Globe and Mail Public Editor: The danger of trying – and failing – to be clever in journalism
By Sylvia Stead, for the Globe and Mail
On Friday afternoon, a failed attempt to be clever in a blurb on a Facebook posting sparked the wrath of many readers.
It was about an amazing survival story that showed the courage and resourcefulness of two men and a teenager lost in a blizzard on Baffin Island.
Nunavut MLA Pauloosie Keyootak, his son and nephew were lost for nine days in what Canadian Press reporter Bob Weber called “one of the most forbidding environments on Earth.”
In order to stay alive, Mr. Keyootak said he built an igloo with a small knife.
The headline on the story online and automatically for Facebook was “Nunavut MLA built igloo to stay alive while awaiting rescue on tundra.”
Then a Globe editor who selects and posts stories to Facebook decided to write this blurb: “This is really going to make it hard to shed that stereotype.”
Facebook readers responded with anger: “What stereotype? The fact that the man was self reliant?” and “That is not a stereotype. That is worthwhile knowledge.”
Continue reading this on the Globe and Mail website where it was originally published.