It’s been a couple of days. What were they really saying at the unveiling of CBC’s plans for news renewal?
[M]ost of our news audience is an older audience, we skew to a different part of Canada. [...] We reach a healthy share of a very narrow demographic, mostly 50 to 65+. [...] We’re the number-one news network, 6 million viewers a week – ⅔ are 50+, half over 55, half of those over 65, mostly in Ontario.
“Our audience is old, on the verge of death, and, by implication, not ‘hot’ and not profitable.”
The interesting thing here is they aren’t planning to Radio 2–ify the news service to attract a “hot,” hip, Terfrylike clientele. But why not? I thought the Radio 2 approach was a good idea.
They want the real story, for us not to take sides, for us to present all sides, inform about Canada, as you’d expect. [...] The biggest gaps are around real stories, presents all sides, not take sides. We’ve seen this in other research – that there’s cynicism for what we do.
“Right-wing assholes keep calling us left-wing propagandists. They’ve said that so many times it just has to be true. And the Tories might win a majority someday. So we’re going to mix in some right-wing propaganda that they’ll all view as unbiased truth.”
Online will be the first place we break news. They tend to be last in the line. Shifting to the now for online and Newsworld specifically.
Which service will break the news – “online” or Newsworld?
People aren’t as engaged as we’d like them to be. Will create engagement.
You can’t “create engagement” any more than you can force people to like you.
Transparency – you see a little of this in The National now, telling people how we got the information and what we do and don’t know.
This is a great idea online, where you can link to original source documents, but on TV I just don’t give a shit.
Think of Mumbai – that would have played well in the central region here and also in British Columbia and also in Quebec where it had particular resonance.
There are Indics in Quebec? I thought we couldn’t talk about Indics in Quebec. (They aren’t pure laine, but if you actually say so you get shitcanned by your own news organization.)
We’re also rebranding it. Again: CBC Newsworld, no awareness.
Rebranding it how? With racing stripes and a new font?
Stories unfold as they happen. Newsworld will not wait for the definitive word on anything before we report the story. We’ll tell you what we know when we know it and tell you how we know it. [...] Much more modern style in look, tone, language. “The story is developing. We’re on it. Don’t move away!”
“We’ll run whatever unsubstantiated shit we get without bothering to check it first. With so much airtime to fill (‘24/7’!), we’ll need something to talk about” – even if it’s blatantly false, a plant, or a prank from a (non-Indic) Quebec disc jockey.
Fundamental principle to cover local news stories when they break – propane explosion in Toronto, shutdown of the subway in Montreal. Survival information. Inherently interesting to people in those communities and inherently interesting to people across the country.
People outside Toronto and Montreal do not find Toronto and Montreal news “inherently interesting.” People in Toronto and Montreal do not find, say, Saskatoon and Sherbrooke news “inherently interesting.” Keep local local.
Like Suhana Meharchand’s show during the election. She could move around and engage people on the assignment desk.
Just like CITY-TV did 20 years ago! (I thought CITY was a farm team for CBC all along. Ben Chin, we hardly knew ye.)
We know from research we’re underdelivering locally.
This is what happens when you spend a decade systematically shitcanning local-news operations.
Q. Who’s going to read this on Global tomorrow?
A. Yeah, it’s a secret from them. And that’s a tricky thing with a news organization. It’s not, obviously, going to be a secret forever. When (everything is ready) we’re going to invite them in and show it to them.
So let me get this straight – once everything’s all in place, you’ll walk your bitterest competitors through the building and disclose all your secrets?