Sun, 07/23/2017 - 20:43

Posted by H.G. Watson on May 17, 2017

The following memo was sent to CBC staff on May 17, 2017, from Jennifer McGuire, General Manager & Editor in Chief

I have spent the last few days meeting with individuals and groups who have experienced personal hurt and community impact from an inappropriate, insensitive and frankly unacceptable tweet late last week by one of our journalistic leaders.

Before sending a note, it was important for me to take the time to hear and understand first-hand the implications on our teams, particularly within our Indigenous and diverse staff. I want to thank those of you who spoke with me and so honestly shared your personal stories.

broad theme of those stories was clear: this incident raised questions about CBC’s commitment to being a more inclusive and representative workplace in staffing, in leadership, and in content.

As you know, Steve Ladurantaye apologized for his action. He has made it his goal to better understand the appropriation issue from the perspective of Canada’s Indigenous people. We will support Steve in these efforts and I am confident that the work and conversations we are engaged in will, in the long run, make Steve and all of us better journalists and better leaders.

It’s also clear to Steve and me that the work of redeveloping The National needs the full attention and focus of us all, and I believe that is not possible given the current circumstances. So effective immediately Steve will step away from his role as Managing Editor of The National. In addition to taking the time necessary to reach out to Indigenous communities and other communities as part of his learning process, Steve will work in our Content Experience area to help evolve our storytelling strategies. In the fall, we will meet with Steve to re-assess his connection to The National going forward.

it’s obvious that we have more work to do. We’ve already created the Emerging Leaders program to help develop a more diverse leadership team, and are in the midst of unconscious bias training with all of our program units. This training does not simply address hidden bias, but commits programs and platforms to concrete steps to diversify voices and story choices. But that is just a start. We are committed to continuing to work with our employee resource groups and others to develop further steps, and will announce these as they are finalized.

The National redevelopment continues at full speed. Jonathan Whitten, Michael Gruzuk, Caroline Harvey and myself, as well as the various working groups, will lead the work around re-imagining the program.

I know there will be many different opinions about today’s decision. What has guided me is a determination to be thoughtful about our future, fair to our staff, and fully committed to the goals and values of CBC News.

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