November 8, 2009

CBC takes a stand

Loyal CBC viewers and listeners, all 3,475 of us, are in a tizzy over the CBC's much-vaunted "rebranding" of the 24-hour CBC Newsworld into CBC News Network (that's CBCNN, in case you missed it).

Apparently completely re-jigged to attract a younger (read: not about to die) audience, the new format proved nearly unbearable to watch, what with the majority of the launch broadcast last week devoted mostly to the giddy new anchors babbling about the new set and only occasionally pausing their banter to mention the, ahem, news.

The greatest amount of flak being generated is that all of the broadcasters stand around the set, which is supposed to bring us closer to them and make the newscast more "transparent". This doesn't bother me nearly as much as how every time a segment anchor talks with a correspondent they ask them if they will follow-up, and the correspondent invariably says something like "Yes, so-and-so, I will follow up and keep you posted". This is incredibly inane, insulting, and rather condescending to the viewer and the correspondent.

There is also an alarmingly high level of distracting sounds, scrolling lines of text, huge moving images, and short news bites. For me CBC was always about the stories, with in-depth and incredibly intelligent reporting from what were certainly some of the most respected correspondents in the English language. The current format reminded me of a slightly more dressed up version of Much Music. I certainly can't tell most of the new female personalities from Erica Ehm. If I wanted to watch Kelly Ripa read me 20-second news bits I'd watch...well, you get what I mean. In addition, folks are also upset that some American consulting firm is responsible for this mess.

So it is with great ironic glee that I share this hilarious clip from a BBC parody of 24-hour news programs that ran in, get this, 2005. The show was called "Broken News" (a play on Breaking News). In this clip the anchors introduce us to the segment of the news called the Standing News. Absolutely priceless.

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