The editor-in-chief of English-language news at the CBC, Tony Burman, has resigned and will leave the corporation July 13.
Burman has been with the the public broadcaster for almost 35 years, and for the past seven has overseen English news on radio, television and CBC.ca.
He told staff he was leaving because he had done the job long enough:
…my own work pattern has been to seek change every three-to-five years. And I have — as many of you know — worked hard to ensure this approach is common in different parts of our operation. I have always felt that an openness to change and renewal is at the core of the best journalism. In the end, I have to listen to my own words.
At age 59 retirement isn’t unusual, but those inclined to read the tea leaves will be scrutinizing this passage from Burman’s farewell note in an attempt to work out whether his departure is entirely voluntary:
Since so much of my life has been connected with the CBC, I obviously have mixed emotions about this, but mostly I have feelings of elation. And – can I say it? – liberation.
Only three weeks ago, Burman announced on CBC.ca that he was expanding his weekly media “letter” into a blog.
Why do that, and trumpet the fact, three weeks before resigning and barely six weeks before walking out the CBC door for the last time? It’s odd, to say the least.
And is he leaving the media industry entirely?
I really look forward to directing my energy, my enthusiasm and my ideas to new projects.
Answer: who knows?
Burman was in the news recently over his decision not to show pictures of the gun-brandishing Virginia Tech killer on the CBC’s television and web services — a decision contrary to that taken by most major North American news organizations.
CBC says “a search for Burman’s replacement will begin immediately, while his current deputy, Esther Enkin, will serve as acting editor-in-chief.”