Claude bleeds CBC.ca of nerds

CBC.ca has been slowly bleeding staff over the last few months, all of them poached by outgoing CBC.ca impresario Claude Galipeau.

Claude, you may remember, was the guy the CBC hired from Alliance Atlantis to run CBC.ca, the de facto VP of new media without the title, who went back to Alliance Atlantis earlier this year to kick their websites into shape.

Personally, I think he made some brutal decisions that set CBC.ca back years, but what do I know? That’s why I’m a blogger and he’s juggling big money job offers.

After he left the CBC he began cherry-picking its staff, eventually harvesting CBC.ca, CBC Archives, Sports, and Kids for nerds, writers, managers, techies, and even the guy who made the despised banner ads.

The reason is that Alliance Atlantis is aiming to ramp up their websites and get into multimedia and broadband in a big way. They have a dozen channels custom-made for online and sponsorship ties, but the websites suck, and have for years. It’s the job of the former CBCers to turn this around.

The CBC has a long, proud history of being a training ground for the private sector. Which is lovely, and part of what this place is all about.

But the real question is, why can’t CBC.ca keep any of these people?

Money, maybe. Or a dehumanizing lockout.

More likely it’s the fact that there’s little hope for advancement there. With the notable exception of Sue Gardner, there have been no promotions within CBC.ca. None of the people hired to run the Kids, Arts, News or Tech/Consumers sections came from CBC.ca, despite qualified internal applicants.

Added to that is the fact that the web is not like radio or TV. There are only a couple of senior producers, no executive producers, no hosts, and only a few managers. There’s not much of a standard career path there, and even less of one when the senior jobs go to outsiders. Hell, even Claude couldn’t get a promotion.

So where do you go when you can’t go up? Out.

Overheard at the Banff Festival:

Jonathan Dube (Editorial Director, CBC.ca): “Claude, you have to stop stealing our staff.”
Claude: “Then tell them to stop calling me.”

29 comments:

  1. Anonymous
    Posted January 11, 2007 at 12:01 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Claud is a fraud. What has he really done in technology? How was he qualified to do anything for ceeb or AA. He is yet another washed up beauraucrat kissin’ butt and playing political games. How many of his current or former staff actually respect him personally?

    I can’t wait to see his response to this. Is there anyone out there that will go on the record and say that he is competent? …I thought not.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted December 2, 2006 at 11:13 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    What do you figger a person like Gardner earn anyway???

    I think the site is highly over-rated.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted October 17, 2006 at 12:33 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The Clod-Sue-Brenda beast was geared to strip CBC.ca of any nay-sayers, orginal thinkers, and innovators. The news dept. definitely suffered. See-through Mary has no backbone. Bring back Ken and Andrew!

  4. Anonymous
    Posted October 11, 2006 at 1:27 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’m coming to this late. I left because of the lockout but likely would have gone anyway because of the limited opportunities for advancement within. Claude and Sue have received some mostly deserved kicks (although I prefer his vein-popping intensity — remember the rants after msn.com started using CTV news content instead of CBC? – to Sue’s bizarre skinny-suited, caramel-voiced, jargon-ooozing, power-sniffing mien).
    Mary Sheppard has badly damaged the news shop by not pushing for original reporting (“that’s not what we do” — and then listen to how she makes rewriting wire copy and radio/TV scripts sound like groundbreaking journalism) and instead hiring a huge roster of mostly unremarkable columnists (name one mustread out of all she’s had). Secondly, she’s a Poynter Institute-type journo snob who prefers to hire “interesting people” with degrees in zoology and out-of-print books under their belt than, say, people with actual daily news experience. I don’t think the place will ever improve with her at the helm of news.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted October 8, 2006 at 2:07 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    LOL! Looks like fireworks. I’m expecting a crass “i’m better than everyone” response from Ouimet. So predictable, please don’t disappoint!

  6. Anonymous
    Posted October 5, 2006 at 9:01 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hey Ouimet,

    Can you also explain why the CBC intranet site is nothing more than an expensive phone book?

    After all the years you’ve worked on the intranet and as one of the managers responsible for it, can you explain why it suck?

    Yet, here you are and many other anonymous bloggers bash Claude, Rae, Sue and many others as if any of you can do much better.

    The truth is, you are not even half as good as you think you are.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted October 3, 2006 at 9:09 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Stop bashing Claude you bunch of homophobes!

  8. Anonymous
    Posted September 29, 2006 at 7:05 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    maybe Clod’s demeanor is better now that someone’s head has been removed from his nether region…or perhaps the release of the puppet strings have helped. who knows?

    perhaps you haven’t seen him go ballistic. yet.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted September 29, 2006 at 12:31 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Nicely put, Clod.

  10. Anonymous
    Posted September 28, 2006 at 11:48 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Having Claude at AAC is an absolute pleasure. He supports his team 110% and the team values his leadership. There was already a lot of talent at Alliance which is being unleashed now. Top notch additions from more than just the CBC such as Corus, CHUM, Sympatico, and Rogers (to name a few) are filling out a kickin’ digital media unit.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted September 28, 2006 at 6:54 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    a previous poster mentioned the high turnover rate in CBC.ca. I recently heard that HR was doing an “audit” of that group. I doubt it will amount to anything.

    someone in HR is protecting the reigning queens of mean. apparently, this HR “person” has erred a number of times and now he’s a kept “person”.

    I wish someone would update & post the list of “survivors” who departed during Claude’s reign…I heard it’s up to about 70 people now.

    I hope he’ll be kinder to the minions he’s “acquired” at AA.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted September 28, 2006 at 5:19 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I can remember the first week Clod started at the Ceeb. Sue was running around behind him like a lost puppy. Many of us thought it was funny – like that kind of brown nosing will get you anywhere. But look who’s laughing now! Clod has hightailed it back to AA and the Black Widow has the corner office. As a result of this unholy merger, CBC.ca was bled of most of its talent. Dedicated staff were fired, pushed out, moved around, and shown the door. Maybe someday, someone in senior management will have the balls to read the transcripts of all those exit interviews that were done. On second thought…no one has those balls anymore. They’ve all be neutered.

  13. Anonymous
    Posted September 27, 2006 at 9:59 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    But CBC4Kids was a great, inventive, gaaaaaaaaaaaakkkk!

    Moment of corporatism slipped in there. Or maybe it was the cod liver.

  14. Anonymous
    Posted September 27, 2006 at 11:47 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    claude has no clothes!

  15. Anonymous
    Posted September 26, 2006 at 8:38 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Why do people leave CBC.ca? I could provide a fully bulleted list and very few of them would have anything to do with cash. To be fair to my new employer ’“ who happens to be an appreciative, fair-minded and well-adjusted individual ’“ I won’t waste precious company time doing so. I will target two managers within CBC.ca – the one who runs the damn place, and the one who conspires with her on a daily basis.

    Let me just ask this:

    How does someone go from shot listing during 9/11 to running all of CBC.ca? How does someone make the jump from CBC4Kids to such a highly (insert choking sound here) esteemed position? And how, in this quest, does she manage to bring a former CBC4Kids designer along for the ride? How does one manage the transition from designing for a children’s web site to managing a totally ineffective Project Management Office?

    I can almost guarantee that the actions of these two individuals force most people to reconsider their futures within CBC.ca.

    Besides, who needs talented staff when these two know everything?

  16. Anonymous
    Posted September 25, 2006 at 9:11 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Studies have shown that what motivates workers more than salary is interesting work. Obviously you can’t pay people too badly, but I think that if the work at CBC.CA was challenging and innovative, people would stick around.

    It’s no fun just creating brochureware sites and simplistic software to support Radio and TV programming, or hacking a god-awful piece of software like Interwoven Teamsite (the selection of which is a perfect example of what is wrong with the folks in charge.) No wonder so many talented programmers and designers are jumping ship.

  17. Anonymous
    Posted September 25, 2006 at 9:45 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It’s not money. People are leaving because they are frustrated by a slow and dysfunctional process, and because there is little opportunity to change it. There are HUGE communication problems between managment and staff. The troops see their leaders as elitists who are web-illiterate, and management considers its staff to be inefficient and unskilled. As a result, staff feel marginalized and under-utilized (and they ARE!), and management believes their staff isn’t talented enough to attempt anything progressive (at least I hope that’s why the strategy is so lame). So the website stagnates. People can usually tolerate the frustration for about a year before they leave. One group – the project management team – is primarily responsible for liasing between management and the production/editorial staff. Being caught in the middle is a death sentence. The turnover in that team is about 80 percent a year. No joke.

    One more point – all the teams that work outside the asylum (R3, Kids and Archives) create incredible stuff (and hold on to their staff!).

  18. Anonymous
    Posted September 25, 2006 at 5:55 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Well it’s not all just brain drain at dot-ca.

    Recently Kenny Yum was hired away from his job as deputy editor at globeandmail.com to work at cbc.ca. He was one of the top guys over there and a good one to hire away!

  19. Anonymous
    Posted September 24, 2006 at 10:54 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I wouldn’t be surprised if salary was an issue; with the increasing tendency of CBC.ca managers to contract out their projects, money is flowing into the pockets of private-sector chums rather than those of their own employees.

    As several posters have already pointed out, the root of the problem seems to be CBC.ca management. I know 5 people (out of dozens) who have jumped ship in the past few years, and all cited incompetent management as the primary reason. The fascinating thing is, there’s no accountability! In the “real” world, a turnover rate this high would cause heads to roll. Until that happens, I expect that Claude’s phone will be ringing off the hook.

  20. Ouimet
    Posted September 24, 2006 at 1:24 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    What a piece of trash that Fulford article is. Truly.

    It’s hard to believe that any newspaper would pay him real dollars for that.

  21. Anonymous
    Posted September 23, 2006 at 1:51 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece
  22. Anonymous
    Posted September 23, 2006 at 9:23 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    If there are problems with retention, it usually stems and stinks “from the head down”. In an industry as fast paced as “new media” the beauraucracy of the CBC is like a boat anchor.

    If talent wants to innovate and push boundaries, the last place they’re going to get that opportunity is the public broadcaster. Probably why they’re going where there are content channels “Without Borders”.

  23. Anonymous
    Posted September 23, 2006 at 12:10 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Rae Hull runs the Vancouver plant like the tyrant she is. Worst RD ever!

  24. Anonymous
    Posted September 22, 2006 at 10:18 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It’s too hard to innovate from within. There are too many barriers. There’s no support. Every answer to every question is “no.” It’s almost to the point where if anyone wants to do anything cool in New Media at CBC, they need to have been annointed by God’s latest messenger “from away.”

    But now everyone who was hand-picked by Claude is gone, or just about. Does this mean that we will have to hire more “outsiders” when The Powers That Be eventually decide that it’s not acceptable for the public broadcaster to be perpetually behind, or working on one-offs?

    What about the grassroots? Stars can only demand what is already popular. Who is working on the next thing that will revolutionize the way we do things? Isn’t that part of every geek’s job description?

    ZeD’s dead. And EPT doesn’t count. Where is CBC.ca’s Mark Starowicz?

    (Does Rae Hull still work here?)

  25. Anonymous
    Posted September 22, 2006 at 8:26 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Not everyone at CBC.ca will be following Galipeau to Atlantis. Claude never really hid his disdain for a lot of the people who worked there…especially those who were there before he came down from Bloor and Church. With a couple of exceptions the people heading up to Bloor St today are likely his hires.

    As for the rest left at CBC.ca money is a big problem, not just compared to the web industry in general but to some of the other major media outlets in Toronto. And, of course, CBC.ca wastes the talents of its people by having its news and sports staff (less so in arts) sitting around still doing shovelware because management (both CBC upper level and CBC.ca) don’t want to spend a few extra dollars to let the talent out of the playpen and perhaps produce something that might actually have some real impact on the web (and be picked up by radio and TV)

  26. Anonymous
    Posted September 22, 2006 at 12:58 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I would have to say that while the low salaries are part of the motivation to leave, the management’s perpetual short-term thinking and failure to understand technology create a hostile environment for geeks. If CBCers were allowed some input on technological decisions and/or a bit more creative freedom (or at least sane standards to adhere to) more people would stick around.

  27. Anonymous
    Posted September 22, 2006 at 11:44 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Thanks for the heads up – I think I`ll give Claude a call !

  28. Rachel
    Posted September 22, 2006 at 10:44 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I would guess that money has a lot to do with it – all of my web design and IT geek friends were actively searching for jobs with CBC until they saw how little they were paid (in comparison to the private sector).

  29. Anonymous
    Posted September 22, 2006 at 10:39 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    My team lead was promoted to a Manager.

    So Sue isn’t the only one in CBC.ca that was promoted…


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