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The New National Is An Acquired Taste

Here are my 10 observations, in no particular order, by Warren Kinsella in Huffington Post.

  • Four anchors? Seriously? That’s not a newscast, that’s a sequel to “Split”, the movie. Multiple personalities make for memorable horror flicks, but not so much a serious newscast.
  • The sum of the four is less than one part. I’m sorry, CBC, but Ian Hanomansing is not just better than the other three — he’s actually one of the best newsreaders on Earth. He is authentic, he is authoritative. The others simply aren’t. Sorry.
  • It’s too busy. It feels disjointed and disorganized. It feels chaotic. Just when you get the hang of one of the anchors, another one would pop up on your screen. That’s not a newscast — that’s ’90s-era MTV, folks. Which, um, no longer exists…….

It will take time to feel comfortable with this format because it lacks an ‘anchor’ personality; something one experienced for so many years.  Perhaps producers  hope that the ‘four’ merge, over time, into ‘one,’ in the perception of viewers, but that isn’t likely to happen quickly.  

This new version of the National still assumes that viewers gather around their televisions, the way they may do for the Blue Jays, Raptors, or Maple Leafs.  The four anchors refer to reporters to provide the details; there is a feeling that the four anchors are entirely superfluous, as the picture and sound move to a reporter ‘in the field.’

The new National feels as though it was recorded earlier in segments and edited together with graphics that give just an impression of continuity, rather than broadcast live.  A personality is lacking, though something like it may emerge with time.  One suspects that viewers will continue to find their news ‘online’ at the touch of a finger, all day, rather than wait for a single broadcast.

Peter Mansbridge was always doing two things as he read the news.  He was holding the audience that looked for his personality in each broadcast but, perhaps more important, he was selling an idea that the CBC was the most authoritative source for news.  It was a subtle impression developed carefully over many years.  The father-figure anchor lured viewers, as they watched; something this new format is unlikely to do.

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Professional. Retired. Canadian.

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