Flick Harrison on Mon, 11 Jul 2011 15:22:47 +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 same dynamic
exists at the CBC, by the way.)"


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

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