Supporters of public broadcasting have every reason to be optimistic. The new federal government has promised to undo the damage done to the CBC that began before Harper but that was made worse by his government.
But let no one think that the mere restoration of cut funds will be sufficient. A return to First Principles is required. Then creativity, innovation, high spirits and smiling faces will return. The new authorities clearly recognize that the CBC must again play a crucial role in the life of the nation – especially in this digital age when new technologies open all kinds of new doors.
First Principles? Simple. Treat the audience as human beings not as means to achieve high ratings. Don’t be afraid of the word “elitism.” Public broadcasting means taking cultural objectives seriously, come what may. Take risks. Observe the Eternal Verities – Truth, Beauty, Justice. Avoid boredom. Don’t worry if – unexpectedly – you produce a hit.
And in news and public affairs, make sure your coverage reflects the diversity of the new cabinet and don’t become dependent on the same old faces. Don’t preach. And observe the venerable, pre-digital journalistic standards.
This is a passage from The Globe and Mail on November 6:
“…She’s equally emphatic about our bilingual national broadcaster, where she once spent six months interning as a TV news reporter. ‘The re-investment in CBC and Radio-Canada is very important, but it’s also important to create a public broadcaster for this digital era. We need to make that digital shift, to put a lot of emphasis on content creation and to prepare the new generation that will create the public broadcasting company of 2015.’”
She can do it.