CBC News at 6 no challenge to BCTV even with new anchors Mike Killeen and Anita Bathe in the chair.
And it never will be.
The reason is simple.
The news team – primarily the producers – do not play on the strength of what CBC News is all about.
And they don’t utilize the strengths of Bathe, Killeen and Johanna Wagstaffe, the meteorologist.
They try, but it is only a half-hearted effort.
So what are the strengths of CBC News?
For starters, they have some great reporters.
CBC News At Six No Challenge To BCTV
And overall they are better than BCTV’s.
But why is that the case?
Most of the top BCTV reporters are gone.
They are either retired or took early buy-out packages.
The salary levels of some of those former BCTV reporters were pretty hefty.
Making more than $100,000 a year was not uncommon.
And they were replaced with junior reporters at much lower salaries.
And that is evident when watching BCTV news.
But does CBC News at 6 capitalize on that?
No way, Jose.
A case in point.
Eric Rankin is one of the best CBC reporters. He has worked and reported on stories from all over the world.
That was when he worked in Toronto after having moved there from Vancouver.
He was a reporter for the CBC’s National, the network’s premier national newscast.
But then he moved back to Vancouver.
Rankin’s story on CBC News at 6 is a perfect case of the Vancouver news producers not capitalizing on the story.
It was an exclusive story, dealing with money laundering in British Columbia’s corrupt casino industry.
CBC News At Six No Challenge To BCTV
But sad to say it did not appear on the show till about 10 minutes into the show.
The lead story that night was about three teens being sentenced in the swarming killing of Luka Godric.
The young man was stabbed to death in Whistler.
A great story but everyone else had it and by the time six o’clock rolled around it had been covered thoroughly all afternoon on all other Vancouver news outlets.
And of course on social media.
So why would the brainiacs at CBC News at 6 lead with that?
Why not give viewers something that no one else had that day?
In an age of the 24/7 news cycle you have to distinguish yourself from the competition.
Furthermore, the question and answer session with Rankin at the end of his story was short and snappy.
Too short and snappy.
Killeen and Bathe were going through the motions of asking a few questions.
A typical and traditional approach.
Instead the q and a session should have been much longer.
There is no doubt, Rankin would have had some interesting, fascinating and unique facts to share with the audience.
If he had been asked.
But he wasn’t.
What a pity.
The Godric sentencing story appeared on the same newscast as Rankin’s
The reporter, Belle Puri, did an admirable job on it.
But later in the show she had an interview with Luka’s parents.
And that interview was a problem.
As one can imagine Luka’s parents talked about the the pain and anguish they still deal with on a daily basis after the death of their son four years ago.
And they said so time after time.
But Puri was not really listening.
Instead she tried to put a positive spin on it by asking the Godric’s about some of the positive things in their life – such as having grandchildren.
And that was just one example.
She missed an opportunity to really listen and let the parents pour their hearts out.
So someone in the producer ranks was asleep at the switch.
That interview should have been edited so that the persistence by Puri to get mom to say something cheerful was not there.
The CBC decision to hire Mike Killeen after he was let go from CTV Vancouver was a daring move.
It led to a new anchor team for the CBC’s newscast at six, all designed to increase its ratings against BCTV.
So in short, unless the news brass makes meaningful changes to its flagship Vancouver newscast at six, chances of ever getting better ratings are Zilch.
So it all comes down to this – you can have great anchors, great reporters, great stories but unless you have great producers that make it compelling, people won’t watch.