The Garret Tree
Sunday, October 09, 2005
  CBC 136: CMG CBC agreement ratified
From the CMG website:

New collective agreement ratified by 88.4% of voters

Members of the Canadian Media Guild have voted 88.4% in favour of ratification of the new collective agreement.

A total of 3514 Guild members from across the country cast ballots; of those, 3106 voted yes; 394 voted against the deal. 14 other ballots were either spoiled or challenged and not accepted.

The ratification officially puts an end to the lockout which began nearly two months ago.

“This kind of support shows that the membership believes we’ve succeeded in pushing the CBC back from its demand to de-stabilize our workforce. We have established that the CBC will use permanent employees for its ongoing activities,” says the Guild’s CBC Branch president Arnold Amber.

Amber adds: “Many people have talked about how the events of the past eight weeks have helped bring Guild members together in a new way. I think that’s reflected in the high voter turnout.”

The majority of Guild members will be returning to work as of Tuesday, October 11. It is expected to be several days before CBC programming returns to normal.

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Friday, October 07, 2005
  The torch has passed.....

It was once said that one year on the Net was five years in the real world.

It may be that 50 days in blogosphere are now a generation in the real world.

The torch is already passing to a new generation of journalists. If CBC management is still wondering what do with all that happened in those 50 plus days of lockout, they are not alone. The rest of the Canadian media and other Canadian media managers are already under scrutiny from talents much younger....

A link check on my site this morning shows that there is a new voice in the Canadian media blogosphere:

The Fine Young Journalist

He's colleague, not CBC:
I'm a young Canadian journalist, working for a major media outlet in a major Canadian city. I'm going to stay anonymous, at least for now, because, well, I'm skittish. I don't know what my bosses would think of this. I don't intend to slag them, because I like where I work, but I might need to criticize them from time to time and I want to feel free to do it.

I'm not a typical young Canadian journalist: I have a full-time permanent job, the kind staff at the CBC have recently been fighting to make more of. I've done tours of duty in more than one newsroom along the way, but I had the good luck to grab hold earlier than most people get it.

The CBC lockout is part of what made me decide to start this blog. I'd been thinking about it for awhile, but having followed the "labour disruption" closely, I hope one of the lasting effects of it will be an ongoing re-examination of what Canada has a public broadcaster for. That should include a deeper examination of what The News is and how it should be presented in an era of new technology traditional media haven't learned how to embrace. I want to be part of that conversation.

This guy knows stuff I don't. It was his response to my post about Brightcove on the Creative Guide to Research that led me back. So I am hoping he keeps it up because I've already bookmarked that blog.

There's also The Pod, from Quebec journalism students, which I mentioned earlier. (Not many posts, but as former J-prof I know J-students can be busy at times. Keep it going Pod folks)

Justin Beach is getting his new site up and running.

It now appears that the CBC lockout may have changed more than just labour relations.
Stay clicked.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005
  Changes to Creative Guide blog

Since I decided that I would continue to look at developments, such as podcasting, in how writers and reporters deliver what they research, I have retitled my other blog to The Creative Guide to Research and Reporting.

And the newest post is "From a 500 channel to a 1,000,000+ universe"
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Wednesday, October 05, 2005
  Lockout photo requests

For all those who made requests for my lockout photos, here is what I plan.

First finish the edits to the book. I have promised the editor they will be ready by Tuesday's return to work.

It will then take me a few days to finish sorting and labelling the pictures on the computer so I can find them quickly. (Everything is already backed up on DVD).

At that point I will burn CDs for those who requested the pix and contact you when they are ready.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005
  Changes to The Garret Tree

I have had a number of requests both by e-mail and on other blogs to keep the expanded Garret Tree going.

For a number of reasons, mainly time constraints, I have decided to put The Garret Tree back to its original purpose, my chronicle of book writing.

However, I have decided to continue to keep my eye on technical and web or blog related developments in the media world. I have also decided to transfer all future posts in that area to my other blog The Creative Guide to Research, which has been sadly neglected in the past few months. So anything I see interesting in the blogging or podcasting world will appear on that site, together with my tips and news on web research.

The first new post is up. Want to know how the blog search engines fared on the night of the settlement? You will find my review here.
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Monday, October 03, 2005
  CBC 135: Why we won
If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
Sun Tzu The Art of War

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  CBC 134: Here be dragons and Dalet

Antonia Zerbisias of the Star has just posted her take on the end of the lockout in Poop Deck.

Money quote:

The locked out CBC workers proved that the corporation is not about managers with expense account lunches and fancy perks. It's about passionate people who carry on their public service even if they are not getting paid for it. They must now use their demonstrated solidarity and grit to repair and rebuild CBC into a national institution that all Canadians value. They must do that in spite of some of the managers who are little more than careerists who have never produced a frame of video or a single sound bite and wouldn't know an Avid from an Advil.

She concludes by quoting "Captain Hook" who comments on Drone's website and says.
But it seems to me like we are a crew going back to the ship after a long time at port. The place is a mess, the sails are in tatters and the map has been lost. We'll be expected to clean up the mess, and then set sail once again... following the directives of the same bunch of drunken pirates who ran us aground in the first place.

To which Antonia adds: "Time for some folks to walk the plank."

Aaaaaaaaaagh Matey, I'm not so sure Hook's analogy is the right one.

We've sailed round the Horn, seen the seas where "here be dragons" and defeated them with Dalet, sailed up and blasted broadsides, even if it was with blogs, not blunderbuses. The crew took sloops and small boats through a storm under a jury rig. Now we're back in port, the sails are tattered, the hulls are cracked and patched, supplies have almost run out. But that crew has seen such wonders that it has changed them for ever. That may not become apparent the first day they step shore and the doors are unlocked at the Admiralty. But it will bit by bit by bit....and if not on the good ship CBC, on other ships on the media seas.

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  CBC 133: Wednesday wrap for CBCunlocked

Assuming all goes well with dotting i's and crossing t's and ratifying the new agreement between the Canadian Media Guild and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, staff at the CBCunlocked alternative lockout news site plan to wrap operations on Wednesday after "Hockey Day in Canada" a look at the NHL's return to work is posted.

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  CBC 132: Headline of the afternoon: CBC plugged back in

Headline of the afternoon from Toronto screen writer Denis McGrath's blog, Dead Things on Sticks (one I haven't seen before).

His review of the lockout: CBC plugged back in

Key excerpt:

From the moment the lockout started, there was an explosion of blogging that got the stories of the locked-out workers out. Eventually, that morphed into radio shows being done on campus stations, caravans going across the country reporting the unreported news in various Canadian outports, and even an online news site filled with robust reporting that the overwhelmed locked-in managers, running a skeleton service, simply couldn't match. It's the talent, stupid. That's the message that came through loud and clear. The PR war was decidedly won by the workers in this one. The managers seemed like they did not have a plan; their justifications for why they needed to be able to hire and fire contract workers at will seemed, as the weeks went on, just to be indicative of how poor their strategic planning was generally.

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  CBC 131: Thanks to Tod, a gnome, the rock and everyone
The sun has come up this morning......(yeah it's a bad song). Actually here in Toronto it's overcast.
Went to bed just after 0200 Toronto time, already planning the first post on my much neglected research blog. Neighbor's kids having a good time at breakfast woke me up about 0730. Probably will sleep better tonight.

A new phase begins.....

Thanks to Tod Maffin in Vancouver for all his work and John Gushue, my wake-up reading each morning and all the other bloggers, including Ouimet. It was quite a ride.

Thanks to a sneaky gnome who showed up in unexpected places and made us chuckle.

Thanks to Shelagh and her team for taking us across the country and showing that the CBC's people are one of the ties that does bind us together.

Thanks to all the musicians who entertained us at Simcoe Park, thanks to Gregg and Leslie and everyone else who organized the concerts. Thanks to those that showed a bake-off can be as effective a weapon in a labour dispute as Ottawa's traditional "tighten the line" crew was there.

Thanks to all the sources who fed me legitimate info. The managers, for example, waiting at a red light who knew me and talked a little louder, those from inside the broadcast centre and outside, from the CBC and elsewhere, who sent me e-mails from their own addresses with valuable information or who confirmed what I was trying to find out. My "John Street irregulars"--the picket captains always ready with a tip when I walked by with my camera or who sent me e-mails when I wasn't around the TBC.

Thanks to the Canadian Media Guild negotiating team who were the rock in all this.

Thanks to everyone who didn't fold in three weeks as the consultants expected.

An apology to that still-anonymous blogger Loyalist who has this love-hate relationship with the Corp and its people. He covered this as regularly as Tod or John, albeit from a let's kill the CBC (maybe) point of view. I called him a gutless CBCphobe. I was wrong. He may be anonymous, he may have a slant, but unlike most anonymous bloggers, especially those on his side of the political fence, he has the integrity to acknowledge the views of others, even if it is in a tongue-in-cheek, half-assed way. I still call on him to come out of his closet, use his own name and really be the Canadian Andrew Sullivan he could be. It's a voice Canada needs now that all us Lib-Left (maybe) CBCers are going back to work.

Now I really I have to finish the edits on the book before we go back to work. Light blogging ahead.
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  CBC 130: CBC has permanent employees Amber tells Globe

Globe and Mail story just published on their site.


"This will establish once and for all that the CBC will continue as a work force of permanent employees," said Arnold Amber, president of the guild's CBC branch and one of the union's main negotiators.

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  CBC 129:Agreement in principle:CMG

Details just posted on CMG site.

We have an agreement in principle!

We are very pleased to report that the Canadian Media Guild and CBC management have reached an agreement in principle that will form the basis for a new, fair collective agreement.

We still have work to do. A committee will be formed to write the remaining contract language to form a tentative agreement for ratification.

The next phase of negotiations is to work out a return to work protocol. We’ll get back to you with more details as quickly as we can. Until further notice, picket lines will remain in effect.

Here are some initial highlights of the deal:
• we have a strong commitment to permanent staff as the standard for employment at the CBC.
• We have improved rights for contract and temporary employees.
• Wages will increase by 12.6 percent over the life of the contract to March 31, 2009. There will be full retroactivity for all employees on the payroll prior to the lockout, including contract and temporary employees. There will also be a $1000 signing bonus.

And for the first time for our members in the Northern Service, there will be an interpreters’ premium of $800.00 per year for those who are required to work in more than one language.

We would like to thank everyone for their resolve and support. We will be meeting the minister of labour tomorrow morning and will continue the rest of the work for a tentative agreement.

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  CBC 128, Reports say deal reached, CMG conference call underway

Tod Maffin reports on his site that there is a deal.

Also there are reports that all regional CMG presidents have been on a conference
call since 2345 ET Sunday. That message received at 1240 ET Mnday.

Update 12:55

CMG Ottawa site reports en francias

CBC et la GCM en sont venus à une entente aprèes un marathon de négociation.

Selon des sources qui restent à vérifier :
Pleine retro depuis avril 2004, + 1,000$ à la signature. Un pourcentage limite du nombre de contractuels selon le nombre d'employés permanents. Entente valide jusqu'en Mars 2009

Translation: CBC and the CMG reached an agreement afer marathon negotiation. According to sources it includes full retro since April 2004, plus $1,000 on signature. A percentage limits number of contract workers according to the number of permanent employees. Agreement runs until March 2009.

update 0107 -Guild hotline jammed. Nothing yet on official sites.

Maffin says:The CMG has updated it's bargaining hotline. The message indicates that the two sides have reached an "agreement in priciple which will form the basis of a new and fair collective agreement". A committee will be created to complete the agreement, and a return to work protocol will be established.

Update 0117 Gushue's details

The proposed agreement still needs to be written into formal contract language before being brought to members as a "deal"....

I am told that the most contentious issue - the number of new contract positions - will be limited and will be tied to the overall size of the bargaining unit. The statement says strong language has been achieved to protect the full-time workforce...

The contract, if ratified, will last until March 31, 2009. It is retroactive to April 1, 2004.

It includes a $1,000 signing bonus, plus wage increases worth 12.6 per cent over the life of the contract....

Among the issues to be worked out: a way of getting all 5,500 locked-out workers back on the job in an orderly fashion, and with it a restoration of services...

CBC and CMG negotiators will be meeting with Labour Minister Joe Fontana in the morning.

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Sunday, October 02, 2005
  Why not comments on this blog? And more.
A number of people have asked why I don't allow comments on this blog.

I began this blog a year ago to talk about my book and to only do that. Most authors these days have to blog their books because publishers do little, if any publicity, on mid-list books. I made a conscious decision at that time to keep it narrowly focused on the book to avoid any conflict of interest with my day job at CBC. I plan to return to that once this is over.

At that time I had been following blogs for quite a while. I modeled it in a small way on Andrew Sullivan's high successful Daily Dish, which is number nine on the Technorati top one hundred. Sullivan does not allow comments, he does publish e-mail. I have always published legitimate e-mail comments as soon as possible after I have received them. E-mail allows time for someone to make a thoughtful response to a blog post.

Seth Godin also does not allow comments on his blog. Godin is considered one of the top gurus of blogging.

He says in his e-book on blogging

if you want to say something about one of my ideas go ahead and track back and put it on your blog. Your non-anonymous blog. Your comment where your comment is context with all your other comments.

The system that I and most people in this lockout use doesn't, at the moment, allow trackbacks.

So I have linked to other sites where the comments are relevant and legitimate.

Also maintaining and vetting comments and removing flame comments takes a lot of time. So does stopping attacks of topic spam which have disrupted many lockout sites. Those people who simply post comments and don't run blogs don't have to deal with comment spam.

My blogging has taken more time from my book than I wanted to do.

I could have done all this anonymously as others have (although by now most people know who the various anonymous ones are). I decided to keep my name on this.

I have not posted e-mails which I was easily able to prove were phony by tracking them back to the transmission source.

Have I gone "off the rails" as Ouimet once said? Not sure about that. I may have gone a little over the top now and again, (but that is blogosphere isn't it?) I have made every effort to keep this blog as credible as possible. I decided to post "chatter" and identify it as "chatter" because I felt there was always some underlying truth to what I posted.

The aim of all posts, both the reports on what was happening and on the new media technology and what other organizations are doing was to make things a little better after we get back in. So I stand by that.

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  CBC Breaking News: Meditators "want it over tonight"

The mediators working with the CBC and CMG in Hull have apparently told both sides they "want it over by tonight" meaning the current 1800 ET deadline for the end of the news blackout.

Update: 1553. Deadline extended. Tod Maffin reports that his sources tell him the deadlne has been extended to midight. That deadline extension has now been confirmed on the CMG hotline. 1-888-591-9129. The CMG, in its briefing earlier this aftenroon at Simcoe Park, did say that was a possiblity.

CMG officials say there is some progess and "there have been cracks" but management is still sticking to many of their points.

When talks began again after a break early Sunday morning, money was on the table for the first time, a good sign that of progress.

CMG president Lise Lareau briefed picketers at Simcoe Park at about 1330 ET Sunday.
She said she could give few details because of the news blackout but she urged CMG members to keep a close eye on the Guild website in the coming hours.

She warned that some "key issues" still remain to be resolved, but she also commented that mediator Elizabeth MacPherson, director-general of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, who is also a labour lawyer has been "a great deal of help" in sorting out the thorny issues in contract language.

Ratification and return: Asked when there would be ratification vote and a return to work, Lareau made the point that most ratifciation and return customs have been decided in strikes, not lockouts, so "it is a grey area." A ratification and return to work protocol will be negotiated at the table, and, in certain circumstances, it might, emphasizing might, include a return prior to a formal ratification if the CMG was satisfied with all terms of the contract and could recommend ratification.

Another sign of possible progress was that Lareau spoke mainly about the future of the CBC, which she called "a very sick sick organization."

(The CBC is also looking to the future: They have apparently hired yet another consultant to help advise on a peaceful return to work.)

The CMG is also looking at ways of ensuring that there is "a sane way" to return to work.

But in the long term she called on the government to take a hard look at the way the CBC has been managed for the past eight years. "The problems just won't go away," she said, adding the government "cannot distance" itself from what has happened. "The hands off approach has allowed bad management to thrive."

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  CBC 127: Paul Workman responds: "still a believer" in CBC

Updated: 1601, 2040 Zerbisias and a personal response.

I have just received the following e-mail from Paul Workman in France.
I was surprised as anybody to read about my apparent replacement in Paris. This was the first time I’d heard any of this. I think it’s unfortunate that my future is being discussed publicly in a newspaper or on the web, rather than as a private conversation between employee and employer. I always thought this type of discussion was privileged.

Let me first thank all the people who have written notes of support and encouragement; I appreciate the hardship this lockout has caused and I admire the conduct and determination of my friends and colleagues on the picket lines. I’ve worked at the CBC for 30 years, and dedicated my professional life to what I consider to be a vital Canadian institution. And I’m still a believer, though more and more discouraged by what I see happening. I recently signed a new contract to continue working abroad, so I was understandably distraught to learn the CBC has already chosen my successor, and apparently done so in secret during the lockout. I chose not to go back to work as a small gesture of solidarity and as many people know, was placed on “unauthorized leave.” I wish nothing more than to continue my profession as a foreign correspondent with the CBC.

Paul Workman

My opinion is that we have two of the CBC's most hard working correspondents caught in the middle of a fight that neither deserve. Both men are credits to the organization that CBC could be.

Chatter: There was informed chatter this afternoon, which I cannot independently confirm, that the leak to Antonia Zerbisias was a deliberate attempt to cause disruption and dissension among the lockedout.
If that was the case, the comments on other blogs show that the leaker succeeded and that was a win for their side. And if what I have heard is true, for a manager to try for such a small short term gain and cause such long term damage to the CBC, means that person should be evicted immediately from the Toronto Broadcast Centre not only for breaking confidentiality but for absolute stupidity.

Note 2032: Comments on other blogs have accused me of inventing a conspiracy theory. In this part I was simply reporting what I heard this afternoon from people outside the Toronto Broadcast Centre. That is why it was identified as "chatter." If readers would care to read what I wrote I said I could not independently confirm this, and I used the term "if" a number of times. It was simply a case of reporting what is part of the prevailing vicious mood after all these weeks.

Antonia Zerbisias responds at 1601 ET:

I would appreciate your ceasing to speculate over the source of "the leak," or the motives for it. It is a waste of time, and will lead nowhere except to foster further unnecessary acrimony. Indeed it is completely destructive. Watching this unfold, I feel great sorrow for CBC right now, especially CBC News for which I was once a proud, if insecure, contract worker.

Finally, I must say it's as if you (and others) are shooting the messenger here. Workman's recall is a legitimate story. His replacement is part of it. My facts have yet to be disputed. I did my job. Please keep your internecine wars to yourselves.

Robin's comment:I agree that it is a legitimate story at any time. But these are not normal times and so the reaction was a lot different than it would have been during any other time. That, unfortunately, made Zerbisias not just the messenger but part of the story. The story was not just that Common could replace Workman but the fact that it leaked at this critical time.

Antonia at 2030 ET has asked that I post one more response. E-mail comments are now closed on this issue and I am adding no more comments.

The story was not just that Common could replace Workman but the fact that it leaked at this critical time."
Oh. So as a journalist I should withold a story that is current -- the offer was made in writing during the lockout, as even David Common confirms -- because it's ''a critical time?''
Please. I'd like to see somebody sell that concept that during a news meeting at The National: "Oh, I have this scoop on my beat about something which is happening now but it's 'a critical time' and all so maybe we should wait until after the 'critical time' to run it?"

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  CBC 126: Who leaked the Common Workman mess?

I got an e-mail last night asking who is the villian in the Paul Workman-David Common mess?

Let's review who is involved.

Antonia Zerbisias reported the facts as she knew them. She can be faulted for not making an extra effort to contact David before blogging. She says this morning:
Finally, while I admit I did not try to contact Common for ''his side of the story," I wasn't presenting "sides." I was reporting that Paul Workman was leaving Paris and that Common would replace him.

I had no trouble getting hold of David and he told me Saturday his phone was ringing all day.

David Common received an offer from Global in the middle of a nasty lockout. He clearly wanted to stay at CBC, but he had no income apart from lockout pay and the part time job, and a new mortgage and a new baby. What was he supposed to do? It is a grey area. But also this kind of thing seldom comes up in other industrial action. Whether it is mill worker, miner, teacher or pilot, a person on the picket line in other industries is not usually in the position to be subject to a bidding war as a promising TV correspondent might be.

Tony Burman and George Hoff, both middle managers in this mess, were faced with at least one case where they needed to keep a promising correspondent in the fold. In that area, they too were caught in the middle.

So we come down to the question of who leaked and why?

David Common did not leak the story. Burman and Hoff as far as I can tell, had no reason to leak, there is no upside on this for them.

There was a confidentiality agreement on both sides. David Common did not talk to me until that agreement was apparently broken first by someone inside the Toronto Broadcast Centre.

Zerbisias also knew that there was confidentialiy clause because she also mentions it in her blog.

I must add however that there was also a confidentiality agreement tied to the CBC's offer which may have been broken -- rendering the understanding ''null and void."

Zerbisias has said, also on her blog
, that she will not reveal her source.
The other thing is who leaked the David Common offer and why... You won't be getting an answer from me.

If we're playing the "who is the source" game, then a little intelligence analysis must conclude that the inside leaker was someone close enough to the top to know and to tell Zerbisias that there was a confidentiality clause in the agreement. Another party, perhaps a manager a couple of times removed, who was not so close to the deal may have known the basics enough to give out the story, but not likely the confidentiality clause.

So it appears that the leak came from a real insider. Then the question is why? That's harder to tell. As all reporters know, people leak for all kinds of reasons. I once got a leak from an official who had been passed over for promotion and wanted to get in a dig at his managers.

This is a highly volatile situation. So was the leaker in this case just a gossip who gave no thought to what would happen? Or is the leaker throwing fuel on the fire for reasons we don't know?

Everyone in journalism has been on the receiving end of leaks, we depend on them, we protect our sources. Now we are seeing in our own house what a messy leak does to everyone. That doesn't mean we should give up getting information from our sources, but perhaps we will be a little more wary of their motives in the future.

The other factor in all this is the apparent move by news management to ease out the older generation of correspondents, both at home and overseas. What this lockout has done has made what was before August 15 a matter of hall talk an open issue of fairness to veterans, the correspondents who were those responsible for CBC's reputation for good journalism for years. It also makes other older workers wondering if they are next on a hit list.

I also find the attacks on other blogs on David Common's lack of experience compared to Workman rather unfair. The fault is not his, but the previous generation of news managers. The problem as I said before, was that in the 1990s every news organization in North America, not just the CBC, trimmed to much, laying off many promising young people while keeping the experienced boomers. If you look at CBC and CTV, there are not that many "middle generation" correspondents around. There are either the veterans or the up and comers.

There is the old story about many news organizations, a decade ago, ignoring the death of Kurt Cobain and how that was a sign they were out of touch. Well the kid who 10 years ago would have told the desk that Cobain's death was news would, if many managers across the continent had an ounce of vision, be an established foreign correspondent by now. (And some networks and newspapers did have that vision or were in the right place at the right time, CNN was hiring as others were layling off in the early 1990s).

So now these current managers are trying to kill two birds with one stone. Get young faces on the screen and fill in the gaps as veterans either retire or are eased out because "they don't fit the demographic," (That last quote comes from a TV reporter from Los Angeles I met a couple of years ago. He was on contract and fired on his 50th birthday for that very reason).

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Saturday, October 01, 2005
  CBC 125: News blackout extended

Updated 0919 ET Sunday
The negotiating news blackout has been another 12 hours to 1800 ET Sunday.

The CMG hotline says the talks are going "slowly." Late Saturday Tod Maffin quoted his sources as saying the CBC and CMG were "not close."

No comment as of this hour on the CBC negotiations site.

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  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.

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  CBC 123: We need a reporter-driven CBC News

Wnat has made the news provided by the locked out for the past seven weeks so attractive to the audience, the audience for CBCunlocked, the too-short life of Toronto Unlocked, yes, even the blogs?

All these sites, broadcasts and podcasts are largely reporter driven. The blogs are completely self-assigned, blogger driven.

For the formal sites, stories are pitched. Many are accepted and the reporter goes out and gets the story or calls in the guest (as was the case at Toronto Unlocked). For the blogs, you just write.

Brian Jones, clearly no lover of the CBC, writing in the St. John's Telegram says:

I’ll let you in on a little trade secret. The CBC obtains some of its “scoops” from newspapers. Toss a handful of pens across any given newspaper newsroom, and you’re bound to hit a busload of reporters who have had the unpleasant experience of hearing their stories read — sometimes almost verbatim, and usually without attribution — over the CBC’s airwaves.

Well Jones must listen to and watch CBC a lot, perhaps to the exclusion of all others, because broadcasters scalping the newspapers has never been a secret. Everyone in broadcasting does it, from the tiniest radio station to the big international cable networks. Ask someone on the New York Times and they will tell how that on an ordinary day the stories on the three U.S. broadcast networks usually mirror that morning's Times.

Which brings me back to getting a reporter driven stories. If I had a dollar for all the times I have heard a reporter or producer at CBC complain that their ideas were ignored until the story appeared in the Globe and Mail or Toronto Star or another paper, I wouldn't need my lockout pay.

What can make the CBC dull at times is that it is too top heavy. Decisions made in early morning meetings are hard to change. There are lots of talented reporters and producers at CBC, chasing stories that were in that morning's paper when they could be doing something more interesting, the kind of reporting we have seen on no budget for the past weeks.

At a recent get together I was recalling my first job on the Sudbury Star where as police reporter, I could just hang out at the cop shop in the afternoon. It was a Thomson paper in those days, they may have been cheap, but they understand to fill in the space between the ads, reporters had to be reporters. And I did get scoops about a botched investigation. And a phone call at 3 a.m. one morning about a major fire. No one called my friends in TV. I got stills of what we inside call "great flames." The TV stations had a VO of smouldering ashes shot at high noon. But the TV reporters who were at the morning briefing never got to hang out in the afternoon, they were on some other story, so they never got that call, never got the brown envelope.

These days the emphasis is on "productivity." Just hanging out is not "productive." One of the CBC's political reporters agreed with me. If nothing is happening in the political arena that day, the reporter doesn't get to hang out, there are too few reporters and the desk has already decided what to do. So this reporter is sent on a time-filling story when the time would be better served back hanging with the politicians, aides and civil servants and hearing what is really happening, instead of waiting for rhe next news conference. (I also have a couple of friends, ex-CBC, who are now political or public service PR. Everytime I meet them they grin and say, "Gee if you really knew what was going on...." or "We fooled you guys on that one.")

The best newspapers are reporter and writer driven. Good newspapers begin to die when the beancounters and MBAs take over and demand "productivity" and don't care what the product actually is.

I made a similar point in the How to Save the CBC Post

A newspaper reporter has never needed nothing more than a notebook. Once tape recorders were small enough to carry first on the shoulder and then in the hand that gave radio reporters that freedom. You now have digital video cameras that also fit in the palm of your hand. Yet broadcasting is still largely stuck in the assignment paradigm when to produce even the simplist story you needed heavy equipment and a technical crew of at least two, plus the reporter and the producer.

I have been in too many assignment meetings where the desk says "we are short of reporters." So the CBC has to find a way of getting more reporters, a lot more repoters, a lot more original stories. And as I said earlier, online stories and blogging provides an opportunity for good reporting by people who are not so good on air--and that has been proven every day by CBCunlocked, where people have been able to show what they can do.

If the CBC doesn't become more lively, with more originality, the audience won't come back.
It appears that management may be planning a fancy ad campaign. But management ads had very little impact during the lockout, so without something for people to watch or listen to, those ads will be as ineffective.

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  CBC 122: CBC could lose Grey Cup:National Post

The National Post says this morning:

The labour dispute between the CBC and its unionized employees could prompt the Canadian Football League to move the Grey Cup broadcast to another network, and commissioner Tom Wright expects an official decision to be made within the next two or three weeks.

That means the CFL is probably not happy with the announcer-less broadcasts. But here's hoping it doesn't come to that. (How many times have we said that?)
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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.

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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)

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