By Dechen Wangmo

On March 13, 2012 the Sauvé Scholars had a pleasure of sitting and chatting with one of the most popular TV news personality in Montreal Mutsumi Takahashi and Jed Kahane, the Director of News and Public Affairs, CTV Montreal.

The tea talk took place at a time when student demonstrations against tuition fee hike by the Quebec government were at its peak. Obviously, the issue became one of the main topics of our conversation.

Mutsumi Takahashi also talked about the lack of critical thinking among youth. She blamed the education system for failing to cultivate or inspire critical thinking among the youth. She said people no longer go to university to get education but to get skills to find jobs.

We also talked about other issues, such as commercial influences on CTV’s news as a private broadcaster. CTV is Canada’s largest privately-owned network. It is owned by Bell Media, a Canadian multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital media. Jed Kahane acknowledged the commercial pressure private broadcasters face. However, in the case of CTV, Jed Kahane said Bell Media never dictates the content of its news. He admitted, though, that there are certain issues they tend to avoid, such as covering stories Bell Media’s rival companies.

Sharing her experiences as a TV anchor, Mutsumi Takahashi talked about the gender issues with which she had to grapple when starting her career as an anchor. She said people look at female anchors differently: they want them to smile and to be as pleasant as possible. She recalled how her boss thought she wasn’t smiling enough while presenting the news, but how he was not concerned about her male co-anchor not smiling.

Having been the face of CTV for close to three decades now, Mustumi Takahashi also talked about the importance of TV anchors. She said in a world where people have a plenty of television channel choices, anchors play an important in attracting audience.