Stay ahead when your budget’s in the red

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In a new and frightening world of budget cuts, CBC must adapt or die.

Last week, CBC announced to staff their potential plans to sell off anywhere from 50 per cent to all of the­­ir properties.

Digging the studio out of a hole created by federal budget cuts and waning public interest by selling off property isn’t a new tactic for the CBC, but it’s probably not the most effective one.

The broadcaster’s hope might be the promises of the Liberal, NDP or Green Party candidates to inject life into the CBC’s federal budget, which under a Conservative government has had its IV cut.

CBC isn’t the only publicly-funded organization to suffer from an oppositional political agenda. The BBC, for example, faces huge financial setbacks imposed earlier this year by a Conservative government.

In Canada as well, organizations like NSERC — the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada — have also undergone spending slashing, predominantly, in NSERC’s case, in environmental sciences research.

If anything, the current government’s unnerving tendency for impeding responsible reporting and research, should make us aware of our need for transparency and trustworthiness.

In our informational society, the role CBC plays as a reputable, unbiased — at least they try to be — Canadian news outlet, is almost irreplaceable.

But even a return to the abundant federal funding that CBC previously enjoyed is only a solution to a symptom, not the problem itself.

Independent news sources, like Buzzfeed Canada or Vice Media, are thriving. Unless CBC is prepared to compete in a changing world, neither selling off property nor federal funding will save them for long.

If CBC can’t adapt to changing times, there’s no point in preserving the company simply for posterity’s sake.

It doesn’t mean that CBC can’t maintain the same standards of quality, content and integrity that we love them for as they enter a new age of digitalization.

But, CBC has to diversify and find ways to be relevant to younger demographics who are no longer interested in the content CBC produces.

Unless they change their ways, it won’t matter if Shad and Peter Mansbridge do an ABBA duet in spangled leotards — no one will be watching anyway.

Journal Editorial Board

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