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CTV bureau chief quits job, blasts network news

A blog post, written by the newly-unemployed Quebec bureau chief for CTV News offers an insiders look at the world of Canadian television news -- and it's not encouraging.

In the lengthy post, titled 'Why I quit my job' Kai Nagata explains why he left such a plum post at the young age of 24, stating that he had no falling out with bosses or colleagues, and no qualms about the fast pace and sometimes intense pressure of the job.

Rather, he had become disillusioned with the tension between "what the people want to see" and "the important stories we should be bringing to people", particularly in light of the Bellmedia takeover of CTV.

"I remember as the latest takeover was all but finalized, Bellmedia executives came to talk about "growing eyeballs" in the "specialty channels". What they meant was, sports are profitable - so as long they keep raking in cash, we can keep funding underperforming assets like our news division. (The same dynamic exists at the CBC, by the way.)"

Nagata also criticized the industry for sexualizing its workforce, and hiring based upon a "unspoken ratio of talent to attractiveness. . . "

"The insecurity, self doubt, and body-image issues endured by otherwise confident, intelligent journalists would break your heart," he wrote.

Nagata, a former CBC reporter, also turned his attention to the public broadcaster for competing in what he sees as a "race to the bottom."

"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. And the public broadcaster led the charge," he wrote.

Nagata's manifesto is making it's way around the Twitterverse, being tweeted and re-tweeted by the likes of David Akin, national bureau chief for Sun Media (who called it a 'must read') Duncan McCue, reporter with CBC's The National (who called it a 'well-written piece on state of journalism and a brave choice') and Toronto Star columnist Antonia Zerbisias who tweeted simply, 'Well done.'

Nagata's post is here, on his blog freedom24.

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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