After only a couple of weeks into 2016, Jennifer McGuire, General Manager and Editor in Chief of CBC News announced that CBC News would be returning to Moscow with a new pocket bureau. The team is comprised of Correspondent Susan Ormiston, Producer Corinne Seminoff and Videographer/Editor Jean-Francois Bisson. Despite the 8-hour time difference and the intensely long days these three were generous enough to carve out some time to answer our questions!
“The new bureau in Russia reflects our commitment to increasing the
global footprint of CBC News with smart, targetted investment.
By staying nimble and responsive in the face of constantly shifting news
priorities, we aim to keep our audiences connected on
the widest possible range of stories.”
– Jennifer McGuire, General Manager and Editor in Chief of CBC News and Centres
Susan Ormiston, Senior Correspondent
Can you tell us a little about your new role? Our job is to cover Russia and its engagement in the world. It’s a massive country and it’s a significant challenge to get behind the Kremlin’s curtain, to decipher the realpolitik, and translate why it’s important to Canadians. In short form, I work with the team to first, think, then research, shoot, record, interview, translate, create and output stories for all CBC news programming – digital, television, radio; live and packaged news and current affairs stories.
In a bureau like this it’s full on – When it’s 4 p.m. in Moscow, it’s 8 a.m. in Toronto, and just 5 a.m. in Vancouver; CBC News Network is live, and the rest of the day’s news deadlines are just beginning to roll in. That means sometimes we work a Russian day, then a Toronto day in one, to keep the news live and updated for our Canadian deadlines.
In your opinion, why is it important for CBC English news to be back in Moscow? In this globally connected world, to get a true picture of the news stories which affect our lives, we need to ‘be there’. You pick up so much ‘ground truth’ on a story talking to the people who live it, the leaders who control it, and deciphering the consequences for Canada and the world.
Russia is at the nexus of many international stories; an oil dependent country currently challenged economically. It’s foreign policy reaches into Ukraine, Syria, Turkey, the Arctic, China, all areas in which Canada is involved. Canada participates in sanctions against Russia and Russia has counter banned some Canadians and goods. Overall, the assumptions held inside the country and outside need challenging. We need to better understand Russia – it’s powerful and complex.
Corinne Seminoff, Producer
Can you share a little bit about what your role is? I was the first CBC producer in Moscow and worked here for many years. So I know my way around and speak Russian fluently. My role has many facets, and demands. I am involved in the big picture editorial planning; making sure that we stay on top of all the news happening in Russia or involving Russia, finding the best interviews and telling elements to film and record. I’m looking for unpredictable stories as well, beyond ‘news of the day’, and figure out how best to approach them. I do much of the translating and troubleshooting when we go on shoots, to official events, and when we travel.
In your opinion, why is it important for CBC News to have a pocket bureau in Moscow? Russia is a massive country, a former superpower that plays a crucial role in our global world today. But relations between Russia and much of the western world have changed over the years leaving many questioning what is Russia’s long term path? I believe we need to be here on the ground to tell that story but also the stories about the culture and everyday lives of Russian people. Russia has been off the radar for many news agencies for a long time and I feel privileged that we have been sent here to witness and report back how Russia has changed over the years, its challenges and how that influences its interactions with Canada and the world.
Jean-Francois Bisson, Videographer & Editor
Can you tell us a little about what your new role? I will be the one filming and assembling stories in Moscow; providing creative ways and fun ideas to make great enjoyable and interesting items for all Canadians. Also my challenge is to set up a pocket bureau from scratch to service technical needs for television, radio and online.
What type of preparations have you done to prepare for this new adventure? There was a lot of preparation that had to be done on the technical side of things. For example what type of equipment to bring, what type of internet would we have in our office, etc… We had the help of many other people within the CBC that helped make this possible.
We’ll be sharing more from their adventures in Moscow through our Instagram account. I’d like to thank Susan, Corinne and Jean-Francois for taking the time to give us a sneak peek into their lives!
– Sarah Lue, Social Media Advisor, Enterprise Communications