Incubating my CBC

Today on channel 82 the new vision for CBC News was announced. They’re calling it My CBC. It’s a return to the regions, an end to Canada Now, a more integrated newsroom, with some Web 2.0 stuff thrown in.

Now, change can be stressful but I was surprised by the hostility coming out of Vancouver during the Q and A. I thought they were all supposed to be mellow spliff smokers out there?

Of course those of us of a certain age will remember when local news was gutted as a snap solution to a budget shortfall, and decades of work building expertise, resources, and contacts went down the toilet. We were then subjected to the bizarre display of Patrick Watson traveling across the country telling us that it was all a good idea.

So it won’t be too easy to start this up again.

And truth told there was a lot of eye rolling in Toronto as well.

Maybe I’m too stupid to be cynical but it all sounded pretty exciting to me. We desperately need to get back into the regions in a real way.

It will involve civic journalism (not citizen journalism) and the audience uploading and downloading videos, photos, and blogging on That’s what they said. They want to blow it wide open.

Vancouver CBC will be the “incubator” where these ideas will be tested, and from there they will be used in locations across the country. One worried wag pointed out that incubators are “too hot.” Stursberg agreed but added that incubators are “exciting.” At this point I didn’t know what they were talking about. Don’t we put sick babies in those things?

Given the short timelines and the limited resources, right now Vancouver .ca would be a prime place for some clever nerd or underused designer to put his elbows up, jump into the scrum, and in historic CBC style see that this gets done right before anyone can disagree or tell them that “we’re not supposed to do that.”

Sounds like a lot of fun.


  1. Anonymous
    Posted February 13, 2007 at 4:46 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The CBC is dead.

    It just hasn’t stopped twitching yet!

  2. T. Allen
    Posted January 20, 2007 at 9:19 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “that incubators are “exciting.” At this point I didn’t know what they were talking about. Don’t we put sick babies in those things?”

    I suspect they were thinking of premature babies when the word incubator was used.

  3. Justin Beach
    Posted December 3, 2006 at 4:48 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “Ah yes…..the elusive “management” comment.”

    I’m curious about this as well, I’ve actually created a thread just for this, the basic question is – if you were suddenly in charge, what would you actually do differently? And I’d honestly like to know. I’ve been critical of Mangement as well, but within the realm of what I’d like to see happen instead. I’m hoping that those of you who are critical of Management have some good ideas on what to do differently. Please post them here.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted December 3, 2006 at 2:57 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Ah yes…..the elusive “management” comment.

    Do people ever get tired of blaming a nameless invented group for their woes?

    Some people become managers, after time spent in production. Some are flown in from other companies. A small few actually had some influence, no doubt, in these decisions.

    But really – there has to be a better way of saying “I’m powerless and scared of everything” than continually using the same collective rope. You obviously work there. Be more creative at the very least!

    Or maybe you could become what you fear and try to change things that way?

  5. hugh
    Posted December 3, 2006 at 10:22 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    johnny, that was kind of a strange comment. was your point that the net is not an important means of media distribution? ?

    personally, i haven’t watched a TV news broadcast in years. at least not on purpose. bad format, no context.

    but then, whitney is always funny.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted December 3, 2006 at 9:02 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    And though management confidently announced that Ian Hanomansing would be co-hosting the new Vancouver hour-long local newscast (which he already does, in addition to his Canada Now duties), it’™s not clear whether management has actually asked him about it. Hanomansing is a national-level anchor, who for five years has commanded a country-wide platform, and who’™s now suffered a stunning demotion. Although he gets along famously with local co-anchor Gloria Macarenko, management would be advised not to count all its little incubated eggs as hatchlings quite yet. Anybody with a national show to present might look to scoop up a handsome, capable and available newscaster.

  7. Justin Beach
    Posted December 2, 2006 at 4:52 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I assume you know that that whether or not you watch the convention on the cell phone, or even whether YOU personally ever watch anything on a cell phone has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion. Your fear of change is really showing through. Good luck to you though, whatever you do.

  8. Johnny Happypants
    Posted December 2, 2006 at 3:50 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece


    I’m hip. My whole family’s gathered around the cell phone right now watching the Liberal Leadership Convention. The split screen’s a bit tough to make out and we hope no one calls.

    Later we’re going out to check the telephone pole posters to see it there’s anything interesting on TV (I mean cell phone) later.

    Do you want my back issues of Shift?

  9. Justin Beach
    Posted December 2, 2006 at 10:07 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece


    When you say ‘read’ it must be a definition I’m unaware of. When you say ‘it’s not just old people’ I’m well aware of that, what I said was ‘They tend to be older’. And, there are not a hundred million people watching anything. If you add up the audience for the top 10 shows any given week the total comes nowhere near 100 million.

    I do not know who you are or what you do but I’m sorry you are so threatened by the future. When I tried telling people in 2001 that people would eventually be watching TV on their cell phones and that user generated content would be quite popular if anyone was willing to go ask for it they reacted in much the same way you are now.

    Consume media anyway you like (that’s really the point of this.) But Whitney Houston jokes will not change the course of any of this.


  10. Jamie
    Posted December 1, 2006 at 10:41 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    (I hear Whitney’s song every time I watch The Hour)

    Thank you for inducing me to snort beer out through my nose.

  11. Allan
    Posted December 1, 2006 at 9:32 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    (I hear Whitney’s song every time I watch The Hour)

    Vancouver’s hostility toward Toronto is age old. It has to do with resentment that’s kind of knee-jerk toward an absentee landlord – essentially “we don’t want or need some jerk back in Toronto telling us what to do without toiling here along side us as if we can be taken for granted”. It happens in all companies where head office dictates to branch office on other side of the mountains. Also, the rainforest group is not as driven as city folk who have nothing to live for but Best Buy, and they rebel against being pushed around.
    This is true no matter what the topic under discussion.
    “…blow it wide open” ? – What choice do they have ??
    At least someone is finally admitting that Canada Now was a great idea for trying to balance out the power and exposure between East and West, but it never took off, and the boredom has lasted for years.
    It really needed a kick in the butt.

  12. Johnny Happypants
    Posted December 1, 2006 at 5:52 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece


    I read you’re silly blogpost. While you and the rest of the science club are waiting for Moe to unpack this month’s Wired a hundred million of us are watching My Name Is Earl on TV. Sorry…there’s nothing wrong with being entertained by broadcast/cable television. And it’s not just old people. Your post unfortunately reminded me of Whitney Houston’s song about chilren being the future.

  13. Johnny Happypants
    Posted December 1, 2006 at 5:46 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’m already posting video of my cat doing tricks at Global’s (they’ve been at this a lot longer), does this mean I have to post it again at

  14. Ouimet
    Posted December 1, 2006 at 5:09 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Here’s what a lot of people were emailing around the CBC today:

    welcome to our new one-hour newscast.

    Our new format means we’ll be doing things a little differently here.

    First we’re more interactive’¦that means we want to hear from you.

    We want your stories’¦as told by you’¦shot by you’¦written by you.

    We want you here in our studios’¦sharing those stories’¦at our desks’¦using our computers’¦.in our edit suites..carrying our cameras…using our washrooms.

    We want you at our morning meetings’¦planning the day’¦and then, at the end of the day, feeling that adrenalin rush as you race to get Your stories on Your newscast.

    In other words we want you doing our jobs’¦.for free’¦

    Because here at the CBC’¦it’s our way of finally putting the public in public broadcasting.

    So what are you waiting for? Come on down and let’s get started’¦

    We’ll be watching’¦ but then, what else will we have to do?

    Anyway..time now to go to a break’¦when we come back– 73-year-old Edna Ferber joins us with the weather.

    Don’t go away!

  15. Justin Beach
    Posted December 1, 2006 at 10:20 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Too much for a simple comment blogged though.

  16. P
    Posted December 1, 2006 at 8:15 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hmm, maybe CBC News will be based on the new CBC Kids model:
    Nothing says civic journalism like children breakdancing!

  17. Anonymous
    Posted December 1, 2006 at 7:50 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    To put the story about CBC’s local newscasts into perspective, here’s the ratings from Wednesday, Nov. 29 for the three networks at 6:00pm (according to the Nielsen overnights)

    CBC News at Six: All Viewers, 2+: 250,000

    (Note: This is a high number – most of the time, the CBC News at Six tracks below 200,000 – one suspects the Liberal Leadership convention drew more viewers)

    CTV News at Six: All Viewers, 2+: 1.826 Million

    Global News at Six: All Viewers, 2+: 1.017 Million

    As for the network news shows that night:

    Mansbridge: 705,000/2+
    Robertson: 1.056 Million/2+
    Newman: 1.04 Million/2+

  18. Anonymous
    Posted December 1, 2006 at 6:13 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    … probably still more appointments…

  19. Anonymous
    Posted December 1, 2006 at 4:40 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    By “civic journalism” I’m sure they really mean “under resourced”. If the pattern is followed a couple of extra managment positions will be created but no journalists or editorial writers hired. Content will be donated to the CBC or created by magic.

  20. vinb
    Posted November 30, 2006 at 10:59 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Not right on topic but, I was outdoors taking a walk and I suddenly realized Hosted Prime is gone.

  21. Anonymous
    Posted November 30, 2006 at 7:39 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It was awesome when new media prophet Richard Stursberg said that people will be able to ‘blog in’ to the site. And then when he mentioned that people are starting to read news on their Rims, well, I nearly spilled New York Seltzer on the keys of my TRS-80!

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