The long-time journalist stepped into the role on July 22 as Karyn Pugliese prepares to head for Harvard 

APTN’s new executive director of news and current affairs is especially interested in completing the network’s pivot to digital and strengthening its collaborative relationships with other outlets.

Cheryl McKenzie, who’s been with APTN for nearly two decades and has spent years at the helm of the network’s flagship news investigative programming as a host and producer, said that as the core of its mandate is getting people’s stories out to the broadest audience possible, continuing to build on the network’s multimedia platforms will be critical.

“My goal is to maintain the responsible journalism that we do and to also keep pushing those boundaries and envelopes as good journalists will do, changing perceptions about the people in our communities and what’s actually at the heart of these big broad issues that we all face,” McKenzie told J-Source.

APTN announced last week that McKenzie would be taking over the position from Karyn Pugliese, who has led the news operation for seven years. She is heading to Harvard University in the fall as the Martin Goodman Canadian Nieman Fellow.

Pugliese “leaves huge moccasins to fill,” McKenzie told J-Source. “She’s been a great leader for our newsroom and has taken us to great new heights journalistically in her time here.”

Continuing to build APTN’s multimedia platforms will be a major priority, said McKenzie, as the television viewership and cable subscriptions broadcasters such as APTN have historically relied on continue to decline.

“Cheryl brings a breadth of leadership and experience to this role, and the network is pleased that she has taken on the challenge of leading APTN’s award-winning news and current affairs team,” said APTN CEO Jean La Rose in the press release. “I know she will work hard with her team and the entire network to carry out APTN’s mission of sharing our people’s stories.”

McKenzie stepped into the role on July 22.

Accolades for McKenzie’s work include nominations for Gemini and Canadian Association of Broadcasters awards, according to APTN’s announcement.