The Tisseyre Boost

Proverbial shots were fired at CBC/Radio-Canada president Hubert Lacroix Wednesday during CBC’s Annual Public Meeting as employees fiercely voiced their discontent regarding budget cuts to the society. The cuts, announced a few weeks ago, have dismissed nearly 400 employees.

But the one who launched the most virulent of verbal attacks towards Lacroix came as a surprise: Charles Tisseyre, host of weekly science news program Découverte on Radio-Canada for over 20 years, gave a heartfelt outcry regarding the state of the public broadcaster following massive layoffs. Tisseyre has always been known as a calm, composed and well-spoken man of science, yet his intervention came with great fury.

His message was simple: youth in this business matter, and without youth, we can’t keep up with the ever-evolving media world. He was outraged by the fact that the compressions at CBC/RC affect particularly young employees.

“Both Radio-Canada and CBC, in their respective languages, form a fundamental institution in the Canadian landscape,” he told the assembly. “And this institution must be supported by governing powers.

“When La Presse invested in its digital remodelling, they invested $60 million to accomplish it,” he continued. “But what do we do for our digital remodelling? We cut!”

But what owed him a standing ovation from the crowd was a reference to adjustments to his own main TV opus.

“At Découverte we are currently remodelling ourselves—with limited means, mind you—to adapt to this new digital era. But at the same time, the bright young minds who should be the motor of this transition are being laid off!”

Tisseyre touches a very sensible chord. The cuts currently happening at CBC/RC are particularly affecting the new generation of journalists. I, for one, am uncertain of the future when I hear Concordia journalism students that graduated three years ago lost their jobs at CBC/RC less than two years after being hired.

I briefly spoke with Charles after the conference. He told me, on the bright side, that he’s very confident about the future of scientific journalism at Radio-Canada.

“It’s been, since its very foundation, the duty of CBC/RC to provide the public with scientific-oriented programming,” he said. “Although CBC/RC are not investing as much as us scientific journalists would need to efficiently transition our programming into a multimedia, digital platform, the feeling at 1400 Boulevard Rene-Levesque Est is that scientific journalism still has a well-deserved space within these walls.”

Tisseyre’s outcry is incredible motivation. For someone with such experience and wisdom to be speaking in the name of young journalists, it shows we are not alone in this fight.

Thank you, Mr. Tisseyre, for being our voice.

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