Originally, I was going to post complete transcripts of my interviews but realized once I started transcribing it would be too easy to identify the people who I was talking to. So instead, I’m posting parts of transcripts that have already been divided up into the categories I’m seeing emerge in my research.

So far, there are five categories:

  • Future/Quality-the quality of content now and in how it might be improved in the future, where journalism might be headed
  • Variety of Voices-ways in which journalists are working to improve the variety of voices heard on mainstream media
  • Resistance to Change-how some journalists are avoiding/ignoring/resisting communicating with the audience on a different level
  • Money/Convergence-how news for profit, the 24/7 news cycle, and convergence of platforms are impacting news
  • Audience Communication-dealing with audience communication or trying to communicate with the audience

My plan is to look for themes within these categories, and narrow down the quotes I have selected within them. Feel free to comment on whether you think I’ve missed a category, or have too many. I’d love the feedback. All direct quotes are within quotation marks; I’ve stated if the interview is taken from handwritten notes, otherwise they were transcribed from a tape recorder. Where you see [brackets] it is my question, or something I have added in for clarification. I completed thirteen interviews; each subject is identified as EMPLOYEE A, EMPLOYEE B, etc.

Before you get to the text, here is a wordle of the coded data combined into one document (bottom) and another of all the text from each of the 13 interviews combined (top). I’m using wordle as a tool to look for themes–or maybe just to avoid doing real work and play around with a cool program 🙂


EMPLOYEE A (Intvu 2)

–       “We had a better experience on the one ocean site with ______ because she’s been involved — she’s getting her phd in ocean fisheries…and the stuff that she gave us was generally pretty good, it was either newsy or it focused on something personal to her, and it was more interesting”

–       “Around the time the oil spill happened, this is a really good example of how it all comes together, she wrote a story about how she had been doing research in the Gulf just prior to the spill happening and she met this guy who was a fisherman on a boat and she spent a couple of days with him. After the oil spill happened he committed suicide. So she was able to write a blog post that tied in the oil story, her research, and the personal connection she had with this guy who committed suicide”

–       “That’s the ultimate…when you’re taking someone from the field who really has something to add to a news story beyond what you can get anywhere else and I think that’s when it works really well”

–       “I think what I learned from it [working with private partner] is that you have to be more concrete about what a story is and it’s been a bit problematic because it’s been very uneven in terms of my feeling of what a story is and their feeling of what a story is” [private partner]

–       “Some of the posts have been really interesting. It got _____ more involved in the website because he would write a post every time there was a new show. He wrote us a post when that volcano in Indonesia erupted and certainly the feeling is there that if there is some kind of news event to do with volcanoes or earthquakes or something like that that I can just email them and say can somebody comment on that. And then it’s a good way for me to publish something and I can put that out on our social media tying it to a news event so I can more closely tie our website to a news event. And I think in that way moving forward it will be beneficial. If I give them something specific to talk about it then I think it will probably be better.”

“I don’t find it a lot of work, but I find it a useful way to keep the website fresh, because we can’t be generating content after the fact”


–       “I make mistakes and I have technical problems, or I forget my line, or in case you’re wondering how we made this happen let me tell you, and I think that that is where the future of television is going. Away from the omnipotent, the greater voice, the all knowing voice that is trying to tell you what to think

–       “We do it [cast streeters] whenever we end up arguing around the story room table because we know people will have something to say about it. And so they always work the best when you’re asking somebody to remember something. Like to tell a personal experience of some sort. We’ve done them successfully a number of times but one of them was around 9/11 and we went out and asked people to remember the event, like what was the event that they’ll never forget…everyone has a different moment and everyone reflected in an incredibly emotional way on what their moment was and why it mattered to them, and that’s a really great way of getting regular people on television…you see yourself reflected and then you have your own story and everybody has their own story”

–       “When there was the whole debate about teaching sex ed in the classroom we went out and asked the question, who told you? And tell me the memory of when you first found out about sex. It was our way of dealing with that issue because there were all sorts of people who said you know what I didn’t know till I was 16 and it was the most embarrassing thing, or my mother told me and you won’t believe…and at the end of the story you were left thinking well maybe they should be teaching it in the classroom. Instead of getting the head of the school board we go out and ask what you think. And you should have heard the stories that came out here of people when they first found out.”

–       “It can be very smart”

–       “We call them cast streeters, it looks to the viewer like a streeter but it’s not…we want to get these kind of people and we spend 3 hours phoning around till we find them…we don’t try to pretend we found them at the corner of Bay and Bloor…we’re not chasing educated people we say we want to ask this kind of a question therefore we need this kind of a person.

–       And it becomes a very powerful, very cheap, very easy way to treat daily news in a personal way because it’s so doable and you can make it look better than a minute 30 … piece. You can make it visually interesting, you shoot it in a cool way or cut it in a neat way, or package it in neat way, but you’re getting the voices of the people”


–       Speaking re use of social media in US elections: “The people who were really politically active and politically motivated were people who were using old politics techniques including old media. Radio talk shows, and FOX news and all of those kinds of things. And I just thought it was a useful kind of corrective to this idea that whoever dominates social media will dominate the political agenda. It just does seem that old media is not dead yet and that radio talk shows and conservative columnists still…seem to trump social media. Which is not to say that it’s not important if you’re a political candidate these days to be active in social media, but it’s not enough”

–       “We’re supposed to be living in an information age when everybody has access to all kinds of information and this was going to be the end of spin and blah, blah, blah, but you know when 18% of Americans think Obama is a Muslim, and 32% of Republicans think that it’s hard to argue that we’ve entered into some kind of glorious age of information and I think that what’s happening is that in fact possibly the opposite…there’s so much crap out there that people end up becoming desperate for some kind of curation”

–       “You can look at anything you read on the blogosphere and you can be your own fact checker, you can be your own editor, you can do all that. But most people have neither the time, interest, inclination or the skills…they want somebody to do that for them. I think increasingly they turn to the traditional brands, the NY Times or the CBC or people like that, the Globe and Mail, who they can trust to provide that function for them”

–       “As flawed as all that is, the model, the fact we make mistakes and all those other kinds of things, I think that’s probably the direction that this is going to go”

–       “But, some mainstream outlets are trying to have it both ways. CNN ireport, which is an interesting sort of thing because what is CNN’s brand ‘the most trusted name in news’. They’ve worked for 25 years to establish that as being their brand, and now they have ireports where anyone can post anything they want unfiltered, unedited. I can see why they’re doing that, it gives them access to huge amounts of material that they might not have had access to before, some of which after it’s gone through some kind of filtering process winds up on CNN. It also allows people, if somebody shoots some video that’s good rather than post it to youtube you can put it on ireports, that’s good for CNN.  But, they try to have it both ways. When an ireporter comes up with some useful piece of video or finds a story then they make a big deal about it, but then when an ireporter comes up with some piece of bullshit then they say ‘well that’s not us that’s ireports’. And this is what happened…with the Steve Jobs had a heart attack story, and it happens all the time. That’s their response and I think it’s a mistake. I don’t think that mainstream elements that want to preserve their brand should be diving into that water.”

–       “I was watching CTV news a week ago Sunday, and as often happens on Sunday Robert Fife comes on and presents some piece of information that the Conservative government has given him. In this case it was the new mortgage rules that were being released the next day. And it was ‘CTV has learned that the new things will have this percentage’ and that was it. And this happens all the time. To be able to say CTV News has learned is considered to be some big deal. And we do it all the time here too, CBC News has learned, and whenever I hear that I want them to tell me how did you learn that. And if you learned that because you worked your sources or someone put a brown manila envelope under your door fine. If you learned that because some PR flack called you up and said do you want a heads up on this thing then tell me that. And by the way don’t use it.”

–       “The vast majority of people work 9 to 5 and take care of the kids afterwards and they don’t have time. And it’s great that they could potentially do it, but they’re not doing it I don’t think” [verifying sources]

–       “It’s why I think there’s probably more misinformation now than ever before. There’s more information and misinformation. You can cocoon yourself inside the world of that misinformation, you don’t ever have to step outside of it and that’s a dangerous thing as well”

–       “I long ago realized that people, there is no one experience that people share when watching, listening or reading news.”

–       “I got into an argument with some of the my neighbours, I guess it was 2006 or something, it might have been when the war in Lebanon was on, and they were arguing with me that the CBC was anti-Israel and all the coverage that we did was anti-Israel, and we were having this argument and it got to be ten o’clock and I said okay let’s watch the National and we’ll see what they do. And with the exception of maybe two or three sentences that could have been more carefully crafted, and we did maybe ten minutes or something on the war that day…the coverage was quite balanced and quite good. And they saw it completely different. They saw bias in practically every sentence. It was such an interesting kind of experience because it really sort of hit home about how people perceive news and receive news in very different ways”

–       [Are viewers feeling frustrated with ‘doctored’ version of news?] “Are they feeling more frustration than they used to? I don’t know, but the reality is they now have other places they can go, but my point is that most people won’t do that, even though they can”

–       ““What they did online which was smart [during G20], was that they recognized that they needed people with knowledge about what was happening on the street and they found those people early on and they did what they had to do to get them ready to do it”

–       “In the case of the television reporters it was all new to them, they didn’t know the players and didn’t know who these groups were…but with the bloggers they had online, they knew who the players were. So I thought that was a really useful and interesting approach to take. I wasn’t interested in what the bloggers were saying about what the leaders were doing because they didn’t have, they were just opinionating…but in terms of what was happening on this side of the fence, that was the way to go”

–       “I think, as Jay Rosen says, the tools of journalistic production have now been distributed to the masses and they’re not going to give them up. And I think that…there’s going to be an increasing demand for quality and brands that can deliver that quality and so I don’t think CBC etc. are going anywhere…they’re not going to disappear. For economic and journalistic reasons, that kind of network or distributive journalism will continue to play a role”

–       “There’s so much crap out there that people end up becoming desperate for some kind of curation”


–       “We tend to minimize the participation of people despite the fact that it is the most democratic of all acts. My feeling then, as it is now, was that ultimately we need to democratize the way we cover news”

–       “The most surprising, enlightening, eye-opening moments always come from the people and that in any other, whether you’re talking to pundits or experts for example, before you open your mouth, I know what you’re going to say. And I think that what makes valuable, interesting, watchable entertaining informative television is when I ask you a question and neither I, nor the viewer, is exactly sure what you’re about to say. Therefore you sit around and wait for the answer”

–       “The ultimate way when you connect…with the viewer, is that you ask the questions that the viewer is thinking about”

–       “So, I think all too often we don’t do that. To me it’s only humanizing what we do—all too often we try to ask sort of position questions that don’t really come from the heart, but they’re almost sort of, again they become formulaic”

–       “So I can ask a columnist for Slate magazine what he thinks about Ted Williams, or you can ask a guy who’s lived on the street for years about this whole notion that if someone just gave you a job and plucked you off the street and gave you a job, would that turn your life around? I don’t know what his answer is going to be. But I’m really interested to hear what it’s going to be as opposed to an opinionator out there who can say, this is ludicrous, this is never going to happen. Well what do you know?”

–       “So the experiential interview is what we’re always trying to get. Who has walked a mile in those moccasins? And that there, they have earned their opinion as opposed to just developed an opinion. And TV is full of people with opinions. Hey just call so-and-so, he or she they’re the expert on everything, and again, I don’t find that to be very authentic”

–       “To me, what we have to do with this program from the host to the writing, to the guests, to the stories we do, is that it has to be authentic”

–       “People are very, I think they have a jaundiced view of what comes out of the TV because it becomes predictable, there’s a slant to it, people feel there’s a bias”

–       “The viewer gets tired of seeing something predictable, and when you can surprise them, inform them and entertain them at the same time, that’s when they’re really engaged. So it gets back to this whole notion of predictability”

–       [do you see what you’re doing as wave of future]“No I don’t. Because I don’t think people believe in it. [people being?] The powers that be, management…..I do what I believe in, I do what I think, I have a natural authentic curiosity to talk to people that I don’t think a lot of journalists really do. And it has to do with the comfort level, it has to do with taking chances, it has to do with confidence in what you believe in. And I think that so many people are convinced that there’s only one way to skin this cat and they’re going to continue dong it”

–       “And if you look at television it’s hilarious, one thing I love that we do on this show is we tend to dig out old tape and we use it for breakdowns or whatever it might be, and when we’re running these old clips from the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, it hasn’t changed a whole hell of a lot”

–       “When I look at ______ reading the news from 1986, or whatever it is, other than the fact it’s grainier footage. Has that changed? It’s pretty much the same thing and I don’t think that that’s going to change. The only way it’s really changed dramatically has been the opinion based program that the US has now turned everything into that.”

–       [handwritten after tape shut off] “The biggest crutch in media is the line ‘we don’t have enough resources’. It’s all about choices. I have chosen to make different choices”


–       [was the G20 first time this type of collaboration was used?] “It was a watershed moment for CBC news. We’re all on board. We had it set up. A good combination of tons of journalists out there and citizens. At first we didn’t know what would happen. I got permission from my boss—there’s a risk here. I mean who knows what’s going to happen, there’s a ton of improvisation that you have to be comfortable with in this case”

–       “After [G-20] that I think it really elevated our group and it made people realize what we were capable of if we worked together. I would say they took us a little more seriously, which was nice”

–       [are citizens with a viewpoint journalists?] “That’s really hard to say. Citizens with a viewpoint, specific agenda. Yeah sure, there were definitely people who were focusing on what the police were doing, but I saw lots of media focusing on what the police were doing. I failed to see anything from my particular group [of citizen journalists] that I wasn’t seeing in the major media. The difference is that those media were assigned something, citizens were bumping into it”

–       “The volume, people disappearing off the map, just not filing and you’re like are they ok, are they just not interested? You have to be careful with that because you don’t want to put pressure on them. Getting photos that you didn’t expect, I didn’t expect to get 3 thousand photos and then what do you do with this and how do you get permission?”

–       “Everything was vetted before it was published because it’s still the CBC news website and we want to be careful”

–       “So usually you have this plan, this very specific plan and you’re assigning producers or writers or whatever and you know exactly what the end product is going to look like—most producers are control freaks, so the whole time you’re kind of like oh god, ahh! You have to step back and just watch this organic thing evolve”

–       “I’m looking forward to a world, now that we have the resources, where we can really take that community conversation and contribution and collaborate in what we produce and what we do”

–       [G20] “One guy was another expect the unexpected, he lives at the corner where the big part of the fence was set up and he set up a camera so you could go online during the event and watch this camera that was pointed at where the RCMP and police were. I had no idea he was going to do that. It was fantastic! Go ______! The writing wasn’t as strong but he was doing all these little interesting innovative things. And he had this interview where his friend was performing in one of the big theatre productions that was right here on King Street and his buddy was losing money because it was being shut down. ______ went out and had a beer with the guy and a one-on-one interview. It was fascinating! It was a great story. I didn’t assign that to him. He was a real wild card. Then other times he’d rant about a police state.”

–       “Where we had control was we found a combination of interesting personalities that we understood why they wanted to do this and what kind of things they wanted…we wanted to make sure we were balanced we didn’t want everyone saying I just want to cover the G20 parties, that’s not going to make a very interesting blog, so we knew that different people had different interests and we threw them all together”

–       You’re obligated; these people are taking time you have to post it. And so, you just do it. So I’m at my laptop sitting at my kitchen table until it’s done, missing birthday parties and concerts”

–       “I learned from that though. I said, wow, this is bigger than what I thought so on Monday I’m going to have to plan that out a bit more, I’d underestimated.

–       So what we learned was that for every 4 contributors you need a producer of some sort. But we didn’t know what we didn’t know.”

–       [citizen journalists replacing journalists] “I laugh at that; I think it’s silly. A journalist’s role is evolving. I think it’s no more being high on the mountain delivering the content as I see it. I think that journalists have to be more collaborative and accept that there are tons of people producing content. What we offer is that we are educated, we’re experienced in the field of journalism, we know where all the bombs are, like libel. We should be curating, there’s a big need for curation”

–       “But in the new world journalists have to be willing to collaborate with people to tell stories. They have to be accepting of the fact that sometimes we’re going to get information from sources that aren’t journalists, but the same rules still apply. How you vet things, how you look into things, it hasn’t changed. It’s the sources and the technology and the delivery of information has changed.”

–       [how does citizen journalism impact news?] “I think it makes it richer, it makes it broader. The stories we use” in the case of the G20 “we couldn’t be everywhere. I don’t say that from a we need resources, we just weren’t going to be, so when people were elsewhere they were finding stories that we may not be bumping on”

–       “I think that I love transparency and accountability and I love this new world where I sit there and write an article or my team will produce something we think is fannn-tastic. We think we’re so smart. We’ve written the best article ever. And the community lets us know, they comment. Or they say hey, you know that poll you developed, actually you left this option out. Maybe you should think about that next time. Or, I love it when they give us more information, when they direct us, when they further what we’re posting and that to me is a really exciting thing that’s happening. That can only improve content. People opening up the dialogue and collaborating to tell a story”

–       “I think that’s bringing us back to — I read somewhere and I thought — it really, really resonated with me — the old community reporter living in a small community going and getting their coffee and everybody running up to them about their latest story and hearing very clearly whether they liked it or didn’t like it, or a new angle. I mean, yes it’s uncomfortable, I get uncomfortable when I write something because it’s a new microscope, but also, I’ve learned a ton by people who have commented or contacted me after something I’ve written.”

–       “I think that it’s just, you have to be comfortable. If you’re going to be a journalist in this day and age you have to be comfortable with it. You’re not always going to like everything you hear”

–       I’m looking forward to a world, now that we have the resources, where we can really take that community conversation and contribution and collaborate in what we produce and what we do”

EMPLOYEE G (handwritten notes)

–       feels they really didn’t want to change way the stories were told, don’t want to change actual format, just make it look like they’re changing ie. chats, but content itself remains the same

–       doing shorter stories, but she doesn’t see real format change, just “variations on a theme”

–       Need to look at experiential news—what it’s really like to be in Afghanistan, not done in 1:30 format


–       “So where it did work was covering Haiti. A great example of it working, where so many new and social media stories that connected to the earthquake and people around the world wanting to help out. So that worked. Where it didn’t work is when we’re covering a story that no one’s talking about online because there’s limited interest or they’re not offering anything new. And then it just turned into ‘well le us know what you think about this’, reading tweets and emails and that’s very flat on television.”

–       “I’m constantly on top of breaking news before the news desk is because I have a list set up where I monitor it” [Twitter]

–       [don’t need mainstream news anymore?] “I think that idea is ludicrous and that’s coming from someone who believes in the power of blogging and what I call citizen media. What I mean by that is that there’s a difference between citizen media and journalism. That’s why I don’t call it citizen journalism. Citizen media is anyone who wants to create content and share it. That could be video on youtube, it could be a tweet, a blog. It could be an interactive web project, and it could have limited reach or more viewers than our show. All of that is possible. And I think that there are some people online with limited training and experience who get it. Who are gifted and can deliver high production value and the standards of journalism that we practice in newsrooms. These people are few and far between.”

–       “I think why there’s always going to be a need for a public broadcaster is because of history, trust, and commitment.”

–       “I think it’s less about gatekeeping and more about making decisions based on relevance to your audience. There’s only so much time, and quality control”

–       Most people don’t realize that there’s actually a beginning, middle and end. You can actually figure out how to tell a good story. So those of us who work in the media professionally that’s what we have to do day in and day out, is tell a good story. And I think online some people stumble upon a good story, some people are a good story and they don’t even realize it, there’s timing, you know right place right time. Ted Williams was a slow news week. There are other factors as well, but I think a lot of stories get lost because they’re not told properly and that’s unfortunate. Because not everyone knows how to tell their story or a story they believe in properly. And that exists online as well because there’s just so much to sift through. There’s so many channels on TV, so many newspapers and magazine, so many blogs. So you have to figure out how to best tell a story”

–       “What I’ve noticed during that transition, and during my own transition of leaving news and entertainment to focus on current events and news, it’s all morphed into the same thing and news is expected to entertain.”

–       “I don’t think everything has to be broccoli. I think that’s an outdated school of thought that you’re covering something that’s serious in tone that you can only be serious in tone. There’s this huge divide between high culture and low culture; I don’t like that philosophy. What I like is what happened last night with Obama’s speech in Arizona – balance. There’s opportunity to balance. I think you need to be sensitive when a story requires it, but you can still smile and be creative and it really comes down to, production aesthetics aside, tone.”

–       “I think there’s been huge changes on The National in terms of their treatment, how they’re editing stories, how they are transitioning between stories. I’ve noticed a big change in editing styles. I’m noticing things we did at Much and City now on national news.”

–       “It’s like eight years behind but that’s where it comes from. It comes from entertainment. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think we hear entertainment and we get nervous, but again, entertainment, Hollywood, these are where the best stories are told so it’s no surprise that some of the technology and some of the tricks are going to show up in other places”

–       “Where it gets I think dangerous is when we’re not holding ourselves to the high quality of journalism that news is known for. I think it’s exciting because I think it’s influenced change that reflects our culture”

–       “Right now I bridge two worlds and I’m constantly reminding everyone about this other thing that exists, because in a TV newsroom people are so busy just trying to get a show to air that they’re focused on what’s in front of them and I’m constantly saying what about this, and trying to make sure we’re not missing an opportunity because I see what’s happening right now with the changing media landscape as an opportunity not as a threat. I hope that soon, and soon better be within five years, that my role, the idea of a cross platform contributor, that’s my title, that that’s what everyone is doing. I think that we have to drop the identity of a TV reporter, or a TV producer and be thinking cross platform with every story pitch. And that’s going to take some time because it’s a different way of thinking and we have limited resources, but these are not separate domains. At least they’re not to the new generation, it’s all one thing”

–       I think TV news as we know it is going to change drastically. Fall apart, meaning from the studies that I’ve read and the new generation that I’ve spoken with they’re not coming home and turning on the news. They’re turning into the news anytime there’s a big event. A big event, they want to be at the TV. But they’re consuming news in other ways, via Twitter, facebook, blogs,, mobile – a lot of mobile. And I just think that’ something we really have to focusing on. I just don’t think it’s that same go home, sit down, turn on the news. And I don’t feel we’re talking about that enough in the building.”


–       “I think old-style journalism is dead. But on the other hand you certainly need people who understand what it is and who understand the importance of fairness, objectivity, and accuracy of information”.


–       “If you look at the CBC the documentary stream is just not what it once was. We still produce very good documentaries but a number of them are done outside, our audiences, it’s a much smaller audience that’s looking for that kind of programming and the much bigger audience is much more into the instant gratification. They’re not going to hang around for an hour on an in depth topic when they’re gathering everything from 25-thousand sources at one time.”

–       “I know the organizations are all concerned about the death of traditional newscasts or the unraveling of them”

–       “I think that there is over reaction and a lot of ambulance chasing in daily news and we do it as well”

–       “You bring a group of people with fairly similar principles and goals together, and then if people come and say to me that you don’t have the right tell me this, I say, well don’t watch the program”

EMPLOYEE L (handwritten notes)

–       No bank of photos from Haiti, also should have sent photographer

–       Canadians want depth and content but research made it clear they need timeliness, need to feel we’re on top of things that are happening

–       Won’t stick around for depth and content if they don’t feel they also have fast track to news

–       Our goal is to make CBC News the brand, not The National

–       The brand is the entirety, non-partisan, non-corporate, advocate for Canadians—advocacy is controversial but mean it in the sense of working to show Canadians what’s happening

–       A lot of people (employees) used to us being the oracle

–       Some say it’s goodbye to traditional journalism, citizen journalists are here, that’s crap

–       They have full time jobs, kids, we have the time to spend on stories

–       Is encouraging staff to tell people “we don’t know what’s going on” in particular cases where it makes sense

–       That kind of transparency combined with knowledge is key to evolution

–       Why are we measuring success on 22 stories? Keep to same 3 to 5, tells producers “don’t shake up the line-up, you’re the only one whose seen them all day”


–       “I think with renewal what we’re doing with most of our content including community is making choices about where we really want to focus all of our efforts”

–       “It was one of the early stages [G20] when people really realized that getting contributions from people on the street can really help us tell a story”

–       “It was so successful people who couldn’t picture it in their mind had a really obvious, they could suddenly see it in action”

–       “I think the Cairo, Tahrir Square, was yet another really big step forward in terms of people really understanding how powerful Twitter for instance can be. If people didn’t realize that it was a really useful tool for reporters in the field they sure saw that when they saw photos and text and audio coming through Twitter accounts. It’s that old adage of take me show me”

–       “We have the biggest social media community desk of anybody. As part of the redesign we are increasing staff in that one particular area and have invested heavily in the technology in that area to try and aid the conversation. So, do I think we have it perfectly? No, absolutely not. But I think we are a big step closer to getting to the right balance than a lot of other organizations.”

–       “I think that’s what we’re doing with these live blogs, we’re actually pulling in feeds of curated tweeters that are tweeting alongside ___ and ___ in Cairo.”

–       “And I think it’s important in a case like that that we aren’t just pulling it in on a hash tag. Cause anybody can do that yourself. In that case we’re trying to surface what our staff are doing on the ground and then looking for opportunities to use other people who we knew were, we had followed for long enough to know that they were worthy of following or worthy of watching. I guess sort of a curated Twitter feed – I think that’s a really good way to pull in another part of journalism”

–       “It isn’t in the G20 case, oh yeah anybody who’s anywhere send us your stuff, it was okay let’s go and find some people who we’ve talked to, we know who they are, they know what our expectations are, we know what their expectations are. That’s sorted of curated citizen contributions, and it’s sort of curated before they’ve actually given it. I think that’s an interesting switch to the model”

–       “I think we’re content creators but I think we can marry the content we’re creating with curation from the community”

–       “People come to us because we’re, especially online, there’s a million stories out there and we’re choosing which stories we’re going to post and we’re curating it for them and I think that’s what people really want from us online. Giving them that focus. Not everybody will agree with our focus for sure—that’s true of any content creator—but I think people expect us to curate”

–       “More is not better online. A lot of people when we first started said oh well I only get a two minute piece on the radio news why don’t we put the whole 10 minutes up online which is absolutely the wrong strategy. You want to make sure you’re picking and choosing for which platform. It’s probably not a matter of systemic resistance, it’s probably a matter of lack of communication.”

–       [always wrong way to go to put up full interview?] “No, there would be certain times. Like a controversial interview with the Prime Minister you’d want to put the whole thing up. I just mean people, while there’s unlimited space online, people’s attention span is very limited. You should be putting your content, guiding your content based on your readership as opposed to unlimited space.”

–       “It’s trying to make sure the content we’re throwing to is relevant to the story of the day. And pertinent to what’s going on right then. CBC’s problem is not a lack of content, that’s not the issue. It’s that we have to make choices about what content we’re linking to and it has to be based on the news judgment of that day. In the case of the documentary maybe it was relevant, maybe it wasn’t, but we have to make choices”

–       [what is impact on journalism itself when you bring in new voices] “I don’t know that traditional news organizations have the sense of community totally figured out yet, but having said that it’s such a moving thing I don’t know that we ever will. Commenting was our sense of community 5 years ago, that ended up being we’re engaging people we have commenting. Now the conversation is, that’s not enough how else can we engage with Canadians. I think the storytelling is definitely improved. And I hope it will improve more”

–       “If it’s commodity news, then everybody’s got it. What are we going to do that’s going to differentiate us? If we don’t find ways of differentiating ourselves then we’re not really giving people a reason to come to us. So G20 is a good example, that was a key differentiator. I think our Cairo coverage from Tahrir Square with audio and visuals right from the Square helped distinguish us because we had, this is what your CBC reporters are seeing right now from the ground”

–       [differentiate between public and private, or just other stations?] “It wasn’t private vs. public, but us vs. other media. We have to give people a reason to come to to read about these things. When it’s a story that everybody is covering we have to find a way of telling it in a more engaging way, and I think what we’re doing around community really helps around that”


EMPLOYEE A (Intvu 2)

–       [tweeting from the field] “We’re just picking up their tweets so it does provide some interesting context to the site”

–       “I think that works really well. There’s a lot of interesting volcano related stories”

–       [How did you find scientists?] “It was the new media provider we worked with did a study on who was influential in terms of tweeting about geology. So they had different ways of assessing this by using clout scores and how many followers they had and they had this whole spread sheet. Then I picked out of the 25 or 30 people they had on that spread sheet as to who we would use. So I went and looked at that their blogs and their material” chose 6, “based on I wanted people on different continents”

–       “I wanted stuff that was more tightly science based. I didn’t want one of the geologists that had a lot of personal stuff in there”

–       “I tweeted them and said hey can you get in touch with us and I described what we were doing and they were all really enthusiastic about it.

EMPLOYEE B (handwritten notes)

–       best experience of website playing key role in broadcast production

–       another solider dies, they’re added to the wall so we will remember them

–       gives family a chance to tell their own stories


–       “So this particular person had done an ‘ask me anything I’m homeless’ thing on the show before. He’s educated, he’s a writer, he’s a poet, he’s got a bunch of books published. So _____ went out and found him and just got his point of view. He was of course completely familiar with what had happened with the Ted Williams story and so he was able to just say that you can’t change people who are homeless for a whole lot of different reasons and that the way he put it actually was that ‘homeless people have a lot of bad memories and those memories don’t go away’ so you can give them a fancy house and give them a job and fly them here or there, but those memories don’t go away and that’s ultimately what brought them out on to the street and he was saying that people he knows and himself included that have ever been out on the street who have ever been offered homes can’t stay in them because they’re not used to it”

–       “It’s not just that I’m an advocate for the right therefore I’m on the show, it’s because I was the mother of somebody…or whatever it might be, so I have more of a right to my point of view because I’ve lived that experience”

–       [is your mandate to show one voice?]

–       “It’s not really our mandate, it’s our freedom. I think that what we would typically believe is that we are speaking for the voice of many, while we do take one point of view”

–       “A lot of people say we were contrarian on Ted Williams because the first day of the Ted Williams story every other news outlet was saying this is a wonderful story…but look at every other network and they were all saying you won’t believe the goodness in all these people’s hearts. They’re all offering up money and plane tickets and jobs and they’re going to change this one man’s life and he’s a hero and everyone who’s involved in the story are heroes. And we came right out of the gate and said no they’re not. And that was the, we were definitely ahead of the curve on that, nobody wanted to say that yet even though a lot of people felt it, everybody wanted to revel in what was good about the story”

–       “We led with it, which is also the kind of thing that we do, The National would never lead with Ted Williams. They would cover Ted Williams but they certainly wouldn’t lead with it, but we were able to because we were able to take it way beyond Ted Williams and have a much bigger discussion on [the broader issue], how you get there and what keeps you there on the street”

–        “And that this is the wrong way to go about trying to fix it, by talking about people who have lived that life, who have walked a mile in those shoes”

–       “We give all sorts of people who don’t normally have a voice, because we go to the people who are directly affected by the news”

–       “I think that she’s able to reach out to that community even if they end up being used in a very traditional way. Even if we end up putting them in a studio or sending somebody else out to do a traditional news story with them I think it’s because they feel like…there’s a kinship there that exists because of the way she communicates and talks to them because of her online presence”

–       “What goes on online and how things go crazy that shouldn’t, or should maybe, but it exposes all kinds of different things that in the regular world, more traditional news world don’t get exposed”

–       “Most people clip somebody, they don’t give them a chance to tell their whole story they just get the best clip, and then they put it in a piece”.

–       “And it becomes a very powerful [cast streeters], very cheap, very easy way to treat daily news in a personal way because it’s so doable and you can make it look better than a minute 30 … piece. You can make it visually interesting, you shoot it in a cool way or cut it in a neat way, or package it in neat way, but you’re getting the voices of the people”


–       “To take your definition of participatory journalism…if you’re wondering if I thought the blogosphere is as important as the Globe and Mail, and the CBC no I don’t. I think that time after time you see that it still requires, whatever it is that you’re talking about, it requires the juice of the mainstream media for something to really become part of the national debate”

–       “Debates can start and stories can start in the blogosphere for example, but they don’t really receive traction until the mainstream media fuels them or picks them up”

–       “Having said that obviously there are way more stories that get broken on non-traditional media that now get picked up by mainstream media and that’s a good thing”.

–       “I wasn’t interested in what the bloggers [G20] were saying about what the leaders were doing because they didn’t have, they were just opinionating…but in terms of what was happening on this side of the fence, that was the way to go”

–       [what Andrew Keane wrote about]

–       “All this talk about the web giving voice to the voiceless, the person who cleans the hotel rooms – well no. Because the person who cleans the hotel rooms doesn’t have time to go back and write the blog for free. So who are the bloggers on the Huffington Post? They’re celebrities, they’re people in the media already, they’re people in think tanks and all these other kinds of stuff who either have the time and the money to write for free, or for whom that kind of exposure will lead to direct economic benefits. So it’s not the voice of the voiceless. These people already have a voice. This gives them a bigger voice, but they’ve already got one”


–       “We tend to minimize the participation of people despite the fact that it is the most democratic of all acts. So I can ask a columnist for Slate magazine what he thinks about Ted Williams, or you can ask a guy who’s lived on the street for years about this whole notion that if someone just gave you a job and plucked you off the street and gave you a job, would that turn your life around? I don’t know what his answer is going to be. But I’m really interested to hear what it’s going to be as opposed to an opinionator out there who can say, this is ludicrous, this is never going to happen. Well what do you know?”

–       “When we did the electoral bus, one of my stories when I came to Toronto was to take our bus out late at night and go interview homeless people. ‘What do you think about the election?’. Because you know what? I had no idea what they thought about the election. And you know what happened? I heard the most incredible things. And I learned there, which I put in my story, you never know what people are thinking until you ask”

–       “It was an eye-opener for me, I sat and I listened to people saying ‘I just wish they would talk about this, I wish they would address that, because here’s my situation. I used to be working and I had a future and hope and it fell away. And now I’m 50 years old and what future does a 50 year old homeless guy have?’ And I’m just leaning in saying tell me more, and I suspect so was the viewer”

–       “I would pitch stories and I would look for real characters to be able to carry these stories. So it became sort of obvious after a while that this was my thing. What I had to argue, though and fight against, was this notion that these were not valid voices”


–       “Our team has evolved…it’s doubled in size as of this week so we’re going through a lot of changes and our goals are to work with the community both on in the social sphere and above and beyond to collaborate with them to tell either their stories or a story”

–       “You know their citizens, they’re not trained journalists. So we work with them to tell their stories in their words. We don’t often edit very much, just a light edit for grammar and spelling and flow, a little bit to help them along. But we would never change anything significantly or edit out something significantly.”

–       “I think it’s important because people have a lot to say and they don’t always have a voice. And we have the privilege here of having a platform to work with them to tell their stories. We don’t want to edit that and change that because this isn’t about getting citizens to make content because we don’t have content, we have tons of journalists”

–       “So I think it’s important to get to the real stories from their point of view. In the case of Haiti…the highest Haitian population outside the island is in Montreal, there were a lot of people that were missing and there were a lot of people in Montreal that were looking for their loved ones. So I felt very strongly and went to my manager and said we’re a public broadcaster we have a duty to Canadians, we have the platform, we have the system to reach out there, we have the distribution through our Twitter accounts and all the rest, we can really help make a difference.”

–       [why are you getting so much airtime? Cairo protests] “I think it’s a real social media, social sphere story. A lot of the organizing has occurred on Twitter and facebook, you’ve got a demographic in Cairo, half of that demographic is 19 and below. They’re using the technology and they’re voicing their concerns. So that’s really interesting”

–       [G20] “Different people contributed in different ways. Some people were really into it—we couldn’t keep up with them. I talk about my lessons learned–I underestimated. I thought a blog every 3 or 4 days. It was wild and amazing.”

–       “And when stuff started to happen still nobody really thought about it, and then the minute things happened and they knew where to look—they were watching the blog, the street level blog and they started to see what our people were contributing and what was happening and we had over 3 thousand photos on Flickr come in and all of a sudden television was like HA! Wait a second.”

–       “And these people were willing to be interviewed…there’s a vetting process—doing surveys, seeing what they’re willing to do, what they’re not willing to do so that you’re not making those decisions in the moment. So I could say, here’s the contact information for X person who’s currently at Edwards Gardens and they’d call her up and there’s a truck there, and suddenly she wants to be on air talking about what she’s seeing in her words. And that all kind of came together organically and when we were done everyone just kind of stepped back and said I had no idea”

–       “The things that people were seeing and the points of view, of course you’re always going to get stronger and weaker people, but to me, the moment I was like wow was when they were putting them on air. I had nothing to do with that. I set it up if they were willing to, but suddenly you’ve got this person, and the woman was fantastic. We were all sitting around the newsroom going look at her–she’s amazing. We said, she should be on air all the time.”

–       “There are cases where it’s user driven interviews and that’s something I’m really trying to work on where we’ll have a topic” Jamie Oliver and Food Inc “…so I could interview Jamie Oliver on my own, I could put those questions up or I could do that on Twitter and facebook and our website and gather the questions, and the questions drove the interview. It was our viewers asking the questions. That’s user driven”

–       “I guess with G20 it was user driven in the sense that we had citizen journalists who weren’t being assigned and were going out there and telling the stories that they were seeing.”

–       “Really great things too–like having no idea how articulate some people could be or how amazing their photographs were, or a perspective, there was one woman who was working in this area from Second City. Now we thought she would be funny but she was also really touching, what she wrote”

–       “I felt very strongly that our journalists and the citizens contributing should be on the same – you know it wasn’t going to be ghettoized or stuck in the corner and pat on the head. So the journalists started to follow the citizens, and the citizens started to follow the journalists in what they were updating and the stories they were telling and it was just this organic thing where everybody was coming up with new ideas of how they could build on the last thing and people were inspired by each other and I think that was really interesting and I hadn’t thought about it, it wasn’t intentional.”

–       “When citizen content started coming up of course that was an issue that came up so they met and they talked about what was reasonable because you know, radio call-ins and documentaries, this kind of content has always existed in other forms, it’s just how we deliver it now. So we want to, before we do any project we meet, we let Industrial Relations know what we’re intending to do, we get the okay.

–       “Also it’s what’s important to them. We have our blinders on–our CBC news blinders, they don’t have those blinders. They have their own blinders I’m sure, but they were bringing stories in that were really interesting and I think that from an audience perspective is really interesting.

–       [does this type of journalism have direct impact on discourse?] “Unique points of view and thoughts are getting out there. I don’t assume that some of these conversations wouldn’t be happening if we’re not there, but I do think we have the ability to profile it with a big audience, we have a platform, we have the privilege of highlighting their conversations, challenging, hopefully getting a discourse together and challenging ourselves, feeding the content to the network, hopefully feeding it into the content that we’re producing”

–       [Jenkins amplifying diversity] “Yes, that’s what I’m trying to stumble into. We amplify. And I think too, lets be honest with grassroots you don’t have the same limits and challenges that you do in any job. Any job you have in the world you have rules, you have people who influence the content and grassroots they don’t have that. It’s interesting to work together and sometimes they can have a perspective that maybe we wouldn’t deliver but we can highlight”


–       – Social media is social which means it’s made up of people and their stories. So we try to tap into that”

–       “One of the best things about the web is that it provides a forum for anything and everything, and as a result you will find things online that you won’t find in the mainstream”

–       [does Internet provide balance to coverage?] “It is a balance just because it exists. It offers a balance, but I don’t think it has the same audience. It’s only a balance if the same people who are watching FOX are also online and reading the opinions but they’re not for the most part. They would be online at Sarah Palin’s website.”

–       “This 13 year old kids with Asperger’s who just told his story. With just him and his basketball, really simple treatment, so powerful. Better to hear him telling his story than his mom or an advocate. We constantly have people who used to be in the mob, or a former gang member. We get a lot of first person stories and we give those voices a lot of time. I think that’s the other difference. You’ll see those voices in traditional news treatments but it’s a soundbite”

–       “I know that CBC wants to use user generated content as much as possible, but it’s still a new technology and not everyone has it and not everyone has Skype”


–       [referring to G20] “Obviously social media is radically changing the way information is made available. There are so many different sources of information. I mean just look at the G20. It was our most obvious example. People who are bloggers who are taking pictures and have a strong point of view are calling themselves journalists. People are responding to what they’re doing and they have an audience. For traditional journalists everyone says this is awful, but on the other hand, the information is getting out there more quickly, it’s getting out in different forms. So is that good or bad? As a journalist it’s bad because they probably don’t think about it as much. Arrogantly you would say they’re not as smart about the stories, they don’t care about sharing two sides, none of that I think is good for journalism. But for information to people…it’s gotta help, because there’ so many different sources”


–       Thinks Connect has the greatest potential of any CBC show to really harness the viewer


–       [what impact has citizen journalism had on that?][my definition of citizen/participatory journalism] “I actually think it’s a good thing because the more opinion the better, as long as it’s informed opinion. It’s when you hear the whackos go off and do their ranting and raving then I think okay I hope people are not taking this too seriously. And it’s like the whole censorship thing. You can’t really censor the airwaves and I do at times worry that the extremist voice becomes louder than the moderate voice”

–       “But, the mainstream newscasts have their voice and they always hire for their for voice. And that doesn’t mean that the person has to think a certain way, but there’s got to be, they’ve got to fit in in some way. Not so that they’re all carbon copies of each other, but they need to fit in with the team”

–       “We always try to get more variety of voices for sure. If our show is all experts and people like that I consider it a boring show”

–       “In Toronto where it’s a multi-cultural city, there’s so many differing voices and what means one thing to one person means something very different to someone else. So, it becomes very hard to capture the different voices on an idea or a story and to decide to which you’re going to reflect or focus on.”

–       “At the same time it really does take it away from the traditional mainstream thinking on anything”

–       “We did a project…where we got 15 high school students from different areas with different voices and gave them cameras and had them do stories. And I was at a training session with them because they were 14 and 15 year olds, on how to tell a story”

–       “It was interesting to get them thinking about stories and coming back with stories. It was a whole bunch of different voices that we got in that room, that had different stories to tell”

–       [where did it end up?] “On a website…I don’t know if it’s still up. We didn’t put any of it on TV but we did put it online. It lived online”

–       [would you think about putting it on TV? It sounds compelling] “Not on the supper hour, it would be compelling if Living in Toronto was still on or one of those shows, absolutely I’d think about putting it on TV”

–       [why not the supper hour?] “Because it’s a news show, they weren’t doing news they were doing a feature”

–       “We do put things online we might not necessarily put on the program. We also put extra material, the thing about the web is if the minister gives a speech that we want to take a clip of, we might put the whole speech online and say to people ‘you want to hear the whole speech? It’s up there on our website’ or ‘you want to hear what other people had to say about this? Go to our website.”

–       [G20 did you use citizen journalist content] “I don’t think we did. We got some calls to the newsroom. We had reporters out, a number of reporters out and that is who we were getting our information from”

–       We had a blogger in there [police officers funeral], a few people blogging from the streets on what was going on and then we used some of that material in the TV special. Somebody would say something, or tweeting, we’d use some of that stuff in there”

–       “We use a lot of streeters, person on the street interviews and we did a focus group a little while ago with our supper hour and one of the people said ‘I can’t stand those people on the street interviews, I don’t care what they have to say. I want to hear what the experts have to say’ and I started thinking about it and I though well yeah, why do I care about that person who’s carrying that bag over there. What they think of Rob Ford? You could ask anybody what they think and really, what is the journalistic value of putting a person like that in your piece or hearing from somebody?”

–       “Anybody that you put on the air has to bring something to the table as opposed to just being a different voice”

EMPLOYEE L (handwritten notes)

–       G20 experiment worked well, mixed up professional reporters with citizen journalists, coverage pulling from “an army of citizen journalists”


–       “With some of these places the tweeters are there before we are, and it’s the same with the Citizen Bytes. They are in places sometimes that we cannot get, so without them you’re not actually going to hear those stories.”

–       “Finding ways of linking in things like our Citizen Bytes into the actual integral part of our coverage so it’s not sort of off in a ghetto. This is central to the story”

–       “And that’s what was so great about G20, was having people who are out on the street contributing content because there’s no way we can be in all places at all times. But you can really get a better sense of what’s going on by using all those different eyeballs that are all over the place”

–       [what is impact on journalism itself when you bring in new voices] “I hope it improves journalism as a whole because it isn’t just a matter of go and get two quickie streeters, which is sort of how when I was in journalism school, oh we need to get people in it so we’ll just go do a 30 second streeter, and okay normal people that’s you sewn up. I think the face of the human, normal people part of our stories is improving because we’re engaging with the audience in a much less hierarchical sort of way. It isn’t just about oh let’s get a 30 second streeter, it’s here is somebody who is in Bahrain right now and what is life like for them and their family. I think that’s much more meaningful”

–       “Certainly the storytelling on our site has improved because we’re engaging with people and that’s what was so powerful about the G20 coverage. You would never, ever have gotten the stories we got, or had a real sense of what was happening on the street unless we had done it the way we did it. There was no way we could have been in all those places at those points. I think we told that story much more fully because we engaged with citizens”


EMPLOYEE A (Intvu 1):

–       “It’s the type of programming [docs] we’re supposed to be doing, and I think that’s why we’re still around but we’re certainly not the favourite family member”

–       “A lot of our interactive properties at CBC are dependent on whether a sponsor can be attached to it. It doesn’t work for us”

–       “You have to find right sponsor. Some of the best stuff is impossible to sell”

–       “No one wanted to sponsor Love, Hate, & Propaganda.  Who wants to sponsor a series about World War II? In hindsight maybe people wish they did because it got such great numbers, but it’s really tough out of the gate”

–       “It’s a niche market” hard to predict sometimes

–       “Everybody wants to make money off the online”, it’s being restricted to “suit business models”

–       Not in current funding climate to get more money for interactivity “because of status documentaries has at CBC, which is pretty low”

–       “They’d rather do Battle of the Blades or something like that”

–       “At CBC all of the shows are assigned a ranking priority. There’s an A, B, C, D. so Battle of the Blades might be an A, Nature of Things might be a C…which means if you’re an A you get this much support, if you’re a B you get this much support…most of the stuff that happens in this unit is not an A….there’s not as much money to be made at the end of it. There’s not as many eyeballs at the end. It’s not going to increase the audience share. It’s all about ratings.”

–       News unit hesitant to use information on docs, instead rehashes stories from Canadian Press

EMPLOYEE A (intvu 2)

–       “_____ has a really advanced program to study geology and all those earth sciences and the idea was that they would give us stories about what their students and their professors are doing in the field or in the lab, but what I’m getting often is stuff about the lab, not what’s happening in the lab. And I don’t think that that’s really interesting. It might be interesting to someone who’s considering whether or not they want to go to _______, but not for the average person that’s interested in geology. It’s too narrowly focused to their needs as opposed to you want to talk about this lab then great, well let’s make it a little more interesting.

–       “I think it’s going to be tough to sell that too [aboriginal series]. It’s a narrow topic. It’s going to be hard to get a sponsor interested in that”

–       “There will be money put towards it, but I don’t really have high hopes of getting a sponsor”

–       “We actually had a conversation about if we want to do a website and want it to have a certain look we can’t afford to redo the website [for aboriginal doc] after the TV series is launched, so that really means once we set upon a look we have to stick with it, so the website look might dictate what the TV look is going to be, and they seemed to be okay with that and understood that obviously that’s the way it has to work, and that’s they way it worked for this geology thing”

–       [is there improved relationship/connection with newsroom?] “I continue to struggle with that battle. We have this technology and science page and the content on here sometimes is a little bit weak…and it’s a lot of reprints of Associated Press stories…and I’m looking down at this page, why can’t I find the Nature of Things on here? We’ve got loads of content. I spoke to a project manager last week and said did you know the doc department is airing 6 full science hours this week? We’ve got a doc on global warming, we’ve got a doc on the Haiti earthquake, we’ve got a doc on octopi, why can’t I find any of that stuff on your page?”

–       “Here’s your own content from CBC that nobody else has. My big problem with the news site, and many news sites is that I get sick and tired of going from one to the next and reading a rewrite of the same bloody story. So the only way to differentiate yourself from the other sites is to use content that nobody else has”

–       “When the volcano erupted I had _______ write up a blog post about how he went there 6 months ago and what it felt like to climb up the volcano and how it was ready to go and how dangerous it was. Nobody else had that. A real geologist who was at the location six months ago. But do you think they used it? I can’t understand why not”

–       Getting the network to put roll on film, we can do that [talk with audience/take questions] but the problem is that when we put something up that says ______ will be available afterwards we have to go back and repackage that film to take that off for the next time. You have to consider all of those technical details and how much it’s going to cost down the road to take it off again.”

–       “I still think that the TV is your one stop publicity event for what’s online and if you don’t take advantage of that, if you don’t launch your website along with your TV broadcast forget about it”


–       “It’s a real challenge, and I also think it’s hard because it’s hard to keep anything fresh. By the time we hit the air with the way people consume the online world they know everything by the time we do it and they’ve seen so much because of the ability to see video that you never would have been able to see before, unless you watched it on television”

–       “We all know that people consume more online media than they do TV now, and so we have to find a way to work together.”

–       “I think that are a lot of people who still hang on to the traditional newscast and they will and I think there are still lots of people who watch them. I mean there’s an audience for them, I just think that what people want is what’s immediate and the only thing that is immediate is news.

–       [what about overuse/use of fake lives?] “They put people outside, for example they had ___ on the scene, it was long done but she was there just to look like she was in the moment…but in terms of what that requires resource wise and everything, but that’s what people want to believe…she was standing at the corner of Annette and Dupont to be in the position of something that had happened 12 hours earlier, because it makes it feel urgent, and research shows that’s what people want”

–       “And it becomes a very powerful, very cheap, very easy way to treat daily news in a personal way because it’s so doable and you can make it look better than a minute 30 piece. ”


–       “Most of the stories we do are generated from outside by PR people and that kind of thing. But, the other reality is that there’s fewer of us and stories have to come from somewhere. There’s far fewer people working as journalists now, than there were 5 years ago even. But the amount of air time hasn’t shrunk in fact it’s expanded and the amount of column inches hasn’t shrunk, and stories have to come from somewhere. A lot of them come from PR people, politicians what not, manufactured news. So the fact that a growing number of them come from non-traditional sources is a good thing”

–       [deadlines getting in way of accuracy] “That’s a critical issue. You can talk to any person who does reporting now and the number of platforms that they have to file for and the number of times they have to file and whatnot and those issues of accuracy, and add to that the fact that we are in an enormously competitive business and we’re hard wired to be the first I think that’s enormously misguided, and so yeah, mistakes happen and probably more mistakes are happening. I think that is probably a different issue, I think that is a function of cable news and 24/7 hour news more so than a function of the rise of social media or participatory journalism…in the sense that those kind of pressures would exist anyway

–       “I think the sort of obsession with scoops and beating the competition has, even before the rise of social media and the Internet, has been an enormously destructive force in journalism… and continues to be so”

–       “Ultimately I suppose it’s about getting ratings…ultimately people think there’s a connection between the two.

–       “So do we do a version of the truth? Yeah because everything you do in news is about simplification and about concision and you’re always being selective in your use of facts…if you work for the National Post, historically, and you were anti-Israel chances are you weren’t going to last very long there if that was reflected in your coverage. If you were in the entertainment beat and you consistently wrote things that were positive towards the CBC chances are you weren’t going to last long. Those people have the bias of their publisher in mind. Well you’d be stupid if you didn’t if you wanted to continue to get a paycheck.

–       [freelancers]“They’re more influenced [by corporate viewpoint] because they have no protection. They have to pitch stories on a story by story basis…the market for freelancers in newspapers and magazine is smaller now than it ever has been and certainly the pay is worse than it ever has been, so there’s fewer people doing it and those are the people who are most vulnerable to doing a story that is counter to the wishes of the publisher. It wouldn’t even get accepted to begin with.”

–       [Demand Media] “They’re trying to dominate the long-tail of the web. It’s all search engine optimized and so the danger is that this crap, and that’s really all it is, that that kind of crap kind of pushes the good stuff down…the first ranking on the search page gets 70% of all the traffic, and the first ranking of the search page gets more traffic than numbers 2, 3, 4, 5 combined”

–       “The point is that that’s the sort of market for freelancers now is this kind of stuff…it’s the first 1.5 billion dollar IPO since Google and people don’t even make money on this yet but they think that they have such enormous potential. Imagine turning out 6 thousand stories a day, and they’ve got about 60 websites that they distribute this stuff to. ”

–       [Huffington post not paying bloggers] “I think it’s completely outrageous. I think they made 30 million dollars or something like that last year and they are investing more money in reporters. They made some fairly high profile hires in the last few months but they still get the vast majority of their content comes from news stories that they’ve aggregated from the mainstream which they don’t pay for, except they have a license with AP…and their army of 4 thousand bloggers who all write for free. And I just think it’ s outrageous. As a fundamental principle people need to get paid for their labour. Demand Media, it’s 3 cents a word, and some of these content farms work in different ways, some of them work where you can get paid by page view or even worse you get paid by somebody clicks on the advertisement that’s attached to your story–there’s the death of journalism right there–but for the Huffington Post as profitable as it is, for her to say that they don’t pay for opinion, the ancillary benefits of writing for the Huffington Post are so great that there’s no need to pay, I just think as a fundamental principle you need to get paid for your labour”

–       “It’s how mainstream organizations try to have it both ways. They want to protect their brand, which is why the Huffington Post has that rule, on the other hand they’re happy to take contributions from unpaid citizen journalists, because in their case it provides them with lots of free content and it’s one of the most attractive things about their site is that you get to read all these different people”


–       [handwritten after tape shut off] “The biggest crutch in media is the line ‘we don’t have enough resources. It’s all about choices. I have chosen to make different choices”


–       “This isn’t about getting citizens to make content because we don’t have content, we have tons of journalists. We’ve doubled our team size, so it’s not about—you know sometimes we get accused of, ‘oh you’re just going out there to get content because the CBC is out of money and resources’, but we’re actually upping our resources and our commitment to this effort of community management and community content”

–       “For every person you work with it takes one plus person to produce it.”

–       “Haiti happened and because we wanted to get it out there suddenly I spent 12 hours that day on doing radio hits and doing television hits and no one had prepared me, I think I’d been in my role for maybe 3 months and so they were like you should probably get some training”

–       “So I went for a one day crash course in reporting online and now it’s informal, but when we think it’s appropriate, obviously the G20 happened, and with that I was supposed to…I did a little bit of reporting on the ground, the idea was that I was supposed to be out the whole time, with my team back here, working with _________and _________, but we were locked in, people got divided”

–       “After the G20 happened, now it’s whenever there’s an appropriate angle for social media or community or certain online collaboration they’ll have me come in and do a point of view”

–       “Today was a surprise. Coming in the morning, usually I have a little bit of notice, and yesterday I said if you need me let me know and no one got back to me and then as soon as I got in it was like oh we need 12, 1, 2, 3, and the first hit I didn’t even really know, I just went and talked about the latest updates”

–       “They’re busy focusing on the TV story, we’re here monitoring this and we try to come together and work with each other”

–       “You’re obligated; these people are taking time you have to post it. And so, you just do it. So I’m at my laptop sitting at my kitchen table until it’s done, missing birthday parties and concerts”

–       “I learned from that though. I said, wow, this is bigger than what I thought so on Monday I’m going to have to plan that out a bit more, I’d underestimated.

–       So what we learned was that for every 4 contributors you need a producer of some sort. But we didn’t know what we didn’t know.”

–       “The hours were, on the actual G20 event I came in at 6am on the Friday and I worked till 11pm, I came in at 6am on the Saturday and I was here till 10 or 11pm, then I came in at 6am on the Sunday and I finished here at midnight.”

EMPLOYEE G (handwritten notes)

–       For longest time at CBC was about sharing information, then they were told that was a justification for doing irrelevant programming (ie. success not based on ratings)

–       “Newsworld is an institutionalized second class citizen; The National reins supreme”

–       Network was created and is very successful, but there is a fixation with saving The National at all cost

–       Siphon money from Newsworld to pay for National—changes at CRTC level to make all revenue “one pot”

–       It’s all about funding the “mother-goat”, The National, it sits at the top at the expense of everything else

–       National should be new perspective/deeper meaning, not about what I’ve heard all day

–       They’re not moving new information, that’s why it’s failing

–       It’s all about numbers (audience)


–       “Right now I bridge two worlds and I’m constantly reminding everyone about this other thing that exists, because in a TV newsroom people are so busy just trying to get a show to air that they’re focused on what’s in front of them and I’m constantly saying what about this”


–       “CBC is very much a bureaucratic organization that has a lot of structure and it’s only now that I think they’re trying to integrate the structure so that it becomes part of the framework of gathering news”


–       “We still insist, we’ll never take Twitter as a source. It might be a starting point for us. I just saw somebody tweeted that this happened, ok let’s find out if that’s true. That’s what we do, and our competitors in mainstream do that as well, but the TMZs and those sites they don’t filter in the same way”

–       [what about mainstream reports of Gordon Lightfoot being dead?] “We may have reported it on one of our newscasts also. We didn’t report it on the local show, but it might have made it somewhere on the CBC airwaves. The bigger thing more so than tweeting and Twitter is the 24 hour news cycle. Those are very hungry beasts, and they’re always looking for material, and that’s where you are more likely to get a Gord Lightfoot is dead reporter at 3:12 in the afternoon because it’s, oh it’s just come out we want to get it first. But Lucienne Bouchard, a perfect example. It was the CTV News Network went with it, without verifying. And if, we just had the supper hours and the noon newscasts, Gordon Lightfoot might have been reported on 680 News, but you wouldn’t have seen it one of the television programs”

–       [what does that say about journalism?] “I think it says that a 24 hour cycle leaves more room for error and in the attempt to be competitive and get their first I think people, I think some people make mistakes. They don’t do the proper checks and balances. Getting two sources to confirm something takes a long time and the whole rush of 24 hour and tweet and all of that stuff is getting it out there, and then you can verify later”

–       “I think you’d be hard pressed to find a journalist in any newsroom who would say that the advertisers dictate what they do. The senior managers may get pressure from above, and they may try to exert some pressure down below, but they’ve got to go through a whole lot of steps to get something on air. Occasionally you might here something was pulled, once ever few years, you might hear rumours that something happened

–       “I think people would call me naieve to say that the advertisers don’t rule the local news airwaves. Of the journalists that I’ve met, they’re just like me and my colleagues here and they’re looking for the best thing, which is to get the best story out and to get the real story out. And most of them want to be first. And I don’t think that there’s a journalist in this city who would ever want it said that they changed something because the advertiser didn’t want it, or didn’t like it. But you never know”


“So I guess it does happen then. Strike my comments.”

EMPLOYEE L (handwritten notes)

–       People who work at CBC thought about each medium as unique experience, serious walls around each platform internally

–       Other ideology is that you don’t need to tell every story on every platform, some are only suited to a particular medium

–       G20 in other country just requires one reporter, G20 here need multiple reporters

–       Important thing is training assignment what each platform needs

–       “Now every day all department heads meet—in the past that was rarity, old head of News never had meeting with heads of all departments, it was all about The National”

–       How do you measure success, one of _____ questions to reporters—all measured it by making it on The National, even if filed several stories for different platforms did 15 live hits, if didn’t make it to National seen as failure

–       Idea is to have separate but equal platforms ie. radio, TV, online

–       __________ made it okay to talk about ratings

–       Allows them to measure whether Canadians are watching, whether “we’re relevant or not, how many Canadians we’re connecting with”

–       Measuring discourse caused by stories subjective

–       Their responsibility is to get as many people as possible to watch but also have responsibility to do great stories, tell Canadians the truth

–       Private news is heavily influenced by outside forces, they can do what they want–only sell chocolate ice cream, CBC is the alternative

–       Will look visually the same but return to more depth, problem is everyone knows what’s going on by end of the day so what do you do with that?

–       Ratings 600K at 10pm, 20K at 9pm, 150-200K at 11pm

–       In total 1 million, but not calculated at that

–       Ratings are way down—perfect storm, sliding before relaunch then PPM came in


–       “The commenting moderation costs a considerable amount of money. The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of comments come in, if we’re deciding to close comments on a particular story, how we’re doing it right now is actually not decreasing our numbers at all because the vast majority of comments come in on the top stories on our main pages. The top 16 stories on our home page. The top stories on world, Canada—the first day those stories get posted is when almost all of our comments come in. So if there’s a peripheral story that’s closed, it’s not actually going to end up helping us with this managing of cost that much. We’re going to have to find other ways of doing that.”

–       [is there a difference in way CBC is dealing with community vs. private news orgs?] “Yes, for sure. We are investing in it more. We have the biggest community team in the country. I think we see it more central to our mandate. In the community sense. Community is so much more than commenting, I think we seem more central than private media companies seem. Nobody’s making money off commenting, nobody’s making money off community. To that extent, private companies are probably keeping their investment in check knowing that they’re not making any money from it. We see it as central to what we do—engaging Canadians in the news is essential to what we do. I think we view it differently.”

–       [comment re. CTV the sales department will tell me how much interaction is worth] “It costs a lot of money. Community costs money. There’s staff and people behind it. There’s moderation costs, and I’m not just talking us, everybody has costs associated with it. I think what we need to do is to find the best way of creating the most engaging community to the most number of Canadians that we can.”

–       “We’re a tri-medial organization. So if somebody is already filing a radio story in the morning, doing live hits for the News Network and expected to do a reported piece for The National, are they going to always say yes when we ask them to live tweet? No. It’s generally not that people don’t want to participate, it’s generally that we only have a finite number of resources and we have to decide the best way to use them. That’s more of the debate. And that’s not to say that online always loses out because that’s not at all true, it’s a matter of we only have this one person in this one place, what’s the key thing we need at CBC news, the broader organization, needs from this one person because they only have x numbers of hours in the day. That’s more of what we debate than, oh that person doesn’t want to participate”

–       “It’s difficult for reporters, being tri-medial, for them to juggle everything all the time. And that’s always a conversation that we have at the morning news meeting—what does News Network need, what does The National need, what does the hourly radio—there’s so many different things that we’re trying to feed all the time. That’s the conversation—who’s going to do what for whom and when.”

–       [is there a spot you should just have one person handling one aspect?] “Sometimes, but in most cases we do ask reporters to do more than just one thing. Whether, so maybe it’s TV and radio, or maybe it’s The National and World Report. Usually the expectation is that they’re doing more than one thing.”


EMPLOYEE A (Intvu 1)

–       “I encourage the producers and directors to subscribe to our facebook and Twitter feeds at least. I don’t know how much of them actually do…they’ve come up to me and said ‘wow surprise our film aired a couple of weeks ago and I saw people on facebook were talking about it that’s really exciting’.  Well it would’ve been nice if you participated in the discussion when it was happening”

–       “Sometimes that’s half my job is convincing people why it’s important”

–       reasons are time, lack of comfort level, other people in department “they don’t understand the medium”

–       had to convince them to buy online rights to stream films

–       There was concern website would affect ratings on television but it “didn’t affect the TV audience at all and we’ve got a growing new audience. So, it’s a good thing. It’s not a huge audience but it’s growing faster than the TV audience certainly”

–       “I had a meeting yesterday, we launched that big queen in 3D project and either the producer or the director had been to the web page…I pointed out to them there was a lot of chat on Twitter that people were disappointed it wasn’t Queen the band instead of the monarchy…and said it’s not such a bad thing because at least they’re talking about it…and they were shocked. And I said you know, you should really pay attention to stuff like that, especially when you’ve got some publicity because it gives you an interesting insight into what people actually think of your project”

–       “There’s a real weird disconnect between news and documentaries, especially with online. I have to send e-mails, you just wrote a nice story about the Queen in 3D project, could you link to the website please? I get so frustrated”

–       “It’s getting easier to get material to put on [the site] but in terms of getting people participating or thinking about it, not really”

–       EMPLOYEE A (Intvu 3)

–       “This site [Afghan Wall Memorial] is a database and it’s a flash visualization, and it’s pretty unique. CBC doesn’t have anything like that so all kinds of things had to be set up with the back-end and there wasn’t the support that we would have liked in terms of getting things done and there was a lot of miscommunication between CBC and the developer, because it was produced on the outside by an outside company, and it just winded up being a real nightmare situation”

–       “The developer would be given the specs, the specs would be out of date so he’d write it to the specs and it didn’t work. And whose fault was that? [laughs] And I was in the middle, it was really painful”


–       “I think citizen journalism is way, way up as a result [of new information infrastructure]. When you think about the pictures we use and the access to stuff that we would never have had before — but I mean we use way too much of it because it’s all such bad quality. But there’s also an acceptance out there in terms of the audience that they’re okay with that because they want access. And so, if the video is poor quality but it’s showing them something they never would have gotten to see or something uncomfortably personal, then we’re all happy to watch it, in fact it seems like we can’t get enough of it, and so, I think that really dramatically changes what we do and how we do it, and I think it’s a fine line.”

–       “But what ended up happening was that he went on late, so he went over the top of the hour, so we had to bail on the Obama speech to go to The National, and as a news network I think that’s a serious problem. Because it’s the one time that people would tune in for something that’s happening right now, and it’s not happening any other time, and if you want to see it live and real you’ve got to watch it now and if we’re not as a news network on it, then they’re not going to come to us for it.”


–       “I would do stories when I worked at _______ that were full of real people, and I would be criticized as these stories did not carry enough weight. They were feature or light stories. I’d say ‘why’. They’d say you’ve just got people in them”

–       “The only thing that gave them some sort of editorial heft would be to have an expert in it and I’d say ‘why’ and some people would say, that was the editorial feedback from the people around the newsroom, the viewer would say, ‘I love that person in your story. That cowboy who said this about federal politics, that’s the smartest thing I ever heard’.”


–       “They understand how important it is…but it’s their last priority. Their success is filing for The National…they never seem to have time to do something for us”…that’s not true of every reporter, “but for the ordinary reporter it’s something they’re not trained on…they don’t get their greatest reward”

–       Not having training is one reason reporters not embracing social media/internet

–       “The bigger part [of why online not accepted] is not having an assignment desk that understands different forms of storytelling”

–       “The Internet…it pisses people off because people say negative things about them”

EMPLOYEE J (handwritten notes)

–       Doesn’t think Internet/viewer interaction has actually changed structure, always a hierarchy, The National, then whatever resources are left to be picked over by everyone else

EMPLOYEE L (handwritten notes)

–       Have people who have only worked at one level who are trying to pull back those moving forward with change

–       Example of person who worked in radio 25 years telling new person not to follow slug structure


–       “I don’t think news organizations as a whole are great at having those conversations because they’re very used to pushing it out and it’s a one-way conversation. They’re used to it being push as opposed to it being push and pull. We’re more committed to the sense of having that conversation and to community than any other news organization in this country.”

–       “CBC is such an interesting place because it’s so huge, sometimes we don’t all know what each other’s doing.” [referencing linking to doc material]


EMPLOYEE A (intvu 1):

–       “I don’t know that we get that much back from the communication that shapes what we do in the future [from audience]. But…when we aired a documentary about a white farmer who was being terrorized by the Mugabe government, I think after you see a film like that some people really need to talk about it, and it’s good to give them a forum to do that”

–       “People want to go online to share information about various therapies and services and we would definitely provide extra information on where people can get hooked up with that”

–       “I’m always trying to say to people here it might not be necessary for us to build a big huge flashy 2.5 site that has all kinds of interactive things, but it’s important for you to fund informational sites with a solid outreach campaign.”

–       Social media is critical to building advance audience

–       “I tend to avoid things that I know are going to be really problematic” [Film on pedigree dogs, response from breeders], “about how unfair the film was…had that film been promoted on facebook it would have been a disaster. People were making libelous comments about some of the other people in the film”

EMPLOYEE A (Intvu 2):

–       “I was thinking of doing a new project on an aboriginal series and we want to get started with social media rather than building a website first”

–       “We tried to have a few Twitter events where people would tweet their questions in and it didn’t go off very well. I just find that trying to do that during a documentary broadcast, people are so involved in watching the film that it just doesn’t work. It’s not like watching Glee…I couldn’t pay attention to the film while I was managing this Twitter request and I’ve seen it before. It’s impossible.”

–       “We don’t have in-page commenting on our pages yet but we’re going to be rolling that out over the summer and I’ll be curious to see how many comments are useful versus how many comments are not”

–       “We have a service that we work with and they basically read them to make sure that they’re postable [comments]—but they don’t read them to make sure it’s good content”

–       “I think as an organization we’re struggling with that too. I know that there’s been conversations that maybe we should just have somebody read them and pick the twenty best”

–       “Some corporate brands really control, I was thinking about Sarah Palin and she had something like 15 thousand comments on her post. Somebody reads through all of those comments. You can bet your ass that somebody read every one”

–       “I like facebook [the CBC doc community]. It’s about 8 thousand people. It’s a nice size. There’s always something going on; there’s always people talking. It’s enough that you can read all the comments and you can respond to people. Once it gets to 30 thousand, 40 thousand people, will I be able to do that? Probably not. At that point the community is gone, because there’s too much community! [laughs]”

EMPLOYEE A (Intvu 3):

–       “This is a memorial wall where we have a page for every soldier and the idea is that people can click on that page and see pictures of them in their civilian dress and read stories from their family about them and leave comments that they want”

–       “The whole idea is to personalize the soldiers as people, which is what the film was about”

–       “Every solider has a page here that died, and we plan to keep it updated as new ones die, and that way nobody feels that they’re left out and we also even had some emails, when we first launched the site. I did a screengrab of the front page because we didn’t have a working front page, just to clue people into what’s coming, and somebody went and they counted all of the faces and it was only 102, because it was a static image and we built it we had actually planned to launch it so that 102 pictures would be chosen randomly from the bunch, so that no one would get left out. We had to go back and explain that when the site’s launched that those images appearing on the page will be random. So that your son or husband’s image will show up there if you click refresh”

–       “I did see quite a bit of sharing going on because people would write their comment and then that would show up on their facebook wall, for some of the soldiers you would see it would spread through the family and that was sort of what we wanted. I would’ve liked to have seen a bit more, but I was pretty happy with what we got. This is an Internet version of the film, and you can watch the film here [on website] anywhere in the world, we have world rights for it. We’re not going to sell this to another country”

–       “It’s a restful place where people could learn a bit about the soldiers and who they are and how much they’re missed. That was the point of it. The point of it was not to get in a discussion about the war and whether or not we should be there”

–       “Because the CBC comments, and I went through this last night with the film on the tar sands, they’re really—because you can be anonymous, when you’re anonymous it’s really easy to say something vindictive and nasty, but when it’s tied to your name and facebook profile your friends may read it and you might come across like a real asshole, so I think people are less likely to, they’re a little more likely to think about what they’re saying on facebook, with facebook comments, because they’re not anonymous” [speaking re. Afghan Wall]

–       “We had a little bit of criticism saying, a lot of the soldiers already have their own facebook site and they want to keep it just restricted to family members, and that was the difference of opinion, the negative comments.”

–       “It was from families. They didn’t want to participate they just wanted to keep it all private”


–       great experience with memorial wall for Afghanistan soldiers

–       told people show was in production, they could upload pictures and stories about dead soldiers

–       the memorial wall is lasting

–       they were already doing it [sharing stories] on facebook, we asked them to do it on the wall

–       said up front during TV broadcast (152 dead at time) there are a lot more stories we can’t tell you, go to the website

–       When you create a doc most of it doesn’t get on TV, great way to make that material available


–       “We like to…try harder to make people feel reflected in the show, that they see themselves in the stories that we’re telling. And sometimes that’s hard because sometimes the news of the day doesn’t relate to you and me”

–       “Usually social media is a couple steps ahead of mainstream media so stories get broken there and a couple days later they come into our world”

–       “She’s so familiar with the online world that she can find these people but she can also communicate with them in way I can’t which convinces them to come on because there is a real community. So I think that she’s able to reach out to that community even if they end up being used in a very traditional way. Even if we end up putting them in a studio or sending somebody else out to do a traditional news story with them I think it’s because they feel like…there’s a kinship there that exists because of the way she communicates and talks to them because of her online presence”

–       “She sends me those trending things and we often chase stories based on what’s trending online and I think that’s why we often end up on something a day ahead of people”

–       “I’m amazed at how many people write in but they’re mostly commenting on what we’ve done, positively and negatively as opposed to saying would you do a story about me. We do get those, but we don’t get that many of those and I hope that’s because people recognize that we’re a daily news show therefore it’s hard to do that”

–       “Or sometimes we’ll change our lead at 6 o’clock because something happened and the whole show goes into turmoil but I always encourage them to do it. And sometimes Mark comes out there and says…I’ll tell you what at 5 o’clock today we were leading the show with this story, but then we got word of ….we decided that we would go with it so bear with us. He just comes right out and tells people and that’s when we always, always get the most response”

–       “You become so much more approachable, I make mistakes and I have technical problems, or I forget my line, or in case you’re wondering how we made this happen let me tell you”


–       [gatekeeping affecting relationship with audience?] “Totally. And I think, I know it creates a gap between the disseminator and the receiver. And that’s the problem”


–       “They provide us with photos, video. In this case we got photos, I don’t think we’ve received any video yet. And we’ll work with them to make captions in their words. As much as possible it’s about them [audience contributors]. And we want to profile that.”

–       “Some people want to write their story down. Some people feel more comfortable with a photo essay, some people want to tell their story and some people just want to send a video. Or sometimes they’ll be in a situation like Haiti for instance when the earthquake happened, it was impossible for them because of what was going on to write us so we would interview them on the phone but we would tell it in their voice. We would be their hands if you will to tell their story, but we really believe that it should be in their voice”

–       “When we talk to them they’re often shy and they underestimate the story they have to tell and so our team empowers them and works with them. I always say to them, it’s not War and Peace. You don’t have to be the next brilliant journalist. We really want to hear it in your words. If how you want to paint that picture is a photo, that’s often quite amazing because photos speak a thousand words so, it’s just what I believe in”

–       “It was a volunteer position. We would never assign them. So what I said to all of them was, we put out a call for people who were interested in telling us their point of view through Twitter and facebook. We just said you can blog as much or as little, you can send photos, you can send video or no video. Everything is voluntary, do not put yourself in any danger. We talked to the IR to make sure there was no conflict”

–       “I think we’ve just tapped the start of it. Some of the things I’m really interested in are we get 300 thousand plus comments on a month and a great deal of that is CBC news comments, and right now with the technology we have it’s difficult to surface all the discussions. We’re working on that, but if you really delve down, we did an exercise across the corporation where we got people to dive into the different discussions and content verticles, and there was some amazing stuff happening. So I am really excited now that we’re expanding as a community team to be able to expand and identify conversations, identify people, be able to surface those and highlight those and produce those. I’m a big fan of less – let’s try to scale back a bit and do more with what we’re having”

–       [vetting process] “I’d ask them about their G20 knowledge too, they had to look like they were interested and when you ask them about their G20 knowledge you start to see are they well rounded, are they just – actually covering the activists was interesting too. Many networks covered the black block. That was a big story, so why couldn’t it be for some people? And yeah there were a couple of people that had very strong opinions on certain things and it is what it is. Once you start to work with them you can’t just suddenly shut it off. Back to the expect the unexpected”

–       “You can say to them hey we want to try to keep things balanced, and we said that to them in the beginning, understand that this isn’t a place for you to rant and rave, that’s a blog. Your own personal blog”


–       As for audience interaction/integration, viewer comments are used, but there is limited amount of interactivity “here’s what we think”, but it’s mediated anyway, they are still gatekeeping


–       “Every morning I compile an email that takes a look at stories that are popular online, viral videos, trending topics, most viewed news stories at and it’s a way for us to take a look at what people online really care about and what they’re really talking about because sometimes there’s a disconnect between what we think is relevant in a newsroom versus what people actually care about”

–       “I stress the online aspect and what I mean by that is just because a story is popular online doesn’t mean that my mom cares. There’s still a digital divide”

–       “We were covering the G20 and there this was viral video of the Oh Canada moment at Queen and Spadina…basically the protestors finish Oh Canada and the police storm them. So we air it and it gets cut off at that point where the police storm. So a couple of viewers right in and say how dare you cut out, and they’re all up in arms. CBC not telling the full story. What had happened was it was just a mistake the switcher had made. It was a mistake in the control room. They thought it was done. So the next night _______ on, ‘Hi we got a couple of emails, you guys were wondering why we didn’t play the full clip it actually was just we’re a live show, sometimes mistakes happen. Here’s the full clip.’ We played the full clip. Old news would never do that. Not like that”

–       “I think there is a bigger opportunity to engage the audience [with cross platform journalism] but that’s up to the audience. So there’s a bigger opportunity to do that. It is so easy to reach a journalist; it is so easy to reach a show now. You’re an email away and we read every email that comes in. I read every tweet, I read every facebook status and although we might not have the time to reply personally it is considered and forwarded on and discussed”


–       “For the user it’s a different world completely, there’s just no comparison. Whether it’s how you want to watch The National or how you want to get your daily news, or how you want to get access to a host. It’s completely different as a result of the website”

–       “Online you can show maps, you can have viewer interactivity, you can get feedback, all of these relationships established that you can’t on radio and television. You can also provide an original document. It’s just a different way of telling stories. It’s about establishing a relationship with audience”

–       “It’s more accessible because the writing style changes [online/blogs], it becomes more off the cuff, it’s not nearly as official, sentence structure is less important, it’s a different way of conveying, it’s a more friendly way of conveying information”

–       [what do you mean by friendly?] “It’s easier to read, easier to relate to, because the personality of the individual comes out more than it does in traditional writing – the relationship between the person who’s writing and the audience. And of course underneath each one of them there’s the possibility of people commenting and adding their own comments and saying that’s nonsense or saying yeah I agree or whatever they want to say”

–       “Yesterday, Guy Lafleur, we had to take comments off because we were afraid of, people were starting to make innuendos…naming victims and stuff like that and we said look we just can’t allow that on”.

EMPLOYEE J (handwritten notes)

–       Viewer comment/interaction, some make sense, other times POV/MOS just for the sake of having viewers front and centre

–       Kids who failed gym test in Quebec—what do you think? “Who gives a fuck what Ed in Saskatoon in thinks?”

–       If it’s totally egregious we’ll edit comment to make sense/change typos but never change thrust of what people are saying

–       Issues of proportion [with viewer comments] a constant discussion, for example, 500 yes, 10 no but you still show some no and yes


–       “It’s all about connection with the audience. There’s no more pressure [with new information infrastructure] it’s just the business. And at least from my perspective, it’s always been about your listeners, or viewers, or readers. Everything that we do is geared towards them.”

–       “We use Twitter, a few of our reporters tweet, and we have, we’re always asking viewers to call in, this is on the supper hour only on radio we do it less, it’s more the programs that do it. We’ve prepared promos that if you’re out there and you see news give or send us a Twitter, send us your pictures. We’re always asking people to send us anything that they shoot on a breaking news scene or interesting pictures that they may come across. We’re always asking for those and we ask them to send them to us for the supper hour or to put online”


–       website is headed to greater level of interaction and engagement with audience

–       No one is sure what to do to get more viewer interaction on TV that doesn’t seem contrived but is real interaction

–       Wants TV producers to look at website 150 times a day to see what people are actually interested in

–       Never had a tool to see what people are interested in, watching people like never before

–       Nervous about making interaction seem contrived

–       Currently have clunky system to get user generated content, need to make it more easy

–       Big problem is “how do you validate it?”

–       Currently have all kinds of issues with inappropriate viewer comments

–       Is encouraging staff to tell people “we don’t know what’s going on” in particular cases where it makes sense

–       That kind of transparency combined with knowledge is key to evolution


–       “By increasing the community staff we hope that we’ll be able to start surfacing some of the great conversations or some of the great photos, start to curate some of that community participation. Because I think a lot of people in that community know what’s going on in the community, but we need to get more people engaged.”

–       “We will have comments on stories in every section of our site so it isn’t some central group that’s deciding what is open or closed. Obviously the arts team wanted to have comments on Justin Bieber’s hair, I don’t remember that story, they probably had comments on the Oscars. Our central national desk will decide what Canada stories, world stories. We have a health content unit, so they’re the experts in that area and they’ll know which ones should or shouldn’t be open. But again, I think some of the reaction is reacting to a change in policy rather than an actual practice.”

–       [negative reaction to closing some comments on redesigned website] “I think a lot of people thought oh that means everything’s going to be closed and I think there were a lot of misinterpretations because of the technical issues we had day 1, day 2 after the redesign. But I went on to, I was looking this morning, and I think almost every single story on the Canada page is open so it’s not like it’s going to be few and far between. It’s a matter of making choices about what we want to focus on.”

–       “It used to be everything was on, now we’re saying maybe we should cut off a few of these stories, and it will continue to evolve as we start to figure out where our readers want to have great conversations.”

–       “It’s like when a grocery store rearranges the aisles and you can’t find anything—it’s really frustrating. There’s been great feedback and we’re reacting to it as quickly and as swiftly as we can. But some of the reaction is because it takes a while to get used to things”

–       “Do I feel pressure from our commentators saying respond to us now? I suppose, but you have to take the comment you were referring to in the context of all the comments we’ve had and all the feedback we’ve had which isn’t just through commenting. So I think we feel pressure to respond to the feedback and to take it to heart and implement changes where they’re needed.”

–       “We’re more committed to the sense of having that conversation and to community than any other news organization in this country.”

–       “Engaging Canadians is central to what we do. It’s central to why we’re here. I think it’s a core part of our service. We have to think about how we engage Canadians and I don’t think it’s just commenting. Everybody always thinks of commenting because it’s been around so long, that’s the go to spot of community which is why we even changed the name of _______ team, it used to be the social media team, now we’re saying it’s community because there’s so much more to it than commenting, there’s so much more to it than just tweeting out our stories. There has to be a deeper relationship and that’s what we’re trying to focus on in the redesign”


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