Ginella Massa to join CBC News Network as primetime host

·3 min read

Journalist Ginella Massa will join CBC News Network as the host of a new primetime show, the Crown corporation announced Wednesday as part of programming changes over the next few months.

"She's just got a spark and curiosity to her that is refreshing at a time when there's so much to be interested in, and so much that is sort of unchartered in terms of the kind of journalism we do, the kind of stories we tell," said Michael Gruzuk, CBC's senior director of programming.

Massa will also join CBC's flagship news program The National as a special correspondent, as well as take part in "many of our CBC News specials," according to an internal CBC memo.

A graduate of Seneca College and York University, Massa is currently a reporter for CityNews in Toronto. In 2019, she was part of the CityNews team that won a Canadian Screen Award for best live special for coverage of an Ontario leaders' debate.

She has also worked with CTV, NewsTalk 1010 and Rogers TV, moving from behind the scenes as a news writer and producer to in front of the camera as a television journalist.

David Misener/CityNews
David Misener/CityNews

In 2015, she became the first hijab-wearing TV reporter in Canada, and then the next year, the first to anchor a major newscast in the country.

Massa said she hopes to use her new CBC role to focus on stories from different perspectives — be it race, religion or class.

"For the last decade of my career in journalism, both behind the scenes and on air, I have often been the only one who looks like me in the room," Massa said.

"I do try to bring those perspectives to the newsroom … bring the stories that people around me are talking about, which aren't always the stories that get the most attention."

Beginning in the new year, Massa's hour-long show will air weeknights at 8 p.m. ET on CBC News Network.

New programs

Her hiring comes alongside a number of other changes on the cable network.

On Nov. 1, it will launch Rosemary Barton Live, a two-hour Sunday program focused on federal politics, followed by the premiere of CBC News Live with Vassy Kapelos, a weekday "fast-paced roundup of breaking political and Canadian stories" on Nov. 2, the internal memo said.

Kapelos will continue to host Power and Politics, which moves to a new time slot of 6 p.m.-8 p.m. ET on weekdays.

CBC journalist Carole MacNeil will host a new weekday afternoon show on News Network, which will be "more programmed" rather than focusing on breaking news that just happened, Gruzuk said.

The changes come weeks after Barbara Williams, CBC's executive vice-president of English services, announced 130 job cuts across the country. That included 58 news, current affairs and local positions, with most of them in Toronto.

The company cited higher costs and lower revenues as the reason for the cuts, precipitated by a $21-million budget deficit. That shortfall was, in particular, "due to declines in advertising and subscription revenues linked to our traditional television business," Williams wrote in a letter to staff.