So they split Tony’s job into 2 and gave half of it to John Cruickshank of the Chicago Sun-Times. Did you notice they were going to call the position “Executive Director,” until this blog suggested Publisher? Doyle’s not the only one nicking ideas from Tea Makers.

So what’s Cruickshank supposed to do with his half of the job? He sounds a little foggy himself.

It’s the distinction between the tactical, hands-on role of editor-in-chief and the more strategic role of publisher. Not to say that I won’t be involved in the news operation, because nothing could keep me from doing that.

But it [the strategic role] is really important now because of the extraordinary dynamism of the audience, frankly, and the changing tastes for how we get news, when we get news and what form it comes to people, that there be somebody thinking about those things.

The publisher of CBC News will not have a commercial responsibility … and so, while it’s a news-management job, there is certainly nothing wrong with news managers in newsrooms. Actually, that’s where they’re best placed. In there and walking around.

Hey, I admit that I don’t know much about publishing newspapers. Besides the fact that the Chicago Sun-Times is a tabloid with a nosediving circulation and ballooning losses. So when I hear this kid of blather I just go by the assumption that someone else smarter than me understands what is happening and will pull us out of it.

But as a management technique I can assure you that this method only works in 13% of the time. For the rest, my instincts are right, the speaker knows less than I do, anyone who knows better doesn’t have the power to do anything, and the whole shebang will be lead over the cliff while the new guy fumbles for his footing.

I have this sense that it’s my mission to help lead the CBC’s news operation into the future.

Can someone bring this chap up to speed, pronto?

We’re right in the middle of one of our many many news renewals, the myCBC incubator, which is already bearing fruit in Vancouver.

Remember this? Stursberg gathering us round the hearth, telling us it was all going to be hyperlocal, chock full of civic journalism, more relevant than ever, when and where people wanted it all with No New Money?

First in Vancouver, then to the rest of the nation. And ever since then our best brains have been meeting daily in that city to sort this out. They’ve been filling their Groupwise calendars. They’ve been burning up the phone lines. Magid was brought in to get all maggoty on it.

So forgive me if after all this I find the new BC website a little underwhelming. It looks fresher, but where’s the myCBC? Where’s the hyperlocal? Where’s the audience participation? That sweet, sweet, free User-Generated Content? Where’s the civic journalism?

Not to be an ass, but I’ve featured Loser Generated Content on this site since it’s inception 2 years ago. My budget is $0. So I know the holdup isn’t technical or budgetary. It’s most certainly editorial.

CBC journalists are like Platonic philosophers or gangster rappers. They take themselves and their work incredibly seriously. And the people who set these policies have been wringing their hands over this for months. What if someone writes “motherfucker” on our website? What if they want to talk about Israel? What if they have a lucid argument as to why abortion is wrong?

These are the same cyberjournalists from the future that drew up the moronic CBC employee blogging guidelines. That turkey took them 2 years. So this might take a while.

In the meantime the international competition kicks our ass in this arena. Luckily there is not much going on in Canada for this type of thing. Alliance Atlantis finally put blogtv out of its misery. Who knows? Maybe it will never really take off. Experiments like CNN’s i-report might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’d argue it’s a good place to go for amateur hurricane porn.

Much more interesting to me is Le Monde‘s new site, Le Post, which allows citizens and journalists to interact with each other, write, suggest, update, and append stories in a neutral, non-Monde public space.

Meanwhile the incubator in Vancouver continues to gestate. Not quite myCBC. Not quite yourCBC. But certainly somebodysCBC.

My guess is that the Somebody is somewhere in a meeting, somewhere in Vancouver, trying to make some kind of decision.


  1. Allan
    Posted October 17, 2007 at 5:51 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I just sat through a 90 minute radio show titled “The Future of The Future of News”, and that wasn’t a typo.
    It just looks odd because of the stupidity of the stupidity of the people who approved that title, thinking it was all going to be over everyone’s head to begin with, so what difference does it make when it amounts to nothing anyway.
    You will roll your eyes and drop your jaw over some of the remarks from the “informed” panelists.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 1:27 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The local Vancouver CBC experiment starts today, First October 2007
    with a noon news.
    Macarenko, ex-weather bimbo, does the news.
    Claire Martin moved to the west coast to do the weather.

    At six pm the first show with 7 reporters, most on short term contracts and doing radio mainly.
    Ian Hanomansing does the serious pieces, and Macarenko the light stuff.
    Martin does weather in new set
    for pictures.
    First time in many years, a local sports reader, much-fired Sean Foxman.

    See the video of noon news at:
    And the six oclock fire-and-police shows

    Ian Hanomansing will be visiting 100,000 homes who watch other channels, with chocolates, to persuade them to change channels. That’s what he saon on the Radio One’ Early Edition show at 7:55 am.

  3. fog cutter
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 8:10 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    There once was a time when the government’s duty was to protect the population from the influence and power of the corporations.

    Nowadays, the government is the corporation. (Watch the “public servants” bounce from the private to the public and back -all in name of advancing the corporation’s agenda. Pathetically obvious with no effective safe-guards in place to curtail the influence peddling.)

    ALL decisions are seen through the short-sighted right-wing perspective: no more government spending on social programs, privatize everything and ridicule any initiative that actually puts the people first (ie “liberal” or “left”). The “market” has all the answers, so the gospel goes.

    So where’s the mainstream media during this overt takeover of all things “social”? Where is the “other” perspective?(Remember the “new deal”? It died last week.)

    So who is representing the people?

    The media is simply the PR arm of these corporations. It is incredibly disturbing to watch network news “journalists” just regurgitate what they been have told to say. What do they know on the subject? What kind of insight can they bring to the table? NONE. IT’S NOT THEIR JOB. They are only able (allowed?)to spew the corporate line. And this from people who have big degrees in journalism and MBA’s. Seemingly intelligent individuals.


    The CBC has the ultimate opportunity to differentiate itself from this cheap, disloyal reporting. It can make a difference – not just say so.

    I pray that the interests of my fellow canadians come before those of the corporations that have reduced our country to a quasi-US state.

    Clearly, the mainstream press has no intention of changing its colors. Money green , of course.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted September 30, 2007 at 10:08 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Allan said:
    “Media is far from dead. It’s exploded, like a powerful fountain of freedom, and while some are running for cover as if the sky were falling (newspapers, television, radio) others are dancing in the rain, joyful and refreshed, at finally being cleansed of all the bullshit self-censorship and uptight we-know-what’s-best-for-you tyranny (CBC!)”

    That’s crap. The media is being killed by beancounters and if you think that blogging is going to save its ass, just wait until the bloggers and citizen journalists realize they are working for free or get burned out or get a new job or another kid and quit blogging and sending stuff to CI addresses. (Or if they’ve got good stuff demand to be paid for it)

    And then there’s working for free (in the private sector) companies like Rogers who expect “volunteers” to work for free while their stockholders laugh at the size of their bank accounts.
    And at CBC the managers are still trying to have everyone as a perpetual casual which in the end is self -defeating because those flexible people find jobs in other businesses.

    The CBC is supposed to be a public broadcaster, instead it’s run by like a fifth rate failing software company. (Too bad, if CBC was run even like a second rate software company, it would be bought by Google or Microsoft).

    Every newspaper manager in North America are living under the illusion that video will save them and so they force their photographers to become VJs and put up third rate video which even the worst Magid station in the tiniest market in the US does better.

    As for know what’s better for you..well with media going hyper local and the US cable networks chasing the latest dumb woman who gets in some kind of trouble, while the international situation gets worse and worse….yeah put the latest Idol winner on the front page and put Iraq, Afghanistan and Burma inside someplace.

    So the next huge international crisis is going to hit everyone in the face from the beancounters who don’t want to pay for international coverage to the audience who cares more about celebrities until their world blows up.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted September 30, 2007 at 6:40 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    If only they were thugs. Unfortunately they are pathetic, uncultured morons. Mostly they are just inept.

    I’ve heard the death rattle, it’s ads for Little Mosque on Radio 1.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted September 29, 2007 at 5:03 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    You have just got to love Antonia’s plain speaking. And she’s right, too.

  7. Allan
    Posted September 29, 2007 at 5:03 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Stop trying to turn me on, AZ.
    I don’t really want to be up anybody’s ass, let alone contorted sufficiently enough to be up my own.
    But I much enjoy those sharp and slightly obscene rejoinders.
    So stick this in your … pipe and smoke it.

    I’m well aware that the CBC is in big trouble, especially the television arm.
    I’m well aware that the CBC is being run by thugs.
    I’m well aware that the leadership does not come from people who are either broadcasters or journalists.
    I know the CBC is becoming history faster than it realizes. Only seconds away from being irrelevant.

    But to suggest that the death of the CBC is in any way a factor in your decision to drop the media beat of your keyboard drum is, quite possibly, defined as facetious.
    Facetious because we all know you’re too smart to do anything like give up media criticism because of the subject matter.

    There is no more exciting time to be involved and writing about media.
    But even more, no more vital time to be vigilant about private and public freedoms.
    Because the manipulators are hard at work, and fascism still thrives, and repression and censorship.
    The CBC is part of the problem.
    We need at least to try and make it part of the solution.
    We need to alert people to the manipulations of media and government and those in authority, with a focus on those who subvert and exploit the technology of online media.

    And I guess we’ll have to do it without you.
    To be fair, you’ve earned your rest, old warrior.
    So let me spare you the effort of another comment …

    Fuck off Allan.

  8. Antonia Z
    Posted September 29, 2007 at 12:14 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Fuck off Allan.

    I was discussing the state of the public broadcaster under its current management. But you’ve got your head too far up your ass to know that.

  9. Allan
    Posted September 28, 2007 at 5:40 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    How nice of you to poke your head up AZ, but how about actually saying something.
    We’re all aware that you’re used to being paid by the word, so any freebies are going to be brief.
    But if you think that remark is in any way instructive or informative, then you’ve been going to too many “your podcast is not a fucking toaster” presentations.
    How can someone we respect leave such a silly, pointless remark?

    Media is dying/dead?
    Give us a break. What do you think this THIS place is?
    Or did you come to realize like Tony Burman that you are simply too over-the-hill to be dealing with this new version of media and decided to step aside?
    Did you not win an award last year for blogging, long after you had already bailed?
    Were you not the last voice with any courage left to us?
    I’ve not seen anyone step in to take your place, but I guess you’re part of the past now, and someone else will have to be the future.

    Media is far from dead. It’s exploded, like a powerful fountain of freedom, and while some are running for cover as if the sky were falling (newspapers, television, radio) others are dancing in the rain, joyful and refreshed, at finally being cleansed of all the bullshit self-censorship and uptight we-know-what’s-best-for-you tyranny (CBC!)

    Enjoy your retirement, honoured lioness, and feel free to wallow in discouragement for your remaining years.
    The rest of us want to get on with it.

  10. Bill Lee
    Posted September 28, 2007 at 9:58 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Re the “local” CBC Vancouver….

    In the English media, half page advert in local tabloid free weeklies in one colour (i.e. black and white)

    White print on black
    I live here.
    So does my news.

    [small print]

    Starting October 1st CBC brings your local news that matters to you
    [CBC pizza bug ]

    No separation of TV, Radio or the Net, so who knows what this means.

    The number two (CBC is 3 or 4) TV station (CTV affiliate) counters that with “CTV News is broadcasting live from The West Edn on Tuesday October 2nd. Join Bill and Pamela and the rest of the CTV news team as they look at the history, today’s issues and what’s in store for the future of this vibrant urban neighbourhood”

    [Slogan] CTV News in your neighbourhood

    That’s not CP style though for neighbo(non-u)rhood.

    The leading station (local and provincial news) is the Canwest Global outlet (formerly affliated with CTV) which owns most free surburban weeklies, and both major dailies.
    Boy wonder Kevin Newman is fed up being in out-of-the-way Vancouver and is moving his tiny feet in the Global National to Ottawa.

    The CBC are too short-staffed, and let all their veteran reporters go, to mount a real attack. They have hired ‘minority’ languange staff so that might make a difference but the ‘minority language’ viewers don’t make ratings.

    The new provincial boss of CBC came from the (now Rogers) Channel M which was a predominantly Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese), but also some Punjabi, other languages operation feeding off old English-language series and stuff from CTV networks. Dismal ratings and horrible wages for the Channel M staff, who had to work with their own handheld cameras and no operator lecture cameras in the studio. Few watched.

    Unless they break a good story which only the radio staff can, then they are dead in the water. So-called “National” reporters don’t contribute locally and float in their air with their own lofty egos on their beats (Milewski et al.)

  11. Antonia Z
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 5:27 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    People ask me why I gave up the media beat.

    One answer is, I can’t bear the smell of death.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 12:44 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Good question. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading the blog, you’re not missing much. It is poorly written and pointless drivel and if that is the work of a MANAGER (or a manager’s assistant) that is truly embarassing.
    And why is no one talking about The Hour’s ratings?

  13. Allan
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 8:33 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I asked at The Hour’s blog what was up with that.
    But of course, since they work for the CBC, they deleted my comments.

  14. Anonymous
    Posted September 26, 2007 at 9:13 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Here’s a stumper – why are CBC Television’s Manager of Program Development (Jennifer Good) and Kirstine Layfield’s assistant (Jess Watt) now the official bloggers of The Hour, writing crappy concert reviews on a daily basis?? Don’t they have other things to do, like oh…try to make better TV shows and get better ratings? for slumping shows like The Hour? Yet another example of why this place will never get ahead.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted September 26, 2007 at 7:25 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The people designing a policy for user comments don’t want comments or discussion. They would prefer letters to the editor, which they can edit to avoid exposing the masses to vulgarism, and themselves to arbitrary legal issues.

    Yes, there is a Santa Claus!

    The further the CBC remains from the people who fund it, the faster the irrelevance.

  16. Diana
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 8:14 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I don’t believe the CBC is fully committed to local programming. They have launched these one-hour shows on the same budget and so the regional news programs play the same stuff, coast to caost to fill time. The numbers on the local shows are dismal. How long are they going to drag this on? Is upper management paying attention to the ratings?

  17. Anonymous
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 12:29 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The “very vancouver” slogan is cringe-worthy, especially seeing how Vancouver has had an 11 week civic services strike.
    It is used on billboards and in the traffic reports. But otherwise has been left out of the broadcasts. There is the smarmy PromoGuy doing a 10 second slow read on radio.

    This localizing via slogans never works and comes across as blatant cant.

    Better they should bring back the local sports desk. Ted Reynolds is going into the local Broadcast Hall of Fame. Those were the days when we knew the local sports readers who did come out to the community and not hole up in the security bunker.

    In there is a link to the integration from the French network at the Vancouver cement block
    CBUFT shows the new CBC integration project
    linking to a SRC video

    As to loser-generated news, they’ve recently had “send your pictures of cougar and other animal sightings” based on a report of an urban couger prowling the Public Market sandbar called Granville Island.
    Questions to the acerbic civic reporter resulted in a web-only anodyne set of Q and A.
    Maybe they wouldn’t post the ruder questions about the civic strike.

    Everyone seems to hate the “Very Vancouver” “Catchy Calgary”, “Totally Toronto” “No Nova Scotia” idea. Maybe it will die a quick death beyond the mountains and they will instead make the separated broadcasts more penetrating and interesting.

  18. Anonymous
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 6:36 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I also am completely underwhelmed.

    But I don’t think the future is free user generated content. It’s effective on certain stories and for certain types of content.

    But if you want good writing and analysis, you really need to cough up a few bucks.

    Even though being a journalist is so much fun that there are many young people out there willing to do it for free – their enthusiasm for it wanes – once faced with real life problems like kids and mortgage payments.

  19. Anonymous
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 5:19 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “Underwhelming” is an understatement. The CBC, as currently structured, is incapable of real change. This is normal in the life cycle of large organizations. The time has come for it to be closed down, wound up and reimagined. At this juncture all that will be lost are jobs.

    The problem with “citizen journalism” is that “losers” like us aren’t interested in much more than editorializing, witness this very post. Few “citizen journalists” are going to reliably do the grunt work of honest, unbiased reportage. You want someone to do hard work for you, you usually have to pay them.

  20. Allan
    Posted September 24, 2007 at 11:21 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It’s good that you got it off your chest.
    You do seem a bit frustrated that it’s been all talk and no action. I think you’ll find the delay is due to Burman’s departure, and the new guys needed to get their bearings before throwing their weight around.
    It’s one thing to make changes, and another to be able to argue and justify them.

    CBC News is dead in the water, and has been for years.
    And the only innovation they could come up with was Avi Lewis and George Stroumboloupolous.
    Instead of Naomi Klien and Irshad Manji.

    Everyone knows that the old approach to news won’t fly except on rare occasions, with the explosion of available media – the internet on your phone, youtube, and the freedom of uncensored multi-channel satellite receivers means that no one ever has to buy a newspaper or turn on traditional television and radio again.

    The CBC wants to believe that it can compete in this new uncontrollable media democracy.
    But it’s wishful thinking, because they don’t stand a chance in hell.

    For two reasons:
    #1 – people are doing it for themselves, now that they have the tools.
    #2 – the CBC is afraid of the public.

    Shall I explain, cite examples?
    Or do you already understand?

    Loser Generated Content is me, and I’m not a loser.
    Already, since I re-joined the fray, I’ve had an impact. And it’s been powerful and real, and you know it.
    And the CBC blogging guidelines were no more moronic than the Manifesto.
    All this talk of revolution has meant someone is finally free to ask what you think of being offered a free flue shot.
    That’s supposed to be “interesting”.
    But it’s boring and lifeless just like Newsworld, and juvenile and timid like The Hour.

    Heather Riesman is now producing her own television show for the web.
    And blogs, not Podcasts, are hitting their mark.
    Because they offer fast information and choice, like everything on the internet, that’s now with you everywhere.

    In the meantime, the CBC is deliberately shutting out arguement and crticism and real feedback.
    Last week two sites run by the CBC deleted comments of mine because I linked to pages that were critical of the CBC. They couldn’t handle it.
    The CBC was afraid. Afraid of a contrary opinion, of controversy.

    But the public is not.
    It can easily tolerate mindless zealots trying to turn back the clock on abortion, or video of a disturbed person who ambushes dozens at a university.
    And it knows just what to do with opinions like mine – read them or not.

    There’s still a lot of puffed-up bravado at the CBC, but the public isn’t buying it any more.
    They’re not impressed, now that they know how to work a recording device for themselves, and how to “broadcast” their own content.
    The CBC is no longer the only one in possession of the magic, powerful key that unlocks the box.

    And the CBC has lost it’s nerve, and more than ever, the decide-everything-by-commettees mentality has taken over, and the ivory tower has locked all the windows and drawn tightly the shades.

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