Tuesday, October 19, 2010

CBC journalism ...

Once upon a time, long ago and far, far away, I thought I understood the news media – talk about a sea change.

The case in point is the Colonel Williams trial in Ontario – the former air force commander who has been charged with multiple offences including sexual assault and murder. Williams owned up to his crimes, admitted them to the cops and entered 82 guilty pleas yesterday in a courtroom.

Now, they’re to the point where the crown is introducing evidence to back up their case … including hundreds of pictures, graphic testimony from Williams’ confession and more information than we NEED to know. The media is sucking it up like an overcharged septic tank cleaner and spewing it out in voluminous quantities. If I hear the CBC run a caution warning before the story in another morning newscast on radio, I’ll puke.

Why do they need to go into such detail … not only in the Williams case but in so many others as well. There seems to be a need to take the old TV concept of jolts-per-minute to an entirely new level without any regard for the listener.

Bottom line is that it’s sensational, tabloid crap, wrapped in a very poor disguise of journalism. I can only imagine poor old Wilf Kesterton turning over his grave at what the modern day CBC editor allows to go on the air. Once upon a time, CBC journalism represented quality – it was a long time ago and far away.


Chris said...

As the journalist-types say, if it bleeds; it leads.

I guess the Mother Corp is trying to keep up with the Jones’s and/or being influenced by our friends south of the border.

ViewPoint2010 said...

You’re right Chris – about the bleed & lead part – just listen to the St. John’s newscast some morning and it will remove all doubt. Not to belabour the point but the CBC news operation once stood for quality. You could tune in to hear what was important in the world, not endless repeats of the same story (without even a *humble* rewrite) about a drunk with 2.5 times the legal limit of blood alcohol or a former military guy in Toronto who is very, very mentally sick. Once upon a time, CBC radio didn’t have to run contests to try to attract and hold audiences – the quality of the product did it on its own. That’s no longer the case and it disappoints me. I’ve known many very fine talented CBC journalists over the years and trusted their work implicitly – now I hear news readers who have serious presentation issues, boring reporters and a focus on infotainment that takes away from good journalism. It’s disappointing to see the product deteriorate so much.

Lisa Browne said...

I find all of the coverage revolting. I can't imagine the pain of families and friends of the victims in having to go through al of this.

ViewPoint2010 said...

Lisa, I agree with you 100% It's on the same level as sticking a TV camera in the face of a mother who has just lost a child in a tragic accident and asking the most stupid question of all time, "How do you feel?"

Chris said...

Valid points VP, but it seems that the nature and content of what’s being reported has changed in most media – CBC included. I guess what really has changed are things many people see as important in the world. Yes, the Ceeb reports about the guy who blew 2.5 times the legal limit and the shed fire in CBS, which appears to have replaced the more serious stories. That’s what we got, and continue to get, from other local stations.

But I don’t think the radio coverage has deteriorated as much as you do. I can’t speak about the quality of the product in terms of news presenters or reporters – for years I didn’t listen to any newscasts to be honest - but I still think it outshines the competition. And CBC Radio still does some solid local stories – ones we wouldn’t hear of elsewhere. Its coverage of the Cougar helicopter crash, and more recently Hurricane Igor, was head and shoulders above anything else in the province. The coverage of the last municipal election is another example where it outdid the competition.

But you make a good point about the ad nauseum accounts of what’s going on in Belleville. Any media outlet that begins it’s broadcast with a warning that the following story is graphic, stoops to a new low to gain viewers. Like you, I thought the CBC was bigger than that.

It’s like the TV sports guy reporting on an injury who says if you’re squeamish, turn away. Nobody turns away.

ViewPoint2010 said...

I agree. There are times when CBC does an outstanding job - the hurricane coverage was an example of that. My concern is the overall impression I get of the Corp when I tune in to radio. I'm just used to a higher quality.