CBC Arts opens the door to innovative content delivery

arts-blogOne of the goals of CBC’s new arts strategy is to make CBC a hub for arts content and conversation in Canada. Our newly-launched Arts Portal is one of the first steps towards reaching this goal, along with a roster of new arts-based TV shows and web series.

The CBC Arts portal brings together stories, video and galleries from across CBC’s Arts properties, including q, CBC Books, CBC Music, and A&E content from News and Centres, as well as original content produced for the portal. It sets the foundation for a brand new way of delivering CBC’s digital content.

CBC Arts is the prototype in a larger project being referred to as “The Feed”, which will deliver curated content to our audiences in ways that they are already familiar with. Sites like Twitter and Facebook present content in feed format, giving users the newest, most relevant content every time they visit.

We launched CBC Arts in Beta mode, which will allow us to collect feedback from users as we continue to build The Feed. The initial implementation is intentionally simple. What the audience tells us about their experience with the CBC Arts beta site, and what we learn from site metrics about users’ behaviour on the site, will inform which features we build next.

The iterative approach to development that we are taking in building The Feed allows us to test, learn and improve the site as we go. This means conducting usability tests and surveys to better understand our audience’s needs. We can also present different versions of our designs using A/B testing tools, and analyze which ones resonate with our users. Ongoing performance testing allows us to make sure the site loads quickly and doesn’t demand too much of users’ data plans.

The design for the Arts Portal is responsive, meaning it fits on any size screen — mobile devices, tablets and desktop computers. It employs reusable templates, a card-based design, and a code base that can be extended as other CBC digital properties come on board. Right now, teams in Digital Operations are working with Digital News to bring CBCNews.ca into The Feed, building on the foundation laid by CBC Arts.

Take a look at it yourself by exploring the CBC Arts site and tell us what you think!

– Kate Stewart, Information Architect, Digital Operations

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Honeybees at CBC/Radio-Canada

The Toronto Broadcasting Centre and La Maison de Radio-Canada in Montreal have joined an exciting new initiative in partnership with Alveole Inc.: the urban beekeeping movement. Join us in welcoming the newest tenants to our buildings!

“Four hives, containing up to 20,000 honeybees each were recently installed on the roof of our Toronto and Montreal buildings,” explains Daniel Langevin, Manager of Health, Safety and Environment for Real Estate Services. “Each hive is composed of a queen bee and thousands of worker bees and drones. By the end of the summer, we anticipate that there will be 50,000 bees in each hive.”

According to Athena Trastelis, who leads environment-related activities at CBC/Radio-Canada, the purpose of this initiative is to do our part for the environment and reduce the dramatic decline currently seen in the world’s bee population. “Climate change, the use of pesticides, habitat loss and the introduction of new diseases have been contributing factors in this decline,” adds Athena. “Bee colonies on our property will allow for garden pollination throughout the city, development of local honey and overall perennial greening.”

This initiative involved several key players across the organization in Health, Safety & Environment, Real Estate and Legal Services and Corporate Insurance. Christina Boncheff, Nata Maggio and Azim Remani, worked closely with Athena and Daniel to ensure that all safety, insurance and legal requirements were met.

This initiative is part of the wider range of activities underway across the Corporation in our ongoing effort to be a good corporate citizen. Details regarding activities are found in our Annual Environmental Reports.

Honey generated as part of this initiative will be used for internal promotional and charitable purposes.

– David Oille, Senior Advisor, Strategic Communications, Corporate Communications

Fun facts about honeybees - 3

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CBC/Radio-Canada’s Toronto Broadcast Centre opens its doors to Canadians during the TORONTO 2015 Games

Come in and visit the upper and lower Atrium at the Toronto Broadcast Centre between July 10-26, 2015, to see our team of talented employees at work, share in the spirit of the Games and all the excitement surrounding it, and be part of a live audience of viewers taking in the events.

Over the next few weeks, you’ll also find CBC Radio One (situated next to TV production) broadcasting from the lower Atrium, near the Welcome Centre. Tune in to hear Sonali Karnick as she keeps listeners up-to-date on all the action from the Games.

Visitors to the Atrium are encouraged to come in and drop by the Welcome Centre, collect a TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games pin, and pretend to be like some of their favourite athletes by having their photo taken at the sports cutout wall.

Don’t forget to share your photos with us and tweet out some favourite moments, scores and results or messages of encouragement to the athletes throughout the duration of the Games.

Together, let’s celebrate the important sporting and cultural events.

– Carolyn Bissett, Writer, Corporate Communications

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Experience Pan Am action like never before

CBC Sports and Radio-Canada Sports introduce their apps for unprecedented coverage of the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. Ken Wolff, Executive producer at CBC, and Pierre Michaud, Content manager with Radio-Canada, tell us how our audiences can stay connected to the athletes and their stories and how our app teams are making it happen.

Find the Android and iOs apps in app stores starting July 1, Canada Day.

What are the features fans can look forward to the most?

Ken says: Live streaming. If you want to watch an event while you are sitting outside at home or on the bus, all you need is your Android or IOS phone. It’s all there live.

And because there’s real life to contend with too, for Pierre, it’s the ability to pause and rewind live video that creates a truly made-to-order viewing experience. Video markers allow users to rewind back to the goal they missed, the first lap around the track, or watch a whole event from the start.

CBC's Pan Am AppFar from being raw video footage, mobile app users also have access to a wealth of statistics as they watch. Even when there’s no live commentary, they’ll know who scored the goal, what team is leading, who broke the previous record, who is next in line to compete, and much, much more – all right on their screen.

Both Ken and Pierre agree that while many Canadians take the competition just as seriously as CBC/Radio-Canada sports production teams, it’s also about having a bit of fun. There will be lots of social coverage through tweets, instagram, YouTube posts in new and fun ways. And we’ve hired a guy named Brittlestar to regularly provide some fun Vines during the Games. They should be worth a daily smile.


Tell us how your teams approached app development for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games.

“Our new sports apps were created by the same teams that developed the apps for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games and the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.”, says Ken. “They knew how to build it, how users interact with our apps, what type of content works; and this wealth of knowledge fed into the design and development.”

It’s an integrated approach, one that involves digital teams and sports production, news and regional teams, music and other departments, all working together to grow our digital audiences. While each app shares the same platform, navigation and user experience design, they have separate editorial teams creating rich content for their own audiences.

“The result,” says Pierre “is that our audiences get to watch what they want, when they want, wherever they are. Internally, our teams are working together more collaboratively, using resources more efficiently and new friendships are created along the way as we ready ourselves for Rio in 2016, PyeongChang in 2018 and Tokyo in 2020.”

The CBC Sports App and Radio-Canada’s Pan Am App, featuring unprecedented coverage of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, presented by CIBC, will showcase more than 600 hours of streaming, video-on-demand, instant results, medal standings, photo galleries and the latest news from the Games.

-Emma Bédard, Advisor, Strategic communications

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Think you know your Canadian Sports History ?

With the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games just around the corner, and in honour of  Canadian History Week (this year’s theme is sports), test your knowledge of this international sporting event!

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The Truth About Translation

Did you know that we have a team of expert translators and revisers at CBC/Radio-Canada who translate close to 4 million words a year from French to English and English to French, and also provide a handy telephone consultation service? To help you get to know them better, we asked them to clear up seven myths about their profession.

Myth 1:
Are you in a hurry? A draft translation will do, then!

Marina BostFalse – Marina Bost

There’s no such thing as a “draft” translation – only good and bad translations. Translators have a work ethic, much like journalists do. Even when we’re rushed, we strive to produce quality work. We can’t simply translate every second sentence, or only sort of render meaning in a text. In the end, every translator must self-revise and make corrections. Our skipping the re-read and revision stages certainly won’t save you any time. If your readers don’t clearly understand your message, a “draft translation” won’t be very useful to you. Given a reasonable deadline, we can often deliver speed and quality for you.

Myth 2:
Anyone who’s bilingual can translate. In fact, translators can easily work in French or English.

Brian CassidyFalse – Brian Cassidy

Being bilingual means you can speak two languages, period. If you think about it, just because you speak English or French well, that doesn’t make you a good writer or a gifted public speaker in either language. So why would anyone who’s bilingual automatically make a good translator or interpreter? Even translators, who are often considered fluently bilingual, generally don’t freely translate into both languages. We always translate into our mother tongue, because we’re tuned into its nuances and subtleties, and we know the ins and outs of our original culture. I could attempt to translate something into my second language, but it’s a bit counter-productive given that my Francophone colleagues would do it better and so much faster than me. So it’s just more practical to stick to what I know well!

Myth 3:
Google Translate can’t replace translators (well, not yet, at least).

Miguelle Saulnier-MadoreTrue – Miguelle Saulnier-Madore

People say that computers, software and other computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools are going to replace translators – in fact, they’ve been saying it for the past 15 years or more! But language is more complex than you’d think! To translate, you need to think, weigh your options, and make choices. Machines can’t figure out what puns, metaphors, and nuanced or unclear writing mean, so they’d translate parler le français comme une vache espagnole as “speak French like a Spanish cow,” when that really means “speak broken French.” Translators don’t work in word-for-word mode – they translate meaning, and so they have to clearly understand your message.

Myth 4:
To speed things up, I’ll translate the document myself and then you’ll just have to edit it

Jonathan KotcheffFalse – Jonathan Kotcheff

Unfortunately, doing the translation yourself rarely speeds things up. Unless you’re particularly gifted at writing in your second language, chances are your text is going to be riddled with syntactical errors and unidiomatic expressions (e.g., “The softwares permit to augment your efficacity”). Fixing up a text like that can often take just as much time as translating it from scratch – and sometimes even longer. So not only are you not speeding up the process, you’re also wasting a lot of your own time doing a job that we can do better and more quickly. After all, that’s what we’re there for!

Myth 5:
Some words are the same in French and English, but they don’t mean the same thing.

Myriam OcioTrue – Myriam Ocio

The closest word in the other language isn’t always the right one to use. Of course, French and English share many similar words, but each language has a logic all its own. You have to be wary of words that appear to mean the same thing, because you can easily end up with your foot in your mouth. You might even be saying the opposite of what you mean. For instance, in French the verb supporter means to tolerate someone, not assist them! The key is to flag it and go check. Otherwise, you could start using expressions that may well work in your department or with your team, but are totally out of touch with the wider world.

Myth 6:
A text that took three days to write takes at least as many days to translate.

Nicole PigeonTrue – Nicole Pigeon

There’s a whole process before your requests land on a translator’s desk. Basically, we need to assess the work, do the word count, and put everything through the translation memory. I then read pre-translated documents sentence by sentence and consult the memory results to see if anything can be lifted from previous translations. Because we often receive multiple documents for the same project, the terminology, headings and taglines must be identical. Next, we have to check whether our translators are available to meet your deadline. That’s why the 3,000 words that took you three days to write can’t be translated in three hours.

Myth 7:
Translators have limitless knowledge.

André JournaultFalse (unfortunately) – André Journault

People often assume that translators know everything, but that’s not true. Certain translators specialize in a specific field, like legal or financial. Then there are generalists, who know a bit about a lot of fields. But no one can possibly know the name of every galaxy, fruit or bird. Nor could they recite every single grammar rule and exception to you. But we do know how and where to find them for you! And even though many documents end up on our desks, we don’t know everything going on in every department of the Corporation. A bit of background and a briefing on what you expect can really go a long way with us.

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Broadcasting the Games across the Americas : What it means to be a host broadcaster

When the Pan Am Games open this July in Toronto, as the host broadcaster, CBC/Radio-Canada will produce the world feed for broadcast by the rights holders across the Americas and the Caribbean. Sixteen of the 36 sports will be covered live; the remainder with electronic news gathering (ENG) cameras for highlights. All medal moments will be covered and shown to audiences, whether on TV or online.

Don Peppin, Executive Producer of the CBC host broadcast of the Games, explained that, unlike the domestic feed – also produced by the CBC, but with a focus on Canadian athletes and their stories – the world feed must be both neutral and exciting. Multiple broadcasters will show the same footage, telling their own stories using the CBC-produced pictures.

“CBC Sports is recognized around the world as a premium host broadcast producer,” Don said. The challenge at this summer’s Games is to continue the legacy of the great professionals who came before, “maintaining the tradition and heritage of CBC Sports, and acting as caretaker of those high standards.”

While you might think that having the Games on your doorstep is piece of cake, Don said that there are some unique challenges to “home” games. Instead of all CBC staff staying in one hotel, the 650 people working on these Games will be travelling to the venues from a multitude of locations around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Throw heavy traffic into the mix, and you can imagine the logistical worries.

In the 16 years since the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, Don said there have been “generational changes in terms of the available technology.” HD television is just one major innovation. However, while the delivery system may have changed, what has remained the same is the need for strong shooting and clear storytelling that is athlete-focused.

Don is very pleased with the production plans that have been developed for all of the live venues and wouldn’t pick any one sport as the one to watch. He did, however, tell me that “people will be blown away by the coverage of the opening ceremony on July 10.” He wouldn’t provide any details, but did utter three magic words: Cirque du Soleil.

The Pan Am Games run from July 10 to 26; the Parapan Am Games run from August 7 to 15. Will you be watching? Tweet us using #CBCPanAm.

– Lisa Furrie, Writer, Corporate Communications, CBC/Radio-Canada

Here’s a look at our master control & the broadcast compound from the 1999 games in Winnipeg.

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Open house event in Halifax

Last Saturday, the public was invited to visit our new facilities, for the first time in Halifax.

The Halifax team had a special day planned for them, including a number of activities such as, a red carpet activities, pictures with talent, studio visits, recording of radio id, DJ remotes, mascots and much more.  Here are some photos from the event.

It was a very special event for the CBC and Radio-Canada teams to invite the public in and showcase the building, which reflects the modern face of CBC/Radio-Canada.  In addition to delivering substantial cost savings, the building is equipped with a number of eco-efficiency features. Here’s a look at what this modern high-performance broadcast centre has to offer:

  • One of the most exciting features of the new location is that equipment and studios are flexibly designed to be interchangeable between radio, television and digital operations, all under one roof.
  • The move to the 44,000 square-foot working space perfectly aligns with our new strategy, A space for us all, which calls for us to reduce our real estate footprint by 50 per cent, or some two million square feet. Our Chebucto Road location has 66 percent less space than Bell Road and Sackville Street combined. How is this possible? With an open office environment, new production methods, better workflow planning, and new technologies to support staff in their day-to-day work, the amount of space previously used is simply not required.
  • In addition to a more economical use of space, the facility boasts a number of environmental efficiencies such as studio LED lighting, newsroom light harvesting, and a state-of-the-art Central Equipment Room that uses Intelligent Containment technology, which allows us to maintain a constant temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. The result amounts to a savings of more than 325,000 kilowatt hours a year in power consumption.
  • These changes, in addition to the cost savings realised by being tenants rather than landlords, will ultimately save the Corporation approximately $2 million per year.

Congratulations to the Halifax team and thank you to everyone who participated in the event!

– Marie-Eve Desaulniers, Senior Advisor, Brand, Communications and Corporate Affairs

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Find out how Canadians are embracing Social Networking

As the Social Media Advisor for CBC/Radio-Canada, I can sometimes be a little overzealous when it comes to articles on digital trends and social media. At times it can be challenging to find social media data and infographics that specifically examine Canadian audiences and behaviours. If you share my enthusiasm for social media research then you’ll be happy to hear that the Media Technology Monitor (MTM) just released a report that focuses on how Canadians are embracing social networking.

Social networking has transformed how Canadians are connecting with others online, making it easier than ever to share content, connect with peers, meet new people, and connect with brands. With 82% of Canadian social networkers being daily users, it’s easy to see why so many Canadian companies, including Canada’s public broadcaster, are aggressively using social media to engage with their audiences.

For a look at some of the interesting findings, take a look at the infographic below. Share your comments with us and the MTM team via Twitter.

-Sarah Lue, Social Media Advisor, Corporate Communications


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