Roadmap: 2030; October 25 & 26, 2011; Appel Salon of the Toronto Reference Library

Keynote Address – Tony Burman

Tony Burman Tony Burman, Velma Rogers Research Chair, Ryerson University
Keynote address at 9am on Oct 25th

Tony Burman is former head of Al Jazeera English and CBC News, and is now teaching at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism. As of September, he was appointed Ryerson’s Velma Rogers Graham Research Chair In News Media and Technology.Prior to that, he was Managing Director of Al Jazeera’s international English-language news channel from 2008-2010, and was head of strategy for the Americas based in Washington for the past year. He has overseen AJE’s success in expanding its reach and reputation in the U.S. and Canada as one of the world’s leading global news providers.Before Al Jazeera, he spent more than three decades as an award-winning news and documentary producer at CBC News in Canada, including nearly eight years as its Editor-in-Chief.During his time as head of Al Jazeera English in Qatar, Burman guided AJE’s growth in North America, including its launch in Washington D.C., the first major market to carry the channel in the United States, and the launch of the channel last year on every major cable and satellite platform in Canada. The worldwide audience reach for AJE more than doubled during his period as AJE’s MD, from 100 million households to 220 million.

Under his leadership, AJE has been widely recognized for its groundbreaking reporting from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. During his time as MD, the channel received international acclaim for its news and programming, including awards and nominations from the International Emmys, the Monte Carlo Film Festival and the Royal Television Society.

In October 2009, Arabian Business Magazine named Burman the second most influential non-Arab in the Arab world. In November 2009, the Canadian Expat Association announced he had been voted the third most influential Canadian living abroad, behind Michael J. Fox and Wayne Gretzky. At the 2007 Gemini Awards in Canada, he received the Gordon Sinclair Award for lifetime achievement in broadcast journalism.

From 2000-2007, Burman was Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief of CBC News in Canada, overseeing CBC’s TV, radio and online operations. In his 35-year CBC career, he was also a news and documentary producer in more than 30 countries. With Brian Stewart, he was one of the first journalists in Ethiopia during the Great Famine of 1984.

While at the CBC, he was Executive Producer of The National for eight years and Senior Documentary Producer for CBC’s nightly current affairs program, The Journal. He produced many documentaries that were rebroadcast on the BBC, PBS and other international networks.

These included: ‘Sudan: Children of Darkness’ (1989), the first inside look at the kidnapping of children as part of Sudan’s civil war; ‘The Last Great Cause’ (1986), a two-part examination of the legacy of the Spanish Civil War on its 50th anniversary; and ‘Mandela’ (1986), one of the first television biographies of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, which was rebroadcast in 18 countries and included a dramatic reenactment of the 1964 Rivonia Trial which sent Mandela to jail.

Tony Burman was born in Montreal, educated at Loyola College and began his journalism career as a reporter with The Montreal Star.