Flick Harrison on Mon, 11 Jul 2011 06:49:37 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> daming indictment of Canada's conservative takeover

This blog post is by a guy who had a prestigious national TV gig in Canada.

He quit when he realized he couldn't breathe within the closing conservative stranglehold across Canadian media.

Why I quit my job:

By kainagata


"Until Thursday, I was CTV?s Quebec City Bureau Chief, based at the National Assembly, mostly covering politics. It?s a fascinating beat - the most interesting provincial legislature in Canada, and the stories coming out of there lately have been huge. The near-implosion of the Parti Quebecois has kept the press gallery hopping well into summer. If you?re not from Quebec, it?s hard to explain the place the National Assembly holds in the popular imagination ? but suffice to say that within francophone journalistic circles it carries more prestige than Parliament Hill. I had the privilege to be working next to several of the sharpest reporters in the country.

I was a full-time employee making good money, with comprehensive benefits and retirement options (I was even lucky enough to be hired before Bell bought CTV and began clawing back some of those expensive perks.) It was what I would qualify as a ?great job,? especially for a 24-year old. Many of you told me how proud you were of my quick climb. But there was a growing gap between the reporter I played on TV, and the person I really am and want to become. I reached my breaking point suddenly, although when I look back now, the signposts were clear."


Consider Fox News. What the Murdoch model demonstrated was that facts and truth could be replaced by ideology, with viewership and revenue going up. Simply put, you can tell less truth and make more money. When you have to balance the interests of your shareholders against the interests of the viewers you supposedly serve, the firewall between the boardroom and the newsroom becomes a very important bulwark indeed. CTV, in my experience, maintains high standards in factual accuracy. Its editorial staff is composed of fair-minded 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?. 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 sam
 e dynamic exists at the CBC, by the way.)"


* FLICK's WEBSITE & BLOG: http://www.flickharrison.com 

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