More Changes at Global BC!

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Could Global’s John Daly Soon Jump To CTV?

By Harvey Oberfeld

harvoverfeldpic

May 26th, 2014 

Veteran BCTV/Global reporters John Daly and Brian Coxford will both be gone from Global TV by the end of August.

Both have accepted from Global’s Shaw masters buyout offers of a year or more salaries and other benefits just to leave and head off into retirement.

And there have also been other buyouts accepted by other senior, experienced behind-the-scenes Global staff  in the past few weeks, as Shaw continues to slash its Vancouver TV operations: they recently laid off almost  the entire graphics department at the Burnaby-based station, moving its functions and jobs back East, just as happened with its master control and other departments/functions earlier.

But don’t be surprised if, after cashing his buyout cheque,  Daly moves to CTV. If he did, he would take with him his VAST knowledge, experience and lists of contacts among various police forces, lawyers and court officials that have long given him a reporting advantage over competitors who just wait for press conferences or show up at crime scenes with little or no background knowledge.

CTV, of course, is where another BCTV/Global veteran Mike McCardell landed last Fall after his Global contract wasn’t renewed. Mike says he was FIRED … after decades as a BC broadcasting icon at BCTV/Global and is reportedly quite happy now at CTV, where ratings have risen since he arrived.

My own view is the departure of Daly and Coxford is quite a negative move for news at Global … but not necessarily for the reasons you may think.

Both are well into their sixties and, despite their experience, there is nothing wrong with a TV station or any news media undergoing renewal … that is, IF the outlet is replenishing with younger, but at least somewhat experienced, BC knowledgeable, proven journalists and good writers.

But I don’t see that very often when I now tune in Global. (Thankfully, there are still a few seasoned reporters on staff … but, at their salary levels,  for how long?)

What I see now is NEWS ON THE CHEAP …  dime-a-dozen younger “reporters” with almost no creative writing skills, no special interviewing abilities, no imagination in story-telling and certainly no demonstrated knowledge of BC … historically, journalistically and certainly NOT politically.

Or have I just missed ALL those days when they’ve broken great stories, showed terrific BC background knowledge or demonstrated some entertaining, amusing or even interesting writing/interviewing styles?

However, judging from what the Newshour and its satellite shows are looking like these days … those skills may never again be needed!

What we are now getting, in my view,  is actually getting worse: mostly spot-news-on-a-platter, press release handouts, puff pieces and loads of public service announcements (drive carefully, boat carefully, get to the ferry early, the border is busy or not so busy and coverage of almost every walk, run, bike, charity event known to man (and women) etc. etc.).

It’s Alberta-style community television masquerading as BC news programming!

All along with a new standard: keep “stories” to 2 minutes or less!  (Maybe we should be thankful for that … given the current  quality!)

No wonder Global’s ratings are half of what they used to be …that’s a HUGE Drop in viewers and, I suspect, advertising potential.

So who wants experienced reporters?  Who wants really good journalists?  Who wants quality writers?  From everything I’ve seen …NOT Global BC … not anymore.

I still believe, viewers WILL watch QUALITY news; viewers WILL tune in to see NEW stories, not just rehashes of what was in the morning papers or on the radio earlier in the day; and viewers WILL watch stories longer than a minute-and-a-half IF they’re NEW, interesting, informative and well-presented.

The opportunities are great … for CTV and CBC local news to make further inroads.

Should be a really interesting Fall season!

Harv Oberfeld

23 COMMENTS

  1. I totally agree about the loss of senior-level expertise in the industry. Gone are the days of ‘shoe-leather journalism.’

  2. Experience? Who needs experience diggin’ in the trenches these days. Broadcasting nowadays is for the young and the beautiful willing to work for a fraction of a seasoned veteran who has been there and actually done it.

  3. It’s ageism… plain and simple…

    Back in 1979, when he first started his now famous stint at that very same TV station at “Nine A-M Precisely”… Jack Webster was already well into his 61st year.

    If Webster had been 35 years younger and was trying to make that same jump to TV today, he’d be totally out in the cold… simply because of “target demographics”.

    That’s what happens when you let the sales people take over running the show … instead of the true broadcasters…

  4. Reading lots of whining from older people here. There’s loads of younger journalists who want to do more in-depth work but a bunch of old codgers who think it’s 1980 and action news is still the way to go are the ones calling the shots.

    I never understood the hype over Daly. He was always smooching police rears and never doing anything bad about them. That kind of access journalism is what’s ruined B.C. media, not young people.

    Thought getting rid of McCraddle was good too. The guy can’t string a sentence together and his wannabe cliched “thoughtful” stories are painful to watch.

    Frankly, if you want to boost readers let some young people run the thing and allow them to be real reporters instead of catering to the 60+ crowd cause you’ve resigned to the perception people don’t wanna see quality and want to be on the internet looking at kittens. Cause, guess what, it isn’t true. Young people aren’t tuning in cause news isn’t interesting. In the modern world no one cares about a car accident or a targetted homicide. The youth want issues covered. No matter what your consultants tell you, that’s the facts.

  5. @ anonymous

    Only a person with no courage would write such drivel about authors, writers, reporters – awarding winners I might add.

    I will agree that news and broadcasting is changing. More of it on the internet. I think if you designed a station for people 15 to 35 it would fail. One for people over 35 will not if seems.

  6. Wow. We really ARE doomed… Starting with the first sentence, “there’s loads of younger journalists”, and ending with …”that’s the facts”. Yes, Harvey is a codger. In fact, I think he’s a self-described codger. That doesn’t mean he isn’t entitled to a grammatically correct opinion and it doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Setting aside your agism, but dealing directly with your argument, the young and the pretty HAVE taken over the newsrooms because they’re cheap. You might want to cry foul at that part. They have no experience and no seasoning. The result is ratings are taking a nose dive. You say, “Young people aren’t tuning in cause news isn’t interesting”. I won’t insult you, I just ask you to take another look at that sentence.

  7. Go ahead and yell and scream. You old dinosaurs have ruined the industry in BC with the decisions you’ve made. Not the younger people doing what they’re told.

  8. During my time with “The New Hour with Tony Parsons” we worked our asses off, day and night to be the best we could be, everybody understood the power of great story telling through the medium of video. A very different animal from radio and print – “The Medium is The Message” and that is what set us apart from every other News Cast

    We built our audience on ground breaking story telling hard hitting, in depth, investigative journalism, were not afraid to tell the human interest stories of everyday people and dedicate the time on air to tell the story well. The length of our stories were determined not by what would make for a snappy news block, but by what it took to tell the complete story.

    We took a lot of chances, sometimes we took heat for our mistakes, but we learned and changed every day, and never stopped learning and trying to be better every day, better at everything we did. We built a program that was the top rated local newscast in all of North America.

    What many may not know, is we were the first News cast to launch the open concept news room -in fact CNN came up to see our News Room and learn how we did it before they launched their Network. I had the great fortune of being invited down to Atlanta for the launch.

    When I started our news room was in the basement, and our little studio was once a store room for film stock and gawd knows what – I had the great fortune of working so many brilliant people, all of in the trenches together, side by side, producing the best television we could, often at great personal cost, not a lot of sleep, not as much family time as we should have, but we were a team, we took care of each other, and I thank each and every one of you for all that you have taught me. I miss you all. Lawrence McDonald .

  9. It has gotten ridiculous. Harvey, you interviewed me some years ago. You were always a true professional. Nowadays…this Corus group is giving “media” a black eye. Not only is Global….Bctv…Chan subjecting us to less than professional news reporting CK-NDP-W is also changed from a much respected radio station to a Vancouver TMZ radio station whose motto should be We create the news….
    Both organizations have great talent. Unfortunately, sensationalistic FOX style reporting is ruining it all.
    It’s too bad. Too damn bad.

  10. I didn’t yell. I didn’t scream. You call me, among others, a dinosaur… if we “dinosaurs” ruined it, by all means fix it. Why aren’t you? Ahem, you assume I’m a geezer. Real journalists never assume. Not yelling. Not screaming. Just saying.

  11. Harv, to blame the ills of the industry solely on its youngest members is cheap at best, and supremely disingenuous at worst. Nothing makes you look old and out of touch quite like shaking your fist at today’s youth and saying how good it was in your day. Why don’t you aim more of your vitriol at the people at the top? They criminally profit the most from a system that underpays and overworks it staff so much that the on-air product suffers ultimately.

    Lawrence, thank you for your insights and your contributions to our craft. You were part of an amazing team. I would love to read more of your recollections in this forum. I’m sure they would be most welcome.

    Lorne, pick one. Either NW or too left or right for your tastes. In the same post, you call them CK-NDP-W and then accuse it of “FOX-style” reporting. There is still some fine radio news reporting being done in this town, be it on CKNW, News1130, or on the CBC. All too often we are quick to point out foibles and not celebrate triumphs.

  12. Global is fluff. They may claim to be BC’s number one newscast, but their numbers are eroding every quarter.

    I miss the 1980’s where Harvey would be demanding answers from Premier Vanderzalm…and would get them because Bill knew if he refused to answer, there would be hell to pay with the BC public.

    These days, Premier Photo Op won’t even answer the softball questions the media lobs for her…because she knows there’s no repercussions if she doesn’t. The mainstream media are bought and paid for with your tax dollars.

  13. When the man who built up the Newshour, J.R. Peters, in the late 60s and 70s began, his mission to beat the leading evening newscast at that time, CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkrite. He did that and more. I find it ironic, to me at least, that almost 50 years later, the only North American TV news I can watch these days is CBS.

  14. The Global News Hour promo with the weather lady that mentions news and hour at the very final sentence is gag worthy. Pretty much sums up the post above about NH turning into Entertainment Tonight. No mention about news or the stories that matter, just fluff.

  15. Hmmm…. I wonder if some of those who commented ever read my piece! I myself said there’s nothing wrong with retiring older journalists …IF they get replaced with younger reporters who at least have SOME experience, writing, reporting and interviewing skills. But that is NOT what we’re getting, in my view. And insofar as su8ggesting that I am blaming the younger “members” in the industry (curious choice of word!) I’m sure I also wrote …yup, there are the words right there in the blog …that I blame the MANAGERS and MANAGEMENT for the deteriorating quality … not the reporters ….. or “members” as you describe them. LOL!

  16. Harvey rarely has anything good to say about GlobalBC anymore so you have to take what he writes with a huge grain of salt. Retired for years now but desperate for the attention I think. That being said, as 40-something male reporter I remember the advice of my professors back east saying “get your experience in a small market…you need to hone your skills there for several years before ever getting to Toronto or Vancouver….” I heeded that advice but now see younger, cheaper and much less experienced people leap-frogging me in the job market. Why? Oh yeah, because they’re younger and cheaper. Experience doesn’t matter. These days it’s commonplace for kids to come out of BCIT, for example, do a few weeks internship at a Vancouver radio/tv/newspaper and get hired on. Pretty sad. But can you blame them? No. So it’s not the kid’s fault, it’s still the old guys making the calls.

  17. I’ve been in the news industry for just over five years now and the hiring choices they make are getting out of hand. Twice I’ve been told I’ve was short listed for a reporting job with a large broadcaster only to not get the job.

    Both times I’ve been passed over for students, who have not completed their second year of school.

  18. In answer to the post immediately above: What you describe is a truly sad state of affairs.

    All of the time in the world that may have been spent in journalism class will never adequately prepare you for the realities of “The Beat”. There is no substitute whatsoever for the extensive practical experience that can only come from having spent considerable amounts of time wearing out shoe leather working the beat.

    Sadly, station managers who have invariably worked their way up from the sales side — people who have never worked a day in their lives on the news beat — will never understand that fact.

  19. News is news but it has to be new news, that’s the idea. Terrible news is when you have 3 news casts in a row from the same station with the same dialogue and pictures for 3 days in a row. It happens all the time, Now that’s boring!!
    Please give us a full hour (whichever station you are with) of new and worth listening to news.
    Remember we all have PVR’s which go forward, backward, save and delete.

  20. How much education and experience do you need to be a reporter today in a major market?
    Experienced and talented people are trouble makers. They rock the boat for lazy newsroom producers and managers. Why be great when we can be adequate? the Canadian motto.

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