How ironic! The real significance of this year’s Webster Awards was either missed by most of the media … or deliberately not reported to mislead or deny their readers/listeners and viewers the REAL, FULL, TRUTHFUL story.
Google Webster Awards 2009 and what you will find are mostly snippets: self-serving promotional coverage by media that won awards … naming their own successes and possibly that Bill Good (CTV/CKNW) won the Lifetime Achievement Award (Congratulations, Bill!).
Why not tell the FULL story? The REAL story? The COMPLETE truth? Lord knows, with all the puffery and utterly useless feature stories they dredge up from elsewhere, they sure have enough space to give complete coverage to local news.
But the days when media did that without fear or favour are clearly behind us: it would apparently be too embarrassing for most of our media to do that regarding the 2009 Websters.
So I’ll do it.
The single most prolific WINNER among the media giants was ….. the CBC:
Best Reporting of the Year: Radio … CBC
Best Reporting of the Year: Television …. CBC
Best Feature Reporting: Radio … CBC
Best Feature Reporting: Television … CBC
Award for Excellence in Online Journalism … CBC
The truth is the huge private media, now spending MILLIONS OF DOLLARS trying to convince you and the CRTC how devoted they are to local television news and community service … fared miserably.
CTV won ONE reporting/commentary award (out of the 12 available): for Business, Industry and Economics Reporting; and, Canwest Global won NONE; City TV won NOTHING; CKNW won ZERO.
Of course, judging entries for awards is a highly subjective process: I should know, because for two years after retirement I was a Webster Awards volunteer judge, until I was not invited back this year (could it have been something or everything I’ve said on this blog about the media? LOL!!).
But I do believe that Jack, who, along with Marjorie Nichols, personally convinced me to leave The Vancouver Sun and join BCTV, would proud of me.
As for this year’s CBC’s big win, it’s true CBC is subsidized by the taxpayers: but in the past the much higher ratings and advertising revenues of the big private networks allowed them to still do quality investigative work, hire seasoned experienced reporters and cover issues in depth and with quality questionning.
And in previous years, the big boys and girls on the dial have won awards … lots of them, and well deserved too.
But the fact that they did so miserably this time around deserves consideration … and REPORTING.
Clearly doing more with less, watering down the soup, dishing out instant stories,chasing press conferences and ambulances is exacting a toll on the quality of what they are offering up.
Is there any walk, march, run for any illness … known or unknown … that hasn’t been FULLY covered? Is there any ethnic holiday parade, breakfast, lunch or dinner that hasn’t been marked, covered and celebrated … and called news?
Is that really serving the vast majority of local listeners and viewers???
Not very well, according to the Webster Awards judges.