Disclosure

CBC unveiled its edgy new current affairs program Disclosure this evening, hosted by Wendy Mesley and Diana Swain. The program shares a lot with ABC’s 20/20: Downtown — it’s a lighter, funkier kinda news, targeted younger than usual. Think of it as “fifth estate” meets “21 Jump Street.”

That said, I watched and enjoyed most of the program this evening.

I’m a fan of both Swain and Mesley: I think they’re excellent hosts, and good journalists. I sang a private song when Swain beat out Peter Mansbridge for the new Gemini last year.

As to the segements that went into tonight’s debut episode, well…

There were regretable (or just plain stupid) segments, like Premiers Travel Challenge where real CBC sports commentators called the play-by-play on a mock hurdles race as part of an essentially content-free “exposé” about travel costs in various by Canadian Premiers. This segment — more appropriate for This Hour Has 22 Minutes if anyone is forced to watch it — went on way, way to long and took what might have been some interesting content and over-packaged it in a fluffy coating.

Similarly, the Disclosure Mission Statement piece, wherein we get a fluufy rendition of what the show’s all about, was over-produced to the point of obscurity. The style of this piece borrowed a lot from Undercurrents, Wendy Mesley’s old show. Let’s hope they leave that style mostly behind.

But Mesley’s interview with Prince Mostapha was well done: she’s a good interviewer, and she established a bizarre sort of rapport with the man. And Diana Swain’s The Beast of Bolzano piece was interesting too, although she could lose a little bit of the Mike Wallacesque moral indignation.

Graphically the show was slick and well-produced. Despite the 20/20 style knock-off of the “hosts standing in weird lighting on the roof,” I like this technique for the introductions.

The Disclosure website certainly seems comprhensive, with background web content for each piece, and RealVideo of each as well. It suffers from the usual crazy “we have to wrap our own cool, unique home page inside the regular CBC look and feel” problem that so plagues many CBC sites; the result is five (yes five) navigational areas: regular CBC bar at the top, regular CBC sidebar, Disclosure bar at the top, Disclosure sidebar, Disclosure links at page bottom. This is confusing, but it’s not really fair to blame the Disclosers for this problem.

I’ll be watching next Tuesday.

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