Gen X changes the face of media & political leadership in 2010

Some of the faces garnering attention lately in B.C.

Setting aside the question of politics for the moment, I’d like to comment on what I see is a generational change occurring across many institutions. Those who we are seeing on top in politics, business, the civil service and many other organizations are increasingly those of us who reached (or were about to reach) adulthood in the 1980s. Generation X became a crude marketing label over the 1990s, but for the purposes of identifying the group who occupied the back end of the Baby Boom it works fine.

The BC Liberal leadership is energized by two former 80s SFU grads who studied political science, Christy Clark and Kevin Falcon. Their entry into this race makes sense given the shift that seems to be happening. It also underlines why replacing Gordon Campbell with another sixty-something like Carole Taylor was unlikely.

Certainly the faces who have caused the media to chatter the most have been the "changing of the guard" at the province's leading newscasts. It was felt by some that when an institution like Tony Parsons left GlobalTV's News Hour program that audiences would have a hard time adjusting. But the station’s ratings and the overall approval of new anchor Chris Gailus have calmed any concerns.

In a few days new anchors will occupy the chairs at CTV BC’s dinner hour newscast. It’s a move that had some people asking questions about the appropriateness of the former face of the weather forecast taking the role as anchor. Having watched Tamara Taggart’s career over the years, I have no doubts about her ability to assume this new role. Taggart has been less of a presence for CTV’s newscast while she raises a family, but she continues to be one of the most popular personalities on local television.

Unlike her predecessor Pamela Martin, Taggart seems to have a natural spontaneity when dealing with unforeseen circumstances or when conversing with others on-air. I think she has the smarts to go with her TV-friendly looks. She hasn’t quite mastered the medium of Twitter yet (an increasingly important vehicle for building a brand), but I expect she’ll grow into her new leading role on the broadcast.

A mutual friend introduced me to Mike Killeen a lifetime ago when we were both onsite at Expo 86 and he was reporting for CKVU, and I've followed the career of this fellow "Mike K" ever since. He's a solid newsman who brings some gravitas to CTV's six o'clock show.

While we don’t know what Gordon Campbell’s next career move will be, we know that Bill Good will remain as morning talk show host at CKNW and on the Corus Radio Network. He has a huge audience on that station, and will continue to be an influential voice in B.C. for years to come.

Pamela Martin’s next career move has not been announced, but if I were to guess she’ll become an increasingly important figure in the charitable sector. She was honourary chair of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Diamond Ball, as well as working on behalf of Run for the Cure, BC Cancer Foundation, Big Sisters of BC, AIDS Vancouver, Variety: Children’s Charity Telethon, and Canuck Place.

There are several other changes in leadership happening across the province of course, such as the recent rise of our friend Greg D’Avignon as the new head of the BC Business Council.. Feel free to comment with your own observations, and the names of other figures we’re starting to see take the top jobs.

- post by Mike

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