The Garret Tree
Saturday, October 01, 2005
  CBC 124: Foreign posting offer came long before lockout: Common

Updated at 1816 and 2248

CBC reporter David Common told me Saturday that an offer for a foreign posting from CBC News came long before the current lockout. He also said an offer from Global Television also came about the same time. almost a year ago, when he was still stationed in Regina.

Reports on Friday had said the CBC offer and deal for Common to replace Paul Workman in Paris had come during the lockout. Some comments on blogs had seen that as a way of the CBC getting back at Paul Workman, who is on "unauthorized leave" for refusing to accept assignments during the lockout.

It's "outrageous," Common said, for anyone to think he could replace a skilled and versatile reporter like Paul Workman.

Common said CBC news managers mentioned to him about a year ago, while he was in Regina, that they wanted to groom him for a foreign posting. Paris was one of the cities mentioned. "I could be going to Paris or another foreign posting sometime next year," he said.

As part of that grooming process, CBC increased Common's temporary foreign assignments, including trips to London after this summer's bombings and to Afghanistan.

Common also says the CBC arranged for French lessons a year ago, it was not part of any recent deal. (Almost all CBC foreign correspondents are expected to file in both official languages so French lessons would be a prequisite whether the posting was Paris or Beijing).

In an interview with Antonia Zerbisias of the Toronto Star, CBC new chief Tony Burman said.

Tony Burman told me today that Workman has enjoyed several contract extensions in Paris and has known for a while the the third and final contract expires June 2006.

"Our desire is that he return to Toronto,'' said Burman. "Clearly there would be a very senior position available to him here. It's really up to Paul what he chooses to do."

The CBC News rumour mill had heard for months before the lockout that the CBC had wanted to bring Workman home. The same rumour mill, unconfirmed, has been buzzing with talk that CBC News wants to replace all the older, experienced foreign correspondents with younger faces.

Common says that he was approached by Global a year ago, but he turned down the offer because he appreciated the "leg up" and "support" he had had with CBC. The Global offer had nothing to do with recent events, neither the departure of Wilf Dinnick for ABC News, which would have been the open roving foreign video journalist spot nor the CBC lockout.

Common did say that like Workman he can shoot, edit and report, skills not all the foreign staff have, but he said he found it "incredible" that anyone would think he could come close. at this point in his career, to reaching Workman's level of reporting. Noting that Workman is on a number of days per year contract, Common also said that with Workman in Paris, the CBC has "a wonderful story teller" for a relatively low cost

Common also said he was wondering why the story leaked in the middle of the lockout, that since long before August 15, his possible posting as a foreign correspondent was generally known among senior producers.

He also said that with a young child to support, he has been working at a part-time non-TV technician's job, as well as doing his picket hours.

Update 1816 ET: After the original posting, I heard from David on a couple points of clarification.

After the lockout began, Global did repeat its original job offer from a year earlier. At that time, Common says he did ask CBC News to put in writing what they had offered to him, so he could consider his options. He emphasizes strongly there were no negotiations with CBC management during the lockout, that the offer in writing was putting down on paper what had been discussed verbally before August 15.

He also told me that because he was working at his part time job, he did not know about the blogs until late Friday and he would have responded if he had been contacted.

See also: Reporter's reputation hurt by drive-by blogging from Mutually Inclusive PR.

Updated: 2248
Antonia Zerbisias has responded both to the posting in Mutually Inclusive and in the comments section of her own blog.

My own comment: Things are getting nasty and the blogs, not only on this, are turning into a flame war. All the comments on all the blogs I have seen today are becoming vicious. The fault, in the end, is not with those people who are caught up in all this, including David Common, who was and is between the rock and the hard place, but with the senior managers who orchestrated this disaster in the first place. After all, it was the lockout that prompted Global to repeat its offer. We haven't condemned our colleagues who have chosen to go elsewhere, have we? They were in negotiations with prospective employers as well.
The events of the past 24 hours do not bode well for an orderly, productive and creative return to work that could save the CBC.

Technorati tags
, , , , ,
Links to this post

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home
I write in a renovated garret in my house in a part of Toronto, Canada, called "The Pocket." The blog is named for a tree can be seen outside the window of my garret.

My Photo
Name: Robin Rowland
Location: Toronto, Canada

I'm a Toronto-based writer, photographer, web producer, television producer, journalist and teacher. I'm author of five books, the latest A River Kwai Story: The Sonkrai Tribunal. The Garret tree is my blog on the writing life including my progress on my next book (which will be announced here some time in the coming months) My second blog, the Wampo, Nieke and Sonkrai follows the slow progress of my freelanced model railway based on my research on the Burma Thailand Railway (which is why it isn't updated that often) The Creative Guide to Research, based on my book published in 2000 is basically an archive of news, information and hints for both the online and the shoe-leather" researcher. (Google has taken over everything but there are still good hints there)

New blogs as of Sept. 2009
Robin's Weir
Tao of News

November 2004 / December 2004 / January 2005 / March 2005 / April 2005 / May 2005 / June 2005 / July 2005 / August 2005 / September 2005 / October 2005 / November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / August 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / February 2008 / March 2008 / April 2008 / May 2008 / June 2008 / August 2008 / September 2008 / November 2008 / January 2009 / February 2009 / March 2009 / April 2009 / May 2009 / August 2009 /

    follow me on Twitter

    A River Kwai Story
    A River Kwai Story
    The Sonkrai Tribunal