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July 9, 2024 7:32 pm  #1


What Is Going On At CTV News Toronto?

I ask because it seems to be chronic. 

In the last few days, I've seen graphics come in way too early, reporter live hits never gone to, anchors confused by apparent teleprompter scripts gone missing, sound that's not there and other really poor production issues. CFTO's newscasts aren't perfect of course, but I've never seen so many glitches as I have in the past couple of weeks. 

On Tuesday's 6 PM cast, for example, a reporter was in the middle of a live remote stand-up, when he was abruptly cut off halfway through and the story suddenly began running. There were no audio or signal problems, so what happened? It's impossible to say. 

A few days ago, I saw anchor Michelle Dube become literally befuddled on air trying to find her place, after her co-anchor finished his story. She let out an audible "ummm" with a pause, as if searching for the next item, which clearly wasn't there. That's something you should never, ever hear your main anchor say on air. To her credit, she found her place (maybe a Teleprompter issue?) and went on without a stumble. But it was certainly an awkward moment. 

I've seen identifier graphics come in way too early, naming someone who isn't on the screen yet, but appears later. Or sometimes, never keyed at all, so you have no idea who they are.  

And in a non-technical error, they've come on and told us their "Top Story," only to immediately veer away from it to deal with something entirely different. As I recall, the instance that struck me was about the LCBO strike, which led that day's newscast. They showed 15 secs. of viz, then veered to a shooting that happened elsewhere in the city, followed by several more hot shots.

They didn't get back to their actual "lead" until at least 4 minutes in, by which time it can be argued it was not their top story at all. (Maybe a playback issue? The report wasn't ready in time? Who knows? But it sure looked awful to delay your lead until almost five minutes into your 6 PM news.)

I've seen a lot of this over the past few weeks and it seems to be getting worse. Whatever you think of Channel 9's news efforts, it's always at least looked professional. Lately, it's been a real mess. So often, in fact, that's it's no longer a headline any more.  

 

July 9, 2024 7:37 pm  #2


Re: What Is Going On At CTV News Toronto?

Pure speculation, but what I've noticed in the time of job cutbacks is that everything continues to work well until certain key people choose to leave or go on vacation. The skeleton staffing only works under the right conditions. Lots of vacations taken in the summer...

 

July 9, 2024 8:33 pm  #3


Re: What Is Going On At CTV News Toronto?

Could probably be all summed up in one word: Overdrive. CFTO might now be using the Canadian-made Ross Video "Overdrive" automated production control system, so not much more than a director/TD running the show him/herself, with a computer "rundown" handling cameras, switching, clip playback, graphics, audio etc. that would normally require a whole crew. Possibly some bugs/mistakes in the rundown templates and/or an inexperienced operator.

Last edited by Forward Power (July 9, 2024 8:33 pm)

 

July 9, 2024 11:47 pm  #4


Re: What Is Going On At CTV News Toronto?

I've also noticed that whoever is anchoring on the left side of the screen (e.g. Michelle Dube or Natalie Johnson) now is always holding a clicker in their hand. My guess is that it controls the teleprompter? I know CityTV they use a foot pedal to move the teleprompter (which hides it better) but perhaps things at CTV are so screwed up that they are using a visible hand-controlled device to move it now.
 

 

July 10, 2024 8:59 am  #5


Re: What Is Going On At CTV News Toronto?

TomTV wrote:

I've also noticed that whoever is anchoring on the left side of the screen (e.g. Michelle Dube or Natalie Johnson) now is always holding a clicker in their hand. My guess is that it controls the teleprompter? I know CityTV they use a foot pedal to move the teleprompter (which hides it better) but perhaps things at CTV are so screwed up that they are using a visible hand-controlled device to move it now.
 

Not new for the prompter controller to be visible. We see it more these days, but I remember when CKVR became "The New VR", the news anchors would often have the prompter "clicker" in one hand and their script clipboard in the other.

 

July 10, 2024 9:08 am  #6


Re: What Is Going On At CTV News Toronto?

A friend of mine who is married to a former TV anchor in Saskatchewan once told me the story of his wife's first night anchoring the late newscast on a holiday weekend. She couldn't figure out how to use the footpedal to control the teleprompter and with no floor director to help her out, she soon became hopelessly lost as she tried to work from her barebones script. By the end of the newscast, she was visibly sweating and on the verge of tears. After the cast mercifully came to an end, she bolted from the studio, jumped into her car and drove away at high speed, simply wanting to get home. She was pulled over by a cop for speeding and after listening to her explanation through a mass of angry tears, he let her off with a warning, saying "you look like you've suffered enough for one day."