CBC newsroom Montreal
CBC/Radio Canada newsroom in Montreal, the largest French newsroom outside of France. Image: JasonParis/Creative Commons
As many question the future of investigative journalism and public broadcasting in the digital age, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) aims to double its efforts to inform audiences across a range of digital and mobile platforms.

The multiplatform and digital era has brought a plethora of challenges to news organisations and journalists. As the media landscape pluralises and audiences become more divergent and less brand-loyal, competition for viewing figures has grown exponentially.

The speed in which breaking news has to be reported is almost instantaneous and public broadcasters often lack the funding to adapt to emerging audience trends and fulfil their traditional remits. As a result, many editors have questioned the value of producing costly and time-consuming in-depth investigative reports.

Yet despite substantial cuts to funding over the past 4 years – including a  $115million cut introduced by Canada’s previous government – CBC/Radio Canada continues to excel at producing investigative news of public value, especially at the regional level and online.

In April 2016 CBC Edmonton won seven regional awards for the quality of its investigative stories from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). Three awards were given to online stories, including investigative reporter Marion Warnica who was awarded for her use of multiplatform storytelling.

The success of these stories is one example of the way public service broadcasters must evolve into multiplatform public service media organisations to maintain their relevance and audience appeal – something that CBC acknowledged at Upfronts, the launch of its 2016-2017 season preview on 1st June.

The launch coincided with an announcement that CBC/Radio Canada wanted to be seen as leaders of both online and broadcast investigative journalism, by expanding “its capacity for digital storytelling, with an emphasis on its obligation as a public service entity whose goal is [to keep] Canadians informed”, according to The Canadian Journalism Project.

Proposals include a news programme that takes viewers behind the scenes of CBC’s investigative reports as a way of promoting public trust and making news as future focussed as possible, by prioritising digital content and translating traditional broadcast material onto digital and mobile spaces.

This “digital-first” strategy will see the organisation prioritise mobile content, with an aim to double its digital reach by 2020.

Read more about CBC/Radio Canada’s strategy for 2020

Slideshow image: BC Radio-Canada Broadcast Centre, Vancouver. Glotman Simpson/Creative Commons

By Kristian Porter