Biggest change in history of CBC News: What it means to you

Jennifer McQuire, general manager and editor in chief of CBC News, on what people can expect from the wholesale renewal of the public broadcaster's news service.

CBC News looks and sounds different today. If you tuned in to World Report this morning, Peter Armstrong, our new host, welcomed you. On television, our newly christened CBC News Network has a new look and some new people bringing you the news. Even this page you are reading is sporting a fresh new look.

These changes and the many others I will tell you about are part of a wholesale renewal of everything we do and how we do it. Internally it has meant many long hours of planning and preparation. It is the biggest change in the history of CBC News. But where it matters is on the screen, on the radio, online and on the growing number of digital mobile platforms featuring CBC News.

What you want from us matters to us. That's why the renewal of CBC News is based on the solid principle of meeting those needs. We did extensive research to see what Canadians wanted from a news provider and from CBC News. We surveyed both those who use our services and those who don't.

We looked at what other broadcasters are doing, here and around the world. All news organizations are struggling to keep up with all the changes in the industry. 

We anticipated what the future would look like and what new technologies would bring and, in fact, are already bringing.

And we harnessed the expertise, talent and commitment of our own employees.

We are not content to sit back and passively let the revolution in the news industry hit us. Rather, we went looking for solutions so we could continue to set the standard for others in Canada.

What you told us

The research led us to a few major themes. Some of them are basic expectations that are the price of entry for any news organization worth its salt.

Over the next few days, weeks and months, you will begin to see how we hope to meet the challenge of providing a valued news service for Canadians.

  • You told us you wanted to be well informed.
  • You told us you wanted news constantly updated and when and how you want it.
  • You told us you wanted the news to be more relevant to your life.
  • You told us you wanted the "whole story" so you could choose what to believe and what decisions to make.
  • You told us to be less formal, less detached in how we present the news.
  • And you told us to let you into the newsgathering process.

CBC News has always been the home of depth, context and analysis. That tradition of excellent journalism will not change.  But you also made it clear that it was not enough.  You want to control how you get your news. That means being there when you want it and how you want it, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

CBC Radio

Our renewed CBC News started early this morning at 5 a.m. here in Ontario and Quebec with a new edition of World Report. You will also notice a shift in how World Report is presented. Expect to hear more live reporting and less repetition as developing stories are tracked throughout the morning - hour to hour as the program rolls out across the country. Peter Armstrong, a journalist fresh from the field and foreign reporting, will bring a modern energy to your mornings. That energy will set the agenda for all our newscasts on CBC Radio, including the World at Six with hosts Alison Smith and Bernie McNamee.

The National

As part of these changes, The National is now on seven days a week and will also be available in a 10-minute format, The National On Demand, at 6 p.m. every evening so you can watch it on our website or download it as a podcast. 

Peter Mansbridge will still preside over an experienced team of journalists, but there will be new names on The National. ((CBC))

Soon we will also be offering a customizable version you can build anytime with only the stories you want to see. We're also launching The National Mobile, a 4-minute news wrap for mobile devices, available each weekday at 6 p.m. ET. 

The full-hour edition (every night at 10 p.m. (10.30pm NT) on CBC Television (6 p.m. ET on Saturdays) and 9 and 11 p.m. ET/PT  on CBC News Network (9 p.m. ET on Sundays), is undergoing significant changes as well. Peter Mansbridge will still preside over an experienced team of journalists but there will be new names on the show, a new format and some new features. Wendy Mesley will bring her provocative style to a regular feature that will incorporate viewer input in new and interesting ways. As always, The National will be the place to go at the end of the day to make sense of the day's events, to get context and analysis.

Local news

We will be first with late local news in most regions across the country at 10.55 p.m. every weeknight. That's in addition to the expanded supper-hour format we introduced in the summer. There will also be more local news on radio with an update at 6:30 p.m. and a new local newscast at 7 p.m. on CBC Radio One, and more local news stories online. Our local programs across the country are revitalized, many with new hosts, a new approach and a renewed commitment to their communities. You told us over and over that local news matters to you.

CBC News Network

The CBC News Network (formerly Newsworld) and will be the go-to places for your news any time of day. Their primary focus will be on live coverage, to be on top of developing and breaking stories as they happen. The CBC News Network will sport an enhanced screen format with the latest headlines, weather, video and information. Through time this will be the place where our online service and our television service will meet and direct you back and forth for more information, interaction or context. Over the next few months, will also undergo a major renewal based on user input and needs.

Heather Hiscox will be one of the hosts on the CBC News Network. ((CBC))

Our daytime programming will be very immediate with layers of meaning added throughout the day as stories develop. Heather Hiscox, Anne-Marie Mediwake, Suhana Meharchand and Carole MacNeil will guide you through it on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET. Nancy Wilson, Dianne Buckner and Jacquie Perrin will host on the weekends. In addition, the latest weather, sports and breaking news will always be there.

As the day unfolds on CBC News Network, you will begin to see more analysis and perspective.  We will spotlight business issues at 4:30 p.m. ET every weekday with Amanda Lang and Kevin O'Leary. Sparks may fly on The Lang & O'Leary Exchange because they are as different a duo as you can get.

We will expand the definition of politics to make it more relevant to you as citizens and individuals. Everyday at 5 p.m. ET, Power & Politics with Evan Solomon will examine how decisions that affect our lives are made both in Ottawa and across the country in the boardrooms and backrooms of power.  Well-known political blogger Kady O'Malley is a new addition to our Ottawa team and will appear regularly, in addition to blogging on's new political site.

Mark Kelley has made it his signature to get up close and personal with his subjects. On Connect with Mark Kelley (weeknights at 7 p.m. ET), regular Canadians will tell their stories and connect with each other on the issues of the day. Joining him nightly will be journalist Reshmi Nair.

Through it all, you will begin to see and hear some subtle indications that point to a certain transparency on our part. You asked to be let in so we will try to do that in ways well beyond seeking your feedback or asking for story ideas. We will demystify the newsgathering process by telling you what we know, when we know it. But we will also be telling you what we don't know and how we are trying to find it out.

Sparks may fly on The Lang & O'Leary Exchange. ((CBC))

Our commitment to immediacy and live coverage does not mean we will turn our back on enterprise and our investigative mandate. CBC will still be the home of documentaries, the fifth estate, Marketplace and the best radio current affairs programs the world has to offer. Much of that work will also be showcased in different formats, allowing you to see and hear it on The National, World Report, our local programming and online.

We thought long and hard about what the CBC News of the future should look like. The CBC News team has worked very hard to make this vision come to life. We hope you continue to make us your news source and that you will continue to tell us what you think about the work we do for you. We are striving to make sure you see and hear yourselves more on our airwaves. We will be examining our editorial choices more carefully and making sure that the stories we cover are those that matter to you as you make ends meet, raise families, deal with workplace issues and find your place as informed citizens.

Thank you.