Your thoughts: Are we telling the stories that matter to you?
Hard-hitting, in-depth journalism. More stories that go beyond the daily headlines to tell Manitobans what’s really going on. More positive stories about people giving their time, energy and creativity to change our community for the better.
This was just some of the very candid, direct feedback I received from my last blog focused on CBC News: Winnipeg with host Janet Stewart.
I wanted to know whether we were telling the stories that really mattered to you. When you watch CBC News: Winnipeg at 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m., do you feel up to date on what’s going on in Winnipeg and beyond?
The blog triggered about two dozen responses ranging from high praise to highly critical — but all of it is valuable as we work every day to serve our audiences in Manitoba and across the country.
"CBC has my devotion because you are on the last bastions of journalism in this province," one viewer wrote. "I’m not being dramatic with that statement. The reporting is balanced, timely and probing.
"I want to see more stories that go into depth. Examine the political economy that pulls the levers in Manitoba. Question the statements being made, just don’t be a stenographer to power.
"Talk to people who are marginalized, especially African and aboriginal communities. Make every question a hard question, a question with a point and something that makes people at least a little uncomfortable."
As mentioned, some of the people who responded wanted us to deliver more "positive stories" about the community, providing a balance to our daily coverage of the news.
"Stories of nurses, health care aides, public works staff who clean our streets or clear sewers for us; my garbage man who always has a lovely greeting for us in the morning and whistles while he works; the Manitoba Hydro worker on the top of the pole near our home who fixed our burnt our transformer and restored power to our homes; the maintenance man at our public school who organized a run around the community to help typhoon victims in the Philippines.
"All of them would be delightful to hear about."
Some of you wanted less weather through the 90 minutes, more on the visual arts and even a shorter newscast.
And then there was this:
"How about more coverage outside of that hallowed Perimeter??? I love CBC’s format but there is lot of the rest of the province out there — believe it or not. Winnipeg isn’t the centre of the universe much as 'Peggers like to think it is."
A few people wrote that they very much liked the balance between local, national and international news. But a couple of viewers felt there were many other places to get their fill of national news, in particular, and we shouldn’t be diverting the spotlight away from this community.
"Local news is the best. I do like to hear about local entertainment and local news that happens that day. Not beating the drum on national issues. I’m tired of hearing it on a local newscast."
One respondent thought the CBC had a hard time being objective because we "had to go with the flow" with the government of the day — something I gently yet very clearly refuted.
Another wanted less time devoted to the latest murder or stabbing — "Give me the facts and move on."
But overall, viewers wanted CBC Manitoba to focus on the challenging and important questions that face this province, this community. They wanted us to tackle the difficult issues that other media refuse to touch — unless it’s an effort to be "needlessly inflammatory."
"Stick with the hard, big-picture questions," one person wrote. "Is this the kind of community we want to create in the 21st century?"
All of the feedback has been shared with the people who make CBC News: Winnipeg each and every day. This feedback will definitely lead to ongoing changes to make our television newscasts more used and more valued by more people.
People like you.
By the by, it’s never too late to voice your opinion about what we do at CBC Manitoba. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me directly at (204) 788-3213 or find me on Twitter: @johnbertrandCBC.
After all, this is your public broadcaster. And I very much want to hear from you.