Reader takes Globe to task for ‘unerringly positive’ story about ‘extremely controversial’ project

By Sylvia Stead for The Globe and Mail

Earlier this week, a reader complained about an article published online about a diamond mine in Northern Ontario. She works in the North in resources and said she knows communities are divided on the subject of development in general and its impact on indigenous people.

The article is about a diamond mine near the indigenous community of Attawapiskat. The headline says, “Diamond mines give economic sparkle to Canada’s north.”

It was published on the Report on Business part of the website, under Economy and Growth & Productivity. It is part of a series managed by the editorial staff in The Globe and Mail’s custom content group. Advertisers buy adjacency to the content, but they do not see or approve any content. De Beers and Forevermark were not the advertiser.

There is an italic line at the end of the article saying: “Forevermark U.S. organized and paid for the writer’s trip. The company had no input on the content of the article.” As the article notes, Forevermark is a brand of De Beers.

The reader wondered if this story met Globe standards. This “story was unerringly positive about a project that is extremely controversial in the area – and well-documented in your paper. [The author] does not quote a single person who is not a De Beers employee…. Her trip was paid for by a De Beers subsidiary… I know the journalism usually produced is much better than this story and I was disappointed that a higher standard wasn’t upheld,” the reader said.

Continue reading this story on The Globe and Mail website, where it was first published

Sylvia Stead is the Public Editor of the Globe and Mail.