When young Kai Nagata decided to quit his job as CTV News' Quebec City bureau chief earlier this year, he just didn't pack up his stuff and head into the night.
Nagata, 24, wrote a lengthy cris de coeur on his blog about the emptiness he felt within his frenetic duties as a TV journalist. He went on to list all the problems with a complacent TV news business, which Nagata says is not digging deeply enough into the real issues.
". . . 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," Nagata wrote.
"I quit my job because the idea burrowed into my mind that, on the long list of things I could be doing, television news is not the best use of my short life. The ends no longer justified the means."
Nagata's long-winded goodbye went viral as people identified with his analysis of TV news. He wasn't sure what was next - "I'm unemployed and homeless, but I've never been more free."
Well now we know where Nagata landed. TheTyee.ca, a respected Vancouver-based online magazine that bills itself as an alternative news source, announced Monday Nagata will be its writer in residence.
Nagata's first series of essays will look how Quebec's highly concentrated media ownership can "muffle and distort a vibrant society," Tyee editor David Beers writes.
"I'm trying to arrange my thoughts right now around this idea of the 'public conversation' in Canada," Nagata says in The Tyee.
"I see the public conversation as the place where all of us in our different corners of the country meet to share ideas and devise solutions to our shared problems. And I think the challenges feel monolithic and unassailable because this public conversation has become dysfunctional . . . "
"The conversation has also become shallower, as our leaders learn to speak in digestible sound bites and we respond with anonymous comment-board dismissal. And it's become more fragmented, because despite great leaps in communication technology, our sense of real community has never been more tenuous."
Nagata says he has had some second thoughts about the manner of his departure.
"My regret is that I have clearly alienated some people who I respect and care about deeply. I also regret that my gesture was interpreted as an attack on the craft of journalism. I maintain that I left because I care deeply about journalism. Luckily a number of people recognized that, and got in touch with an array of very interesting projects."
(kainagata.com screen shot)