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Québec’s Evening News Programs (#45)
If you’re like me, and many of you are, the internet has changed the way how, where, and when you receive your news (as opposed to 10 or 15 years ago when we sat in front of the television to catch the evening newscast).
Nonetheless, major evening newscasts still exist in both in English and French. In Anglophone Canada the major evening newscasts are CBC’s “The National”, “CTV National News”, and “Global National”.
In Québec, the French language major evening newscasts are
- Radio-Canada’s “Le téléjournal” at 10:00pm, (click HERE to view the last newscast), and
- TVA’s “TVA Nouvelles” at 10:00pm, (to view the last newscast, click HERE to open the news page, then click the box at the right side, half-way down the page, named “Revoir le TVA Nouvelles”).
Because of competition from the internet, the evolution of these evening news programs has closely followed the same recent changes in Anglophone evening newscasts. Many people in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s are now accessing news through mobile phones and the internet throughout the day. Their interest in, and need to spend an hour before the television in the evening to catch a resumé of the day’s news is no longer as vital (and even viewed as a waste of time by many). Therefore, just as “The National” and “CTV National News” have had to change and adapt their formats to remain relevant, so too have “Le téléjournal” and “TVA Nouvelles”.
These news programs’ recent countermeasures to remain relevant and unique include presenting a brief resumé of the news, but then to greatly supplement news reports with analysis and commentaries. Due to budgetary restrictions and travel limitations for foreign correspondents, they have incorporated long-distance on-screen interviews into their programs using Skype to discuss current events with independent reports, eyewitnesses, and news-makers around the country and around the world. Although the public may not have perceived this gradual change over the past several years, when you compare evening news today (in both English and French) to the same programs a decade ago, the difference is actually quite stark.
TVA Nouvelles generally attracts a larger viewer audience than RC’s Le téléjournal.
Radio-Canada is the Federal public broadcaster (the French counterpart of the CBC). For several years now, the chief anchor and host of Le Téléjournal has been Céline Galipeau (prior to Galipeau, the host was the well-known Bernard Derome, who was the chief anchor for nearly 30 years. Stéphane Bureau hosted the program for a short period prior to Galipeau taking the reins.
Le téléjournal is broadcast every evening across Canada, in every part of the country, from the most Northern Arctic communities, and from the Pacific ocean to the Atlantic coast.
They do cover issues across Canada, but the concentration of news and matters discussed continues to be on Québec-specific affairs (news covering the provincial government, events in cities, etc.). For television news geared to Francophones and Francophiles in other provinces or regions, Radio-Canada offers the 6pm Téléjournal [provincial], such as Le téléjournal Alberta, Le téléjournal Acadie, Le téléjournal Manitoba, … Ottawa, … Colombie-Britannique, … Ontario, and … Sasktachewan.
TVA is a private broadcaster owned by Québecor’s QMI. QMI also owns the English language Sun News television (available in various part of Anglophone Canada), as well as the Sun newspapers and other newspapers across Canada. In an earlier post, I had mentioned that Pierre Bruneau is the well-known host of TVA Nouvelles.
TVA Nouvelles concentrates mostly on issues of interest to Québec viewers (its prime audience). When it reports news from elsewhere in Canada or on Federal politics, it does so by relating the relevancy to Québec and how it may impact Québec viewers. If you’re outside of Québec, you may find TVA Nouvelles is not as pertinent to you, unless you wish to have a better understanding of what news the Québec public is watching. Remember, just like pop-culture, news exposure, and how it is presented, can influence a society’s collective views and opinions – the word is “soft power”. Thus, catching TVA Nouvelle’s perspective on issues of national events can perhaps round out your own views.
Good for learning & improving your French :
Both newscasts are presented in standard, international French, albeit with a Québec accent (just as BBC is presented in standard, international English, but with a British accent). If you are beginning to learn French, these program’s avoidance of joual (slang and informal French) make them ideal launching grounds with which you can train your ear and distinguish the different sounds in French. At the beginner’s stage, it’s not as important to understand what is being said as much as it’s important to be able to make out different sounds. If you’re at an intermediate level, these are good programs with which to begin to build a greater vocabulary. If you’re at an advanced level, well then, just enjoy taking in the news.