Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

Alberta plagiarist resigns editor post

March 28, 2012 2 comments

Steve Jeffrey, the publisher/owner of Chestermere, Alta.’s The Anchor Weekly has mercifully resigned as the paper’s editor after being fingered as a serial plagiarist, according to the Calgary Herald.

For some background, check out my previous two stories or visit the blog of American humourist George Waters, who first exposed Jeffrey.

Jeffrey told the Herald via email: “I really don’t have any way to defend myself. I did use articles for inspiration, but thought that I had changed the content enough to comply.”

I had previously excoriated Jeffrey, but reading that quote in the Herald, I found a twinge of sympathy for the guy. If he did think he had changed the content enough to comply, clearly he was just a guy who had absolutely no fucking clue what he was doing. If that’s the case, well, I can’t be sorry that he’s no longer editing the paper, but at least one can rest assured that he didn’t know he was stealing the work of other writers. Of course, it might just be a convenient excuse. But his previous ham-handed denials hint at a guy who didn’t know squat about plagiarism (although he certainly knew how to plagiarize).

The Alberta Press Council is also investigating.



Words last forever

November 3, 2011 Comments off

As the court clerk set down her pen and the lawyers stuffed papers back into their briefcases, I stood and turned to leave the courtroom like I always do: with authority. No eye contact. No hesitation.

The galleries of Canadian courtrooms are chiefly populated by three subsets of people: the accused; the families of the accused; and the families of victims. I prefer to talk to none of them. At least, not in the courtroom. (There will be more on victim-journalism in another post).

As I rose to leave, notebook in hand, a large middle-aged woman who had been sitting behind be reached out her hand to halt my progress.

“Are you going to write about this?” she asked me in a hesitating, unsure voice.

I could tell that she wasn’t a fan of the idea, but I was (both a fan of the idea and going to write about it), so I raised my notepad and confirmed her suspicion.

“Oh…Well, could you not use my son’s name?”

I told her that, if I did write about that day’s proceedings, I would certainly need to name her just-sentenced son. He had just pleaded guilty to an assault in which a woman had been viciously assaulted. He was 40 years old. He had a criminal history. He was not a sympathetic character. But, most importantly it seems, I knew his name and thus I was obligated to report it.

While I have no qualms over having used the man’s name in the story that I did eventually write about the case, the woman’s plea, along with several other recent cases, has led me to reconsider whether it’s morally right to always name those accused of crimes.


Let’s get one thing straight: There should be no laws governing when a reporter can name a person. If I’m not a free speech absolutist, I’m pretty darn close. One should always have the right to say what one wants. Whether doing so is morally right, though, is another matter altogether.

I also have no regrets over any of the stories I have covered (by which I mean those stories for which I did more work than simply rewrite a cop press release). That said, two elements of modern journalism pose ethical quandaries when it comes to naming those charged with crimes. The first is the internet, and the second is the police.


It starts with the internet. Obviously, the WWW has a tendency to preserve, indefinitely or for long periods of time, most everything published. It’s now standard practice to google someone before you hire him or her. Thus, anything written that contains one’s name — especially if it’s a fairly unique name (say, Sergio-Frank Alcatram) — can have a lasting and sometimes negative impact on a person’s career and life.

This marks a massive change from the days when items published in one day’s newspaper would quickly slink into the past. And it poses a challenge to subjects of newspaper stories who are trying to reform themselves, or who may have been charged but never convicted of a crime.

Also, the way Google ranks pages means that even if a journalist is diligent in following cases through the criminal courts and reports when an accused is acquitted or cleared of a crime, a search for a person’s name may only turn up the article naming them as an accused in a certain case. Even if a newspaper is super-diligent and updates all past stories with the eventual outcomes of the cases, that doesn’t necessarily fix things, because stories are often copied and pasted on various Internet forums and special-interest sites.

And the cops compound the problem.

The incidents I am thinking of when I consider whether it’s right to name accused criminals generally involve fairly minor crimes. These are auto thefts or minor arsons or other symptoms of general juvenile delinquency. The police release the names of the accused and because all news outlets in one community have the information, all feel the need to publish the names, if only to keep up with the competition. The Mounties, though, only post press releases on a small selection of offences committed and solved. They choose whose names will be released and who will not have to face the certain trauma that must accompany, say, a father seeing his son’s name under the headline “Suspect arrested.” (The court list can be used to overcome this, but only to a certain degree as public information regarding accused crimes is generally no longer than two or three sentences.)

Alone, this is also not a large problem. If you’re arrested and charged with a crime, that’s your fault. You should have known it was illegal. But when you factor in the Internet’s potential long-term affect on the accused, the consequences of being outed by the media become substantially more severe, especially in the case of crimes that may result in a suspended sentence or a short term of probation. And it gives me the heebie jeebies to leave the power to name and shame those charged with crimes to the police.

All this is very abstract here. Let me give you a fictional example of the sort of thing that troubles me.


Community X, let’s call it Notsopleasantville, has a problem with arsons. Every day, something is burning. Sometimes it’s an abandoned shack. Sometimes it’s a piece of playground equipment. Sometimes it’s a car in an out-of-the-way part of town. And sometimes it’s a dumpster.

The public is fed up and so are the cops, who have invested significant resources into catching the perpetrators. They don’t know who is responsible for the arsons, or whether they’re linked at all; often a single person can be responsible for a great number of property crimes. But then again, teenage boys, of which there are many, also like to burn things. It’s kinda what they do.

It’s Nov. 5. Joey, 17, and Johnny, 18, are hanging out at the skatepark when Johnny tells Joey that he has a roman candle that he bought for cheap the day after Halloween. They’ve heard that there has been a rash of arsons, but don’t know who is responsible. Or really care. Whatever. Both have set off roman candles in the past. They’re kind of bored of them now. After a brainstorming session, they decide that it would be cool to see what happens when you set off a roman candle inside an empty duster. Will it bounce around? Shoot sparks out the sides? Cause the lid to fly up?

So they set off the candle, gawk at the ensuing explosion, then take off running down a back alley. Alas, they run right into a police cruiser parked on a street with a cop taking a break. He stops the kids, then hears over his scanner the report of the nearby dumpster fire.

The Mounties arrest the kids who breaks down and says he did it. Both are charged and the Mounties, wanting to brag about finally catching an arson, put out a press release summing up the case. Despite being born just a month apart, one boy is considered a youth while his friend is an adult. The media cut all the fluff, and run the short police brief way back on page 7. But now Johnny’s name is on the public record. It doesn’t matter that his case gets stayed because there are no actual witnesses and Crown counsel thinks the kid really is a pretty nice guy who made a stupid mistake. Google his name — Johnny Szchewskijjj — and you come to the story of the arson. He wanted to be a teacher. This isn’t going to help.


The above is not an extreme case. It worries me. Naming the kid does little. It can’t be a punishment because he hasn’t been convicted and thus must be presumed innocent. It’s not in the public interest: while disruptive and sometimes dangerous, those who set off fireworks in the wrong places generally aren’t menaces of whom the community should be aware. And the kid is so young that his still-growing brain may turn him into a markedly less arsony person in a couple years.

But leaving his name out also poses a couple obvious problems:

1) Doesn’t being a journalist mean publishing all relevant and true information? Don’t we assume that the more information is publicly available, the better decisions society will make and thus we should never NOT publish something we know to be true and of interest?

2) Where does one draw the line? Who deserves to be shamed for his or her actions, and who deserves to have his or her name omitted from police reports? How serious must a crime be? How checkered must a person’s past be?

Both issues are difficult to reconcile with the premise of this post (that not every accused criminal should be named). In trying to do so, I feel a bit like I’m justifying my position. And yet, I think that there must be a middle ground that allows one to be a free speech advocate and a responsible reporter.

Here’s how I reconcile my position on each question:

1) Doesn’t being a journalist mean publishing all relevant and true information?

First, let’s acknowledge that stories on crime are always edited. First, the police edit what they tell the media. Then the reporter collects information, and edits and assembles it into a news story. The names of those charged with a crime are usually thought to be some of the most important information; a whodunnit is a whodunnit, not a wheredunnit or a whydunnit. But sometimes a story makes a newspaper simply because the paper has a hole to fill and a police news release with which to fill it. In such a case, then, a name is relevant only to an otherwise irrelevant story. It seems gratuitous, in such cases, to publish a name.

Don’t we assume that the more information is publicly available, the better decisions society will make and thus we should never NOT publish something we know to be true and of interest?

Yes. This is the best argument for publishing every name you get. Laws already prohibit us from doing so in the case of sexual assault victims and youth offenders and a rash of others, and we shouldn’t encourage more restrictions. More information is always better, I think. But, at the same time, unless we publish the name of every single person accused of, say, stealing a bait car, publishing the names of only those who the police choose to name becomes sketchy. I would favour naming every person accused of a crime. We can’t do that though. So we must pick and choose. Which brings us to my second set of questions.

2) Where do you draw the line? Who deserves to be shamed for his or her actions, and who deserves to have their name omitted from police reports?

This takes some parsing, but I think the key here is to recognize what distinguishes i) someone whose future may be in jeopardy because of a momentary prank or thoughtless act and an ensuing newspaper article, from ii) someone whose future is in jeopardy because of either repeated criminal activities or potential or actual violence committed against another person.

The first case involves someone whose criminal activity was either accidental or involved a single moment of stupidity. The second involves those whose characters are revealed by the crimes of which they are accused.

How checkered must a person’s past be? How serious must a crime be?

As journalists, we need to air on the side of exposure. The question, then, is not how bad must a crime be for you to publish the accused’s name, but the opposite: what offences are so minor so as to make it unethical to shame and out the person accused. So let’s start with this: I would feel wary of naming someone who has committed a single offence with no victim, little or no planning, and for no personal gain. If you’re accused of a crime that the majority of Canadians believe should not be a crime (hello, pot possession), that also gets you off the hook. (Pot production is trickier, seeing how it’s often linked to gangs). I think age also factors in. I think someone who drinks and drives at age 30 or 40 is more culpable than an 18-year-old who does the same. The teen can learn from his actions and their consequences, the 30-year-old has had time to learn, but hasn’t, and is putting the public at risk because of it. He has thus forfeited his right to privacy.


I think I’ve formulated a pretty good set of rules. Or I thought. Then news broke that Vancouver Police were recommending charges against 60 rioters for a variety of crimes, from assault to B&E to possession of stolen property to arson. Names were not released, but they will be at some point. And if one of the accused is from my community, I’m pretty much obliged to report on the fact, even if he’s only charged with, say, using a hockey stick to bash in a window in the excitement of the riot.

I could rationalize it and invent a new rule that stipulates, somehow, that all rioters can be named. But it would be a self-serving rule. And perhaps that illustrates the dilemma that we as journalists face when we consider even a minor attempt at benign self-censorship. A local link to the rioters is too good a story to pass up or ignore because of a contrived rule about naming those charged with a crime. And so, there will remain certain cases in which an accused may find their names forever linked to a minor crime from their late-teenage years. So be it; press freedom and all that jazz.

Still, when it comes to smaller, more inconsequential stories that are run only to fill space, it’s worth at least pausing to think about the damage done to the person named is worth the extra sentence or two you will wring out of a dull cop press release. But if you want to go ahead and publish, publish, publish, all the power to you.

The thievery must stop

April 8, 2011 3 comments

The “big city media” is hardly perfect. In fact, they can be pretty damn annoying sometimes but one thing can’t be said about them: they sure aren’t insecure. Community newspaper reporters could take a cue.

The problem is this: reporters who cite a “report” from another journalist in their stories, while not giving credit for those reports. I’m sorry, but if you do so, you’re just stealing another reporter’s work.

I’ll explain, but first, a couple of exceptions.

First, if more than one outlet is reporting the story, I think it’s fair to just say something like “reports that such and such is happening…” It’s still delicate territory but you’re not stealing someone’s scoop. And the fact that multiple outlets are reporting something, is important to note. Also, if every newspaper is reporting something except for you, you can’t very well be expected to list all those papers (although you might want to consider another profession).

The second reason to not name the outher outlet is if your only motive in referencing the other report is to shoot it down. This, in fact, is just doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. Unless the misinformed report is especially egregious, there’s no reason beating the other over the head with it. They’re going to feel bad enough as is. (This goes back to Rule No. 47 of journalism: don’t be a jerkwad without reason). This rule can be abused, though. To exercise it, you or somebody you quote has to either debunk or give a stated opinion that the report isn’t true. You can’t cite the “report” then write that there’s no way to know if it’s true. You also can’t cite a “report,” then have somebody else say they don’t know if it’s true or not. In such a case, you’re both stealing and drawing attention to your lack of information. (You can always cite the report if you state the media outlet from which it came.)

That’s it, I think. If you can think of another excuse, post a comment.

Stop! Before you comment, read on.

Do not write: “I can’t very well credit the competition in my paper.” That might be true. There’s a solution for that: don’t use their reporting. It’s easy. Just don’t steal someone else’s work. If you can’t confirm their report don’t write that you can’t confirm “reports in other media” when that other media is only your direct competition. If they have something that you don’t, let them go and do a better job next time. Also, writing “other media” when you’re referring to just one other news outlet isn’t just dishonest, lazy and immoral, it’s also grammatically incorrect. “Media” is plural. If you want to steal another paper’s scoop, at least have the common sense to write “another medium is reporting.”

Why it’s wrong

We know plagiarism is wrong, but somehow we accept the theft of a major component of what we do. It’s not right. Not only that, but it’s bad journalism. We don’t report information from “sources,” unless a person asks to not be named, and has a good reason for doing so. The reason is not only because names make for better reading, it’s to prevent the gratuitous spreading of incorrect information by holding people accountable. If you cite a “report” that turns out to be false, and you’re not the one who shot it down, then you did even worse than the journalist who reported a falsity. A report from a named news source is worthy of the “report” designation. If you don’t name that news source, you can only call it a rumour, at which point you stop being a journalist and start being a paid rumourmonger.

I know this all sounds harsh, especially since many of us have been that person who cites “another media report.” But this practice is way too widespread. (It’s widespread enough so that if you’re reading this thinking that I’m reacting to something in particular that you wrote or published, you’re probably wrong.) Sure, it’s easy to do, but it’s also easy to not do. First we have to accept that, and know why, it’s wrong. Which it is. Period.

N.B. I’ve also spotted references to “a reporter from a national daily newspaper” or something like that. The vagueness only draws attention to itself and the reporter. Name the newspaper, nobody will think less of you.

Should newspapers use RCMP-supplied images and videos?

March 25, 2011 3 comments

I received the following email yesterday. I’ll post in full, then comment below. I’ve bolded certain portions.

There is a video currently live on the Burnaby Now’s website about the arrest by Burnaby RCMP of three suspects in a shooting earlier this week at Royal Oak SkyTrain station. It’s more than three minutes long, and lingers languidly on the blurred faces of the suspects, then follows right up until they’re brought into the cop shop for processing, access we would never get. The video is tagged with the usual bumper ad at the beginning, but at no point during the video, or on the webpage presenting the video is it identified as being supplied by the Burnaby RCMP. In fact, the Now prominently links to the video on the front of their website, and tweeted incessantly about it Thursday morning, as if they were bequeathing their readers some sort of journalistic scoop.

An edited version of the same video also appears on the Province’s website, again with no attribution.
The other day, the Vancouver Sun’s website used still photo handouts from the RCMP of the same arrest going down. They were at least labelled as RCMP handouts, although that doesn’t absolve them.

It’s not the first time they’ve used photos identified as RCMP handout.

Of course, request RCMP-supplied photos or video of their officers shooting someone in South Surrey, and you’ll run into a stone wall.

Is this how bankrupt marginal staffing, reduced resources and diminished morale have made us, that we’re willing to accept handouts from the cops that amount to bumpf? Surely editors must see the peril of going down this road of abdicating our responsibility of being an impartial observer of police to ensure they remain accountable? We’re already struggling to cover them as it is, with more forces on digital radio systems that require expensive scanners or negotiations with the department to get access to a one-way radio that allows monitoring. The more we allow the police to control our access to observe and report their work, the more license they’ll take to further restrict our access; instead of keeping us one block from scenes, they’ll keep us back a kilometer and call our editors that they have photos and video they’ll gladly supply. And we wonder why journalists and the publications we work for are losing our audience.

We’re headed down a very dark path…

You can watch the video here, but be warned, it’s pretty boring.

There are a few issues at play here, and I’ll consider them separately.

1. First is the fact that the video isn’t identified as an RCMP video. It should be, for sure, but I have a hard time mustering that much outrage at the fact that it’s not. Indeed, I’m trying to remember if my own paper has identified RCMP-supplied footage as such. I can’t be sure. If we didn’t, we should have; it’s not hard to slide an attribution into the cutline so readers realize that the video was shot by, and for the purposes of, the RCMP.

2. The second issue is juicier.

Should media outlets stand up to the RCMP and declare that we’re not going to use their footage if we don’t get better access? Or should we simply not use footage, period?

That question revolves around whether The Province, Global and CTV get on board. They reach far more people than Burnaby Now or any other community paper. If The Province uses RCMP footage, then griping by a community newspaper journalist is going to fall on deaf ears.

I think the best argument is the one made at the end of the email ((FYI courtesy Kim Magi: email is now unhyphenated in the CP Stylebook); if we rely on RCMP footage, the cops have less reason to allow us near their scenes. Similarly, the better access we get, the less of a need for the RCMP video and images. So right now, they have very little motivation to not be so heavy-handed with photographers. Then there is the fact that, by outsourcing our coverage of breaking news, reporters and photographers become a little more expendable—which is not a good situation.

3. I’m not familiar with the difficulties the letter writer refers to as concerns the monitoring of emergency frequencies, so I’ll take his word for it.

4. There is one more issue: that of quality. The video is not extremely interesting. It certainly is less gripping than a single well-composed still photo would have been. A journalist would have done a better job. But a journalist, of course, would have been threatened with jail had he got that close.

Leave a comment.

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Bobsleds, drug dealers, and landfill rage (!)

February 7, 2011 1 comment

A bobsled wipes out at last year's Rossland Winter Carnival

The roundup is back this week with a look at papers in the Interior.

There’s a very interesting story by Tracy Hughes and Lachlan Labere in the Salmon Arm Observer that is a little too twisted for me to summarize completely without just ripping off, word-for-word, everything Tracy and Lachlan very capably write. In short: a court has pulled a $1.75 million house off the market because one of its residents is a convicted drug traffickers facing new charges. However, the property’s owners is not facing charges and only a little bit of pot was found on the property. But the alleged traffickers did own the home in the past. Great reportage.

Also, in the Salmon Arm Observer, Barb Brouwer reports on what may be British Columbia’s single worst job: defending the local landfill from angry and violent would-be dumpers.

Anger from customers continues to be an issue at the Salmon Arm Landfill and police are recommending assault charges following the latest instance of violence.

For the second time in three months, attendant Debbie Dystant has been injured on the job by a customer expressing his anger over the 4 p.m. closing.


Over the past three years, Dystant has been sworn at and had angry customers attempt to run her down. But, while she was vocal about her previous experiences, she has hired a lawyer following this latest incident and did not comment. In November, another irate customer sprayed Dystant with gravel by peeling his tires, which bruised her legs and ruined her eyeglasses in the process.


I. Will. Never. Complain. About. My. Job. Again. (Or at least I’ll feel a tinge of guilt when I do so.)

A 100-year-old Kamloops curler is is the oldest active curler in the world according to no less an authority than the Guiness Book of World Records. Marty The Reporter Hastings of Kamloops This Week has the story, while photographer Dave Eagles‘s very imaginative and all-round awesome profile shot may be included in the 2012 version of the book. Here’s what centenarian Steve Gittus has to say about being in the book:

“I don’t know why I should be in there,” Gittus said.

“I didn’t have anything to do with me getting older. That’s just the way it is. I didn’t make a deliberate choice to become old.

“It just happened.”


An aside that has nothing to do with any of the story’s mentioned today: don’t use the word “noted” if it’s not absolutely perfect for the sentence. Use “said” instead. When you write “noted” it implies that the writer accepts whatever is being said as the clear and unarguable truth. It’s also just clumsy.

Matt Coxford of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman writes about mullet madness on the local junior hockey team:

Whether it’s lying down in front of a speeding puck or colouring his mullet red and black, Kimberley Dynamiter Rylan Duley will do what it takes to help his team win.

“Blocking shots is hard, but committing to a mullet is a different thing,” said Duley, shrugging off the suggestion it takes courage to sport the short-in-front, long-in-back hairdo.

“It makes you faster out there.”


Elsewhere in the crazy Kootenay International Junior Hockey Leauge, there’s this Nelson Star story and photo, I think by Andrea Klassen (?), about a crazy end to a recent game between Nelson and Castlegar:

“I looked at the ref before I even shot the puck, and I’m like, ‘how hasn’t he blown the whistle?'” a bemused Moir told the Star following the game. “The goalie’s behind the net without his helmet, just swarmed. I shot the puck anyway. It’s probably the greasiest goal I’ve ever scored in my life.”

By the time play resumed a smattering of Castlegar fans were climbing the glass at the Nelson and District Community Complex and screaming from the stands, while a water bottle went sailing from the Rebel bench.


Meanwhile, a terrific helmet-cam video (from YouTube) of a bobsled run down city streets is attached to the Rossland News’ story on the annual race, which was attended by Rick Mercer last year. Watch the video, it’s insane.

In the Castlegar News: a mother whose 11-year-old son *Cole (*CORRECTED) “suffered a life-altering spinal cord injury while skiing” leaving him paralyzed from the waist down — at least for now — writes a long and touching letter about her child’s recover and future. Making things more difficult is the fact that *Cole’s parents are separated meaning that there are two houses that need to be made wheelchair accessible. I wonder how often that happens, or how a paralysis affects families that have already split up. I don’t know how you’d get access to someone to write that feature, though…

Will someone write a column about the thousands of dollars ICBC is spending on all those bloody Vicky Gabereau advertisements? They’re fucking everywhere.

Finally, from the better-late-than never files: last week Prince George Free Press editor Bill Phillips wrote on his blog that the competing Citizen failed to sufficiently correct a wrong Page 1 story last week.

Monday’s banner story in the Citizen says the college board is “vowing to keep” the aboriginal programs. Nowhere in the story does it mention that they got it wrong on Saturday. To top it off, there is a small correction on page two that simply states their page one story on Saturday contained incorrect information … without offering any corrected information.

As mentioned above, the measure of a newspaper is in how it handles its own mistakes. I rest my case.


Photo by urbanbenchwork via Flickr.

Pissing matches, insane divers and the search for Christ: roundup

January 12, 2011 Comments off


First the good news, then the bad in your Lower Mainland roundup.

Very nice story by Abbotsford News reporter Rochelle Baker on the 100th anniversary of the first Sikh temple in the area and on one of the first Sikh pioneers in the Fraser Valley. Who knew there was anything historic at all about Abbotsford?

The Abbotsford temple is the oldest, and longest standing building of its kind in North America, and the only gurdwara to have a national historic designation outside of India and Pakistan.


James Weldon‘s lede in the North Shore News: “A North Vancouver parish is looking for the public’s help to find Jesus.” Bravo. Read on…

Who knew tap water could be such a controversial issue. It is in New Westminster, according to an article by Royal City Record reporter Niki Hope.

Maria Spitale-Leisk of the North Shore Outlook tells a marvelous (and quite long) tale about local insane free divers who swim underwater with no oxygen for as much as four minutes.

Approximately four minutes have sluggishly passed since Yoneda gulped in the biggest breath of air she could muster and disappeared under the water. She isn’t wearing an oxygen tank.

The explosion of colours that surround Yoneda – the beds of strawberry sea anemones and starfish dressed in brilliant hues of red, orange, yellow and pink – slowly blur together as her vision narrows.

Now her chest is tightening and the contractions in her diaphragm begin. Again, Yoneda tunes out what she calls the “bad monkey” on her shoulder. Relaxing during the contractions is the trick because you can still squeeze a bit more oxygen out at that point.


Maybe that “bad monkey” has a point. Just sayin’. Nice mermaid statue-inspired photo by Rob Newell.

A crazy pissing match in White Rock that began with the mayor spouting off to the Peace Arch News has concluded with that mayor being forced to read a letter rebuking her at a council meeting, Tracy Holmes of the News reports. The issue had led to the resignation of the city’s communications officer.

The website of the Hope Standard has a great video on the Highway 1 rockslide featiromg an interview with a truck driver who narrowly escaped. I’d like to see the guy’s comments written up in a story, though, beyond the one-paragraph paraphrase. Very rarely do I click on video because I figure it’s not worth it the minimal effort it takes to find my headphones, and turn on my sound. (You could argue, I suppose, that by including exclusive stuff in the video, I”m more likely to actually watch the next video I come across. Which is true. But I’m a print guy. That’s why I read newspapers.) All that said, it’s very possible that the print story will make an appearance in the print edition because The Standard is a weekly and the video was put up shortly after the slide.

I don’t like this unbylined Delta Optimist story on an everyday Mark’s Work Wearhouse.

Point Zero, Powder Room, Ripzone and Dickies.

Those are just some of the clothing brands Ladner Mark’s Work Wearhouse owner Elliott Graham chooses to stock.

“The neat thing about this business is there’s not many franchises left, they’re mostly corporate locations. Being a franchise owner … I carry everything a corporate store would carry but on top of that I’m able to carry stuff that suits the needs of our customers in Ladner,” said Graham. “I can bring in some niche products that our Ladner customers are inclined to purchase. That’s what makes it a little bit special.”


Sorry Mr. Graham, it doesn’t make your store special enough to warrant a story in a decent-sized paper like the Optimist. They ran another story that is just as unworthy. Give an inch, the salespeople will take a mile. Just say no. This sentence is for an ad, not a story: “No matter the size of the job, every customer receives the personal service many long-time clients have come to expect.” (The Optimist is a Postmedia newspaper).

Photo by Liz West via Flickr.


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Godfrey speaks

December 7, 2010 Comments off

Paul Godfrey

Paul Godfrey will speak to employees, including journalists at Postmedia’s community papers, today. I’ve sent him a letter about the SwarmJam debacle, and am hoping he can give a response. Unfortunately, I won’t be tuning in to the webcast. If somebody can update the blog on what, if anything, is said about the stories and Postmedia’s “Editorial/Advertising Policy,” it would be much appreciated. Leave a comment (the button’s up by the headline) or e-mail me at


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