CBC rebrands its news

Newshounds already get their headlines from CNN, while business junkies learn the latest from BNN. Now, Canadians can get ready for CBC NN.

TORONTO — Newshounds already get their headlines from CNN, while business junkies learn the latest from BNN. Now, Canadians can get ready for CBC NN.

CBC Newsworld will be rebranded as the CBC News Network on Monday, as the 24-hour all-news channel launches a revamped schedule and format to go along with a new look and name.

The public broadcaster says the CBC NN moniker is part of a series of efforts to modernize and integrate news coverage, with changes also in store for CBC-TV’s flagship news show The National.

Richard Stursberg, the broadcaster’s head of English services, says The National will run seven days a week and boast a new set, an expanded roster of correspondents and bring Peter Mansbridge out from behind the desk to deliver the news while standing.

CBC NN, meanwhile, will feature a new set and onscreen graphics along with new morning anchor Anne-Marie Mediwake, formerly of Global. Business experts Amanda Lang and Kevin O’Leary team up for the half-hour Lang and O’Leary Exchange each weekday afternoon.

The changes follow a particularly difficult year for the CBC, which has been struggling to cope with a $171-million budget shortfall.

Stursberg said Wednesday that the latest overhaul is the result of extensive consultations with CBC audiences, and that the Newsworld name change in particular was geared towards putting the focus on CBC News.

“Newsworld doesn’t actually give you a good sense of what it is, because it’s actually a news network,” said Stursberg. “It was partly to make it a little bit clearer to people. . . . (The network) has been around for a long time, over 20 years, and still people were unclear as to what the nature of the offering was.”

He dismissed any suggestions that the similarity to that other all-news channel, CNN, might send a message to viewers that CBC was trying to emulate a more U.S.-style approach to packaging news.

“Guaranteed, when you turn it on you’ll know where you are,” he said. “Nobody was confused at all by it, nobody in the focus groups thought that we were being like CNN or any of that.”

In recent months, CBC has cut 800 jobs. The news division shaved 100 positions as it amalgamated assignment desks to serve all its news platforms.

Other changes to The National include a new segment several times a week featuring Wendy Mesley and a slightly shortened show that ends five minutes early to provide a 10-minute local news segment leading into The Hour.

Online initiatives include a new political portal featuring blogging by Kady O’Malley and veteran Ottawa journalist Don Newman.

On the Net: www.cbcnews.ca

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