Trouble in the HUB

So just what is the CBC News HUB?

Well, one thing it is is a way for CBC News to allocate resources to journalists. Say you need an interview for a story you’re doing. You would submit your needs to the HUB and content would be doled to you in priority.

Who knows, you might not need that interview at all. Maybe a TV voiceover would do. Or perhaps a vintage 7-UP commercial?

The CBC News HUB is also a step closer towards the IKEAization of news. When you’re building an IKEA bed, you need some screws. You don’t need your own special screws, you just need some screws that will work on your bed. Who cares where they come from? IKEA sorts out the screw thing, you concentrate on making the bed.

And IKEA, in its wisdom, might realize that those screws will also work in a night stand. IKEA might reuse that kind of screw, but the point is: you get screwed.

At the same time, the CBC News HUB is a way to concentrate money, time and resources on what really matters: breaking news. Breaking news, above all else, comes first. This is what the Magid consultants told us Canadians want.

So how’s this working out, then?

We can see for ourselves. Results of an internal survey of national CBC radio reporters were leaked to The Tea Makers today. What do these journalists think of the HUB?

I see. But what about the news? Is the broadcast better?

Although surely your Tweets can’t be beat?

But there must be something good to come out of all of this?

Now, I’m sure some of you are saying: “So what? These old guys will complain about anything,” and you might be right. These geezers enjoy their complaining. So does anyone who works at the CBC. It’s only natural.

But a lot of these written responses ring true to anyone who has spent any time in any part of the Corp:

I, like many other CBC Radio people I talk to, have never been so discouraged and dispirited. My skills are being wasted, and the only challenge in my working life now is dealing with the incredibly increased stress level. I don’t see opportunities to do strong journalism. I feel I work for a corporation that no longer understands public broadcasting, that cares about ratings and revenue more than content, that no longer understands that CBC has done such amazing work in the past because smart people wanted to work here, could feel proud of the work they were able to do. That’s no longer true, and I am now planning my exit strategy, along with a lot of other smart people. I never thought I’d leave CBC, was proud to be a part of the best journalistic team in the country. I no longer feel that way.

If you ever wondered what a national radio news service in its death throes looked like, just skim this report, there’s plenty of blood and confusion there:

Worst time in my years as a National Reporter. Strike that. It was briefly worse when they locked us out, gambled our credibility with the audience, and sullied the reputation of journalists by taking out full page ads declaring us to be “unreasonable”.
But this is a close second.

CBC National Radio News Reporter Survey – Full Report

11am April 21 update – More details on this at Now the Details.


  1. Posted May 18, 2010 at 8:42 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Well ya’all I DO live in the City of Toronto, (yes the big evil) I grew up in Hamilton, I grew up in the 80-90’s, was into CBC from around 1996 till last year, when they killed CBC Overnight (broadcasts from stations from around the world) that was the last straw for me, I have not listened since, not once, I could care less for the Toronto-centric mindless drivel that is in this city on the numerous Radio stations including the CBC, my 30 minutes a day on news is spent on 680 News, then after the 30 minutes it takes me to get ready for work in the morning, I dont listen to radio after that, other than once in a while I’ll put the digital cable on and listen to CHFI or Vinal 95.3 for some background music when cleaning or resting.
    As for CBC-TV I stopped watching that crap long ago, except for a few times watching Antiques Roadshow, and Dragon’s Den (which I like a lot) I watch a lot of the specialty TV Channels, they satisfy my needs mostly nowadays.

    I seriously hate most of the local TV news broadcasts, I used to be a diehard City-Tv viewer, till it was bought and ripped to shreds.
    I grew up watching REAL News people, like Dan Mclean in Hamilton, I grew up with that guy, and was so sad to see him retire, when he did, that was the end of my watching TV news.

    most of the TV news reporters suck nowadays anyways, no talent anymore IMO.

  2. LocalYokel
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 8:20 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Love the HUB. News Network played a clip of McGuinty recanting on the sex ed story… and there’s a grainy vid of him that was skipping frames. Followed by a nice shot of Mike Crawley in studio explaining the situation.

  3. TG
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 2:58 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    While a true conservative, I don’t always fall into lockstep without thinking for myself first. [This tends to draw fire at times.]

    Here in the Comox valley, the CBC radio is at least a life-saver. That’s because all other radio here is mostly mindless pop and rap with visit the car lot on location special free coffee test drive advertising.

    CBC TV on the other hand can be scrapped tonight. There is plenty of TV to take it’s place. I can’t stand the way Manzbridges and his friends wet their pants when they get a little anti-conservative dirt to stretch out and chew on.

    Hauge and Fyfe do the same on CTV. Professional anchor persons present the news while leaving personal bias at home. Global seems pretty good.

    BTW, don’t throw all green stuff out with the bathwater. The electric car is a keeper. Massive wind farms are a mistake. You can’t put a hydro dam on your garage roof, but you can install one or two wind-gensets on that roof.

    Get it? No costly transmission towers. No line losses. No step up and step down losses and transformer investment. No power house and lines staff. No monthly bill.

    Remember, your hybrid is a gas miser and cleaner too, but it can’t go anywhere during a gasoline shortage or boycott. Consider buying something like the Nissan leaf and pay for it with the gas you NEVER have to buy. Time to move away from the petrol teat.

    You probably think the sacrifice of 80 kilometers of rich Peace River Valley farm land is OK because the proposed site C dam is clean hydro.

    Think again friend. The grid today in BC can support the overnight charging of 2.5 million electric vehicles without any upgrades other than a 220 volt outlet in your garage. Enviro-Smart appliances upgrading is on-going and the savings are immense. No need for site C. Solar panel roofs, home based wind sets and modernizing auxiliary power and the energy cell point to site C as a BIG mistake.

    • Scott
      Posted April 22, 2010 at 5:20 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      Well, as an Ontarian, we don’t need CBC local radio in the south. But I will grant that in some areas of this country it provides a public good, and I could support it on that basis — something like how the RCMP provides community policing in sparsely populated areas out west and acts, effectively, as the provincial police force in some provinces while other jurisdictions like Ontario, Quebec, etc. can provide their own force.
      The whole things should be trimmed down. Keep RCI, the t.v. news channel, and a small network of radio and t.v. stations for remote areas.

  4. owl
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 10:59 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    CBC has been insufferable and unlistenable (to me) for the last two of my five decades. So if this new system makes all of its people miserable, it must be a good thing.

  5. Stan
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 10:27 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    CBC journalists have skills?
    Who knew?

  6. Scott in Hamilton
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 9:40 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Time to shut this creaking hulk of a broadcaster down and give incentives for new media start ups. I haven’t listened with any regularity to CBC Radio in over five years. The latest gimmicky re-organization did nothing to prompt me to listen beyond the occasional driven-to-boredom times when I found myself driving our old second car that only has an am/fm radio. I rarely watch the television side of the operation (I especially avoid its news programming). I don’t appreciate their bias or the attitude that they are something special because of their status as the “national” broadcaster (news for you folks, you ain’t anymore when few outside of Toronto and Vancouver tune the English service in).

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 21, 2010 at 10:05 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      Scott in Hamilton: Would you feel differently if CBC did something reasonable like set up a regional station in Hamilton (or even Kitchener-Waterloo) rather than have seventy-million stations in Atlantic Canada?

      • LocalYokel
        Posted April 22, 2010 at 6:11 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

        Hamilton will get a fully supported CBC bureau about the same time Hammertown gets an NHL team.

      • cbc ottawa
        Posted April 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

        There are perhaps 7 Radio stations in Atlantic Canada. 1 in PEI, 2 in Nova Scotia, 2 in New Brunswick and perhaps 2 in Nfld. And unlike central Canada Atlantic Canada has NO real private alternatives outside of CTV in Halifax.

        • K'Anonymous
          Posted April 23, 2010 at 1:14 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

          How many stations are there in the entire province of Saskatchewan?

      • Scott
        Posted April 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

        Ha ha! That is so true — there seems to be a CBC outlet for every 1000 maritimers, but come to Southern Ontario and you’d think this part of the world hangs on every word uttered from the navel-gazing capital of the world, Toronto.

        As to whether I’d want a CBC-Hamilton or a CBC-K/W radio operation, the answer is ‘no’. I’d prefer to see more independent web-based operations starting up and leave the airwaves for playing tunes. As I’ve already said, I find the CBC bias in its news and discussion programming insufferable.

        • cbc ottawa
          Posted April 23, 2010 at 9:25 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

          What can I say Maritimers are special, kinda like Quebecers.

      • Anon
        Posted April 22, 2010 at 5:45 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

        Hurrah! Discussion about the mis-integration of CBC radio news into the trivial [TV] views leads to proportional representation on the eve of redistribution of House of Commons seats and making sure no province gets left behind.

        The old Rowell-Sirois joke: The Elephant: A federal or provincial responsiblity.

        • LocalYokel
          Posted April 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

          And how much play has been about extra seats? Add 18 seats to Ontario, too.

          Where? Dunno. Thanks newsies.

    • Futility Fan
      Posted April 21, 2010 at 10:15 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      The CBC is irrelevant to anyone not living in downtown Toronto or Vancouver. It’s got to go, since the rest of us are funding it. It feels like welfare for the urban media clique.

      • cbc ottawa
        Posted April 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

        I beg to differ! It is Canadians on the periphery who appreciate the CBC the most! Without the CBC there would be NO local media content!

        • Scott
          Posted April 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

          That’s a load of b.s. I lived up the Ottawa Valley for the better part of the past ten years (only recently moving to Hamilton), and we were better served by the private radio and t.v. operations (e.g. A-channel, for heavens’ sake) than the Ottawa-based CBC radio and t.v. operation. There is a Pembroke radio station, but it does little more than extend the Ottawa station’s reach.
          As for the CBC providing a service to maritimers, they basically force out of the market any viable private operation owing to their public subsidy. The only argument one can make for their presence is that if it was left up to the private sector all the radio and television stations would be owned by the Irvings.

          • cbc ottawa
            Posted April 23, 2010 at 9:23 am | #

            The Ottawa, outside the nations capital, a city of 1,000,000 plus souls is not the periphery!

          • cbc ottawa
            Posted April 23, 2010 at 9:27 am | #

            The Ottawa Valley, outside the nations capital, a city of 1,000,000 plus souls is not the periphery!

            And frankly I don’t care about TV. Radio is the heart of the service, and it’s cheap, cheap, cheap, compared to TV! TV’s catering budgets are bigger than a Radio shows production budget!

  7. Posted April 21, 2010 at 9:05 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    When I was in politics I was always amazed at political events in Winnipeg how CTV would have 2 people, one or 2 other local stations would do the same, camera man was always that. Reporters seemed mostly female.
    Then CBC would finally show up unvariably late, disruptive to the event, with a swarm of diversity types usually 6-8 kick around less than an hour and leave well before the event ended, once they had a sound bite they wanted. I bet I haven’t watched the CBC news in over a decade.

    I think the billion the CBC gets per year should be divided among Canadian bloggers.

    Maybe bloggers could have 8 people to write a post to be as coldly efficient as the enriched CBC.

    • LocalYokel
      Posted April 23, 2010 at 5:51 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      Dude, how many places have you posted this exact same thing in? Go back to dreaming of Kate with your kleenex and aloe vera infused hand cream.

  8. Anon
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 6:53 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    And it is radio that is, proportionately, more popular than TV.
    Radio is ubiquitous, TV resides in the corner.

    Radio news gets the story, fast, accurately, with (unstaged) quotes. No primping and lights plus sound.

    Important radio news gets reporters into the field, to the MPs constituency offices (well the MPs think they are important, and during the Great Lockout missed the CBC terribly.)
    Now we give up on the main national broadcasts. Peter (Ranter) Armstrong causes the weak and the lame to leap up and change stations. The World at 6 is not well co-hosted by either Smith (Dwight or Alison) who sound bad, bored and bothered with the medium.

    I went on an Open House through the Hub and you could see the resentment there in the open offices.

    There are better ways.
    And we won’t start on Radio 2 and what Radio 3 could have been but is now.

  9. Miner
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 5:51 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    If the bar gets any lower you’ll need a metal detector to find it.

  10. cbc ottawa
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 11:58 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I disagree on a fundamental level with the whole new “content” model being touted at the Corp. Content is not some sort of amorphous goop to be ladled out and piped down the Corps various platforms. In the real world there is only “real life” and real life is not content until it has been presented and consumed though specific media. Radio / Net and TV are radically different media and produce markedly different content. The MBA brain trust who are butchering the Corp do not seem to appreciate this fundamental fact.

  11. iNudes
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 10:26 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The first post in months that was actually worth reading…no coincidence that it’s a Ouimet release.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 9:49 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Told ya so!
    A Planner.

  13. GPL
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 7:26 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Looks like stole the story from this site without credit. They’ve got the same scribd embed, published hours after you…

  14. Jenny
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 7:25 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The sad part is that nobody will be held accountable for this mess. That’s the point of top heavy management. A labyrinth of decision makers that ensures nobody will fall on their sword, just use it to cut off the heads of everyone else.

  15. PoonGirljoined December 31, 2009
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 12:11 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    This is almost as ground breaking as my Sideshow Bob post. Although, this can hardly be considered a “piece”.

  16. Anonymous
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 11:59 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    omg. there’s only 24 of them.
    the leak will be found OUT.
    slowly. terribly. like survivor.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 21, 2010 at 11:56 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

      The survey is of a very specific group of people: national radio news reporters. 24 is a significant sample.

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