We are all involved in a remarkable story.
As we move forward into the next few weeks and what most experts agree will be the most perilous part of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, we must not lose sight of the human face of this crisis.
Canadians are ill and some have died; we will tell their stories.
Canadians are fighting; we will showcase the first responders and health care workers working flat-out to save lives and the challenges they face.
Canadians are worrying; we will get answers, aggregate the best advice and hold our officials to account.
Canadians are helping; we will find the stories of hope and civic generosity that bring communities together.
We are seeing millions of Canadians turn to CBC News daily on TV, radio, digital and social media. Every word we publish, post and broadcast matters in the face of this voracious appetite for trusted news, context and the latest developments. We cannot afford a misstep, and I’m grateful for the care and diligence that our staff bring to our reporting every day.
This is what public service journalism is all about.
Resources to answer your questions on COVID-19
Some quick highlights from the past two weeks:
To manage the thousands of questions we’re getting from Canadians, we have set up a new email destination and will endeavour to answer as many as possible on all of our programs and platforms. Write to [email protected]
We made CBC News Network (NN) freely available on cable and digital to all Canadians, here and abroad.
We launched a COVID-19 newsletter. It’s already at 48,000 subscribers, our fastest-growing newsletter. A remarkable 70 per cent of users open this daily email. Sign up here.
On CBC Radio One, we have extended the Current with Matt Galloway until noon in most time zones in order to provide you with the latest information and updates.
Our coronavirus tracker is live. It will give you the latest data on the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 as we know them, here and around the world.
Our CBC News app will launch an update soon that will contain a COVID-19 guide to help our local audiences access resources, local stories and key video about their community.
We’ve compiled local resources and updates for communities across Canada here.
We have partnered with Canada’s private broadcasters to pool video coverage of official press briefings across the country in order to space out the number of crews present at any one event.
WATCH | One of the many videos you can find on CBC News to help you stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Slowly ramping up local programming
As I noted in an earlier blog, we temporarily paused our local 6 p.m. newscasts last week and moved quickly to shore up our ability to offer local and national programming on CBC TV and CBC News Network.
That decision was the result of us broadcasting more live events, press conferences and daily video than ever in the history of CBC News, which caused a logjam at our centralized resource desk in Toronto at the exact same time staffing levels there had dropped on account of COVID-19.
We also wanted to get ahead of the staffing crunch we anticipate in the next several weeks as more of our staff in newsrooms across the country are forced to self-isolate, work from home and potentially fall ill.
We are working in new ways with far fewer people available to do the resource-intensive work of television production.
We promised to assess the situation daily and bring the supper hour newscasts back as soon as possible — a commitment we took seriously. Since last week, we’ve stabilized demands on our resources desk and can now channel some of our social media live streams through new software. We also created redundant systems for our television control rooms and resource work areas.
While it’s certainly not business as usual in these times, we will begin a gradual, staggered return to local news on CBC TV at 6 p.m. We started today with the return of a half-hour newscast in Newfoundland and Labrador. Beginning tomorrow, we will broadcast a half-hour of Compass from P.E.I. and a half-hour Atlantic newscast from Halifax covering Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
We will take it one day at a time, continually adding back where we can while ensuring that nothing jeopardizes the essential services we intend to provide Canadians through to the very end of this crisis.
It’s important to remember that our commitment to local journalism on radio, TV, digital and social remains unchanged.
As always, thank you for your patience and continued support of CBC News at this unprecedented time.
WATCH | Part of our job is sharing stories of how Canadians are coping and helping each other through this crisis: