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7 key privacy principles for media companies

28 May 2015 · By Andrée Gosselin O’Meara

This past April, The Globe and Mail hosted Dr. Cavoukian to talk about her landmark paper Privacy by Design. A short woman, she’s hard to see in a packed, standing room-only venue. However, within a few minutes, she captures her audience as she oozes positive energy and shows great enthusiasm on the subject of privacy.

Dr. Cavoukian is currently executor director of the Privacy & Big Data Institute of Ryerson University in Toronto (Canada). Prior to taking this post in 2014, she was the information and privacy commissioner for the province of Ontario (Canada) and held this position for three consecutive mandates.

During her time as commissioner, she produced hundreds of white papers on the subject of privacy. Her landmark paper ...


Gender studies: Women missing from powerful positions on mastheads

26 April 2015 · By Andrée Gosselin O’Meara

On March 25, 2015, the Canadian Competition Bureau approved the sale of the Sun Media network, including 173 publications and digital properties, to Postmedia Network Inc., a media company that already had the largest newspaper footprint in Canada.

The data assembled about the masthead positions was gathered on April 2; the deal was closed on April 13.

The latest Labour Force survey from Statistics Canada (January 2015) pens the number of women as part of the labour force at 47%. As women are such an important part of the labour force ...


3 ways media organisations can celebrate Earth Day

01 April 2015 · By Andrée Gosselin O’Meara

For those slightly confused, April 22, 2015, is Earth Day, which is the same around the world. Earth Hour was March 28, 2015; it is generally the last Saturday in March.

Earth Hour adapts itself to the local sunrise/sundown times. In Canada, Earth Hour was from 20:30 to 21:30. You may hear about Earth Month as well. Earth Month is more or less a loose term to extend Earth Day activities throughout the entire month and focus on sustainability challenges.

A fun fact

Earth Day will be 45 years old this year. Actually, the first Earth Day was celebrated also on April 22, but in 1970.

In these past 45 years, many non-governmental, private, and public organisations have worked hard developing the science to understand how our planet’s climate is changing – what is normal historically speaking and what seems like ...


Looking for the perfect privacy policy template for media publishers? Here it is

03 March 2015 · By Andrée Gosselin O’Meara

Every time the subject of updating the privacy policy comes around, I try to find a quick hiding spot. As director of customer care, I was assigned the role of privacy advocate more than a year ago. I am one of 11 departmental advocates, and I also contribute to our privacy oversight committee that supports the chief privacy officer.

As part of customer service, I have the opportunity to have direct conversations with our readers and subscribers regularly. Our readers are passionate, smart, and vocal. As such, it’s important to use plain and clear language when redacting any documentation that will pertain to readers’ personal information.

As we stand now, privacy policies amongst media publishers have similarities but none follow a particular architecture.

With the objective of creating a privacy policy framework in mind, we reviewed five publishers and looked at their respective privacy policies in detail. We reviewed The Globe and Mail (updated December 2014), The Guardian (updated February 2015), the New York Times (updated December 2014), Fairfax Media (updated February 2014), and the South China Morning Post (last update unknown).

Based on the above mentioned publishers, here’s a solid construction plan media organisations can use to create a privacy policy from ...


Globe and Mail takes leading role toward greater advertising transparency

04 February 2015 · By Andrée Gosselin O’Meara

On January 15, 2015, The Globe and Mail sent an e-mail to all its online subscribers and registered readers, alerting them about its new privacy policy, terms and conditions, and The Globe’s new online tool to opt out of targeting by interest-based advertisers.

The ability to deliver relevant editorial content is fundamental to any news organisation. You fail in that department and you basically don’t exist – or you won’t for long anyway.

Delivering relevant advertising, however, offers exciting new opportunities to engage and better serve the reader while uncovering potential issues regarding ...


Countless points of personal data offer benefits, challenges for media companies

08 January 2015 · By Andrée Gosselin O’Meara

A well-known Canadian fashion reporter recently explained the difference between fashion and style: “Fashion is what you're offered. Style is what you choose.” Style, in other words, is unique to each one of us.

In our modern world, what we wear, what we share, and what we care about are now mere data points on the huge spectrum of infinite relationships, links, and permutations that represent a distinctive and discrete human being.

As publishers, we both collect and analyse a vast amount of data and monetise it in some form or other; we may improve our product offering or our customer service, make use of flexible pricing, or make our Web site behave differently.

Most Web sites’ basic data collection consists of a computer’s IP address and links it with time spent, articles read, games played, videos watched, and a few other hundred – if not thousands – of additional data points.

If a person comes to a site as a guest, the information collected is ...


Transparency, privacy issues surround Big Data growth

11 December 2014 · By Andrée Gosselin O’Meara

In a promotional video for South by Southwest 2014 (SXSW), organisers talk about how fast transparency and privacy concerns have risen to top of mind for conference attendees.

One organiser claims that back in 2012, only two sessions dealt with privacy and that, in 2014, close to 30 sessions were being held on the subject.

Take a quick look at the SXSW 2015 Interactive agenda and we can see 17 sessions specifically on privacy are already planned.

Transparency and privacy are clearly different concepts, however it’s important to consider ...


Educating the next generation of sustainable media managers

09 November 2014 · By Andrée Gosselin O’Meara

In late October 2014, INMA announced a scholarship for the executive MBA programme of the Berlin School of Creative Leadership.

The programme is global not only in focus but also in its execution, as the classes are held in five different locations over the course of 24 months – such locations being “creative centres” as per the school’s Web site.

Kudos to INMA executives for such a progressive move!

Keeping one’s management skills sharp and current is more important than ever.

I recently went through such an exercise by focusing on ...


3 myth-busting sustainability strategies

15 October 2014 · By Chad Park and Brendan Seale

From retailers to telecoms, insurance companies to oil and gas firms, most major businesses now have a sustainability strategy and function in their organisations.

The same is true in other sectors as well. Most universities are adopting sustainability policies and implementing sustainability programmes on their campuses. Most municipalities (in Canada at least) have community sustainability plans.

The approaches to sustainability range from window dressing to deeply embedded drivers of innovation. Whatever the approach, it’s clear that something important is happening.

Yet, despite having its fair share of heroes, villains, and brand-name players, this dynamic movement gets very little media attention. Why?

One reason might be because the word sustainability is overused and misunderstood. It is often equated with vague terms like “going green” or the “triple bottom line” of social, environmental, and economic considerations.

It is sometimes even used in seemingly contradictory expressions such as “sustainable growth,” or in entirely different contexts (e.g. the sustainability of our health-care system).

It’s no wonder ...


B Corps: When publications care about more than the bottom line

17 September 2014 · By Andrée Gosselin O’Meara

If you are new to the world of sustainability, it won’t take long before you find the name of John Elkington in your research links. Mr. Elkington coined the concept of triple bottom line (TBL) back in 1994 while working at SustainAbility, the consultancy firm he co-founded.

The TBL was developed as an accounting framework that not only considered the financial aspects of an entity but also its social and environmental dimensions.

Since its inception, companies that considered themselves value-based organisations have more or less figured out how to embed these values within their corporate structures.

Over the past few decades, stakeholders and shareholders that cared about socially responsible investing (SRI) have also organised themselves to make their voices heard. In a typical capitalistic response, specific stock market indices were created to report on companies’ performance on their respective TBL dimensions (see the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices or the Thomson Reuters Corporate Responsibility Indices).

Such endeavours, however, are largely based on industry self-regulation. The B Corp certification offers guidelines, goodwill, and intentions, and incorporates them into ...


About this blog

As an industry we need to build resiliency not only to survive but to thrive. This blog will look at building resiliency through the lenses of sustainability. It will review common challenges, share best practices and provide practical ideas to implement and execute.

About the author

I am Andrée Gosselin O’Meara, director, customer care at The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Canada. I've worked on the business side of digital media since 2000 focusing on the marketing, product development (mainly tablets), strategy and now customer retention. In 2013, I completed research on corporate sustainability leaders in Canada as part of a Masters degree. I am also an active member of the company’s Green Team.

Contact Andrée

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