CTV’s Assignment Editor Gillian Riddell has quit …only months after replacing Elaine McKay, who was let go from the job and barely six months after Margo Harper was fired as the station’s News Director last Fall; Global’s News Director Ian Haysom took retirement in May, earlier than many (including him?) expected; and Margo Harper has recently resurfaced as Assignment Editor at CBC Local News, where, by the way, Tony Parson’s contract, I hear, is up this Fall … and judging their disastrous ratings, I’d be shocked if he’s not gone.
It’s turmoil in TV land …and the problems go well beyond the summer doldrums or the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The TOP STORY on CTV News at 6 on Tuesday was about a stolen bicycle; a TOP PACKAGE story on Global’s Newshour last week had its most experienced police reporter standing in his suit in a park, reporting that a passerby had spat on a bocce game and then cut a player with a knife in the ensuing spat.
Top package news? NO!
Do they really expect people to rush home so they can tune in at 6 to see TOP PACKAGE content like that? Or seemingly endless coverage of longboarding? Or the almost-weekly puff pieces about a disease-of-the-week walk, run or ride? Or other sweet human interest pieces of interest to only those people in the story, their relatives and perhaps some of their neighbours.
These stories used to be appear as diversions AFTER heavy TOP PACKAGES, but now, they’re passing as TOP stories. Or rather…they’re being dished out … but not passing with the viewers.
It’s as if … while Vancouver has grown into a major metropolitan city of more than three million people … local television news coverage has regressed back to the 1950s when this was a town, with only smallville stories going on …lots of “people” pieces, press conferences, new construction projects, new store openings, and all kinds of other “promos”.
But almost NOTHING on who’s profiting from all the rezoninigs, land sales …and how much???? How have many commercial properties and towers increased in value as a result of city hall decisions? Any links to city councillors? Friends, supporters? Any donations to people, parties in power?
MAJOR investigative stories and series … are too few and far between for a city Vancouver’s size and importance!
Where are the real TV investigations of criminal organizations like those done by Kim Bolan of The Sun? Or of ANY the business scandals, that regularly percolate around Howe Street, and are exposed in print by David Baines? Or picture-rich stories about environmental polluters … REAL JOURNALISM …. and reported or followed up beyond just press conferences, after others do the real work?
And don’t get me started on the dullest political reporting EVER in a province that is probably Canada’s most exciting political playground (maybe after Quebec).
By the way, how’s the Legislative dining room doing these days ? Paying its own way or are the meals of Cabinet Ministers, MLAs and Press Gallery members being subsidized by tax payers? Would be a good story either way … especially when compared to figures from Ottawa’s!
And who owns the wheelchair sales and manufacturing and distribution companies in BC …and have any of them, or their principles, made any political donations or assisted in any campaigns?
Vancouver’s population today is much more sophisticated, educated, well-travelled and their time is too precious to waste watching that kind of TOP “news”; and the rest of BC, where … if they’re still tuning in at all … no doubt relish the gripping hard news, investigative packages and entertaining interviews, pictures and writing that used to keep them WELL informed, and the much more frequent stories of what’s going on in THEIR region as well.
TV in BC, is in turmoil …and the shakeup taking place is overdue.
Hard to believe it, but in recent weeks, Global’s Newshour has been drawing only around a 3.9 rating in the critical “adults 25-54” age category… where it used to consistently pull in 5s, 6s, and even 7s … pummelling by five or six times over, CTV, its closest competition, that often languished around 1 rating point or even less.
CTV News at 6 is now regularly pulling 1.7 and higher rating points… and has been GROWING, while I’m told my old alma mater, Global, has been STAGNANT in numbers, and dropping in ratings percentages… bringing the gap between Global and CTV down to three to one … and less. Yikes!
And I’m not sure if YOU noticed, but I sure did: CTV whipped Global’s rear on Election night … calling the Liberal victory 13 minutes before Global; and, the Liberal majority 22 minutes before Global: it seemed to me CTV was calling exactly what they SAW, while Global far too long kept reporting what they EXPECTED, rather than accepting what was actually happening.
And adding insult to injury, CTV’s Rob Brown also had an exclusive one-on-one interview with Premier-elect Christy Clark as soon as she left the stage … leaving Global and CBC rushing to catch up.
As for CBC Local News at 6 … they are barely on the ratings chart, at a 0.2 rating point in Vancouver and a 0.4 simulcast in Victoria. Hope the federal auditor general doesn’t EVER calculate the cost-per viewer of either their operating budget … or Tony Parson’s salary!
And if Parsons is soon out at CBC … maybe Mike Duffy or Pamella Wallin will be looking for a job?
Would be GREAT for the ratings!