Toronto Sun missed chance to tell readers it had re-edited a story; County Weekly News put wrong byline on National Post column

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The National NewsMedia Council has recently found complaints against two Postmedia publications resolved due to the papers’ corrections. One concerned the amount of detail published in a story regarding sexual assault involving minors, the other was about proper attribution to the author of a column.   

A decision regarding  the Nov. 6 Toronto Sun story titled Man, 52, Accused of Sexually Assaulting Three Children was published Jan. 14.

When it was first published, six specific incidents of sexual assault against three minors were outlined in detail. These incidents were edited from the page without a correction notice when the NNC retrieved the online story on Nov. 8 at the request of a complainant.

“The NNC supports the news media organization’s decision to remove specific details about the alleged victims and explicit details about the alleged sexual assaults to prevent undue harm to those involved,” wrote the council in its decision. It considered the complaint resolved due to the Sun’s corrective action.

A lack of correction notice or editor’s note, however, was “particularly concerning” considering how the publication missed an opportunity to show transparency with readers and how “vastly different” the original and updated story were.

Read the full decision of Powell vs. Toronto Sun here.

On Dec. 4, the council decided the matter of a misattributed Postmedia column was resolved. County Weekly News, based in Belleville, Ont., credited its regional publisher for having written a column titled The Goal of Reducing Canada’s Debt is Not Something to be Ridiculed.

A complaint, which was concerned that a journalistic standard had been breached in the free community newspaper and copyright law violated, set in motion the NNC investigation which found the column was originally published in Postmedia’s National Post on Oct. 1, authored by columnist John Ivison.

Advised of the complaint, County Weekly News published a correction in its Nov. 28 edition. According to Postmedia, the mistake was made when the regional editor didn’t immediately catch that the piece had been automatically attributed to him when copying and pasting the column from the organization’s servers to County Weekly News’s.

The NNC deemed the complaint resolved following corrective action.  

Read the full decision of Hill vs. County Weekly News here.  


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