June 6, 2014 9:54 am
Updated: June 6, 2014 9:57 am

RTDNA panel: Tough times for news industry doesn’t change the need for good reporting

Troy Reeb, Senior Vice President of News for Global News

TORONTO — It’s hard to get young people to pay attention to mainstream news, three television executives acknowledged at the 2014 Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) conference Thursday, but important news – online or on TV – hasn’t changed, they said.

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A panel including of Troy Reeb, Senior Vice President of News for Global News; Jennifer McGuire, General Manager and Editor in Chief of CBC News; and Wendy Freeman, President of CTV News postulated on the future of the news business in Canada at the annual RTDNA conference at Toronto’s King Edward hotel.

The conference started out grimly, with Scott White, VP of Content Strategy and Business Development at Postmedia Network, echoing Toronto Star Editor in Chief Michael Cooke, who compared the news industry to “the first 17 minutes of Saving Private Ryan.”

While all three broadcasters are under tremendous pressure as revenues fall, Reeb argued news as a public service is universal across mediums.

The three execs said everyone with Internet access is a competitor. McGuire admitted there will be more cuts at the public broadcaster but said news organizations have to present their news differently. She said CBC is trying to differentiate itself from competitors by launching investigative teams in Toronto and Ottawa, with more coming soon. While Global News and CTV News also do investigative work (Global News’ Gardiner Expressway investigation was held up as an example) all three said they’re charged with doing things differently.

That led to a discussion about the future of the CBC and the role of Twitter, Facebook and Google in presenting news.

Panel members pointed out Twitter can be used – and abused – as a medium to deliver news. Media outlets need to do due diligence, they said.

Reeb said when there is a story that needs to be told, the audience will come.

McGuire added: “A good story still drives audience.”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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