It’s as if a bunch of reporters stood up for a game of musical chairs – and all sat down in the CBC chair.
That is, there’s been a spate of hiring – and resigning – in the local media scene, and CBC has been doing most of the recruiting.
It’s hard to know where to begin. Perhaps the biggest development is the resignation of Rob Antle, investigative reporter with “Atlantic Business” magazine, to become journalist/editor with CBC. Antle finishes with “Atlantic Business” at the end of November.
As well, Carolyn Stokes has left her position as a full-time reporter with The NTV Evening Newshour to take a short-term contract with CBC NL.
That’s not all. Adam Walsh has left VOCM and David Newell, The Advertiser, to join CBC. And Krissy Holmes, who left Rogers TV’s “Out of the Fog” last year, has also been hired at CBC and is already filing news reports.
I invited a comment from Carolyn Stokes and David Newell. Stokes has yet to reply, but Newell sent me this note:
“It was an incredibly difficult decision to leave the Advertiser,” said Newell, who was editor of the paper. “It is tough to walk away from good friends, who you spend a great deal of time with. The paper was a fantastic place to be and my employer was top notch. But, like many Canadians, I grew up with CBC Radio as my soundtrack and the opportunity to be a part of it was something I couldn't pass up. Radio is obviously a big switch from print, but I am surrounded by some of the best talent around and am overwhelmed by how welcoming and willing to help the CBC team has been.”
Rob Antle’s departure was something of a surprise, given that he left The Telegram in December 2010, just under a year ago, to take his position with “Atlantic Business”. (And it needs to be stressed here how much that magazine has improved, steadily and consistently, under the leadership of Editor Dawn Chafe.)
“It was a very difficult decision to leave the magazine,” Antle said, in an email exchange. “Dawn is great to work with, and Edwina and Hubert (Hutton, the publishers) have been wonderful to me. But when the job came up at CBC, I decided it was an opportunity that was too good to turn down.”
Antle will be beefing up the team that produces and manages CBC’s online presence, which is a high priority for the broadcaster. “While the focus of the website is on the ‘immediate,’ I also hope to write and break stories that help drive the news agenda (the same as I did at the Tely and ABM).”
Antle said there are a few reasons why he is joining CBC, at this juncture. “CBC is a national, multi-platform broadcaster that is putting more time and resources into its online presence. It will be good to be on the leading edge of that. As you mentioned, there is a great team in place at CBC – I'm friends with many of them, and have been for years – and it will be nice to be part of a bigger team. You are probably aware that I am not the only addition to the newsroom… CBC is building momentum, and doing it across all media – radio, TV and online.”
In an email exchange, “Atlantic Business” editor Dawn Chafe had an interesting announcement of her own. But first, she acknowledged the departure of Rob Antle.
“All of us here at Atlantic Business are delighted that Rob has been offered this opportunity and we sincerely wish him well at CBC,” Chafe said. “During the time that he was with us, Rob showed himself to be incredibly dedicated and hard-working as well as painstakingly thorough and accurate.
“In addition to being a talented writer (and the best "titleist" I've ever encountered), he's also one of an increasingly rare breed: a true investigative journalist. Rob is in an elite class, and our loss is most definitely CBC’s gain. They are lucky to have him.
“No organization can lose such a talent and not feel the loss. We started this year determined to create a niche for ourselves as a magazine that delivered new, must-read content every issue. Rob fulfilled that role for us supremely well, as illustrated by the number of stories he broke in the magazine this year. Our latest edition with his investigative report on ALC’s potential investment in Albania is a prime example.”
However, Chafe has made an impressive new hire of her own.
“Rob's departure… will be at least partially alleviated by the newest addition to our editorial team: Stephen Kimber. As you're probably aware, Kimber is a published author, award-winning journalist and long-time journalism instructor at University of King's College. I have been in discussions with him for several months, and have only just finalized the contract. Starting in January, he joins us as our N.S. correspondent/contributing editor. I'm confident he will soon establish himself as one of the most popular elements of the magazine.”
Incidentally, all of the CBC hires were carried out without an increase to the local budget. For example, some reporters have moved to assignments elsewhere, creating openings which needed to be filled. Still, it’s something of a coup to recruit so much talent at once. That’s due, in part, to another change at CBC; the appointment in September of Marc Riddell to the Managing Editor position. I’ll have more on Marc, and his objectives for the local CBC, in a future blog entry.