By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, December 25, 2012 - 0 Comments
MONTREAL – Blitzed by tips and interview requests from around the world, the public…
MONTREAL – Blitzed by tips and interview requests from around the world, the public face of the Montreal police force says that in two decades on the job he’d never seen anything like the Luka Rocco Magnotta case.
Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere says last spring’s intense interest in the accused killer swamped the department with 500 tips.
The force’s lead spokesman also spoke to international media at all hours of the night, across numerous time zones — everywhere from Western Canada to France to Singapore.
“It was completely crazy,” Lafreniere, an 18-year veteran of the force, said in an interview. “But… I’m not complaining about it — I’m not the one that lost their child.”
The extraordinary attention generated by the Magnotta case — and the shocking nature of the alleged crimes — has led to its selection as Canada’s 2012 News Story of the Year in the annual poll of newsrooms by The Canadian Press.
The announcement comes just days after Magnotta was named Newsmaker of the Year, in a selection that whipped up a storm of outrage.
Many had said choosing the 30-year-old as Newsmaker of the Year just gave him the publicity he appeared to crave. Others demanded that The Canadian Press redo the poll.
Both results were actually compiled at the same time, in early December, in The Canadian Press annual survey of different news organizations across the country. More than 100 newsrooms that are clients of CP took part in the voting.
“We realize this selection by editors and news directors is also controversial,” said Scott White, editor-in-chief of The Canadian Press.
“There are many unpleasant and sometimes gruesome stories that make their way to the top of newscasts or the front pages of newspapers or websites. This choice reflects that the international search for a Canadian suspected of a heinous crime was a worldwide story.
“It’s not an honour to be named Newsmaker of the Year or to be part of the news story of the year. It’s simply a reflection of the stories that dominated the news.”
In the News Story of the Year survey, the Magnotta case received 22 per cent of the votes cast by editors and news directors across Canada.
It edged the National Hockey League lockout, which received 18 per cent. Bullying finished third with 15 per cent of the vote.
The massive beef recall finished fourth with 13 per cent of the votes, while Quebec’s student protests and the Northern Gateway pipeline were tied for fifth with eight per cent.
Yahoo! Canada’s Thomas Bink, who voted for the Magnotta case in the News Story of the Year poll, said it simply stood out from other news items in 2012.
“Not just for the gory details and the manhunt, but because it was so multi-faceted,” said Bink, the managing editor for news.
“On top of the bizarre, horrific crime, it involved the cult of personality, the power of the Internet and a burning quest for superficial fame.”
Newsrooms across the country were asked to either suggest their own story candidate, or pick one from more than a dozen supplied in a list on the questionnaire.
Seven voters picked Magnotta in both the Newsmaker and the News Story of the Year categories.
It drew votes in every pocket of the country, but limited support in Quebec, the scene of Magnotta’s alleged crimes.
In that province, where there were major student protests, shocking revelations at a corruption inquiry, and an election-night shooting following the election of the pro-independence Parti Quebecois, only two voters of 10 there selected it for story of the year.
The Magnotta story had an impact across the country, and beyond.
A recently released report says it was the third-most covered Canadian story in foreign media in 2012.
The study by Montreal media-monitoring company Influence Communication says the only Canadian stories to get more international coverage than Magnotta this year were the Keystone XL pipeline and the purchase of Nexen Inc. by the Chinese, state-owned China National Offshore Oil Co.
“The big part of the story isn’t the man, the big part of the story is the horror of what happened — it surpasses everybody’s imagination,” said Influence Communication president Jean-Francois Dumas. He said Magnotta was the subject of 1,300 different reports in newspaper, TV and radio in 40 countries.
“It’s a subject that grabs the imagination, and yes it’s horrifying news.”
Magnotta is facing several criminal charges, including first-degree murder, in connection with the May slaying and dismemberment of 33-year-old university student Jun Lin in Montreal.
The porn actor and stripper has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. A preliminary hearing for his case is scheduled for March to determine if there is enough evidence for a trial on the allegations against him.
Magnotta, a native of Scarborough, Ont., triggered an international manhunt that made headlines around the world. He was arrested about a week later in a Berlin Internet cafe, where he was reportedly reading online news stories about himself.
His legal proceedings are scheduled to resume in the coming weeks. Crown and defence lawyers will get together Jan. 9 to discuss the case and a two-week preliminary hearing is set to begin in mid-March. Magnotta has opted for a jury trial.
The biggest wave of Magnotta media coverage, Dumas said, struck after he was first named a suspect in Lin’s death. That was the day the disturbing details of his alleged crimes first surfaced and the worldwide manhunt kicked off.
In those first 24 hours, Dumas said, 10 per cent of all Canadian news items were dedicated to Magnotta.
He pointed to the Quebec student protests — another Canadian news story that made big headlines in foreign media — as a barometer for demonstrating the intensity of the Magnotta coverage abroad.
“In only 24 hours, the Magnotta affair generated a third of all the international media coverage given to the (six-month-long) student conflict,” Dumas said.
This is the kind of attention Magnotta longed for, says his former girlfriend. She goes by her stage name, Barbie Swallows.
Swallows, a transgendered porn actor and part-time escort, said she dated Magnotta for around four months and they lived together for three weeks in early 2006.
“He always wanted to be super famous and well known and people to talk about him and he finally got it,” Swallows, who did not want her legal name published, wrote in an email.
“When I was in a relationship with him, he told me: ‘One day I’m gonna be famous, you’ll see.’ ”
Magnotta had a prolific online presence and police have said he used the Internet to glorify himself.
After Lin’s death, Magnotta’s new-found recognition also caught the interest of police departments across North America and beyond. They contacted Montreal police, looking for possible links to unsolved killings in their own jurisdictions, but nothing came of their inquiries.
Back in Montreal, Lafreniere called the search for Magnotta the biggest manhunt in the history of the force.
He thinks Magnotta’s selection as News Story of the Year makes sense in terms of how much media coverage the case received.
But he has concerns about giving him so much publicity.
“That person was looking so much for attention,” the police officer said.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it was a bad choice. I’m just saying that we’re almost giving him what he was looking for.”
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 4:36 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – The selection of Luka Rocco Magnotta as Canada’s 2012 Newsmaker of the…
OTTAWA – The selection of Luka Rocco Magnotta as Canada’s 2012 Newsmaker of the Year lit up the country’s social media and news web sites on Sunday with a cyclone of outrage and condemnation.
The alleged killer, who now sits in a Montreal detention centre as his case goes through the legal process, was the subject of a global manhunt last spring after a Chinese engineering student was killed, his body cut up and remains mailed to four different locations in Ottawa and British Columbia.
The event, including Magnotta’s capture last June at a Berlin internet cafe, was splashed across newspaper front pages and Web sites all over the world.
Magnotta was chosen in the annual poll of the country’s newsrooms by The Canadian Press.
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae was among the first to express his anger and disappointment on Sunday, tweeting to 33,361 followers that the “Canadian Press reaches a new low with its naming Magnotta as ‘newsmaker of the year.’ Truly disgusting.”
After being challenged about the news value in a response by one his followers, Rae went on to say The Canadian Press had resorted to “cheap sensationalism” and that “lots of people had more impact and made more news.”
Toronto Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett tweeted the choice was “awful,” while Conservative MP Jay Aspin, who represents the northern Ontario riding of Nipissing—Timiskaming, called on the news agency to retract the selection.
“I appeal to decency & better judgement of the Canadian Press and ask them to rescind their choice of Luka Magnotta as Newsmaker of the year,” Aspin tweeted.
Magnotta was the choice of 22 per cent of the editors and news directors who cast ballots. The second place choice with 18 per cent of the votes was Amanda Todd, the B.C. teen whose suicide sparked a debate on bullying. NHL president Gary Bettman and players’ union head Donald Fehr was third choice with 15 per cent of the votes.
The news agency’s editor-in-chief noted that over the past few decades the poll has recognized other offensive newsmakers and events.
“The Newsmaker of the Year survey has been conducted by The Canadian Press since 1946 and over the decades, the country’s newspaper editors and broadcasters have at times made some controversial selections,” said Scott White.
“Ben Johnson won after the steroid scandal in 1988. Russell Williams won two years ago. The Newsmaker isn’t an honour or a popularity contest. It’s a determination by the journalists in Canada — the people who make up the front pages and put together the daily newscasts — about what Canadian made the biggest impact on the news that year. The stories we all cover are sometimes unpleasant and ugly. This choice reflects that reality.”
Magnotta has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. A preliminary hearing for his case is scheduled for March to determine if there is enough evidence for a trial on the allegations against him.
The Canadian Press received dozens of emails expressing outrage with the choice and social media was abuzz with the story.
“The media sensationalizing these stories is part of the problem,” tweeted Luc Bouillon, a realtor from Montreal.
“Great nose for news, CP,” sarcastically wrote Brian Banks, in Toronto.
By The Canadian Press - Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 6:15 AM - 0 Comments
MONTREAL – Before 2012, Luka Rocco Magnotta was a little-known, 4-a.m regular at a…
MONTREAL – Before 2012, Luka Rocco Magnotta was a little-known, 4-a.m regular at a Montreal diner, where he munched on poutine and guzzled water to rehydrate after performing at a nearby strip joint.
He ends the year as a notorious international figure — an accused killer charged with stomach-turning crimes that set off a global manhunt and horrified people around the world.
Driven by his headline-grabbing spring, Magnotta has been voted Canada’s 2012 Newsmaker of the Year in the annual poll of the country’s newsrooms by The Canadian Press.
The choice, made by editors and news directors, is rooted in the eye-opening reach of a story that erupted last May after the death and dismemberment of university student Jun Lin.