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CBC-TV launches 90-minute supper hour news
CBC-TV’s supper hour newscasts expand to 90 minutes on Monday, part of the public broadcaster’s efforts to increase local coverage.
The extended newscasts will feature new hosts in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Montreal, Halifax, Calgary and Toronto.
The news will run from 5 p.m. to 6.30 p.m., with stories updated throughout the 90 minutes.
“This is designed so that busy people at that time of day can join whenever they can and they’ll still get a big dose of the top news stories of the day at 5 and 5:30 and 6,” said Liz Hughes, CBC’s director of news for the centres, said in an interview.
“It has been close to two decades since this much local news was offered by the CBC on television.”
The 90-minute program is essentially three half-hour newscasts that include a mix of international, national and local stories, with an emphasis on breaking local news.
“For the brand overall, CBC News, part of what we’re trying to push in our relationship with Canadians is that we’re there for them locally, especially on television, to the same extent that we are on radio,” said Jennifer McGuire, general manager and editor in chief of CBC News.
“It’s a huge priority for people.”
The new format, she said, is “consistent to how people are more and more using news ó they graze. Most people don’t start at the beginning and go to the end.”
CBC is launching this critical part of its news renewal process in a year when resources are tight and $7 million has been cut from the English-language news service.
The new thrust to local news has meant changing the way resources are used, McGuire said.
The changes varied market to market, with some cities getting more resources for live local coverage and some extending the range of their coverage. It’s also meant juggling existing resources.
“We’re fully integrating news gathering resources. Instead of having a radio newsroom and a television newsroom and an online newsroom in terms of news gathering. It is an integrated assignment process that looks at Ö how to tell the story across platforms and that will extend our reach,” McGuire said.
A restructured syndication service will have reporters who can do local versions of national stories ó shorter than items they might create for The National, and with a focus on the local angle if there is one.
“What you’ll see from the inside is an investment in a syndicated service supporting local news with much more tailored content, content more in line with the values of local news,” she said.
“If I’m telling the big parliamentary story of the day and sending it to Vancouver, it’s not the pan-Canada version, it’s the Vancouver version.”
An important part of the change is what CBC is calling integration ó in which local radio reporters might do hits for TV and television reporters might contribute to radio.
This is a growing trend in the way reporting is done, Hughes said, and new technologies are making it easier.
“It doesn’t take much for reporters who are already crafting a story for radio to sit in front of a camera and give Newsworld the benefit of their expertise on a story. The efficiencies of integration in that way are enormous,” Hughes said.
While CBC has more changes coming in October, the launch of the 90-minute supper hour newscasts is a big step in its news renewal process.
New hosts include:
Toronto: Aaron Saltzman joining Diana Swain.
Montreal: Jennifer Hall and Andrew Chang.
Calgary: Nirmala Naidoo.
Halifax: Amy Smith joining Tom Murphy.
New Brunswick: Terry Seguin and Genevieve Tomney.
Saskatchewan: Kaveri Bittira joining Costa Maragos.