Smaller newsrooms, larger skillsets the future of CBC

Hubert Lacroix, president and CEO of the CBC, led an open discussion at the Transmedia Zone of the RTA School of Media on the future of public broadcasting and where young people fit in. He also mentioned that the CBC will be “smaller in size but more effective and more focused.” CBC downsized three times in the past five years and will continue shrinking by 2020, Lacroix said.

On March 4, Lacroix shed light on CBC’s “2020 strategy,” which aims to better serve the growing appetite for digital storytelling.

Hubert Lacroix speaks about the future of public broadcasting (Natasha Gan / Ryersonian Staff)

Hubert Lacroix speaks about the future of public broadcasting (Natasha Gan / Ryersonian Staff)

“We’re trying to create cash to invest in content and this is where (students) come in,” Lacroix said. “We live and die by the content we create by the ability of the next generation to use different tools to tell different stories in completely different ways, depending on the platform.”

CBC videojournalist Charlsie Agro, who joined the discussion with Lacroix, said students must arm themselves with as many tools and skills as possible.

“More and more places like CBC are looking for people to come in (with) answers, suggestions or concept or an idea,” Agro said.

Part of the public broadcaster’s strategy is to cater to a younger audience—an audience who’s entertainment comes from smartphones and tablets rather than TV.

“There is absolutely work out there for those people who are multitalented, multi-platform journalists. Instead of being limiting, (see) it (as) an opportunity,” Agro said.

CBC wants to double its digital reach by 2020. Hoping to echo the success of its Sochi Olympics app last year, the broadcaster wants 50 per cent of Canadians relying on their news app.

“The 2020 strategy is to lead digital in regions and make sure the resources that we have are invested in content. It is not at all about deemphasizing the people who are actually going to deliver the news,” said Lacroix, referring to prominent names like Peter Mansbridge.

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