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article imageCTV News Quebec City Bureau Chief quits job in 3,000-word essay

By Andrew Moran     Jul 11, 2011 in World
Quebec - CTV News Quebec City Bureau Chief and former CBC News reporter, Kai Nagata, quit his job in a 3,000-word essay where he explains that he was "disillusioned" and cited a "loss of faith" in television news.
There is a lot of pressure on the average journalist to bring both interest and viewership to a news story, but the report may not bring satisfaction to the reporter. Sometimes a reporter can feel that “junk news” has become the primary goal for news outlets and real shoe leather journalism has been blown in the wind.
That one journalist is Kai Nagata.
A 24-year-old CTV News reporter, also a former correspondent for CBC News, has quit his job as a Quebec City Bureau Chief in a 3,000-word farewell letter. In the essay, Nagata cites several reasons for his abrupt resignation, including an industry that “casually sexualizes its workforce” and television news not being the “best use of my short life.”
To put to rest any claims, Nagata explained that he didn’t quit over a “falling out” with CTV management, he didn’t quit “because it was too hard” and he didn’t quit his job because his career was peaking.
Nagata does believe CTV puts together a high standard of fact checking and its editorial managers are “critical thinkers.” “But there is an underlying tension between ‘what the people want to see’ and ‘the important stories we should be bringing to people.’”
He quit for several reasons.
Journalistic Priorities
“The Kate and Will Show,” which Nagata referred to as his network featured extensive coverage of the royals visiting parts of Canada for their Royal Tour.
“On a weekend where there was real news happening in Bangkok, Misrata, Athens, Washington, and around the world, what we saw instead was a breathless gaggle of normally credible journalists gushing in live hit after live hit about how the prince is young and his wife is pretty.”
Hiring Practices
Nagata believes the media/journalism industry “casually sexualizes its workforce” instead of hiring “confident, intelligent journalists.” They hire attractive talents, which seems to make up for their paucity of other qualifications.
“The idea has taken root that if the people reporting the news look like your family and neighbours, instead of Barbie and Ken, the station will lose viewers.”
Politics
Everything that Nagata wanted say to his colleagues, industry professionals and casual conversations with public officials and even his tweets “were carefully strained out.” But now since he has quit his job, he is “coming out of the closet” to say that he has problems with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.
Specifically, Nagata has “serious problems” with the Canadian policy on fiscal issues, social issues, climate change, “the war against science” and its foreign policy.
“The people who are supposed to be holding decision makers to account are instead broadcasting useless tripe, or worse, stories that actively distract from the massive projects we need to be tackling instead of watching TV.”
The letter has caught the attention of several publications, including famous Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert, who tweeted the letter on his Twitter account. The farewell address was republished in the Huffington Post, Rabble and J-Source.
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