Allan elbowed me in the ribs about being a Lynne Russell fanboy. I am.
She was “doing fill-in” on Newsworld in ’06, but “it didn’t work out.” Ever wondered why? She’s finally ready to tell us (or somebody finally asked).
I might be the first American, and probably the last, to anchor the CBC.... After nearly two decades with CNN – and then five years traveling and writing – I went back to TV news here in Canada, because it’s a hard habit to break. I did not expect it to be the same, and it wasn’t.
It’s actually difficult to compare the networks I know first-hand, since CNN is an American commercial network that’s all about immediacy, and CBC is Canadian-government-run , without a breaking-news approach....
American networks do not promote themselves as lending a particular nationalistic viewpoint to the news (whatever one might think actually happens!). Yet CBC Newsworld promotes itself as providing “news with a Canadian perspective.” To me this is an astonishing admission, a disservice to the viewing public and exactly the opposite of what it should be. A journalist’s job – privilege and responsibility – is to tell the story, explain why it’s important, and then shut up and allow the public to draw their own conclusions. I have faith that they are very capable of this.
Then there’s breaking news as a priority: Even at small local stations, there will be at least a reporter on call in the evenings, to chase down facts and interviews when news happens. At the CBC that was not the case, as a large staff focused attention on the late evening program (which left me tap-dancing around stories, and left the public uninformed unless they tuned to the other networks, which were indeed airing more information). That late-evening program is the network’s “showcase,” an hour-long, slow-moving compilation with a documentary feel, that runs several more times in the course of a day. It’s very nicely done – some of it is brilliantly produced – but just don’t call it news.
Most telling, I suppose, was the day in 2006 when a Canadian was tragically killed in an American friendly-fire accident in Afghanistan, and I was abruptly replaced on my scheduled newscast by, well, by a Canadian. I wondered why there were two of us sitting in Make-Up.