Canada’s first dedicated news network, an affiliate of the government-run Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC News Network has tuned 25 today. Premiering 9 years after its American contemporary, CNN, the channel, then referred to as CBC Newsworld, was only the third dedicated news channel in the world – the second being Great Britain’s Sky News.
Anecdotally, CBC News Network/Newsworld has been there for most of my news watching life. Raised by a single father, he was always in a rush to get ready in the mornings, and therefore there was no chance to sit down and read a paper over breakfast. Therefore my pre-going to school routine was never cartoons, but hard-hitting journalism with a strong focus on both domestic and international issues. I can assume my love of politics is heavily derived from the political theatre I watched play out day after day.
Today the network is celebrating its anniversary in a state of flux as heavy cuts to the station’s operating budget have forced many of its staff to find jobs elsewhere or retire, yet the network continues to push forward. It has come to rely on freelance journalists for much of its international coverage as its international bureaus have been shuttered one by one, and cheap tools like Skype are adopted far more for communication than the old industry standards. Yet this is the state of cable news as it is now. Twitter walls, short punchy pieces, and a higher concentration on entertainment value over information are all becoming the norm. In this regard, CBC continues to tie itself to the old guard more than most, begrudgingly accepting modern realities while still trying to focus on the stories that are important through series like the Fifth Estate, Marketplace, Power and Politics, and The Passionate Eye. It is hard to predict what the CBC of the future is going to look like, but at 25 years old, despite some taxing challenges and the ever changing technologies of news delivery, CBC News Network stands tall as a leader in Canadian journalism.
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