Kai Nagata’s back, and he has a plan
When Kai Nagata quit his job at CTV back in July, reaction from his fellow journalists was mixed. Some praised his bravery in leaving what seemed to be a good and stable media job to strike out on his own, while others were put off by his manifesto, calling him naive or an attention seeker. Nagata wrote a follow-up post one day later, in which he acknowledged the criticism and wrote, “I was pretty sure I was doing the right thing, but the online bonfire lit by my resignation has become a kiln: tempering the steel, galvanizing my resolve.”
Now he’s back on his blog, where he first gave his reasons for quitting, talking about how his own life and so many other things have changed in the interim and saying that he does not regret his decision. It was “the best thing I could have possibly done for my life and yes, my career,” he writes.
He also reveals his plans going forward. He’s going to write a series of essays starting this month about “the public conversation,” which he defines as “the imaginary place where all of us in our different sectors share ideas for social progress.” He’ll also visit campuses across Canada to give talks and listen to what students and faculty members have to say about journalism in Canada. He’s organizing an anti-pipeline protest in Ottawa this month. And he’s shooting a documentary in California this fall.
Nagata’s blog has a notable new addition that he discusses at the end of his post. It’s a yellow button on the main page that asks visitors to “make a donation.” He says he’s trying out an experiment: “If we can figure out a way to get that story to the people who need to see it, without a network deal or a cola sponsorship, then we can do anything. I’m confident we have the elements in place to make this work. Well, all but one.” That one element is the money Nagata needs to complete these projects. So he’s asking for donations from his readers, either in cash or in kind (camera equipment, etc.). It’s a request he makes humbly (“What’s ultimately helpful for a reporter’s ego is that it strips you of your remaining dignity and forces you to get used to rejection from random strangers.”) and hopefully.
As far as experiments go, it’s a bold one, and we’re eager to see how it turns out.