Memo: Manager and editor-in-chief of CBC News Jennifer McGuire announces departure

This memo to CBC staff was sent on Feb. 27 by Jennifer McGuire. Continue Reading Memo: Manager and editor-in-chief of CBC News Jennifer McGuire announces departure

This memo to CBC staff was sent on Feb. 27 by Jennifer McGuire.

We learn early in journalism not to bury the lead, so I am beginning this note by telling you, with great emotion, that I am leaving CBC at the end of this month.  It has been my privilege to serve as General Manager and Editor in Chief of CBC News for the last 10-plus years, which makes me, at this point, the longest serving head of CBC News.  I have had a long career passionately serving the mission of our public broadcaster in various roles and while I love this place, it is time for me to spread my wings and imagine a life outside of the CBC while I am at the height of my skills and while I have some runway left in my career life to do it. 

I came to CBC as a student intern, and during that internship was offered, upon graduation, my first job here as an associate producer on the morning radio show in Ottawa, then known as CBO Morning.  Thank you Heather Abbott, Miriam Fry and Bernie Barrett. I have had opportunities to work in all kinds of production and leadership jobs. I pride myself on having an eye for talent, and I certainly have hired and supported some incredible people here at CBC.  I have learned from everyone I have worked with and I have worked with the best, truly. I pinch myself sometimes when I think of working with many of the icons in this industry: Joe Schlesinger, Peter Mansbridge, Anna Maria Tremonti, Linden MacIntyre, Wendy Mesley, Stuart McLean, Michael Enright, Adrienne Arsenault, Rosemary Barton and so many others.  CBC is built on amazing talent, both on-air and behind-the-scenes. 

It has been quite a journey from those chase days.  If you will grant me a moment, I confess that I will look back with pride on my service.  Whether breaking stories about homophobia in professional sports with the Inside Track team back in the 90s, to launching The Current (and for the record I got a firm no from first host Anna Maria Tremonti before trying a second time and finally convincing her to do it), to very happy times as the Program Director of CBC Radio investing in creativity with the establishment of the program development process which gave life to programs like Q, The Debaters, Vinyl Tap, O’Reilly on Advertising and so many others.  Here in CBC News there has been just as much innovation, with a special mention to our digital creativity in podcasting (Front Burner, Party Lines, Finding Cleo and others), Snapchat (now reaching more than 5 M uniques) and the many other remarkable things that you create. Change and challenge are united, and I have been on the front end of many challenging, but ultimately important, reinventions, be it the repositioning of CBC Radio 2 to a broad based musical service (now CBC Music); the integration of television and radio news (I still have the petitions); the massive reprogramming and rebranding of Newsworld into a news-driven, live, CBCNN; igniting the “mobile first” digital revolution with Local and CBC News (where we are so dominant now); and more recently, the reimagination of The National as a nightly news destination (not only on linear television) in a continuous news environment.  It is a showcase for CBC journalism in action and we are now seeing increasing resonance with audiences. Innovation matters.  

Every day in this job I remind myself that the foundation of it all is quality journalism.  It is not always easy, but we are the most powerful when we lead, whether it is going to Liberia to cover Ebola, or digging into why there are no seat belts on school buses, our important work around MMIW or the fantastic political coverage we did during the last election.  I am extremely proud of the work of CBC News. I am extremely proud and humbled by the commitment and talent of the teams. Your work makes this country better. I am not over-stating this.

So to my colleagues, past and present, I really just want to say THANK YOU!!  It has been a privilege to work with you in service of Canadians. Never lose sight of our value promise.  Never lose confidence in the power of your voice. Wishing you all the best.