Rebel Journalist Dishes to Dawson

Kai Nagata Discusses Broadcast News and Life Post-CTV

Former CTV reporter Kai Nagata aired more dirty laundry about his experiences as a mainstream broadcast journalist this past Monday at Dawson College.

“I wouldn’t call myself an activist or a politician or a scholar. I’m a homeless guy with a laptop so I’m glad that you all came out in such great numbers to hear what I have to say,” said Nagata, who made waves this past July after quitting his job as CTV’s Quebec City Bureau Chief. Upon quitting he published a 3000-word blog post explaining his change of heart, detailing his disillusions with Canadian broadcast news.

“I took a lot of heat for being 24 and saying ‘This isn’t right, there’s something out of whack here,’” said Nagata. His speech covered all that he sees wrong with Canadian television news, including: corporate ownership, a fear of transparency, underfunded stories, staff cuts and the use of dramatisation in order to attract ratings.

The idea to bring Nagata to Dawson came from Léo Fugazza, Director of Internal Affairs & Advocacy at the DSU, who stumbled upon the nomadic journalist’s manifesto this summer as it burned through the newsfeeds. “It was on Twitter…it was everywhere,” said Fugazza. “[Kai Nagata] posted it and then it sparked.”

Audience members were encouraged to ask questions throughout the presentation, which ran for about an hour and included video footage from CTV and CBC broadcasts as well as endearingly amateur graphics that Nagata drew in Microsoft Paint.

“It was very dynamic,” said Abigail Galwey, who was covering the event for The Plant, Dawson’s student publication. This sentiment was shared by McGill student Savannah Seara Robitaille, who particularly enjoyed the heated inter-audience debates that took place during Nagata’s talk. “He’s not trying to mold our opinions, he’s just opening the floor to [express] them,” said Robitaille.

Currently, Kai Nagata is freelancing for The Tyee, an independent online magazine based in British Columbia and is planning on making a documentary in California, the topic of which he kept secret.

You can read the rant that started it all on his blog