PHOTOS: CFRN in happier, pre-CTV times. Below: Journalists Serena Mah and Kim Taylor, veteran camera operator Robin Cleator, and editor Brian Fletcher.
Fallout from the mid-November “restructuring” at Bell Media continues to be felt at CTV operations across the country, including here in Edmonton.
If you ha
If you blinked, though, you probably missed the cheerful little item on the departure for new opportunities of veteran journalists Serena Mah and Kim Taylor, 32-year camera operator Robin Cleator, and former camera operator turned full-time editor Brian Fletcher from the station previously known as CFRN-TV.
As far as I can tell, the impact on Edmonton news coverage of the foundering broadcaster’s head-office decision was not mentioned anywhere in a mainstream media text story, or by any other broadcaster – an all-too-typical omission as big-shot media bosses in Central Canada pare their operations nationwide to skeletal levels. This leaves news like this to be covered by the blogosphere, where you risk getting what you pay for.
Meanwhile, the same media execs, like the CTV bosses’ counterparts at debt-ridden Postmedia Network, are scratching their heads about the way the Internet is wrecking their business model. Well, it’s conceded here that the Internet is part of the problem, but decisions like slashing news staff in a provincial capital aren’t going to do much for the enterprise’s success either.
And, actually, the situation is worse in Edmonton than it appears on the surface. In addition to the four unionized staffers who are known to have taken buyouts, several part-time and casual employees were laid off, including another journalist low on the seniority totem pole. I’ll leave him unnamed as an act of kindness during his job search.
Moreover, four mid-level managers were shown the door. Not long before them, veteran station manager Lloyd Lewis also departed. Your Edmonton station will now be run out of Calgary, insiders say, sort of like the way the Edmonton Sun for years had a managing editor based in the former Cowtown.
Regular TV news viewers will be interested to note that after the CTV News departures, no changes were made to CTV Edmonton’s broadcasting schedule. All local shows remain on the air at the same length. So that squeaking noise you hear in the background of future broadcasts will probably be the sound of the treadmills spinning ever faster.
As bad as things seem at CTV Edmonton, the carnage seems to have been worse in other Canadian centres. By the sound of it, more than 400 people lost their jobs at CTV operations across the country, maybe more. In the national capital, a popular anchor, a morning show host and a well-known sports reporter, all women, were quickly skidded out the door last month.
Alas, this is unlikely to be the end of it, here or elsewhere, as the chaos in the conventional Canadian news business continues through a destructive combination of digitization and executive myopia.
This post has been updated to include new information. It also appears on Rabble.ca.