The veteran journalist and former BCTV news director, Cameron Bell discusses his career in journalism, as well as the genesis of the News Hour, his producing of the CBC’s Front Page Challenge, and his thoughts on newsgathering today, with Joseph Planta.
Text of introduction by Joseph Planta:
I am Planta: On the Line, in Vancouver, at TheCommentary.ca.
Cameron Bell joins me now. We continue meeting some of the notable figures in broadcasting in this part of the world. In 1968, he began as a reporter at television station CHAN, which is now known as Global BC, but for many years was known as BCTV, that became the ratings powerhouse in this market that thanks to its blend of top notch reporting and personalities became a part of many a British Columbians daily news diet. The News Hour then as now, has been the industry standard and the biggest draw in town. And that was in some part thanks to Cameron Bell. He later became news director, when in 1989 he was fired. I’ll ask Mr. Bell about the sort of newsroom and news culture he and Keith Bradbury cultivated in those years at BCTV. He and Mr. Bradbury were honoured in 1999 with the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jack Webster Foundation for their integral work in setting the news agenda in this town and province. Previous to his years at BCTV, he was at radio stations CFUN, CKWX, and CKNW. And after his time at BCTV, he was the executive producer of the venerable Canadian television institution Front Page Challenge, as well as the host of the Cameron Bell Show on CKNW from 2006 to 2008. He’s consulted for various programs and stations over the years. There’s a previous interview Mr. Bell did five years ago that you can find on the Radio West website, and with Mr. Bell’s indulgence we take us to the present day, and perhaps he’ll let us in on his thoughts on the newsgathering going on in Vancouver today. Please welcome to the Planta: On the Line program, Cameron Bell; Mr. Bell, good morning.