Turmoil in TV Land … And Not Hard to See Why!

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!

Harv Oberfeld

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47 Responses to Turmoil in TV Land … And Not Hard to See Why!

  1. frosty says:

    Harve…I sent this along to Good, McComb and Plasteras….suggesting this great topic, with Bill or Jon bringing in Garrett, Oberfeld, Johal, Bell, Daly, Brown, Barker….in a perfect world, a week long hour per day rant. But…it’s the real world…you can’t turn back the clock and CORUS owns NW and GLOBAL They’re not the ones to permit inward looks.

    (Response: Thanks Frosty…I think the LAST thing they would want to do is focus on local media failings. And I suspect they know the problem: you CAN’T do major long-term investigative work…by hiring young ,inexperienced cheaper labour and by NOT giving your few well-informed reporters the time and resources needed to do serious journalism. This has been going on for years in Vancouver…thanks to lousy ownership and complacent management, and I don’t see it changing soon. h.o)

  2. Anton Koschany says:

    Hey Harvey, thanks for the kudos for election night. CTV’s success in calling was both in seeing the trend start early but also having the experts to help us figure out the win. Within 10 minutes of the first polls reporting we already knew that the NDP wasn’t going to win. We then waited for enough data to see how big the shift was – the rest is history. The other thing is that we’d planned for varying scenarios – including a Liberal win. Our core team produces several elections each year – we take the journalism of elections very seriously. And I guess, if you noticed, it shows … Cheers,
    Anton

    (Response: Thanks. I was actually away the week, and had PVRed all three hours of each coverage on BOTH CTV and Global …watched it all on my return. (does that make me a News junkie?) I must admit I was really pleasantly surprised by what I saw on CTV ..the coverage, panels, graphics… even the opening. Very good stuff. Now if you could do something about their TOP packages being more relevant to MOST of us! (For those who don’t know, Koschany is an Executive Producer at CTV …and spearheaded their coverage here Election night.) h.o

  3. In the biz... says:

    Hi Harvey,

    For a guy who really pounds on us in the TV News business about real journalism I suggest you should work on your own journalism. As you are aware one of the primary tenants of good reporting is accuracy. I would like to point out that you make two errors in the first two lines of your missive on the state of TV News in Vancouver. Yes Gillian Riddell is leaving CTV but she did not replace Margo Harper when she became CTV’s Assignment Editor. Margo was the News Director and was replaced by Les Staff. That brings me to you second error. Harper left CTV last November, not “last spring”.

    You know what they say about people who live in glass houses, well here’s a perfect example. For someone who claims to be so plugged in that he can openly proffer opinion on the TV News business, you appear ill prepared.

    As for the rest of the article, I won’t argue with your opinion that real journalism is not being done on TV these days, I’ll leave that for the real judges; the viewers.

    (Response: Apologies. You are correct..I missed another CTV canning…Elaine McKay was dumped as Assignment Editor…Harper was News Director when fired. Thanks …have corrected the copy. But the real problem isn’t about people making an error here or there in a piece … or the technical glitches ….or someone pronounce the Danube River and “Da Nooob” but a much bigger systemic loss of direction, story quality and resources to do the overall job properly, night after night. h.o)

  4. Margo Harper says:

    Hi Harvey,

    In the interests of journalistic accuracy, please note that Gillian Riddell did not “take over” from me in the CTV British Columbia newsroom. I was News Director from July 2006 to November 2012, not
    “the spring” as mentioned in your post. Gillian was and still is for a few more weeks i believe, the Assignment Editor at CTV.

    As far as news ratings go, it’s a challenging game for everyone these days. I would like to point out that the ratings for CTV News at 6 were sitting at 1.9 last October, the month before GM Tom Haberstroh and I left the company. So the growth trend at CTV has been underway for awhile. I can’t speak to current numbers, obviously but – as we know – ratings are not an exact science.

    I think we can all agree that these are challenging times for TV news with appointment viewing disappearing and the eyeballs going to digital, which no one can yet figure how to monetize. News content is expensive to produce. But, as recent events in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa have shown us, vital to a functioning democracy and the health and safety and vitality of our communities.

    My two cents.

    Margo Harper

    (Response: Thanks, Margo. Yes, I forgot about Elaine McKay…hard to keep up with it all …have corrected the copy. Ratings ARE difficult to change,and habits are hard to break, but the figures sure show Global has lost a lot of it’s former huge dominance … and I suspect with better promotion, a bit harder reporting/interviewing edge and a fresh new anchor, CBC could do better than it does. h.o)

  5. Susan says:

    I think the answer is the mainstream media, is heavily bought by the Liberals here in BC, therefore any question asking by the media that points to negative results for the liberals is not allowed. This was very noticable in the last election much subtle and not so sublte shaping of the campaign by the newshour. – Out of election periods we are left with useless fluff . – Sadly most people havent figured out that the tough questions aren’t being asked and just swallow the fluff. It’s disgusting because in communist countries everyone knows the state owns the media and is the mouthpiece of the media, in BC now, its pretty much the same. But its less honest, becuase the media PRETENDS that it is independent, it hasn’t been for quite awhile. Note both the globe and mail and province came out with editorials the day before the election directing people to vote liberal( shaping the vote subtly wasnt quite enough at that point) . I cancelled my subscription to the globe the next day. So people are going to watch less and less as they realize either 1) they are not interested in fluff stories/and or 2) come to realize that the media is highly highly manipulated to shape our thinking a certain way. Why do you think there is nothing about run of river projects, the bc hydro debacle basi virk etc etc . No thanks I can think for myself, I dont need the media trying to shape my views to theirs. I will look onlne for other sources of balanced information.

    (Response: There are a LOT of news stories apart from provincial politics that could be done, investigated etc. h.o)

  6. morry says:

    the main thrust of your article is correct no matter the quibbles raised by the defensive in the biz .

    “lousy ownership and complacent management”
    and lack of any meaningful investigative reporting.

    We stopped watching the news years ago. We occasionally catch the weather and Mike Mccardell. that’s it.

    The rest is digital fish wrap.

    (Response: Actually, didn’t mind being corrected. TWO people had left CTV ..I forgot one…but post is now up to date. Unless someone else has gone since I last penned! h.o)

  7. Gordie says:

    I totally agree Harvey. I used to watch Canada AM (CTV) here in Victoria, which I think was broadcast out of Toronto. Then CTV dropped that program in favour of their own locally produced morning news show. I liked Canada AM because it gave me a good overview of news, weather, and sports before I left for work in the morning.

    When CTV dropped Canada AM, I switched to Global. Now I’m kept informed of overnight traffic accidents, stabbing/shootings in Vancouver, and animal stories. Why would I care about those stories? And I don’t need a weather update every 10 minutes. Once in a while I go back to CTV to watch their local morning news. It’s about the same as Global as far as content is concerned. However, in the last segment before the 6:30 am commercial break, the hosts always have a little giggle fest. It’s embarrassing, really, especially the guy (can’t remember his name). Watch it and see for yourself, although being retired, you are probably not up that early.

    Having said all that, people must be watching it. Me included, I guess. I must be insane because I keep doing the same thing over and over again hoping to get a different response (paraphrasing Albert Einstein, I think, or was it somebody else?). I might watch, but I don’t really enjoy. So why do I watch? Same reason I like to go to Home Depot…I like to hate things sometimes and the price is okay. I’d be happy just watching real news let alone investigative reporting.

    (Response: Thanks for my laugh of the day: we keep watching … hoping for a different result. It’s a HABIT …that’s one of the hardest things to get TV viewers to change. But apparently, once you do lose them ,it’s very hard to get them back …because they form a new habit doing/watching somewhere else. The key seems to be a whole new series of sustained INTERESTING writing/stories ..exclusives that people start talking about at work: that’s how you get folks to tune in. But again, the quality must be sustained, not just a hit here or then. It’s very difficult…but BCTV did it and showed it CAN be done. h.o.)

  8. ferryworker says:

    My news viewing habits have shifted over the years. As an islander I only watch A channel because it is relevant to me. That is why I don’t watch Global anymore and the CBC only pretends to be local in my view.

    It can’t be easy for the A channel crew. I can’t see Vancouver Island being a hugely lucrative market – maybe it is but I don’t really know. But they do a good job and above all they make it relevant to me which makes them stand well above their competition.

    (Response: That’s the key word …RELEVANT. It should posted in every newsroom and asked at every assignment meeting and especially every rundown meeting: if it’s NOT relevant ..can it …or put it way down in the show..not in the lead package. h.o.)

  9. John Twigg says:

    Re In the biz “one of the primary tenants of good reporting is accuracy” – s/he probably meant tenets;
    Re your gist, yes yes yes, but it’s not only in TV land; the VanSun is dumping talent like Jonathan Manthorpe but keeping trolls like the two who recently wrote columns about flatulence on facing pages.
    And then there are the many flaws in B.C.’s pol parties… sad times.

    (Response: Hi John! Manthorpe gone? No, no. no! Say it aint’t so. His explanations of world affairs and background are so interesting and fair …they make all the rest of the daily platter dished out actually understandable. h.o)

  10. Merv Adey says:

    In general terms you’ve described the situation exactly as it is Harv. There are nights when I don’t watch any of the TV news, knowing it will mostly be fluff.

    The one recent exeption of note was the Basi Virk piece by Jas Johal, in which he exposed for all of us who cared to look, the exact plea deal that was made. The link between the plea, the fee waiver, and silence on the deal was all there.

    Instead of bringing down the government, as I believe it should have (no, I’m, not a lawyer, and my interpretation is my own), the public did not take the time to read what was written there. Now BCRail and BasiVirk are dead issues, never to be revived.

    Unless a miracle happens in Westside Kelowna.

    Compliments to Johal anyway…He is the best reporter on TV at the moment.

    (Response: Don’t get me wrong: there still ARE some very good, experienced reporters … who are victims as much as us viewers. They COULD do the job …if given the time, the resources and the encouragement to do so. h.o.)

  11. Bruce W says:

    Good column Harvey. It supports exactly what AGT has been saying for years.

    I, too, have given up on the LAMEstream media in hopes that something (anything?) interesting will appear. Far too few and far too long between real news items; and that goes for ALL of them.

    As for CBC – I only watch that for hockey. Their left-lib bias lost me as a viewer years ago. The others used to be good, but, sadly, are no longer.

    (Response: Actually, I like The National … except the fact their “national” panel has only people from Ontario …and sometimes Quebec. That’s a national perspective? h.o.)

  12. Larry Bennett says:

    Well, Harvey, you may have made a few errors in your submission, but it is good to know how many of the same crowd is checking into your blog! Perhaps it is media stories about the media that is most important to the media?

    (Response: Well, I know they read it…because they stopped inviting me to company retirement or Christmas parties and my old assignment editor, at a private affair, called me a “Judas” and refused to shake my hand and I got tossed from the Websters, where I volunteered as a judge. . Funny how thin-skinned people … who go after others so hard (or used to) …. can be when someone dares to shine the light on them. LOL!

  13. DonGar says:

    “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?” Bang on would love to see the investigative police visit Vancouver when they finish up in Montreal. As there is no one locally who will do the digging.

    (Response: Corruption in Quebec is a hundred years old…afraid the investigative police and journalists there will be busy for quite some time. Here’s what I wrote about it in 2009!! … “Quebec Corruption: Je me Souviens!” So we’ll have to wait quite some time. h.o.)

  14. D. M. Johnston says:

    Quote: “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?”

    These are questions I thought about but just not had the resources to get answers.

    The wheelchair issue lasted on the radio from Thursday to Monday, while there was hardly any mention it the two daily “fish-wraps”, and only a few slots on the TV.

    If the best that Global can do, lead with a stolen bicycle story, gawd help them.

    A group of us are working on a transit story, that should have been done by the MSM years ago, and if the results are what we expect them to be, after an independent audit, TransLink will have some very serious questions to answer. The problem is, the MSM probably will not carry the story because (and this was an excuse given to me several times); “transit should be good news stories, because transit is good for the public.”

    Canadian TV news is a joke and I seldom watch the six o’clock news anymore, bicycle and spitting stories just make me switch channels.

    (Response: CTV led with the stolen bike; Global led with a puff piece on Surrey development. h.o)

  15. George Orr says:

    Harv: The base of the problem is that Assignment Editors have become lazy, and nervous. They are now ‘event-collectors’ rather than story generators. Events are easy to day-book, file and cover. They allow for maximum camera usage, and each event becomes a story, so there is little waste in manpower. Nobody in management complains as long as everybody in the newsroom is busy and productive.
    But this abandons ‘issue’ journalism, where the “today” component of the news about issues has to be ferretted out, which is a time-consuming effort, and offers to promise of quality results.
    I don’t think it is to be blamed on junior reporters, but cowardly editors and producers.

    Bottom-line, ‘event producers’ of every stripe now manage the news cycle. News directors who see this and capitulate are cowards. Those who don’t are purposefully blind.

    (Response: Perfectly said! Lazy, bored or sellouts … whatever it is, it is showing on air. With your background and experience in journalism, your remarks should be posed right under the banner “RELEVANT?” as a daily reminder of what’s wrong and what CAN be fixed. h.o.)

  16. Seeker says:

    I agree with everything you have said and would like to add that we get very tired of watching Global National (full of local news, some 2 or 3 days old) repeated from the 6 PM news.

    Also Global has had more technical glitches in the past few months than I have seen in the past years!

    (Response: Actually, some nights the technical glitches and Gailus fuming is the best part of the show! It’s all due, I believe, to a new computerized job-cutting programming system that, unlike humans, can’t instantly adjust to reality. I’ve heard (maybe management there can confirm or deny) that it’s so untrustworthy, some items marked as “live” are actually not … pre-recorded and inserted ..but keeping the “live” font! h.o.)

  17. DonGar says:

    You are right that the corruption cops will be busy in Quebec for a very long time BUT at least there is someone doing something about it unlike here were the cops and press ignore it. Wolf chases man on motor bike more on 6 o’clock news, 100 articles on meatless Mondays. Real investigative reporting there and as couple others have pointed out the vast majority of the press relies on the speaking notes handed them rather than get off their derrieres.

  18. rainclouds says:

    Pretty much bang on as far as content goes. Smallville pandering with little in the way of real journalism. Puff and fluff comprise the “news”

    Simply do not bother watching the drivel they spoon feed. Clearly it was decided by the powers that be to pander to the advertizers (RE industry being one of the larger contributers) Jack Webster is spinning in his grave.

    (Response: I’m sure advertisers would love larger audiences … and much of what we now see sure isn’t encouraging that. I think Jack …who helped me get my job at BCTV… would be proud of me for speaking up. h.o)

  19. Kreditanstalt says:

    The REAL suckers here, Harvey, are the naïvetes who pay to advertise on those networks.

    They’re too lazy to check themselves on the ineffectiveness of their advertising dollar…

    I can get all the investigative news that’s important to me, when I want to see it, with a hundred different opinions on it ONLINE.

    TV? Haven’t watched it in years. Does anyone?

    (Response: Watch for my next blog: the advertisers HAVE noticed! h.o.)

  20. AndyO says:

    Hi Harvey,
    Great write and to the point. I bounce between Global BC, CTV BC, and A Channel over the week. Global has fallen behind alot with not keeping up to date with their on air personalities. Besides Chris Gailis it’s pretty much all the old news reporters and newscasters. Their news seems to be video based, grabbing whatever news video is out there and throwing it on, with no investigating of the story or questioning the story. I guess that’s cheaper in the long run. (And BC1 is a terrible station, it should be called Vancouver1 it’s certainly not provincial). They need all new reporters, I think the staff has become sedate in their positions, even their Morning Show. Like to say more but…..

    (Response: People have said what you have many, many times …but nothing changes. Maybe the newsroom bosses should read the blog I will do Friday … if their owners haven’t already delivered the new bad news. h.o)

  21. 13 says:

    I can relate to your being dropped from Xmas lists. A few years ago the woman that owned the trucking company I worked at hugged or shook hands with everyone at the Xmas party, except for as my wife pointed out, me.
    Its nice to know that our humble opinions are as widely read as they are. Looks like your blog is RELEVANT.

    (Response: Nice to know I’m in principled company. h.o.)

  22. R says:

    I dont think you want sun or fox in lieu of ctv /global.?
    Margo Harper any relation to stephen.?

  23. Gary L. says:

    Harvey, I enjoy watching Animal Kingdom on CBC at 6 o’clock with Tony Parsons doing the commentary.

    Cheers.

    (Response: Bet you were happy you didn’t miss the “news”! h.o)

  24. Sean Ciroc says:

    Hi Harvey!

    Bang on! I remember watching local news in the 90’s up to mid 2000’s and I would get chills when the news came on! Today the lead about the ‘cat up a tree’ sounds like that old record someone pulled out cause even they(reporters) are so bored to death of the very weak stories and assignments they have to deal with. What happened to REAL local news? Are editors and seniors uppers that financially tied to every facet of story out there? What is going on!? HO please come back to TV! We miss u much!!!

    (Response: I’m retired! And loving it! 🙂 Assignment editors can only work with what they get: cheaper hires ….inexperienced and sometimes historically and politically ignorant youngsters; few or no research resources; lack of cameras, funding, time to do much more than the daily grind .. and even bored, unmotivated and incompetent newsroom bosses. Some do really try to make things better, and occasionally there are still really good stories … but the gaps between have grown much longer and viewers are tuning out. h.o.)

  25. Gilbert says:

    Do you know if news channels have anyone to check the pronunciation of foreign words and places? Maybe it’s not considered important, but I think such words should be pronounced correctly. Once I heard a newscaster pronounce the name of Segolene Royale, a former candidate for the French presidency, Seejoleen Royale instead of Segolen Rwayal. Another time,
    Queen Margrethe of Denmark visited Vancouver and instead of saying Margreyta, the Danish pronunciation, the newscaster pronounced it Margreth. When I lived in Finland, I thought foreign words were pronounced very accurately and it just seemed so sophisticated to me. But maybe I’m in the minority.

    (Response: Yes…there is an industry pronunciation guide…but I doubt most of the reporters (and even some anchors) today even know where to find it in their newsroom. h.o)

  26. morry says:

    @ In the biz

    Got news for you buddy. You need pounding ’cause you are all in a coma.

    See if you can get your act together and do some real reporting.

    “Mainstream Media Ignoring Real Story on BC Hydro Debt, Skyrocketing Power Bills
    Jun 16th, 2013 ” Raef Mair. @ In the biz

  27. GNR says:

    Councillor Louie received at least $7000.00 from Rize Alliance for his politiacl campaign in 2008. How much more did he receive from them to get the 23 storey tower at Broadway & Kingsway?

    (Response: Well, let’s keep this discussion real. A question or innuendo holds absolutely no validity as a statement. If you have information, you should come out with it…. or report it. Did other councillors receive donations too? And I know of no development EVER, ANYWHERE in BC or Canada that proceeds on ONE individual’s vote. h.o)

  28. Larry Bennett says:

    Harvey, did they say Judas Iscariot, or Judas Priest? There is s difference you know? And if you were tossed from the Websters as a volunteer judge , and if we are abjured from judging lest we ourselves be judged, then it is they that have made the poor judgement which will be turned upon them!

    (Response: LOL! I don’t think he’s au courrant enough enough to know Judas Priest. h.o)

  29. GNR says:

    My GNR 28 comments were picking up on DonGar 13’s comments. I should have said that.
    Yes, other Councillors received money from Rize. I can find $20,000 more here http://former.vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/election2008/candidate-profiles.htm
    My question was meant to spark an exceptional reporter to investigate where the money comes from for the civic candidates. Who donates to the parties (Vision, NPA)? Why don’t Vision candidates show more precisely where the money comes from for their campaigns? I’m no fan of NPA or Vision but at least in the link above NPA candidates show where the money comes from.
    I hope there is a ‘Jack Webster’ out there to tell us. Why are the developers getting their way with rezonings and the communities are ignored? Is someone paying for influence on all these rezonings? Why is Aquilini allowed to propose a 12 storey tower at Main & 2nd when the new Mount Pleasant Plan clearly says to build UP TO 6 storeys unless there is a new planning program? And there is no new planning program because the City said they have no money to do that at this time! Aquilini is asking for twice the height they are allowed! WHAT’S GOING ON AT CITY HALL!

  30. Persey says:

    Thanks, Harvey, for bringing to light an issue that, by the number of responses, is important to all of us.

    I think it is obvious that the traditional model for delivering objective investigative reporting is broken. And won’t be fixed by traditional means.

    Margo Harper alluded to the challenge facing those “in the biz”:

    Deliver the news people need to see/hear in a manner that generates enough profit to continue the delivery.

    The non-profit model that exists (CBC) doesn’t seem to be working.

    (Response: Well, CBC National is, in my view, the best national newscast …but somehow CBC local falls short, despite having some very good reporters and taking on serious issues. Maybe it’s the over packaging, the dull anchoring …not sure why, but few times I’ve watched, it just doesn’t hold me. Maybe it’s the lack of entertainment factor …hate to admit it. And frankly I just don’t trust I’m getting the best provincial coverage ever since revelations that legislative reporter Stephen Smart’s wife worked for the premier…and CBC management thought that was acceptable. h.o)

  31. Dave P says:

    I and my family used to be Global viewers for a variety of reasons but mostly ebcause they sued to cover real news, crime, politics etc and at least be informative and objective.

    The “News Hours” is almost unwatchable now. From lame traffic reports where the y0ung reporter shows some traffic video of a backup from “Global One and then states the obvious ‘there seems to be a backup at…” to some lame comments that have no relevance to the video being shown.

    Even worse, Global news is lead by puff pieces or gruesome scenes of murders or tragic accidents that graphically display blood or limbs hanging off stretchers. Things that can be described but don’t need video to be shown. i also recall flippant and disrepectful “joking” around beween anchors and others on the set regarding public figures or others. The recent provincial election was also sad as Global’s coverage was often clearly slanted as evidence by avoiding major stories others covered or puff piece interviews that made it tough to watch. BTW election night we all watched CTV as Global had status quo reporters and commentary that bore little relationship to what was happening.

    Like others I find the mistakes when Gailus is clearly “perturbed” the best part of many a show. These days we do watch the end of the friday News Hours for Satellite Debris but that’s about it.

    I find it sad that like NW (also owned by Corus) whch I no longer listen to either, Global is being controlled by suits who watch the bottom line more than the programming. A sad state as they never see the term long damage from short term mistakes and the resultant death spiral of rating that go with them.

    They have lost me and my family as regular viewers just like NW lost us a long time ago.

    (Response: I hope friends in the business, who think I’ve been too critical read your comment very carefully. I believe you sum up how many, many feel …and I will cite MORE figures Friday to prove it. h.o)

  32. Lew says:

    Merv Adey (#10 above) provides a very telling illustration of the state of the media in this province.

    Former Attorney General Geoff Plant, in an open letter to John van Dongen said this about the $6 million plea deal. “What is clear is that there was no legally binding deal. There couldn’t be. The waiver of recovery of fees was not and could not be an inducement to plead guilty. As a matter of law they were not connected.”

    Now, Mr. Adey says he is not a lawyer. But Geoff Plant is. The leaked waiver deal, for anyone who wants to look, is a legally binding deal. So where is the media on this? The former Attorney General, who was in office at the time the original charges were laid, is of the opinion that if there was a legally binding deal it would be against the law. A legally binding deal surfaces, and all we hear are crickets.

    There are many other questions about the law in this case. Here’s one. The judge is bound by the Criminal Code of Canada not to accept a guilty plea if it is not voluntary. There is ample jurisprudence to the effect that the $6 million makes the plea involuntary. But the judge didn’t know about the deal. Is it against the law to conspire to withhold that information from her? Pity the media won’t ask.

  33. rainclouds says:

    agree Harvey, MOST Advertizers do want larger audiences RE industry, not so much.

    BCREA, Remax/Dominion Lending types) do NOT want any negative reporting on the current state of RE in BC, it would be bad for business.

    Fake Condo pre sale line ups and marketing duplicity (MAC) that has yet to be reported by the MSM are two examples of where advertizing revenue trumps reporting.

    Another ? BCREA Cameron Muir/ Tsur Sommerville rosy pronouncements are accepted verbatium, no attempt to provide balance .. “2014 will be another banner year for RE in BC” Really?….Kreskin lives at the BCREA?

    There many sources to counter above spin yet it rarely happpens in todays media

  34. Barry says:

    I’m getting tired of “journalism by press release.” I define this as where an outfit puts out a press release on a topic and it is reported almost verbatim without any background or even fact checking.

    One of the few items I can remember that go against this trend was CTV’s running of a story on how the Fraser Institute’s school rankings were not a particularly good indicator of how well a student does in university. It was some fresh air in an industry rapidly becoming thick with the smell of excrement.

    Drop the animal stories; there’s entire networks devoted to that. If I want a weather update every 10 min, I can look out the window. I want the media to cover my concerns with how my government and society is run.

  35. e.a.f. says:

    Great article! You might have touched a nerve or two out there. The response has been interesting.

    Watching the Global, CTV news stopped years ago. There wasn’t anything worth watching. I watch the National on CBC and the Vancouver Island news station and then its over. There just isn’t what I could call news on the local stations anymore. I’m not that interested in the blonde in the helicopter, or Gallis talking about something which is of no interest or value. CTV is a tad better but not by much.

    There is no serious reporting. No investigative reporting, except the odd thing by Jas J. If these t.v. stations want to make money they are going to have to produce a product people will want to watch. Then the advertisers may be willing to pay. Of course some advertisers may not want real news, who knows.

    Most news is about 5 minutes, the rest filler. Then its off to read political blogs, news papers from other parts of the world, etc. David Bain does good work. We could use another 10 of him. Jas J. needs to be given time and budget to do the work which will inform the people of this province what is going on.

    If I relied on “vancouver news” it would lead me to conclude all is well in the province, no problems in education, health, social welfare, no pollution; just a few shootings from the usual gangs and car accidents.

    When t.v. news interviewed Vicki Huntington, it was like she had done all the work. No reporters decided to follow up and “investigate”. We can blame young, inexperienced reporters but all of you were that at one time. Then you had mentors. That is what is missing these days. Of course if the owners don’t put any money into it, you get what you pay for.

    Haven’t purchased a newspaper in 10 yrs. haven’t watched the news on t.v. for at least 5 and as to radio, well that hasn’t been on for so long its a vintage piece.

    (Response: There ARE some bright spots: Jas Johal did picture-rich series for global on coal mining/exports last week and yesterday CTV had three good stories (BC Hydro, Firefighters, Clark backs down) but for some reason led their show with Donald Trump being in town to promote a condo development. Yech! The good stuff must become the daily rule once again …not just the occasional exception. h.)

  36. sjm says:

    I echo many of the comments here. We left Global for the simple reason that they became too smug. We get all the ‘real news’ from blogs, the internet etc. and only watch one of the morning shows while we enjoy our morning coffee. Actually the lighter side of the show is quite entertaining and simply starts my day with a laugh.

    Its interesting though, we waited most of our working lives to buy a decent tv – and now we rarely use it!

    (Response: Of course, you have to be careful with the blogosphere too: anyone can almost say anything, but for those with a discerning mind, it sure gives us all a wider, louder voice than the MSM. h.o)

  37. angela says:

    It is this issue of real estate propaganda that has completely turned me off the MSM. In 2005, I knew something was fishy in the Vancouver real estate market and wondered why it wasn’t being more discussed in the MSM. I used that handy Google tool and found VHB and never trusted the MSM again.

    So you see, for those in the biz, it’s not so much about the accuracy or being first to call an election. What many of us hunger for is an intellectual curiosity for the truth. Not good looking spokesmodels who can read press releases. Mistakes and inaccuracies we can forgive; we are human after all. But when you mislead on purpose, that breaks the trust forever.

    A special thank you to yourself and AGT for being brave enough to take these issues on with such candour. Hopefully, more will have the courage to join you.

  38. morry says:

    I agree with Angela’s points.
    Who cares who calls the election right. in an hour rot two we have the facts. (Harvey don’t lose sight of the bigger problem by focusing on election predication calls . that is so temporary)

    What is more important is good investigative reporting throughout the year.

    What is lacking is an intellectual analysis and digging for the truth. At the is point the MSM are in bed with the Politicians …

    (and a few of THE News types that have posted here have been somewhat disingenuous ….)

  39. DonGar says:

    The real estate advertising $ continues to buy silence from the MSM. There are a number of problems that are starting to come to light that will far exceed the leaky condo problems and will likely cost condo owners millions. But no investigative reporting will take place until it finally blows up.

  40. harry lawson says:

    harv, very interesting post.

    for me the media market in vancouver started changing when they canned robert malcom, and when you retired.

    i used to watch the 6 and 11pm news when it truly was news instead of clever product placement and other fluff.

    we are fortunate enough to have a home in mesa az. it is such a pleasure to watch the reporters and camera crew chase the police chief or another politician down the street or hallway in true mike wallace style. and get a comment or not.
    a good news cast with investigative reporting will more than pay for itself with increased revenue from market share.

    (Response: Thanks. Chase a politician these days? For some, that would mean actually having to leave the Press Gallery; at City Hall, it would first posting a reporter to regularly cover the place; and for many others, it would mean asking questions about topics not mentioned in a press release. Ahhh …the good old days! h.o)

  41. John says:

    Local news is, for the most part, unwatchable.
    The reasons are obvious.

    While the National have some outstanding reporters, I agree with you about perspectives.

    Last night Coyne made me wonder if he lives in an alternate reality when he voiced his opinions about our Premier. He’s done this before. It almost sounds like he’s been getting briefed by the BC Liberal party.

    Mansbridge is insufferably stuffy. He actually makes it hard to watch.

    (Response: I like Mansbrige…quite knowledgeable and a good reader. But the show always sees national issues from an Ontario and Quebec “perspective” … Maritimers and Westerners’ views are never reflected on “national” stories and our reps interviewed …only when the issue or scandal is specifically related to their region. A truly national show should include views of all areas on the larger much more regularly …but try telling that to the CBC bosses …. in Toronto. h.o)

  42. CTV News at Six is the undisputed News Leader not only in Ottawa but in all of eastern Ontario and west Quebec. Graham Richardson and Carol Anne Meehan anchor an experienced team of journalists who report the facts and tell the stories that you need to know. J.J. Clarke is at the helm of a high tech weather centre that accurately forecasts the systems that affect our lives everyday. And Sports Director Terry Marcotte takes us beyond the scores and statistics to the heart of our local sports community … from the pee-wees to the pros. Our strengths go beyond Ottawa. CTV has bureaus to bring you news from across Canada and around the world. In the Ottawa and Seaway Valleys and in the Outaouais, more people get their news from CTV than any other source. CTV News at Six … the voice of experience.

  43. Larry Bennett says:

    Nice advert Carmela Rosario (nice name too!) Not the least bit subtle.

  44. Ricardo says:

    In regard to your comment about the TV and print media these days filling up their content with light stories, while more serious stories go begging for coverage I could not agree more.

    I am certainly not an Any Rand fan, but it strongly reminds me of what occurred in her book “The Fountain Head” when Gail Wynand, the owner and editor-in-chief of the newspaper “The Banner”, pulls his reader’s attention away from more serious worldly issues by grabbing their attention through sympathy stories (the old cat up the tree) and the papers crusades against almost anything unimportant.

    Reading newspapers today or watching TV news it is dominated by coverage of the one off car accidents, the persons who is homeless because of a house fire, or just those regular cases when a person had to wait in a hospital waiting room for more than a few hours. These seem to be working to pull our attention from the more serious issues we should be more informed about and could act on.

    Call me suspicious, but I see the lack of investigative journalism as larger than just the owners of media not wanting to expend the resources on serious stories – are they trying to move our attention from the real stories of the day? Maybe this is intentional?

    Is the story in Calgary really about the flood and the unfortunate victims of the flood, or more about global warming and why an event of this magnitude occurred now.

    (Response: If you want to laugh …and cry …about what “news” has become in too many places, just listen to Don Henley’s song “Dirty Laundry”. h.o)

  45. CTV News at Six is the undisputed News Leader not only in Ottawa but in all of eastern Ontario and west Quebec. Graham Richardson and Carol Anne Meehan anchor an experienced team of journalists who report the facts and tell the stories that you need to know. J.J. Clarke is at the helm of a high tech weather centre that accurately forecasts the systems that affect our lives everyday. And Sports Director Terry Marcotte takes us beyond the scores and statistics to the heart of our local sports community … from the pee-wees to the pros. Our strengths go beyond Ottawa. CTV has bureaus to bring you news from across Canada and around the world. In the Ottawa and Seaway Valleys and in the Outaouais, more people get their news from CTV than any other source. CTV News at Six … the voice of experience.

    (Response: Kind of flattered that my BC blog is being read so far afield! And don’t even mind publishing your free promo for CTV News at 6 in Ottawa. But if you write “OUR (caps mine) strengths go beyond Ottawa” you really should identify your connection to the station …in the interests of honesty and full disclosure. And by the way, really happy if what you say is true about going beyond Ottawa: because when I covered the Hill, BCTV became interested in a wave of killings in rural Ontario that was scaring people throughout the Ottawa Valley and beyond. CJOH, our CTV affiliate, said it was too far to go for such a story, without actual arrests or any proven links between them. So WE went …BCTV … and got a good story about fear in the farmland belt … and then CTV Ottawa took and used OUR footage for free ..without so much as credit to us. Guess it would have been embarrassing for an Ottawa station to credit a Vancouver station for “Ottawa region” coverage! h.o)

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