Gen X changes the face of media & political leadership in 2010

tv-plus-politicians
Some of the faces garnering attention lately in B.C.

Setting aside the question of politics for the moment, I’d like to comment on what I see is a generational change occurring across many institutions. Those who we are seeing on top in politics, business, the civil service and many other organizations are increasingly those of us who reached (or were about to reach) adulthood in the 1980s. Generation X became a crude marketing label over the 1990s, but for the purposes of identifying the group who occupied the back end of the Baby Boom it works fine.

The BC Liberal leadership is energized by two former 80s SFU grads who studied political science, Christy Clark and Kevin Falcon. Their entry into this race makes sense given the shift that seems to be happening. It also underlines why replacing Gordon Campbell with another sixty-something like Carole Taylor was unlikely.

Certainly the faces who have caused the media to chatter the most have been the "changing of the guard" at the province’s leading newscasts. It was felt by some that when an institution like Tony Parsons left GlobalTV’s News Hour program that audiences would have a hard time adjusting. But the station’s ratings and the overall approval of new anchor Chris Gailus have calmed any concerns.

In a few days new anchors will occupy the chairs at CTV BC’s dinner hour newscast. It’s a move that had some people asking questions about the appropriateness of the former face of the weather forecast taking the role as anchor. Having watched Tamara Taggart’s career over the years, I have no doubts about her ability to assume this new role. Taggart has been less of a presence for CTV’s newscast while she raises a family, but she continues to be one of the most popular personalities on local television.

Unlike her predecessor Pamela Martin, Taggart seems to have a natural spontaneity when dealing with unforeseen circumstances or when conversing with others on-air. I think she has the smarts to go with her TV-friendly looks. She hasn’t quite mastered the medium of Twitter yet (an increasingly important vehicle for building a brand), but I expect she’ll grow into her new leading role on the broadcast.

A mutual friend introduced me to Mike Killeen a lifetime ago when we were both onsite at Expo 86 and he was reporting for CKVU, and I’ve followed the career of this fellow "Mike K" ever since. He’s a solid newsman who brings some gravitas to CTV’s six o’clock show.

While we don’t know what Gordon Campbell’s next career move will be, we know that Bill Good will remain as morning talk show host at CKNW and on the Corus Radio Network. He has a huge audience on that station, and will continue to be an influential voice in B.C. for years to come.

Pamela Martin’s next career move has not been announced, but if I were to guess she’ll become an increasingly important figure in the charitable sector. She was honourary chair of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Diamond Ball, as well as working on behalf of Run for the Cure, BC Cancer Foundation, Big Sisters of BC, AIDS Vancouver, Variety: Children’s Charity Telethon, and Canuck Place.

There are several other changes in leadership happening across the province of course, such as the recent rise of our friend Greg D’Avignon as the new head of the BC Business Council.. Feel free to comment with your own observations, and the names of other figures we’re starting to see take the top jobs.

– post by Mike

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  • yuri

    Great. We will be getting our news from a weather bimbo. I’ll be changing channels thanks.

  • Burnaby Bill

    What an deeply inciteful article. Never mind that Clark, Falcon and company have been in political and media life for over 10 years. Really following the trends.
    Maybe you can dig into Clark’s Gen-X brother and ex-husband’s role in the sell off of BC Rail to CN. How about Falcon’s remarkable failure to build the Port Mann replacement as a public-private partnership after the sole sourced contract with a questionable firm call Macquire that ended up with a consellation prize of $200 m in consulting fees.
    Also, can you please tell me more about the BC AIDS Society? Unfortunately it doesn’t exist. There is the BC Persons with AIDS Society, there is AIDS Vancouver. I can’t find any reference to the work of Martin with either of these organizations.

  • Sounds like Santa didn’t bring him want he wanted. 🙂
    I think I made it clear this is about a generational change of leadership, not subordinates, but why nitpick?
    Re: Pamela. I love having to fact check bios on other websites. Google turns up something she did with AIDS Vancouver, and I’ve updated the post.

  • gregory

    Great. We will be getting our news from a weather bimbo. I’ll be changing channels thanks.
    =============================
    Have to agree with you on this.
    How does someone make the smooth transition from talking about weather systems and candied apples at the PNE to being a news anchor who is supposed to have journalistic value.
    Or is it?

  • Lisa

    Tamara will do just fine. Pamela is very wooden by comparison. Not sure if I’ll give up Global for the new faces though.

  • Martin de Pateshull

    I am deeply concerned about anyone who thinks television news, which is supported by paid advertising, has “journalistic value.”

  • david hadaway

    Twitter, building a ‘brand’, pretty faces. Peroxide blondes and peroxide smiles. A world where SFU ‘grads’ don’t actually need to have graduated (that’s so twentieth century, darling) and weather forecasters need never hear the word ‘meteorology’ before they take the job.
    Burnaby Bill, much as I agree with your observations, the word is ‘insightful’, applied ironically of course. That is unless you meant inciting dismayed fury at the cult of B list provincial celebrity worship, in which case you hit the nail on the head.
    Winston Churchill? He can’t be PM, he looks like a dog that got hit by a train. Albert Einstein? Are you joking? He looks like he just got out of an asylum. Eleanor Roosevelt? Dude! Her Clothes! Her figure! Her hair!
    Well, from now on my business and my votes go to to the most grizzled, frazzled, wrinkled, desiccated, baldy headed, cross eyed, knock kneed candidates available, and that’s just the women. Let’s all do it, just think, you could watch TV and instead of feeling inadequate and jealous you would have a warm sensation of condescension and pity. Even better, in politics we might actually find ourselves with competent leaders who had done something in their lives. That’s not guaranteed but at least they couldn’t be worse than a pack of quiffed, quaffed, primped poodles.
    OK, rant over, stand down the defibrillator. Best wishes for 2011 to all!

  • @David. Good rant. Agree with much of what you say. Must underline that my post was not about “looks” as much as a needed changing of the guard. It’s said by some that Campbell overstayed his welcome as BC’s leader. I wanted to point out that my contemporaries are suddenly stepping into leadership roles.
    Branding is a necessary fact today in politics and of course media. Nothing wrong in pointing that out.
    I think we’ve done a good job here when it comes to challenging media on telegenic politics.

  • The Angry Taxpayer

    Agree with your comments, David.
    We live in a fluffy, fluffy world…

  • christopher

    If we can have a Ken Doll as mayor of vancouver, then Taggart deserves a chance. At least she is not responsible for enforcing city bylaws or electrical inspections.
    Maybe Gregor might want to become a news anchor as well. Besides being very telegenic I hear he reads a script quite well.

  • politics101

    If the mayor of Vancouver is from the Gen X – heaven help the province and country if his type get the key to the safe.

  • The Angry Taxpayer

    Just looked at Taggert’s Twitter comments. Oh. Boy.
    If, as she claimed on the day she was named co-anchor that she is a “news junkie”, evidence of that is certainly not on display there.
    She better get someone from CTV communications department to help her pump it up. Pronto.

  • PF

    It’s disgusting that a woman who moved from weather to news anchor is denounced as a bimbo while nobody raises any concerns about the fact that men routinely move from sports to news anchor. Bill Good, for instance, never worked in news before jumping from hockey host to anchor, and he is quite deservedly a highly respected newsman now. I hope the sexist critics out there will remember that Gloria M at CBC was the “weather girl” there before moving over to become an excellent news anchor. Shame on you.

  • rickstar

    Given the sh*t that seems to be happening?
    Oh, given the SHIFT that seems to be happening.
    I’ve gotta’ get new glasses …
    I agree with that lady above who is pissed that the tamara gets criticized for going from weather to anchor, when bill good was himself a sports guy.
    Then again, Pamela was a model. Where is the qualification in THAT?

  • rickstar

    David Haddaway, loved that song you did in the early ’90’s;
    “What is Love”, baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more …
    What ever happened to your pop music career, anyhoo? Blah ha !!!

  • The Angry Taxpayer

    Pamela actually did a long gig as a reporter at BCTV before she became an anchor. She put in the hours.
    While Bill was a “sports reporter”, he sounded intelligent and well informed.
    In th early morning show days at ‘NW, he was working on interviews, reading up on subject matter, etc.
    I think that Tamara should demand to do some feature asignments, where her reporting skills, wrting, editing and delivery can be on display. Otherwise she will be looked at only as a lovely talking head, which I think would be a disredit to her, and to female reporters in general.

  • The Angry Taxpayer

    Pamela actually did a long gig as a reporter at BCTV before she became an anchor. She put in the hours.
    While Bill was a “sports reporter”, he sounded intelligent and well informed.
    In the early morning show days at ‘NW, he was working on interviews, reading up on subject matter, and could conduct a well flowing show. You have to be focused and quick on your feet to do that kind of show for 3 hours.
    I think that Tamara should demand to do some feature asignments, where her reporting skills, wrting, editing and delivery can be on display. Otherwise she will be looked at only as a lovely talking head, which I think would be a discredit to her, and to female reporters in general.