What happened to Doug Grant?

And what does it mean for CBC Current Affairs?

Hell, we built this country on Current Affairs. In World War II we took Canadian mothers to European battlefields where their sons lay dying. On the radio. From This Hour Has Seven Days to The Journal and all the way up to the still-bleeding, still-wheezing, but still-beating Fifth Estate, which still possesses the power to shake headlines from coast to coast, it’s been more than half a century of vision and commitment and courage and straight-out guts. Sometimes it didn’t work. But when it did, Canadians saw their neighbors, their country, and their world in a whole new light and suddenly nothing was the same.

That was what CBC Current Affairs was all about.

And so if there’s no room at the CBC for a guy like Doug Grant, an old-tyme Current Affairs guy from The Journal, from Studio 2, who knew Barbara Frum when she was a force to be reckoned with and not just the name of an Atrium in which we celebrate our successes at gunpoint, well, what does that mean?

What does it say about the kind of production exec we want working here? What does it say about how we regard our history? What does it say about how we regard our audience? What does it say about where we are heading?

And more importantly, what does it say about us?

14 comments:

  1. Anonymous
    Posted March 7, 2008 at 4:42 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hope Doug will get in touch with me sometime as I’d like to give him my best and extend a few kind words …

    nancygrace@live.ca

  2. Anonymous
    Posted February 27, 2008 at 1:09 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’ve always been astonished, amazed and entertained by the various comments on Tea Makers. It defines the blog as a conversation and not a lecture, hence our desire to participate. I don’t know Doug Grant personally, but he has done some great work at TVO, but until he was walked out the door this past week, I didn’t know he worked here. Clearly, the goal of the re-structuring was to hand power to the few at the expense of the many. King Richard firmly annointed himself in the role of chief, cook and bottle-washer. So, little stories like Grant’s pepper out after the fact and without notice. When changes like Stursberg’s are initiated without consultation, it’s at the expense of the rank & file. You only have to look at the covert deal regarding International Sales to understand how he operates.

    Is Doug Grant’s dismissal the end of Current Affairs at CBC? I think not. But it is an example of the twisted priorities at the top. By choosing ratings over ideas as a measure of one’s success, creates the environment in which we work. The King sets the agenda and until he’s replaced by a person of different priorities, this is the way it’s going to be here. LeonT

  3. Anonymous
    Posted February 27, 2008 at 11:34 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    We are not in an environment that values our culture or our past. We’ve seen the disappearance of our Design Department and the selling off of decades worth of sets, props, costumes, etc. Things we can never get back, things that (through rentals)actually made money for us. Things that were a huge part of our history.

    We’ve watched the outsourcing of many departments, and more in progress.

    I work in the greatly depleted Current Affairs department. I watched the ‘town hall’ and I was at the Q&A in the newsroom. I spoke up, and I listened to everything that was said that day. What do I make of all this? In a nutshell, I fear for our unit. Stursberg repeatedly referred to Current Affairs as “only” being 2 shows – Marketplace and the fifth estate. What worries me about that is twofold: firstly, the flippant tone (and accompanying dismissive hand gesture each time)in the word ‘only’. Is that as in ‘only two shows – easy to get rid of, not even missed’? And secondly, worried because he has clearly ‘reassigned’ Sunday in his own mind. He was reminded on several occasions, both in the Town Hall meeting and in the Q&A session of it’s inclusion in the Current Affairs unit, and yet he failed to include it in his own words – each and every time. It would seem that program is somehow disassociated with CA – and given his ‘ties’ to that show, it gives me grave concern that he appears to be protecting it.

    From what?

    I doubt he understands the difference between News and Current Affair. Doesn’t realize that sometimes stories, big stories, need room to breathe, to be investigated and dogged until all the facts come to light. More ‘feet on the street’ isn’t always the answer to CBC having more ‘breaking stories’. The Mulroney/Schreiber story was literally years in the making.

    It’s reassuring to know that there are people who understand the role that each play – news and current affairs.

    But I have fears, oh I definitely have fears. And Doug Grant’s disappearance was a shocker. I can read two possible meanings into it – one the optimistic one and one the pessimistic one. Do we need a Head of Current Affairs if there is no current affairs?

    I guess only time will tell.

    But I pray that our unit is not doomed. Those of us here put our heart and souls into our work, and we have a passionate belief in our place at the CBC, and in our contribution to the corp.

    It would be pretty sad to see this lost, as so much of our past already has been.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted February 23, 2008 at 7:55 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Perhaps the deeper issue here is the budget cuts, and the pressure from the federal government to reduce funding to the cbc.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted February 23, 2008 at 3:31 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    the guy has been receiving a pension and has been double dipping all this time, so it isn’t as if he’s on the street…..
    shit happens, let’s move on….

  6. Anonymous
    Posted February 23, 2008 at 7:37 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    scoops_lili has it right. When Doug Grant was shown the door at TVOntario, he was dismissed – and replaced – in the shabbiest way possible by people with a fraction of his talent, vision and editorial abilities. And these same people have spent the past two years steering TVO toward irrelevance.

    The CBC move seems strangely familiar…

  7. Allan
    Posted February 22, 2008 at 8:50 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Confused?
    From statements like these?

    Richard Stursberg: … we wanted … to make sure things sat in appropriate places … current affairs …. In reality … was always managed by radio … In the future … radio current affairs shows will … sit within radio where … they are already. “

  8. Anonymous
    Posted February 22, 2008 at 4:05 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Some general comments about the big CBC News announcement this past week:

    Is it just me or was that one really confusing announcement? It appears CBC News has added extra layers of management and bureaucracy. Under the old set up it looked like John Cruikshank and Jamie Purdon were steering the ship. The new organizational chart is more confusing and not very logical. Anyone notice that Jamie Purdon was pushed down the totem pole. Also Heaton Dyer is no longer in charge of Newsworld (when did that happen?) instead he runs some vague innovation and technology office that no one’s heard of before. Maybe Heaton hired one too many pretty faced anchor/model who lacked credibility. Now he’s gone from running an all news network with 20,000 viewers to programming our cell phone updates to 500 subscribers!

    We also kept hearing how this new guru named Todd Spencer was heading up the newsgathering division. Apparently he’s extremely qualified to run Canada’s largest newsgathering operation because “he worked for CNN in Asia.” In the old days you had to do years in Saskatoon and Sydney before they let you loose in the Broadcast Centre. Now you can spend a while in CNN’s Bangkok bureau and you’re ready to take the helm of CBC News.

    A 12 year-old could have drawn a clearer and better management structure. Now we have a wacky map that doesn’t really make sense.

    I wonder if the bosses who got new titles got raises too.

    Finally, anyone hear about the blowout on the 4th floor after the big announcement? Mansbridge, Richard S and a pack of angry worker bees. I missed it but I bet lots of TeaMakers witnessed it… Fill us in!

  9. scoops_lili
    Posted February 22, 2008 at 3:56 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I worked for Doug Grant for 12 years at Studio 2. He is one of this country’s finest journalists. I am appalled and embarrassed by the way this industry has treated him. He didn’t waste time with Machiavellian machinations as to how to weasel his way up the corporate ladder. He spent his time, night after night, working tirelessly to create highly-regarded current affairs for Canadians. He is just a great journalist, a fabulous leader, and a great Canadian. Shame on you CBC!!!!

  10. "The Book of Don"
    Posted February 22, 2008 at 9:18 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Why should we care about DOUG GRANT’s dismissal ?

    To me it symbolizes the end of an entire broadcast tradition.

    I know…I know, they’ll say that this is simply an internal re-adjustment. A shuffling of management faces … a rationalization of resources and that the same superb work will continue. Traditions maintained. Legacies respected.

    Hope it’s true. But I wonder if the people spinning this could write a memo explaining the difference between “News” and “Current Affairs” ?

    Here’s a hint — a long news piece is NOT a Current Affairs item.

    Matthew Halton. Beryl Fox. Darryl Duke. Warner Troyer. Eric Malling. Roy Bonisteel. Patrick Watson. Laurier LaPierre. Larry Zolf. Ann Medina. Trina McQueen. Peter Herrndorf. Robin Taylor. Barbara Frum. Mark Starowicz. Terry McKenna. Tom Alderman. Bob Culbert. Gillian Findlay. Linden McIntyre. Bob McEwen

    …and many, MANY more.

    Recognize these names ?

    Remember their work ?

    Feel proud that they’re “ours” ?

    These are all Current Affairs people who’ve contributed enormously towards building a
    much admired Canadian broadcast culture.

    So this is why Doug Grant’s dismissal should be taken seriously.

    Because it’s not just Doug who’s been shown the door – but a big piece of Canada too.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted February 22, 2008 at 9:02 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Doug Grant was, until yesterday, the head of TV current affairs. That means he oversaw the fifth estate, Marketplace, and whatever other shows of that sort are left after the cancellation of Venture and others.

    Previously, Doug was exec producer (and creator) of TVO’s Studio 2, a highly respected nightly current-affairs show that ran for a dozen years. And before that, he was a senior producer on The Journal.

    Yesterday, he was escorted from the building by security, without even an opportunity to collect his belongings.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted February 22, 2008 at 7:58 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    So, who’s Doug Grant? Not everyone lives in Toronto and knows everyone there… Sounds like he’s older – could he not have just retired? What’s the controversy?

  13. Johnny Happypants
    Posted February 22, 2008 at 6:33 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It means that despite the extra layer of bureaucracy created this week to manage radio and tv, the differences between the 2 services are great. In Radio, when someone leaves, they put out an all-staff memo that says someone will be leaving in 9 months. In TV, the someone is shuffled out in the middle of the night and their name taken out of the directory.

  14. Anonymous
    Posted February 22, 2008 at 5:44 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It says we’re fucked!

    Now more than ever, we need the Tea Makers…


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