Yesterday’s events in Ottawa

A horrifying day in Ottawa, one that’s left its mark on all of us.

I want to commend the professionalism of our CBCers/Radio-Canadiens covering the story – both those who covered it live, and those who are still covering it now – to ensure Canadians had up to the minute information. Their smart, thoughtful coverage has already been held up as an example of the right way to cover a story of this nature (here and here, for example). We are proud of all of you. I am proud of all of you.

For our Ottawa staff, it was a particularly difficult day. All decisions taken by the Emergency Preparedness Team for Ottawa under the leadership of Hugo Hotte, and the National Crisis Management Team, were managed with the security of our staff top-of-mind. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation through what was a stressful, challenging time.

Thank you all for everything you do – for Canadians and for each other.

-Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO, CBC/Radio-Canada

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Broadcasting Igalaaq from Iqaluit

Imagine living in Toronto and turning on your evening news to get the day’s top stories for your community. Would you expect your news to be broadcast live from Winnipeg? For 19 years, this is how the community of Iqaluit, Nunavut, received their supper-hour news. CBC Igalaaq, which provides the day’s news for Nunavut and the Northwest Territories in the Inuktitut language, was broadcast from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, a distance of over 2, 200 km from Iqaluit.

This past May however, following a successful pilot project to cover the Nunavut election with a live event in Iqaluit and the control room in Yellowknife, Igalaaq started broadcasting from Iqaluit.

cbc northThe change required exceptional teamwork. The team in Iqaluit produced radio, and the employees had to agree not only to squeeze a TV studio into their small radio station, but also to take on new TV roles. The radio show producer has become a TV producer — working on the lineup, coaching the TV host in studio, and communicating with the Yellowknife producers. The radio broadcast technician operates the studio camera for TV. The TV host is backfilled by the radio announce operators, who also do Inuktitut versioning, translation and voice-over for the TV show. The radio maintenance technician has added TV studio maintenance to his duties, and two reporter positions were turned into video-journalists, which required training. The project was done with minimal budget and a quick turnaround of just four months.

How was CBC North able to take on new new roles so quickly? “We’re special,” says Regional IT Manager Jeff Gardiner laughingly. Being flexible and overcoming technical challenges is just part of everyday life in the North, Jeff explains. There’s no NGCN infrastructure (the network used between most CBC/Radio-Canada sites) and limited broadband. Transmission is done across satellite and there is a delay in all transmissions, including data. Staff understand how to work around these issues. For example, when the producer in Yellowknife gives the host in Iqaluit the “go,” it’s a second-and-a-half before her voice comes back, so she has to know to jump in and speak right away. The delay also means that there’s latency for captions and graphics, which technical staff know how to take into account.

There are other unique challenges, too. For instance, the control staff in Yellowknife don’t speak Inuktitut, the language being broadcast. And there’s the small issue of the scripts being all in English because the teleprompter and iNEWS can’t display the characters for Inuktitut. This means that the host must do simultaneous translation as she reads the prompters!

Despite all the challenges, Jeff explains that as soon as it was possible to broadcast from Iqaluit, everyone agreed that it had to be done because of the opportunity to fully showcase the land, people and culture of Nunavut in their own language, from their own territory. It’s a commitment to community that keeps CBC North innovating and doing things better.

-Melanie Miles, Writer/Editor, Corporate Communications

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Tomas Urbina reporting from Berlin : Ich bin Journalist aus Kanada

CBC Radio Producer, Tomas Urbina, was one of the lucky media professionals to be selected to participate in the Arthur F. Burns Fellowship. The program offers young print and broadcast journalists from each country the opportunity to share professional expertise with their colleagues across the Atlantic while working as “foreign correspondents” for their hometown news organizations. As Tomas’ two-month fellowship comes to an end, we asked him to share a little about his experience in Berlin.

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TU Schleswig-Holstein farmThis is only the second year Canada has been part of the fellowship which has a 26-year history, so it was an honour and a thrill to be asked to participate. I’m one of six fellows working in Berlin and I was placed with The Local Germany, an English-language news website covering German news.

Between getting to know (and love) Berlin and my work pursuing stories for The Local and the CBC — often by travelling to different parts of the country — the two-month fellowship has kept me very busy.

The program offered two weeks of intensive daily German language classes at the Goethe Institute, which were immensely helpful. I’ve continued to learn and practice my German in interactions with interviewees and carrying on life as a local in Berlin.

TU Berlin seniorsThe fellowship also exposed me to the fast pace of a strictly online news operation. With a small team, The Local produces 10 news and feature pieces per day, most based on German wire copy. Since my German was at a beginner level, that allowed me time to contribute my own features and news pieces on topics as varied as Berlin seniors taking on a property giant to stay in their apartments, tiny villages building their own super-fast internet network, Germany’s approach to the rise of Islamic State (IS) and the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall among several others. I also have a greater appreciation for the value of offering strictly online news and getting pieces on the web quickly, including an understanding of what drives traffic to a news site like The Local.

This experience has reaffirmed my love for working in the field. Through my experience at CBC, I knew what to expect in the newsroom and what kind of stories would work for the website. Overall, the experience has been overwhelmingly positive and the people I’ve met and worked with have been very welcoming. I’d recommend the fellowship in a heartbeat.

- Tomas Urbina, CBC Radio Producer and Participant in The Arthur F. Burns Fellowship

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Culture Days returns to la Maison de Radio-Canada

RC_POJCIf you’re planning to be in the Montreal area this weekend, why not stop by the Maison de Radio-Canada to celebrate Culture Days! There will be a lot of activities for the whole family to enjoy. Festivities will run between 10am and 5pm.

For more information you can visit Radio-Canada’s blog.  Share your photos with us by using #jdc2014 and #radiocanada.

-Sarah Lue, Social Media Advisor, CBC/Radio-Canada

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CBC invites the public to share their point of view on municipal issues with #CBCStreetTalk

cbcottawaAs part of its ongoing coverage of the municipal election in October, CBC Ottawa has launched a month long community engagement campaign which aims to get right to the heart of what residents want from city politicians by asking the question “What would make your neighbourhood a better place?”.

The project includes CBC staff heading out to visit all twenty-three electoral wards in Ottawa to hear directly from residents as well as a call-to-action to join in the conversation online using #CBCStreetTalk.

The producer behind the initiative, Christine Maki, is thrilled to be a part of it. “#CBCStreetTalk allows us spark a public conversation about municipal politics. We plan to use the answers we generate to guide our election coverage and ensure that city politicians are focused on the issues that matter most to residents.”

The first stop on the street talk tour was Gloucester-Southgate Ward 10 where concerns about public safety, affordable housing and the state of the city’s road were raised.

This is the first time the station has embarked on a project of this scale and duration – the results of the effort will air on television, radio and online from September 22 to October 23.

 -Anne Wiltshire, Manager, Communications & Partnerships, CBC Ottawa

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Changing Canada, one young person at a time

Earlier this month, 100 young adults from every corner of the country gathered in  Prince Edward Island at the New Canada Conference to imagine and define Canada’s future. We invited one of these young Canadians to share their experience with us. 

Julia Ballerio-Dupé grew up in Montreal and now lives in Vancouver. She is currently studying Sociology. Julia is also very active in her community and is a member of the Francophone Youth Council in British Columbia. 

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© David Pike.

© David Pike.

I had the privilege of attending the New Canada Conference. I really wanted to go, since I saw it as a chance to share my ideas for change with other people my age. So when my mother told me that they’d called to say I’d been selected, I literally jumped for joy.

Three days was too short. I would have liked to get to know the others better and discuss things further, but there simply just wasn’t enough time.

It was interesting to hear what others had to say about the topics covered, to see how their personal background influenced their views. I realized that in order to build something, you sometimes have to go beyond your own story, while drawing on it to share with others and find a solution that works for everyone. The conference gave me a clearer sense of what I want to do and why. I’m even more enthusiastic about getting involved now, because when I see all of these young people striving for change, it gives me hope.

Today’s younger generation all seem to share a common desire for their country: to mend broken ties. What emerged was a more socially conscious Canada – a Canada that would lead the world in all the fields they deem important. I’m proud to have attended this conference and hope there will be plenty more events like it for young people looking to make a difference. #Dreambig

- Julia Ballerio-Dupé, Student in Vancouver, BC

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Hubert T.Lacroix visits Winnipeg

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CBC/Radio-Canada President Hubert T.Lacroix set off this year to travel across the country and meet with Canadians – from employees, listeners and viewers, to partners, influencers and stakeholders, young and old alike. The trip will be an opportunity to discuss the public broadcaster’s future and the new A space for us all strategy.

This year, Hubert kicked off his regional tour in Winnipeg and St. Boniface on September 17 and 18. The highlight of his visit? The meeting with students from Université de Saint-Boniface’s Multimedia Communications program.

These young people will be working one day for multimedia production companies, ad agencies, government departments, or the film and recording industry. Bright and well-informed, the 22 students had the chance to talk to the CBC/Radio-Canada CEO and share their opinions on the public broadcaster’s future.

In what was a lively and engaging discussion, the group offered us their refreshing vision of what the public broadcaster is today and what it needs to become tomorrow.

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

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Accelerating the digital culture through #RCLab

mfcdtb-rclab-logo-230-145Radio-Canada employees in Montreal have been hosting an innovative series of lunchtime learning sessions focused on digital culture. The sessions are part of Radio-Canada Lab, an initiative started by Xavier K. Richard, who works as Web Content Editor with Radio-Canada’s Interactive Communications team in Montreal.

Xavier was inspired after visiting South by South West (SxSW), an interactive conference and festival focused on emerging technology, where he was repeatedly asked whether CBC/Radio-Canada had a lab. On his return, he started the popular lunch-hour sessions called Midi Labs, which provide an opportunity for creativity, collaboration and networking among colleagues.

The goal of Midi Labs is to share ideas and collaborate on digital topics, and the sessions provide a forum to showcase the inspiring work of people from both inside and outside CBC/Radio-Canada.

If you’re interested in digital culture, keep a close eye on Radio-Canada Lab’s Twitter feed. CBC/Radio-Canada employees can read more about #RCLab on iO!.

-Melanie Miles, Writer/Editor, Corporate Communications

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ICI Ottawa-Gatineau’s fall 2014-15 season launch: A refreshing experience

JasmineIt’s always rewarding to work with young people. For them, it’s an opportunity to learn the trade, enjoy a unique experience, and apply what they’ve been taught in the classroom. And from our standpoint, youngsters provide a new, refreshing take on what we do.

As part of ICI Ottawa-Gatineau’s fall 2014-15 season launch, we asked six students from the applied arts and technology college La Cité to lend a hand with our social media coverage during the event, which we held in tandem with the Unité 9 team on Tuesday, September 9 at Maison de la culture de Gatineau.

Below, Gabrielle Marcotte tells us what she got out of the experience . . .

- Jasmine Lalonde, Senior Communications Officer, ICI Ottawa-Gatineau

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IMG_6184Sometimes, our dreams don’t come to be. Those we have as little kids are often magnificent, and even realistic. Mine were, but in the end other dreams and goals took over as I grew up. I hope to one day be director of communications or managing director for a private company or a non-profit organization, and even perhaps be self-employed.

On September 9, I saw part of that dream come true. That day, ICI Ottawa-Gatineau held the red carpet event for its fall 2014–15 launch at Maison de la culture de Gatineau. Five fellow students and I, all from the La Cité public relations program, became the social media squad for the evening. Being on that squad was one of my first steps toward realizing my dream, and it was also an incredible opportunity to meet Radio-Canada’s regional on-air hosts and the cast of Unité 9, a TV series I watch religiously. That night, I truly understood how much Unité 9’s audience have bonded with the characters and love the artists who play them.

Being at the centre of the event and speaking with the public, hosts and artists, I felt I was in my element. Each like and share I got for my social media posts was another stamp of approval encouraging me to forge ahead with my web presence. Plus, the hosts and artists congratulated us on our work. Coming from pioneers in the field, these words of encouragement are of inestimable value, and they told me that my dream was indeed coming true.

I have a lot left to learn: what I experienced was only a tiny fraction of managing an event. One day, I’ll be the one organizing them from top to bottom, and I can’t wait.

- Gabrielle Marcotte, Communications and Public Relations Student, University of Ottawa and La Cité College

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Connecting with Canadians – Let’s talk A space for us all!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve met with people from a variety of fields, people with busy schedules who are influential in their communities. We talked about visions for the future – CBC/Radio-Canada’s future, of course – but also that of the wider media industry and what it means for all of us.

Whether you live in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec or Nova Scotia, consumption habits are changing. People still watch, listen to and read CBC/Radio-Canada on TV, radio and the web. The quality, credibility and distinctiveness of our content remain paramount. But the “how to access that content” is rapidly evolving. We talked about our new A space for us all strategy. I listened to what they had to say about us; it was extremely enlightening.

Once people get their heads around the pace of change we are all experiencing, the strategy is accepted as almost inevitable – the logical next step in our evolution.

People have ideas to share. And not just about content – our programming – but also how to deliver it. Having access to programs on their own schedule: when they get up in the morning, come home from work, between shopping trips, and while waiting for their next appointment.

Although our local content is perceived as being an essential service in people’s daily lives, I didn’t sense any misgivings about introducing new ways to make that content available. People often can’t wait to see changes, even at this very early stage of our new strategy.

It’s now time for all Canadians to continue the conversation and to speak out about their broadcaster. CBC/Radio-Canada plays a unique and essential role in the country’s media landscape. Thank you for helping us ensure that it stays relevant and vital. Visit our website to learn more about the new strategy.

- William B. Chambers, Vice-President, Brand, Communications and Corporate Affairs

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