CBC de­motes head of The Na­tional

Editor re­as­signed af­ter cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion flap

The Daily Observer - - NATIONAL NEWS - VIC­TO­RIA AHEARN

TORONTO — The man­ag­ing editor of CBC’s The Na­tional was re­as­signed Wed­nes­day for what the pub­lic broad­caster called “an in­ap­pro­pri­ate, in­sen­si­tive and frankly un­ac­cept­able tweet” he made as part of a con­tro­ver­sial de­bate over cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion.

In a memo dis­trib­uted to staff, CBC News editor-in-chief Jen­nifer McGuire said Steve Ladu­ran­taye will now work on its dig­i­tal “sto­ry­telling strate­gies” and reach out to in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties “as part of his learn­ing process.”

“As you know, Steve Ladu­ran­taye apol­o­gized for his ac­tion,” said McGuire in the memo. “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.”

Last week, Ladu­ran­taye was among the jour­nal­ists who en­gaged in a late-night Twit­ter con­ver­sa­tion that was sparked by a con­tentious mag­a­zine ar­ti­cle ad­vo­cat­ing for more cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion in Cana­dian lit­er­a­ture.

In the Writers’ Union of Canada’s mag­a­zine, Write, nov­el­ist and then-editor Hal Niedzviecki sug­gested “any­one, any­where, should be en­cour­aged to imag­ine other peo­ples, other cul­tures, other iden­ti­ties.”

The opin­ion piece also sug­gested there should be an ap­pro­pri­a­tion prize in lit­er­a­ture.

Af­ter the ar­ti­cle was pub­lished, apolo­gies came from the union as well as Niedzviecki, who re­signed.

Mean­while, for­mer Na­tional Post editor Ken Whyte re­sponded by tweet­ing he would “do­nate $500 to the found­ing of the ap­pro­pri­a­tion prize if some­one else wants to or­ga­nize.”

Ladu­ran­taye replied that he would con­trib­ute $100. He later deleted the tweet and apol­o­gized, say­ing “what I did was hurt­ful, and my apol­ogy is with­out con­di­tion.”

“In short, I wasn’t think­ing. I didn’t stop to think,” he said in a string of tweets.

“That’s a prob­lem. I need to ad­dress it. I didn’t stop to think about what it is like to not have my po­si­tion or my power or my voice.”

McGuire said she spent the last few days “meet­ing with in­di­vid­u­als and groups who have ex­pe­ri­enced per­sonal hurt and com­mu­nity im­pact” from Ladu­ran­taye’s tweet.

“This in­ci­dent raised ques­tions about CBC’s com­mit­ment to be­ing a more in­clu­sive and rep­re­sen­ta­tive work­place in staffing, in lead­er­ship, and in con­tent,” she said.

Ladu­ran­taye’s du­ties will be as­sumed by ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of news con­tent Jonathan Whit­ten, se­nior di­rec­tor of con­tent ex­pe­ri­ence Michael Gruzuk, and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of The Na­tional Caro­line Har­vey, said a CBC spokesman.

McGuire’s memo also noted that Ladu­ran­taye’s fu­ture with The

Na­tional will be re­assessed in the fall. The CBC said Wed­nes­day that Ladu­ran­taye was go­ing to com­ment on his re­as­sign­ment.

The move comes a few days af­ter Jonathan Kay stepped down from his job as editor-in-chief at The

Wal­rus mag­a­zine. While Kay said his rea­sons for leav­ing the mag­a­zine were “some­what mun­dane,” his de­par­ture fol­lowed an opin­ion piece he wrote in the Na­tional Post de­fend­ing the right to de­bate cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion.

In an e-mail to The Cana­dian Press, Kay said his in­ter­ests as an editor no longer aligned with the pri­or­i­ties of the or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­duces the mag­a­zine.

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS FILES

A man leaves the CBC build­ing, in Toronto. The man­ag­ing editor of CBC’s The Na­tional was re­as­signed Wed­nes­day for what the pub­lic broad­caster called “an in­ap­pro­pri­ate, in­sen­si­tive and frankly un­ac­cept­able tweet” as part of a de­bate on cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion.

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