“Nothing changes”: CBC memo

A inside letter from CBC News editor-in-chief Jennifer McGuire says, despite
the exit of CBC English head Richard Stursberg, “nothing changes” at
Mother Corp.

The letter, reprinted in full:

“From talking to some of you over the past few days, I know that you are wondering how the senior management changes will affect CBC News — the news renewal process, our budgets, the renewal of our journalistic policy book, and how we do our journalism and programming daily.

The short answer is, nothing changes.

It’s important to remember that we’re on a course that we set for ourselves to better serve Canadians. There is still a lot of work to do, but we are already seeing great success. We have had some hallmark moments this year. Here are just a few examples:

On The National, we broke powerful stories about CSIS and about the RCMP mutiny. And who could forget Bob McKeown of the fifth estate chasing down Graham James? Peter Mansbridge landed definitive interviews with newsmakers such as Helena Guergis and British Prime Minister David Cameron. On Radio, The House did an outstanding job with its Quebec special, which resonated across the country. The Charest interview was picked up by all of the major English daily newspapers and much of the French media in Quebec. These are just a couple of examples of journalism that had impact. There are many more.

And we are gearing up for an impressive fall. The investigative unit is delighted to welcome Diana Swain. It is pursuing several stories, and its work will be a high priority in the months ahead.

This will be the second season for the new local news formats and late night newscasts. It will be a great chance to build on our success in these areas. Local programs have seen strong ratings growth, and ensuring that they are able to deliver more original and enterprise journalism will solidify the gains. To support this, we have launched a local investigative initiative out of Winnipeg.

In the fall, we will continue the development of local radio news. We have new research that gives us insight into the radio news programs, and how Canadians use them and feel about them. As you know, local radio is an incredible strength for CBC Radio and CBC News. It is important to invest in the continued success of these newscasts. I will be sharing more details about this work soon.

Fall will also be critical for the renewal of our digital platforms. We plan to launch changes to breaking news online in October, and a more extensive change to CBCNews.ca in January. You can get a glimpse of some of the new territory by checking out some of the impressive work done during the G20.

We continue to commit to innovation and have started a push to develop new programming initiatives. We have a series in the works on volunteering. The Marketplace team is working on a project about hospitals and healthcare that will be featured on The National. We will continue to explore new program ideas in current affairs. Make the Minister Work will get a run as a series. The fall will also see CBC News Network going more often to the stories that matter to Canadians, just as it did when Mark Kelley traveled to the Gulf of Mexico to cover the oil leak or when Heather Hiscox was in Vancouver for the Olympics.

In newsgathering, we are looking at how we organize breaking news coverage. The Hub will sharpen its focus on this to better serve CBC News Network, radio hourly newscasts and our digital platforms.

All this to say that CBC News is on track and still moving forward. I hope everyone has been enjoying summer. I look forward to a great fall.”

Jennifer McGuire
General Manager and Editor in Chief, CBC News