Best Newscast in country
at RTNDA awards
Theres awards, and then theres awards.
And being named the best newscast in the country, well, thats pretty much the ultimate.
Thats the prize conferred on CBC Here Now, by the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) of Canada at a weekend awards ceremony in Moncton.
It was a regional event, at which Here Now won top newscast in Atlantic Canada, but the RTNDA announced that Here Now would also be winning national honours at its conference in June.
The prize is for medium market which relates to the size of the viewing population. There are small, medium and national market awards.
There were other accolades for Here Now. Deanne Fleet won a regional award for investigative reporting, for her series of reports into real estate developer Bill Clarke.
CBC Radio also won awards: Rod Etheridge for continuing coverage of the Cameron Inquiry, and Chris ONeill-Yates for investigative reporting on mental health issues for teenagers.
You can read the full story here.
Its just the latest in a parade of successes for Here Now. Early in May, at the Atlantic Journalism (AJ) Awards in Moncton, Here Now walked away with three Gold Awards, for Spot News (Glenn Payette), Enterprise Reporting (Chris ONeill-Yates) and Best New Journalist (Zach Goudie). As well, Deanne Fleet was a finalist in the Continuing Coverage award. (CBC Radio won two Gold Awards as well.)
As comparison, the NTV Evening Newshour wasnt even mentioned in the RTNDA awards, and was a finalist in one category of the AJ awards.
On top of that, Here Now received a major boost in ratings numbers earlier this year. So the show is definitely doing something right, despite occasional naysayers who criticize the shows new format. (CBC has been taking counsel from an American media consulting company, which has resulted in more live news hits and generally shorter, more focused items.)
Janice Stein, News Director for TV, Radio and Online, is effusive in her praise for the Here Now team.
Im beaming, she said in an interview. Im so proud of everybody. They deserve it so much and Im just so proud of them I really feel as if CBC NL has done exceptionally well in the awards this time around. At the AJAs, I dont think there was any other station in Atlantic Canada that won five gold. And for the RTNDAs, we swept the whole investigative reporting category for radio and television.
I asked about criticism that the shows new format, with shorter pieces, limits how deeply they can penetrate many stories.
The stories are a lot shorter. In the old days, you would have had a really long piece that had everything in it. Now we break it up so there is a focus. Well have three or four stories on the same subject, sprinkled throughout the show, with a variety of treatments. One of the things the public has said it wants is the real story, which means they want to hear a number of different sides of the story. And its difficult to absorb all that when you put it all into one long, omnibus of a piece.
Stein added, however, that recent successes with ratings and awards confirm they are on the right course.
If you look at the latest ratings the audience is really liking what they see on Here Now. What were doing is based on audience research, which we did in this market to find out what audiences wanted And clearly the audience likes it because they are watching us in startlingly more numbers The awards are recognition from our colleagues that the work is very good, and the ratings show that the public likes what we are doing. So there may be some naysayers, but theyre becoming fewer.
If you watch both Here Now and the NTV Newshour, and make careful comparisons which I have been doing lately its not hard to see why Here Now is winning awards and new viewers. They are doing far more investigative reporting than NTV, and more live news reports. And, where NTV piles on its local news in the front of the program, Here Now spreads it out, so that important local news pieces are airing in every quarter-hour. Here Now also has the Ryan Snoddon factor.
The NTV Newshour runs out of strong local news shortly after 6:30 pm. After that, theres a variety of pre-packaged segments some local, some national, some good, some not so good but not much in the way of hard local news.
I will not criticize the reporters at NTV. Their reporting is solid, and they do break stories of their own. There are more live news hits, though not as many as Here Now. But the show does need to rethink its format, if the flow of viewers over to Here Now is to be stemmed.
If Here Nows growth trend continues in the next book, look for format changes and perhaps the addition of new staff over at NTV.
In conclusion, yes, I could pick a few holes in some of the things Ive seen on Here Now lately. And I probably will, at some point. But not today. The entire crew deserves unconditional congratulations for these latest accomplishments.