The Current

'Thank you for listening': Anna Maria Tremonti's goodbye speech in full

Anna Maria Tremonti bows out with a final essay on what journalism has meant to her, and still means in today's world.

After 17 seasons as host of The Current, Tremonti bows out with a final essay

Anna Maria Tremonti leaves the stage after her final show as host of The Current. (Andrew Nguyen/CBC)
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You know if I'd known there was so much love out there I would've either quit sooner, or I wouldn't leave at all — just to kind of keep it all.

But I have been overwhelmed at all the attention I've been getting lately and the kindness. And I am deeply moved by how much the kind of journalism we've been doing here at The Current matters to all of you.

I end every show by thanking you for listening to The Current, and I've always truly meant it because it's a privilege, and it's a really fulfilling thing to be able to say: 'Listen to this! Listen to what I figured out with my reporting, listen to what I've learned!'

Or: 'You've got to hear what this person is saying, or thinking, or doing — listen to this!' So that's why I want to thank you all the time.

And you know I get to do that almost every day, several times a day, and I've gotten to do it for years.

Because you — and I'm talking to those of you here in the audience in the CBC atrium, and I'm talking to those of you who are thousands of miles away, turning up your smartphone just a notch.

You, the smart, curious audience, wanted to hear about all the things that we've brought forward on this show.

Tremonti on stage during her final show. (Andrew Nguyen/CBC)

For 17 seasons you have been my partners in listening.

In fact, the most important thing I have learned in hosting The Current is how to listen. Not how to talk, not how to ask questions, but how to listen, how to say nothing even, and hear what someone else is really saying.

Because I learn not in the asking, but in the hearing.

I learn about someone or something in the words that are spoken, and in how they're spoken, and the words that are used. In the exuberance, in the hesitation, in the emotion. Even the silences tell me something, and they tell me something loudly.

Anna Maria Tremonti's goodbye speech 4:58

In a world where so many people are shouting at each other, where so many refuse to hear anything but their own voice, the ability to hear another side, to think differently, to question yourself, to learn something new, that is a gift.

And there's another side to this listening. We made a decision here at The Current 17 seasons ago that we were not going to be afraid of tough or controversial subjects.

We made a decision that conversations grounded in journalism, with all the research and the rigour, and all the uncomfortable facts, were worthy pursuits. Even at 8:30 in the morning. And we have been richly rewarded with an audience that gets bigger. With the satisfaction of knowing that we're on to issues that matter, with the realization that even though we can't see you out there every day, you need us to continue.

The most important thing I have learned ... is how to listen. Not how to talk, not how to ask questions, but how to listen- Anna Maria Tremonti

We're in an era where fake news is a reality, where substandard information competes with quality journalism. At a time when major issues are confronting our world and our lives, and where journalism is too often suspect, where those who we have an obligation to hold to account would like to discredit us.

Some days it's enough to make me want to crawl under a rock, but I have been reminded daily that there is a hunger for fact, that the majority of people want a world that helps, not a world that hurts. And that big and complicated ideas are not a turnoff, they are embraced.

That's where I find my eternal optimism. I think journalism matters and obviously so do you.

As Anna Maria Tremonti wraps up 17 seasons as host of The Current, friends and colleagues look back at her remarkable career. 6:10

And so as I leave this program in my own pursuit of new challenges, with changing technology, where I can experiment a little more with how to present a story or a conversation — I'm not leaving journalism.

I'm not abandoning my efforts to search out individual, particular stories that speak to wider universal truths. Because I know there are a whole lot of you who care about the detail, about the truth, about compassion, and about others.

And that's why I say thank you, for listening to The Current.

And thank you for listening to me.


Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full essay.

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