CBC News announces new organizational structure by Beatrice Britneff

Mar 7, 2017

Steve Ladurantaye named managing editor of flagship TV news program The National

Source: iPolitics

The news division of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is revamping its organizational structure, according to a memo sent to staff Tuesday by CBC News’s general manager and editor-in-chief Jennifer McGuire.

The memo reveals CBC News is to be divided into three “content areas” — Daily News, Depth and Context, and Investigative — and hinted at the broadcaster’s new plans for its flagship nightly TV news program, The National.

In addition, the memo announced several managerial changes — among them Steve Ladurantaye, who will now serve as The National’s managing editor, effective immediately. Until today, Ladurantaye worked as managing editor of CBC News.

“We need to quicken the evolution of our organization to further grow and prosper in an ever changing news environment,” McGuire wrote. “We remain at the forefront of innovation in breaking news and original journalism. And yet our structure hasn’t always kept pace.

“We are still largely organized around broadcast platforms, newsgathering, and a separate digital operation. Today we take a big step toward changing that.”

CBC News is responsible for news production for its English-language operations — including CBC.ca, CBC Radio, CBC Television and the News Network channel.

The organizational changes announced Tuesday mark the broadcaster’s latest step towards becoming a “digital-first organization” and expanding its digital reach. In 2014, CBC launched its “Strategy 2020” — which outlined two goals, in addition to its digital-first objective: to create “more distinctive quality Canadian content” and expand its local content.

McGuire’s memo says CBC News’s first “content area” will be dedicated to daily news production — predominantly breaking and live news. The memo says CBC News’s digital daily desk and social teams, radio hourlies, radio syndication, and employees in foreign bureaus will fall under this area. A “new story-based central news desk” will be created within this group, which the memo says will drive content on all of (CBC News’s) platforms.

Brodie Fenlon will move from his currently role as senior director of digital news to lead the Daily News division.

The second area — led by current executive director of news content Jonathan Whitten — will comprise all of CBC’s programs that focus on more analytical reporting, including The National, The World at Six, and The Passionate Eye. This group will also oversee CBC’s parliamentary bureau, including Power and Politics.

The third group will focus on investigative journalism, the memo says, and will be the section under which programs like Go Public, the fifth estate, Marketplace and The Investigators fall under. The memo says this area will also include CBC News’s data journalists and investigative content unit. The memo says CBC News has not yet appointed someone to manage the Investigative group, but will issue a posting soon.

Despite these new divisions, the memo emphasizes that CBC News is “not building new silos.”

“By definition the work we do crosses boundaries between breaking news and depth, long form and short form, investigative and live,” it says. “This new structure will require us to work in an even closer and more integrated way.”

In addition to the aforementioned leadership changes, McGuire says CBC News will hire a new executive who will be responsible for “the audience and content experience” — but who will immediately focus on “pushing the visual and audience experience of The National.”

McGuire’s memo also hinted at the planned new direction for the nightly newscast and confirmed that Ladurantaye will be “entirely focussed on the development of the new The National.”

“The new National will be more than just a one hour program at 10 PM,” the memo reads. “It will be synonymous with depth and context on all platforms and throughout the day. … It will create digital native content as well as content for the destination newscast.”

© iPolitics