Early Evening Newscasts | The true battle of the anchors

With the retirement of Pierre Bruneau, early evening television shows are presented in a different face this fall. The press wanted to take the opportunity to talk to Patrice Roy, Sophie Thibault and Marie-Christine Bergeron about the competition. But during our discussions we found that the three news anchors prefer not to fight each other but to fight together to restore public trust in the news media.

Posted yesterday at 7:00am

Marc Andre Lemieux

Marc Andre Lemieux
The press

A survey by the Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report, released earlier this summer, found that Canadian distrust of news was at an all-time high.

This observation deeply troubles Sophie Thibault. “I am very attentive to all this harmful atmosphere regarding the role of the news media,” indicates the new head of the antenna of the TVA News 5 p.m and 6 p.mwho takes over the collar on Monday.

“Some people give us intentions, they see conspiracies everywhere, associations… When we see what a large part of the public thinks about our work, I find it really sad and worrying. »

The pandemic seems to have exacerbated this negative sentiment. In recent years, many journalists have been harassed, especially online. In an interview, Sophie Thibault tells that she experienced this very real recently when she went alone in the mountains to photograph deer and birds. One woman recognized her and notably aggressively called her “Madam of Fake News.”

“It shook me,” says Pierre Bruneau’s successor. There was only one way back down. I was afraid she would catch her gang. All sorts of things went through my mind…I couldn’t help it because I see what is affecting my colleagues. »

This strong trend saddens Marie-Christine Bergeron, who will take the helm thread 17 next Monday at Noovo to succeed Noémi Mercier.


Marie Christine Bergeron

I hear people say to reporters, “You’re told what to say!” In terms of content, nobody has ever forced anything on me.

Marie Christine Bergeron

Marie-Christine Bergeron believes that the public should be educated about the role of journalists. She recalls spring 2012 when she reported on the student demonstrations. “I was in the field and everywhere there were people who said to me, ‘But Richard Martineau…’ Richard Martineau is a columnist. Me, I’m a journalist. A columnist gives his opinion, while a journalist is neutral and objective. »

To counter this wave of skepticism, the heads of the antennas must get involved, believes Patrice Roy. According to him, her role in 2022 will be “more important than ever”.

“Fight against fake newsYou have to present the facts with force and rigor,” stresses the headliner of Radio-Canada, which is celebrating its 15th seasone Season at the top of Newscast 6 p.m. “In this climate, the antenna heads are a benchmark. I sense this thirst for facts in many viewers. They don’t want my opinion; they want things explained to them. I consider this synthesis to be essential today. »

When we know that television remains the primary source of information for citizens in Canada, ahead of social media (40% versus 27% according to the Digital News Report), Patrice Roy’s words resonate even more. “When I started, people said to me, ‘The news shows are over.’ It’s not true, there are still a lot of people who get their news from TV,” says Patrice Roy.

Greater Solidarity

According to Sophie Thibault, the repeated attacks on journalists have strengthened community solidarity. Revelations about toxic work environments in various media outlets have also helped cement this spirit of camaraderie rather than competition in recent years. That’s why the multiple Artis Award winner raises his eyebrows when the term “rivalry” comes up.


Sophie Thibaut

With everything we’ve been through, I feel like things have calmed down, that excessive, almost belligerent, competition of 15 years ago. We’re all sitting in the same boat. We need to calm things down, that kind of rhetoric that existed while listening, the pressure that we were experiencing… That needs to go away. We are in competition, we assume. Everyone wants their own slice of pizza, but there’s a way to do it differently, more humanely.

Sophie Thibaut

Like Sophie Thibault, Patrice Roy admits to watching the ratings of the bulletins he controls every day. “For me it’s the ultimate conclusion of everything we do,” he says.

In an interview, the moderator proudly speaks of the listening results of the Newscast 6 p.m. According to Numéris, the program achieved its best scores in the Montreal market last fall since the PPM measures were introduced in 2004. And its results continued to climb in the spring.

“When I took office in 2008, Pierre Bruneau was way up there at TVA,” says Patrice Roy. It was total domination. Hubert Lacroix [qui était président-directeur général de CBC/Radio-Canada] told me, “You’ve got to climb a bad hill.” With the resources we had, there was no reason for us to be 10km from the competitor. The idea wasn’t necessarily to beat Pierre Bruneau, but to return to the same fields. And stone by stone we climbed. I saw Hubert Lacroix again this summer. I went to him and said: “I have joined Pierre Bruneau. We face each other.” »

For all of Quebec, the TVA News 5 p.m and 6 p.m still tops the rankings ahead of Radio-Canada with 526,000 and 696,000 viewers respectively. With reference to thread 17 from Noovo he is behind. Last season, he gathered just over 60,000 people, as recently reported Project Ja digital observatory of journalism.

Marie-Christine Bergeron says she has never thought about ratings before and has no intention of changing that habit.

“I’m a local girl,” emphasizes the journalist from Lac-Saint-Jean. When I was young I hosted CIBL, the community radio. I did TVA at Trois-Rivières in Sherbrooke. I replaced those TVA News 5 p.m and 22 O `clockI did hello hello JE. and LCN. It never changed anything for me. Whether I’m hosting a newsletter with 1,000,000 reviews or 5,000, I put all my rigor into it. I’ve always worked like this. »

The elections, but still

With provincial elections set to dominate the airwaves through Oct. 3, the anchor trio are planning a busy autumn. But other issues draw their attention.

COVID-19 hasn’t gone off Patrice Roy’s radar. “I can’t wait to see if there will be another wave or not, if people get vaccinated etc. For me, this file is not dead. And because I love politics, I’m naturally interested in the race for leadership of the Conservative Party. [du Canada]. It is not trivial what awaits us in September. Mr Poilievre risks being appointed and eventually becoming the country’s prime minister. It would be a big change. »

For her part, Sophie Thibault will make some (small) changes to the TVA News 5 p.m and 6 p.m : a camera in hand, another opening, a new decor in a few months… The head of the antenna wants to give more airtime to environmental issues. “I am very environmentally conscious. We are living through a climate crisis. Every week we get some pretty unpleasant news. I don’t want us to miss the boat here. »

Marie-Christine Bergeron will bring her “colour” into play thread 17 especially through the development of police issues. “I trip over it. If you look at my background, my experience, you can see that. Behind these police cases there are always human stories that are sometimes terrifying and sometimes dramatic. It is necessary to speak about it. It’s important to listen to these people who are going through difficult things. »

Patrice Roy and Sophie Thibault continue the necklace this Monday night on ICI Télé and TVA. Marie-Christine Bergeron will make her debut at the wheel of the thread 17 August 29 on Noovo.

Departure of Lisa LaFlamme: “The arms fell on me”


Lisa LaFlamme was a presenter until recently.

Patrice Roy and Sophie Thibault reacted with surprise to the departure of Lisa LaFlamme, the popular presenter of the CTV National News.

Last week we learned that the celebrity presenter was fired from Bell Media after 35 years of loyal service. The widely publicized dismissal raised questions about sexism and ageism.

Sophie Thibault didn’t think it was good that a colleague from the head of antennas was so carelessly shown the door.

“It’s really sad to end a career like this. It’s one of upper anchor. It is the most popular news program in Canada today. My arms fell off me. I have a lot of sympathy for what she is going through. There’s nothing she hasn’t done. She was an extraordinary leader. It is very sad to end a career teetering on some kind of conflict. »

Patrice Roy also followed the story closely.

“I fell off my chair,” says the host news broadcast. It is the best newsletter in English Canada. I know she demanded journalistic independence from the bosses. She also wanted resources to go to Ukraine etc. Is that the reason for his departure? I have no idea. But what I do know is that I didn’t find the path elegant [Bell Média] this handled. She deserved a more dignified start. »

Marie-Christine Bergeron declined to comment on the case. It must be said that the former TVA journalist has just landed at Noovo, a channel owned by Bell Media. “There are things we don’t know. We don’t have all the details,” she said.

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