Farewell to Sue

As many people emailed me yesterday, CBC.ca was further de-Claude this week with the departure of Sue Gardner, Senior Director of Something or Other at CBC.ca and Ouimet doppelgänger.

There’s no doubt that on her watch CBC.ca grew and prospered, especially for News, but she was also responsible for the banner ads on the site, cause of much public ire and according to the memo sent out, “a significant amount of incremental revenue.” The memo also says she’s spearheading the creation of our new online media player (another one?) and our “Web 2.0 strategy.”

I know Sue reads this blog. And maybe it has caused her a few headaches over the years.

Or maybe not?

But to you, Sue, I say: Farewell and good luck.

See you around, online.

34 comments:

  1. Anonymous
    Posted October 11, 2007 at 3:49 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    as one of the 30 million Canadians paying for CBC programming and not drawing a government salary to lessen the blow- I feel your pain-when the frenchmen took over Canada without even giving us the courtesy of a civil war there are bound to be minions like Sue to kiss ass and more and while seemingly as brain dead as her brainless francophony masters she probably had a niche and figured out a way to fill it.Think of it as more a reign of error than a reign of terror. In your spare time look into that Wiki organization …that Sue ran off to. They got pretty big in a few years but they deny being Scientology. The cult leader is called Jimbo (jimmy wales) and I think it notorious to try to hijack and mold knowledge as if you were a real encylcopedia let alone some nefarious cult calling themselves Wikipedia. I alerted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement computer crimes division when I was spammed 300 e-mails a week from the Wiki organization. Soon the wikis will be movinf from St. Petersburg, Fla. to the Bay area,california where Sue will fit in likely-the land of flakes and nuts.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted July 20, 2007 at 1:09 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Look, there’s a troll under the bridge! And he knows all 10,000 people at the CBC – must be the only person who does.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted July 20, 2007 at 7:28 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I can’t believe that tax payers have to pay $1 Billion a year for self indulgent assholes like the people who work at the CBC! ALL the people at the CBC.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted June 28, 2007 at 4:07 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2007-June/030946.html

    from Florence Devouard (Chairperson of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Directors) (Jimbo Wales no longer has this position)

    says:

    Dear Wikimedians,

    Please join me in welcoming Sue Gardner to the Wikimedia Foundation. Sue
    joins us today as a consultant and special advisor to the Wikimedia
    Board of Trustees.

    Sue’™s arrival is an important step for Wikimedia as we continue to
    evolve as an organization. We want to ensure sustainability and
    reliability, as well as set the stage for future growth: Sue’™s role is
    to help us do that. She is well-suited to the job: she’™s
    consensus-oriented (which as we know is important in an organization
    like ours), and she has experience leading change and managing
    transitions like the one we’™re facing. She is sympathetic to our goals
    and values, and also has some experience with collaborative projects.

    Sue will be responsible for assessing and improving all aspects of the
    Foundation’™s operations. This means she’™ll be taking a look at how we do
    things today ’“everything from staffing to fundraising to financial
    controls’“ and recommending improvements.

    Sue comes to us from CBC.CA, the website of Canada’™s national public
    broadcaster, and that country’™s largest and most popular news site.
    Under her leadership as Senior Director there, CBC.CA more than doubled
    its audience size, and won dozens of international awards. Prior to
    running CBC.CA, she was a journalist for 10 years, writing for magazines
    and newspapers, and making documentaries and talk programming for media
    companies such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the British
    Broadcasting Corporation and National Public Radio.

    Please join me in welcoming her.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted June 19, 2007 at 7:18 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Let’s see how far THAT goes. I’ll put money on it she crashes and burns Wikipedia before the year is out. Little do they know-

  6. Anonymous
    Posted June 19, 2007 at 6:04 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    And for her next job, she’s going on to serve as the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation (the people responsible for Wikipedia). I wonder how well she’ll do there ….

  7. Anonymous
    Posted June 6, 2007 at 5:07 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    sue underestimated everyone’s intelligence and over-estimated her own…

  8. Andrew
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 8:44 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    So I’ve been away and not reading this, and today I come by and see these comments. So I follow one of the links over the “insidethecbc.com”. And look what I get:

    Oops.

    Permalinks have been changed.

    If ever we needed a slogan for the Web being taken over by pointy-haired nominds who are more interested in the next reorganisation meeting than in making usable web sites, “Permalinks have been changed” would be it. I am going to go weep in the dark now.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted May 22, 2007 at 12:22 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    What’s with the cheese sandwiches?

  10. Anonymous
    Posted May 19, 2007 at 6:21 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    To ‘stunningly stupid’ above:

    Nobody employee from .ca should have to apologize for requesting a work environment where their manager’s ‘EQ’ is at least half as high as their IQ.

    Nobody should have to apologize for broken, vacant or just plain crappy content on .ca.

    You can be assured that if something doesn’t work properly, it’s the result of a giant middle layer of stakeholders, fartcatchers, and other apologists constantly trying to remodel the site after flavour-of-the-week gimmicks instead of fixing the basics.

    Most of the folks on the floor at .ca had email addresses back in the day while their managers were marvelling at using CTRL+C and CRTL+V to move text around in Word.

    We’ve had pioneers, trailblazers and specialists galore pass through the revolving door.

    There are 50+ exit interviews that tell the stories of how these people tried to ply their expertise in the face of moody, arrogant, business bafflegabbers and sycophants-come-latley.

    When the creative types in TV or Radio get locked out, laid off, or given the shaft, public sympathy (mostly) leans in their direction.

    When technical and creative people in New Media make a simple request to use their knowledge and be trusted to do their jobs, they get called stupid.

    We get excellent work done when we’re allowed to innovate. We get problems solved when we don’t have to babysit silly decisions born of turf wars, winding down the clock to someone’s 85, ore being treated as an afterthought by radio and tv.

    Nobody calls us stupid anymore, previous poster. Get it straight.

    Sue, for what you did to get .ca recognized as more than a passing fad, thanks, and good luck.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted May 18, 2007 at 11:48 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    As usual, the truth is somewhere between the invective hurled at Sue (reign of terror), and the apologists who suggest there won’t be anyone better.

    Sue was a superb CBC politician (until the last few months) who managed to keep building a small empire on the heels of Galipeau’s departure, and was a major player under Claude.

    Her single-minded focus on news and current affairs helped .ca become the top news/info site in the country, but that was partly due to deals brokered with big portals like MSN.ca to have CBC content up front.

    She was also instrumental in launching the arts site, a far far better entity than Arts Canada, and better than Infoculture.

    But she went too far and was simply not a good manager of people.

    Sue became very much a diva post-Claude. Ask anyone in the management area of .ca about cheese sandwiches. About the departure of talented people solely because of her conceit and arrogance. She removed herself from much of the goings-on of those under her, and despite her desperate addiction to the Blackberry, would often leave emails unreturned for weeks, sometimes forever.

    In addition, she was self-indulgent, and arts was an example. It was her baby and was lavished with resources, promotion and attention, particularly in the early days. When Dube joined the team, she indulged his tech fetish and the result was numerous new hires and a hefty budget for a section that has so far had dubious traffic payoffs.

    All the while, the copy desk suffered from a lack of resources, and other departments couldn’t get a dime more, no matter what business case was presented.

    And the perceived, perhaps real, cronyism with Brenda Szymborski alienated many of the project management team, hence the revolving door down there.

    And (yes, and..) her inaction, and the inaction of Dube, in revamping the News unit, which is hobbled by ridiculously incompetent leadership and a holier-than-thou attitude, is unforgivable.

    Last, but certainly not least, she made enemies of powerful people like Fuchs, Layfield, Stursberg and even Mattocks in the end. Her reluctance to embrace the broadcast side of CBC made .ca a monoculture relfecting not much more than News. And CBC is more than that.

    So will she be missed? Partly, but I’d say she ran her course and wasn’t fit to lead under Billinger’s new way of doing things.

    But her editorial replacement, Dube, is even worse. And he still has his job.

    There’s better out there. Whether we look for it is up to Billinger.

  12. Tessa
    Posted May 18, 2007 at 9:31 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Oh ’¦ Justin and Anonymous #11 (if that’s your real name), I’m mighty flattered you think so highly of me, but this lady’s hands are just not worn enough to entertain such toilsome work.

  13. Tessa
    Posted May 18, 2007 at 9:27 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I don’t want to be a wet blanket, but I really don’t think Sue’s departure or the anxiety it’s mustered will make any difference to the state of weirdness that’s clouded CBC.ca, “New Media,” “Radio New Media” (omg ’“ remember that?!), Digital Programming or whatever it is we’re calling it these days.

    There are those who liked her, and she’ll be missed. There are those who didn’t, for whatever reason, and they’ll celebrate.

    It’s happened every time we digital renegades have lost/expunged a leader. I’ve been an eyewitness myself, repeatedly, and I’ve been just as frustrated by the absurdity of it all.

    I think ’“ and back me up on this if you agree because I’m kind of going out on a limb here ’“ we should stop worrying so much about who’s at the helm of the 2nd floor enclave.

    When it comes to the digital realm, I think the most pressing issue for CBC is that the vast majority of the people who work in the “traditional” media lines don’t give a rat’s ass about “digital” initiatives and what it means to the work they do.

    And they should.

    Everything about how CBC conceives, produces and distributes its stories is changing. Everything about what our audience expects of us is changing. Even the very idea of “audiences” is confounding to modern communication theorists.

    We’re all screwed if there isn’t a tidal shift in attitude from the floor of the studio up. We all own a piece of CBC’s “digital” initiatives, whether you’re a boom guy, a business affairs manager, a reporter or an executive producer.

    If CBC’s foray into the digital realm fails, so do we all. It reaches far beyond the Sues and Claudes of the Corp.

  14. Anonymous
    Posted May 18, 2007 at 9:11 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I knew Sue as much as anyone in the department from day 1. She sold me out.
    I can’t be happy about any kind of distress, but there it is.
    Sue gets a taste.
    So much for the high road.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted May 18, 2007 at 6:19 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    If the foul-mouthed, mean-spirited, stunningly stupid comments from cbc.ca staff posted on this blog are in any way representative of the attitude of cbc.ca employees in general, who wouldn’t want to get out of there as fast as humanly possible. What a bunch of whiney losers.

  16. Anonymous
    Posted May 18, 2007 at 10:51 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I laughed out loud when I read that Sue had a ‘reign of terror’. Boy, that person must be scared of a lot of things.

    Sue is a lot of thing but not a terrorist. She certainly was not the perfect boss. But then, who is? Sure, she was aloof and was a lousy communicator and did not explain her decisions, not to us lowly staff anyway. She certainly was not the worst boss ever.

    As for the brain-drain, some good people did leave but so too a lot of deadbeats (and you know who you are).

    I wish her luck.

  17. Justin Beach
    Posted May 17, 2007 at 1:18 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I never met Sue, so I can’t comment on that part of it, but I’d definitely 2nd Tessa’s nomination.

  18. Enik Sleastak
    Posted May 17, 2007 at 9:51 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    For an “alternative” view of Sue’s departure, take a deep breath and read this.

    http://www.insidethecbc.com/platforms/website/whysueisleaving/

    Translation: “They held the door open and pushed me through it…so I decided to leave.”

  19. Anonymous
    Posted May 17, 2007 at 7:21 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Has anyone seen this:

    http://www.insidethecbc.com/platforms/website/whysueisleaving/

    Right…..

    No one leaves a position like that to go do nothing. She was fired. Plain and simple.

    Billinger figured out Sue pretty quickly and got rid of her.

    Way to go, Steve. Your work is not done yet!!

  20. Anonymous
    Posted May 17, 2007 at 3:24 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    All these posts are emblematic of the disease destroying the CBC. There is blame laying and shifting, talk about “design”, “planning”,
    “committees”, puppets and their
    masters.

    CBC.ca stinks because it doesn’t have enough interesting purpose-built content. TV needs better shows, radio new (not re-named) ones. Being boring is the CBC’s urgent problem. Hire a few bus loads of writers so you have some material. How many “writers”, primary content creators, work at the CBC do you suppose?

    The internal squabbling is more interesting to watch and listen to than anything on any of the services.

  21. Anonymous
    Posted May 17, 2007 at 12:30 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    We need to give Sue credit for what she was – an excellent puppet master. She pulled Claude’™s strings and fed him the lines.

    I read the NetPubEng and it made me throw up in my mouth a little. That year-long exercise in futility that was the reconstruction of CBC.ca lead by Sue was the biggest wank. All those committees and sub-committees and presentations and such just lead nowhere. (Perhaps the codified Style Guide was the exception.)

    But clearly, once she attached herself to the Hugo Boss, things began to change for her. I agree with an early poster here ’“ suddenly she became and expert in everything (including chief journalist). She failed to get behind her staff and she failed to get the staff to see Claude as a competent leader. (Remember when he spent all that money to buy fancy leather couches from Urban Mode?)

    Frankly, the people at CBC.ca were looking for a leader to back. There had been no one for so long that most were happy to have someone tackle the big brass in Radio and TV. But the Claude/Sue tag team never seemed to care about the little people. They destroyed morale. They destroyed careers. Talent poured outta that building like vodka into Lindsay Lohan. See you Sue, you won’™t be missed.

  22. Anonymous
    Posted May 16, 2007 at 9:26 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    What CBC.ca has needed so badly over the past few years is someone to unite the scattered web development teams, pessimists, news-centrists, innovators, uninspired CBC lifers, R3ers, regional production teams, old media naysayers and all the members of this dysfunctional department. Sue did try to do it – but only one person at a time. And only through the select few that were on her A-List. Much of the negativity on this blog comes from the fact that she never communicated with 99% of the staff. No one knew anything about her except her sporadic, unqualified decisions about what people should or shouldn’t be working on. She was extremely guarded (perhaps shy?), to the point where she offended people by not ever introducing, welcoming, or even offering a common salutation to the people that worked all around her. The only time she ever spoke to the masses was at the now-defunct Web Ed conference, where she spoke passionately about comscore for 48 seconds. Nothing about ideas.

  23. Johnny Happypants
    Posted May 16, 2007 at 7:49 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    At the end of the day…what does this mean to the more than 29,000,000 Canadians who don’t even know cbc.ca exists?

    JH

  24. Anonymous
    Posted May 16, 2007 at 4:05 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Sue Gardner was shotlisting during 9/11 and then she quickly crawled up within Galipeau’s ass. That’s how she moved up so quickly.

    I nominate Tessa Sproule to now lead the site. She has more intelligence and integrity than Sue Gardner could ever dream of having.

  25. Anonymous
    Posted May 16, 2007 at 1:43 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    as an ex .ca employee i’m glad to see her go. she didn’t know the medium that she was meant to lead. she fought against any new technology and new ideas. belittled people. and her idea of cleaning up cbc.ca was to make everything text. it was a shame to see cbc.ca fail to live up to it’s full potential, and this was due to her so-called leadership. she made herself lead designer, IA, usability expert, amongst other things. though she was not qualified to give opinion on any of these things. a good leader is one that people want to follow. in the case of sue, people fled under her lead. i’m sure she’ll talk her way into another job somewhere else. and i know this is a positive change for .ca.

  26. Anonymous
    Posted May 16, 2007 at 12:06 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Joe, she’s leaving CBC as of June 1.

    CBC’s working on its own media player, like CTV and BBC and everyone else.

  27. Kevin
    Posted May 16, 2007 at 11:44 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Joe: According to the NPE, she’s leaving the CBC entirely.

    And don’t worry, (at least to my knowledge) we’re not writing a Canadian version of Dirac or anything crazy like that, if that’s what you meant.

    Your opinion of the BBC’s new media offerings might however be a bit coloured by being outside their geofence, looking in. They do a lot of stuff that’s UK-only.

  28. Joe
    Posted May 16, 2007 at 11:17 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    For those of us not barricaded inside the Rabinovitch Compound, please explain whether she actually is or is not still working for the Corpse.

    Someday a CBC blogger will do a good job in covering the pitfalls of a broadcaster’™s own media player. The BBC is not an example to follow in every respect. Is that what she’™s working on, as claimed here?

  29. Anonymous
    Posted May 16, 2007 at 9:32 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Don’t forget John, Jon, Krista, Claude, Steve… who else? They weren’t idiots, but it’s rare to get one that has both a deep understanding of the internet and concern for public broadcasting values. A few of them did, but nobody of late.

  30. Anonymous
    Posted May 16, 2007 at 8:53 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I object to your characterization of previos managers as idiots. I don’t know on what basis you tar Paul, Mark, Adrian and others with the same brush. My observation is most were excellent, until Uppity Management started reorganizing. Adrian would have been excellent, had he been assigned as a full time manager instead of a baby sitter.

    Sue talked a lot, but the words lacked substance. She ruled without a heart. She worked for Management, not her staff (as I know we all do in reality). She was a very good corporate soul, but failed to win over most of her staff.

  31. Anonymous
    Posted May 16, 2007 at 8:42 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I agree with anonymous poster number 3.

    Sue wasn’t as bad as everyone made her out to be… there is still one person remaining that has got go.

    Spring cleaning is not fun for the peopele involved, but it does help in the long run.

  32. Anonymous
    Posted May 16, 2007 at 8:33 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Teamakers has always been an outlet for the disgruntled, so I’m sure Sue won’t be surprised to see some anonymous ill-wishing here.

    For my part, I have a lot of respect for Sue. Say what you want about her, but she came up from within, knew the medium and gave a shit about public broadcasting. We’ve had a hit parade of middle managers who didn’t, parachuted in from other media lines, other companies or other countries.

    So go ahead and do your spiteful little victory dances, as long as you think the alternative will be better. I have my doubts.

    Best of luck, Sue.

  33. Anonymous
    Posted May 16, 2007 at 7:58 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    One word. Karma.

    It’s about time someone identified the problems in that unit and started cleaning house.

    Perhaps, now, the brain-drain will end over there and talent staff may consider returning.

    It used to be a fun place to work. Perhaps, it will be again!!

    One down. A few more to go.

  34. Anonymous
    Posted May 16, 2007 at 7:03 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Really, is that all you have to say about her reign of terror? I say, “Good riddance.” I’ll follow that up with, ’śwhat goes around, comes around.’ť (no reference to JT)

    CBC.ca had a lot more integrity and promise before Sue began her reign…and I would say the stats in the NetPubEng email are highly questionable.

    She did more to destroy morale than anything she would be lauded for.

    Sue, don’t let the door hit you on your way out.


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