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CBC/Radio-Canada/CMG – Use of Smartphones

CBC/SRC-CMG Joint Communications:

Rapid and unprecedented transformation to the media landscape has shifted the priorities of CBC/SRC. As it reorients itself to become a digital-first company, the way CBC employees gather and deliver content also is changing. One of the most significant changes is the use of smartphones to gather news content. Smartphones are in some cases replacing traditional cameras as a way of gathering video to record at news events.

The CMG and the CBC agree, that in some cases those journalists who are using smartphones, or other portable technology for newsgathering, are working at a higher level than the Band 8 Reporter/Editor classification.  The two sides agree that they will discuss what classification this work belongs in, whether it fits within existing job descriptions, or if a new classification has to be written.

In the interim, the CBC/SRC and CMG have agreed to a framework for determining when an upgrade should apply.

When a Reporter-Editor has primary responsibility for gathering the video elements of the story in addition to the writing and reporting, with an iPhone instead of a camera, then he/she will be considered to be working as a Band 10 VJ.  However, a Reporter-Editor who gathers incidental media elements or short bursts of content, such as an announcement or the top of a press conference, will not be considered to be working as a Band 10 VJ.

The determination of whether or not an upgrade applies will happen at the assignment desk, and will be based on agreed upon guidelines.  A FAQ will be produced by the members of the JE Sub-committee:   Jonathan Whitten, Fred Youngs, John Bainbridge, Michael D’Souza, Patty Ducharme, Karine Lalonde, Catherine Gregory and Bruce May.

FAQ – Smartphones – Memorandum of Agreement

1- Who decides if the premium (TUG) is granted ?

The assignment editor makes the decision in most cases, but it can also be the senior or executive producer.

2- Can a reporter decide herself or himself to claim the upgrade?

No. A reporter can request the upgrade, but the decision is made by the assignment desk based on the MOA.

3- Why not not use the “two hour” rule as outlined in the collective agreement.  If a reporter “shoots” for more than two hours a day, an upgrade will be paid?

The CMG and the CBC have agreed that when a reporter is assigned as the primary shooter on a story, the nature of the reporter’s job changes for the entire day, and they are doing the work of a video journalist. Along with the usual duties, the reporter now has to plan the shoot, ensure they have the proper equipment, determine or decide how the video will be fed to the plant, and arrange the location and logistics of the shoot. In addition the reporter is also responsible for the writing, voicing, editing and packaging, when needed. In other words, the requirements of being the primary shooter run across the entire assignment.

4- If the reporter is assigned and works as the primary shooter for the story, but the story only ends up on a digital platform, is the upgrade paid?

Yes. The upgrade is for the work that is done by the Band 8 reporter, whether the video is used as part of a full item, as clips in a talkback or even if it is not used at all. The extra payment is not dependent on how the story is treated in a program, or by what platform it appears on.

5- A reporter is the primary shooter on a story.  They do all the planning, shooting, feeding and editing.   They use an Iphone instead of an HD cam or small format camera.  Is an upgrade paid?   

Yes. The upgrade is not tied to the tool used to gather the visuals.

6- A reporter works with a videographer or video producer and in the course of the day shoots some cut-aways with an iPhone or small format camera, or re-shoots part of a primary interview to gather a clip that can be sent immediately to digital platforms.

No upgrade is paid in this case.  The reporter is not the primary shooter, and the visuals are considered to be “incidental”.

7- A reporter is assigned to cover a court case.  As part of that assignment, the reporter gathers images of arrivals at court.  Those images are used online, and as part of a package that is otherwise made up of stock shots and courtroom sketches.

No upgrade is paid in this case.  Incidental video shoots – the top of a news conference for instance or the few moments of a  walk into court – do not involve the planning and organization that is involved in setting up in the work of a vj.

8- A band 8 videographer is assigned to do a spear, and is required to ask three prearranged questions that have been provided by another journalist. Does the videographer qualify for an upgrade to band 10 video producer?

No. The upgrade to Band 10 historically has not been paid in cases like this. That is because the fundamental nature of the videographer’s job has not changed. She or he did not have to research the story or develop the questions, for instance. It is similar to asking a Band 8 reporter to gather incidental video.

9 – What is the amount ?
The upgrade is $25 per day

10- What happens if the assignment is for a long period?
If the assignment lasts beyond 4 consecutive weeks, management will reclassify the employee in the appropriate band as per the collective agreement.

11- Is this a permanent measure?
No. The Band 8 Reporter/Editor classification will be reviewed by a sub committee of the the joint CBC/CMG job evaluation committee.

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