Posted in Opinion, TV

CBC is in the tinkering mood again

Someone at CBC has been doing “market research” again, which means a few good ideas and a lot of really bad ones (The Tea Makers has some more details with the usual marketing and managingese):

  • Replacing “Saturday Report” and “Sunday Report” with “The National”: Good. It’s your evening news show, why should it have different names on different days? Sure, it doesn’t have The Mans, but that’s not the end all and be all of CBC Television
  • Rebranding CBC Newsworld: Bad. Anyone who hasn’t heard of Newsworld either doesn’t have cable or doesn’t use it to get news. Neither of these things will change with a new name.
  • Putting L-shape on-screen graphics on CBC Newsworld: Bad. I mean, there is some room for improvement in the graphics department, but using CP24 as a guide is a bad way to start, and the idea of putting a bunch of graphics on screen like weather reports and news crawlers (does anyone read those things?) will just make it look like CTV Newsnet, in a bad way.
  • De-formalizing The National: To make it more like The Hour? Gonna have Mansbridge stop wearing ties and give the news while breakdancing? I doubt people ignore this program because of its formality.
  • Reporting rumours: You’re kidding me, right? Quoting directly from the Globe: “Newsworld will not necessarily wait for the definitive word on a story before beginning to report.” If that’s true, it means Newsworld’s journalism standards have taken a major hit.
  • 10-minute The National podcast by 6pm: Good. Probably will have a limited audience, but so long as the resources put into it are limited, it makes sense.
  • More transparency in news reporting: Absolutely. Journalists (and more importantly their managers) need to get out of the mindset that they should hide where they get their ideas from. Yeah, it sucks when you get scooped. Live with it. Trying to deceive your public will only backfire on you.
  • Merging local news with The National: This one wasn’t explained very well, but seemed to involve having a local anchor take over at the end of the show and give some local news. It sounds good in theory, but it also sounds a lot like the CBC News Now or whatever that 6pm project was called that had Ian Hanomansing doing fake handoffs to local news anchors.
  • Renaming CBC Radio News as CBC Audio News: Stupid.
  • More foreign correspondents: CBC’s getting second thoughts since they don’t have someone stationed in India. But they also just fired a bunch of foreign correspondents. So this probably won’t happen, even though it should.
  • More exciting language: Bad. Anchors will be encouraged to keep viewers hooked using CNN-style marketing hype, always saying they’re covering an issue and more information is coming. I’m always surprised when news organizations believe that inserting marketing language into editorial content is OK when all you’re hyping is yourself
  • Online-first policy for breaking news: Good. Holding stories so broadcast can get first crack at them is just asking for someone to scoop you on it. Neither medium should wait for the other.
  • Extending afternoon local radio: Great. It always amazed me that CBC Radio One’s local office essentially shut down at 6pm and that even the weather reports aired after that were pre-recorded. The new plan would have 6:30 and 7pm local newscasts.
  • Live afternoon TV news breaks: Why not? The private networks do it. If your choice during a commercial break is between an in-house commercial pulled from a drawer and a live news update with a local anchor, go for the latter.

2 thoughts on “CBC is in the tinkering mood again

  1. MG

    Re: merging local news with The National

    I’m thinking this is probably based on the model the BBC uses on their flagship 10pm newscast. Near the end of the 10pm news (around 10:25) the main anchor tosses to the local newsrooms for their 5-7 minute newscast… then they toss back to The National.

    It would be nice to watch local news before 11pm.

    Reply

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