What makes a great news anchor questions Rick Salutin in the Star and why hasn't Peter Mansbridge lived up to the mantel? Well, the quality of the stories for one. Journalists and anchors should have a story to tell and must have risen up the ranks as writers, correspondents, been in the places where history was being made. And when they retire, I'd like to hear about all the behind the scenes true thoughts that they have about their careers, unvarnished Kissinger style. What did Mansbridge really think about Conrad Black's answers? Who did he hate as an interviewee for deceptiveness, evasiveness.
What makes stations ditch their anchors like Anne Mrovskovsy or Laura Di Batista? People didn't like the elocution? Too forceful or light weight. Unable to keep up with the fast thinking required? Was it presence that gives gravitas. If so, then Andrew Coyne has the connections, writing ability, thinking skills to look critically and question. Similarly Matt Galloway. Do you remember when the TTC chair said that if buses were full then mothers with strollers could just wait for the next bus? Galloway responded, "Do you know how ridiculous that sounds?" Brilliant. Natural, real and to the mark. However much stations may want to groom the faces and voices of their station, sometimes the quirkiness of individuals are what we want. What Canadians don't want are the plastic people of American television. One of each flavor, but the women must be young, curvy, slim and smile a lot.
Barbara Frum was to me a staple of Canadian radio and television even though her voice was whiny and the manner of questioning somewhat predictable. Was Carol Ott on 'As it Happens' a duplication of the Frum brand? A voice clearly not made for radio. But I don't want to hear inappropriate laughing at serious topics or undervaluing of stories that impact on issues I care about. Like foolish howling after the wolves story to make light of the plight of killing an alpha female that horrified locals. I would expect anchors, newscasters to be people who are sensible, not products for their station, puppets moving to a script. To be cheery irregardless of the material.
Steve Pakin was a CBC news anchor who's moved to CTV TVO and has all those qualities of being bright, producing his own material, takes part in the field and doesn't march to the tune of station ratings.
...to be continued.