When former News of the World editor Paul McMullan argued with Steve Coogan on Newsnight last week, he pointed out a very important detail: there is an audience that needs to feed on information. The problem is that information has less and less meaning the more it is consumed. As the UK deals with the phone hacking scandal, Canada is also pondering the role of its mass media, thanks to a CTV bureau chief publicly expressing his disgust at the business after he quit his job. The two instances are related because at the heart of both is an audience that devours pure information.
In his blog, Kai Nagata, a former bureau chief for CTV in Quebec, took his profession to task for its superficiality, banality, and corporatization (among other things). His post went viral, thanks to it being forwarded on Twitter countless times, even by revered film critic Roger Ebert.
“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,” Nagata wrote on his site. CTV’s continued desire to focus on “growing eyeballs” left him a little cold.
Without equating the phone hacking and whatever Nagata believes CTV is guilty of, both situations imply a serious problem in the system. Since Nagata’s blog, and with it his disillusionment, has gone viral, many of the commenters on his post have congratulated his tenacity and honesty. Those who normally watch and read have simultaneously lamented what they apparently agree is the degradation of the media.
But certainly, somewhere in all of this, that audience must come into play. Read More