the body, but after some efforts of emergency in-house, its dissolution has been averted. Unfortunately, the life of the Press Council of Quebec is seriously threatened and it is only a matter of protocol before to declare it “dead.”
A court of honor has no place in 2009 especially in the world of media while the advent of the Internet has completely transformed the way of disseminating information. The honor of good information is no longer a principle but a universal rule. Anyone who would not be honest and true would be quickly condemned by the community of Internet users which is the most democratic and powerful courts of Justice.
The beauty of the Internet, is that there are no geographical boundaries. One may be in Paris and correspond with someone in Montreal and to share information around the world, such as an injustice in China. Quickly through the various social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc) the world is made aware. A global protest movement can engage and the perpetrators of injustice have no choice but to correct the situation. The approach applies equally to a more local subject and it is only the size of the network which is amended and adjusted accordingly.
The best example of the power of Internet is Dan Rather’s story in 2004. Internauts had discovered falsehoods in the statements from the journalist of CBS and it is through the Internet than the truth itself came out and, it was that situation which forced Rather to admit his error. No press council could have offered the same protection as the one of the Internet and in a sense, we can compare this situation to the one of France during the French Revolution against Marie-Antoinette in 1789. It is the defense of the people by the people!
Bernard Bujold – 
www.LeStudio1.com
Link to Conseil de presse du Québec
Link Dan Rather and the internauts


Trust your friends… Bernard Madoff, Vincent Lacroix and others…

July 23, 2009

 

Trust in others is a very individual subject. Some prefer to be positive and are readily trusting people they meet, while for others, everybody is dishonest and honesty must be proved by each of the persons who appear before them …
We should not be paranoid, but we must admit that humans are not always very faithful in their friendships. This situation has existed since the beginning of times and the worst betrayals have always been the work of someone who was very close to the victim. Hence the old adage that we must always keep his enemies close to itself in order to watch them: “My God, protect me from my friends, my enemies I could take care of them …”
The financial scandals of Bernard Madoff, Vincent Lacroix and Earl Jones has shown more than ever that granting confidence to people is one thing, but giving them our money is quite another! Regarding Conrad Black or publisher Pierre Turgeon, their stories are commercial transactions between partners and if confidence plays a very important role, it is not the same situation as in the case of Madoff and company.
Everyone is searching for ways to take advantage of opportunities in life. This applies to victims who wished to take advantage from their future fraudster and receive financial gain from the investment proposals. Unfortunately, they failed and become the victim… It is like the crow in the fable of Lafontaine who wants to enjoy the compliments from the fox to fill its needs for admiration.
The fraud victims are angry for having been stolen, but if they had managed to enjoy the financial rewards from the fraudster, their success would have been the happy talks of their Sunday supper for the rest of their life …
In essence, one must remember that if there had been a treasure, why the fraudster would have shared it with someone else?
I myself was a victim of my naivety in friendship that I give to people. The following two stories are the description of those two situation when I was literally wrong in my perception and how I found out. Fortunately, I had not given my money away…
The first story took place after the death of Pierre Péladeau in 1998, for which I was the executive assistant during 7 years. When the new management at Quebecor fired me after the death of the founder, I had to look for a new job! The process was more difficult than I would have tought because, even though Pierre Péladeau was a great business man in Quebec, for various reasons, I discovered that many entrepreneurs hated him secretly and that even some wished him failure. (see biography on Pierre Péladeau on the website LeStudio1.com)
My discovery was made early in my job search during the first meeting with the representative from the consultation office for job searchers. The advice was blunt: I was to eliminate the mention of Pierre Péladeau from my CV or otherwise, I could never find a new job because Péladeau was very much hated by the business people from Quebec..
His second advice: leave the city for foreign (Toronto, Vancouver or Paris …)
The consultant claimed that I had the wrong feeling regarding the admiration that people said they have for my former boss. According to the lady in charge of my job search, in reality, Péladeau was despised and if he had been praised during his lifetime, it was because people feared him rather than respected him … As Don Corleone in The Godfather by Mario Puzzo.
I was obviously in total disagreement with the advice and interpretation and I left her office angry! But with the passage of time, I must admit that her analysis was seriously grounded and I paid a very high price for my refusal to follow her advice!
The second treason that I would like to share with you in this article is still more personal but it represents the situation faced by many people in their relationships with their close and intimate friends.
During my job search, I contacted several of my friends and in particular the marketing director of a large concert hall on St. Catherine Street in Montreal, someone I knew since 1992 and who said she was my friend.
The director in question was sympathetic to my cause, and she promised to do everything possible to help me find a new job. She would keep her eyes open and monitor every opportunity in order to advise me.
A few months later, by pure chance, while speaking with a new press officer of the theater in question, I learned that she has obtained her new job since few days and that it was precisely the marketing director who has hired her. It was several months since I was looking for a job and the director talked to me regularly throughout this time and she repeated every time that she was trying to help me. Why does she has not offered me the position available? She told another friend of mine that she did not want any work relationship with me, adding that she regarded me as a total incompetent … Yet I had never worked with her. How could she assess my skills! Moreover, and this is the act of treason, the marketing director was continually repeating to me that she would help me, but behind my back, she thought the opposite!
Her action hurts me a lot at the time and in a sense, I considered her gesture comparable to someone who pretends to be your friend but who refuses to push the lifebuoy which is right next to her on the dock and she just watch you drown in the water.
There are many others people like this person but I have personally experienced this story and it was for me the revelation that demonstrate the lack of honesty in people. Good luck!
Bernard Bujold
http://www.lestudio1.com/
Photo 1. Lapidation scene, Bernard Madoff, Vincent Lacroix,Pierre Turgeon and Conrad Black
Photo 2; Quebecor’s building in Montréal

 

 

 


A great pianist – Hélène Mercier Arnault

July 17, 2009

Quebec pianist Hélène Mercier has published her autobiography, a true”Master Class” on art and passion for piano. Anyone interested in classical music will greatly appreciate the reading of “Au fil des notes …” which should already be considered a classic in the world of musical literature. Bernard Bujold met Helene in interview and he attended a signing session at a bookstore in Montreal. He presents to us a full story on the official web site.
LeStudio1.com also gives an mention of excellence in the gallery The Best in 2009 to Hélène Mercier for her book.
http://www.lestudio1.com/HeleneMercierArnault.html


The Museums in Montreal and their leadership

July 17, 2009

The recent appointment of a new director at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal is contested and this event provides an opportunity for art lovers to take a look at the evolution of the Montreal’s museums and their leadership within the community.
It is obvious that the success of a museum depends on its financial resources and then, the dynamism of its leadership.
The former directors like Pierre Théberge (Museum of Fine Arts) and Marcel Brisebois (Musée d’art contemporain) were great leaders who have helped the development of their respective institutions, not to say the whole popularity of museums in general.
Is it that these institutions have managed to find successors to take over from the directors who have retired? You might think not but we must take into account that society has changed and that the Internet has transformed the way how it protects and perpetuates the heritage.
Montreal has over 30 officially recognized museums, some of which are well known, others very little outside their city block.
If we were to make a classification of the management of museums in Montreal in 2009, we should place Nathalie Bondil first. She had several obstacles to overcome when she was appointed and she has succeeded brilliantly to overcome them. It should be added that she had in hands a museum very comfortable financially which has helped to facilitate her challenge.
In second place, we need to place the Museum of Contemporary Art, but its popularity is in large part most of the past. This institution was at one time almost at the same popularity level than the Museum of Fine Arts but the institution failed to maintain the success put forward by Marcel Brisebois when was the director. It should be noted, that Brisebois was very well supported by Manon Blanchette who brought to Montreal several daring exhibitions during her years. Marc Mayer wished to lead the institution on a global level but it did not happen. He preferred to left along the way and face another challenge that was presented to him and to go manage the prestigious National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
The appointment of Paulette Gagnon at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, replacing Mayer, led to protest. Several artists and gallery owners would have preferred to see a big name to take the management job rather than an employee who had worked over 30 years with the Montreal institution. Does a outsider would have been more profitable?
It remains to be seen but if there is a conclusion to remember is that Pierre Théberge, Marcel Brisebois, and Nathalie Bondil, have proved their talent. A museum is like a news media. His popularity is never bigger than the last of its success: a report for the media and an exhibition for a museum.
Good luck to all directions at the Montreal museum and be your next exhibits the proof of your real talent!
Bernard Bujold 
www.LeStudio1.com 
Link Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal
Link Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
Link Association des musées montréalais


A great Editor – Pierre Turgeon

July 17, 2009

The coup d’éclat of the book publisher Pierre Turgeon and the biography of Michael Jackson written by Ian Halperin is not surprising. I know Turgeon well, because he was my editor when I published a biography on Pierre Péladeau in 2003.
Our relationships was broken because the publishing house Trait d’Union was forced to close its doors and several authors had not received their fees in copyright. This had created a cold with the literary community and if the investors cheated by Vincent Lacroix and Bernard Madoff want to stone in the public their fraudster, who has relieved them of very large amounts, the authors of the Trait d’Union, even for amounts of few hundred dollars each, also wanted to transport on a carriage with tomatoes the editor Pierre Turgeon.
Personally, I consider that I have lost only a few thousands of dollars because my book was at the end of the cycle. The first publication was made in January of 2003 and Trait d’Union has declared bankruptcy in March 2005. Monies due to me were the portion of royalties kept in reserve for the return from stores. The closure of Trait d’Union has allowed me to regain all the copyright on the book, in addition to a few hundred copies of the books still in storage. The sales were a success and had reached almost 10 000 copies. I had also received the main part of my royalties before publishing in the form of an advance payment.
With hindsight, I must admit that Pierre Turgeon had done an excellent job and I enjoyed the project, despite the slight loss of money.
I am not yet ready to invite Pierre Turgeon to lunch but I must admit that he is a great editor who knows how to interpret the needs of readers. The only problem of Turgeon, according to me, is his difficulty to manage his projects on the administrative level but that did not remove him any of his talent as a writer and editor.
I am not surprised at all of his two recent success, the book on Guy Laliberté and probably his mega success, the book on Michael Jackson with Ian Halperin. In a sense, this success is encouraging for the whole society. This means that we have a right to make mistakes and that despite setbacks and difficulties, we can recover. As for those who have been deprived of funds by Turgeon, including myself, I think this is one of the risks of life. Worse would have been the reject of the book by the public …
Note: The same judgment can be made in respect of Vincent Lacroix, Bernard Madoff and Earl Jones. Anyone who invests in a project with someone else should expect a degree of risk. Otherwise, keep your money under the mattress but beware of termites …
Congratulations to Pierre Turgeon for his courage to continue!
Bernard Bujold – 
Link Interview Pierre Turgeon
Link Transit Medias (Publishing House of Pierre Turgeon)
Link Bankruptcy Trait d’Union (La Presse)

www.LeStudio1.com


Heritage convoited – Michael Jackson and LeStudio1.com

July 10, 2009

The death of people cause actions that are sometimes cruel and highlight the “scavenger” aspect of survivors. The case of Michael Jackson is an example of such individuals in search of bargains. His death has created the expectation of earnings for many friends and relatives, who believe they can profits legacy …
I met many other artists who have been targeted by “heritage hunter ” including my friend the artist Vittorio Fiorucci. He died without money and yet his career was immense. After his death, I received several emails from people asking me how they could contact his executor to purchase cheap some parts of his work, among others, his famous collection of toys.
Vittorio often told me about the exploitation he has been regularly a victim during his career and of people who had bought his art at low prices while he was in financial difficulty. People offered him an amount far below the real value because they knew Vittorio has an urgent need for money. Once dead, it was the race for heritage and many have boasted of having helped him during his living whereas this was not the case. I find this behavior to say the least “discusting.” LeStudio1.com is not immune to this kind of behavior. Recently, we have transformed the operation of the magazine in a “low maintenance level”. This means that we now publish as a “blog” rather than a magazine because we were unable to find financial partners capable or willing to develop the project in convergence on a larger scale. The information has been circulating in the business community that we were closing and soon I started receiving phone calls from people who wanted to buy, at a discount for a few hundred dollars, some elements of the magazine, in particular the subscribers list. This list of addresses LeStudio1.com has over 60 000 e-mail addresses functional and current. Approximately 80% of addresses are from Montreal and 20% are elsewhere in Europe (Paris) and the United States (New York – Washington).
The site LeStudio.com is almost dormant and it continues to operate as a weekly blog, but we have no employees and the entire site is managed automatically by various computer programs. In theory, it is still for sale but we are not talking $ 500 or $ 5,000. During the 5 years, an estimated $ 250,000 investment has been made by the group to mount the platform and expand the list of addresses. Initially, we wanted to associate with a large media group and we met with about a hundred people in the last 5 years. People wanted simply an exchange of services as the local sites proposed to share their lists of address in exchange of partnership, or for large groups, all have chosen to develop their site with their own internal resources. The only way to succeed financially on the Internet is to have the content and only the big media groups have the means but they are all in financial difficulties … A large service company, like a hotel chain or commercial institution could also use and maintain a website as LeStudio1.com but there should be a convergence between the company’s products and the list of subscribers of the site, as well as a desire to invest.
At its beginning, LeStudio1.com consisted of a team of 5 partners, but today the priorities of each member of the group are elsewhere. The financier died recently, the expert in magazine returned to live in France, the computer expert is out of Montreal, Miss X is retired and I do something else for a living! I still have fun with LeStudio1.com in my spare time, since I’m the only still active partner, but I will probably abandon the project within the next coming month. I will simply put the address list to sleep on a hard drive and say goodbye to subscribers. Certainly, I will not give the list of subscribers in heritage, nor to sell it for a few dollars. Better to bury it in style and with dignity. It is also go with the respect of the subscribers who many are receiving the newsletter since the first days in March 2005.
Note: For the legend, I would add that it is thanks to Isabelle Adjani if LeStudio1.com was established in 2005. I photographed the great actress on the occasion of her visit to the World Film Festival of Montreal and the publication of my photos on her personal website in France inspired me to create my own site.
Bernard Bujold
www.LeStudio1.com
Link Team LeStudio1.com
Link Vittorio Fiorucci
Link site Michael Jackson
Lien reportage pictures Isabelle Adjani
Picture 1: Michael Jackson
Picture 2: Mademoiselle X dans sa résidence
Picture 3: Bernard Bujold and the mascots LeStudio1.com