The Vancouver Sun has broken the silence and denied allowing Carol Todd, the mother of bullied teenager Amanda Todd, to screen their coverage before publication. The newspaper’s editor-in-chief Harold Munro said “the relentless attacks and misinformation require us now to reply more specifically to those who question our integrity.”

The Vancouver Sun denies allowing Carol Todd, the mother of bullied teenager Amanda Todd, to screen their coverage before publication.

Carol Todd wrote in Huffington Post Canada that the Vancouver Sun team provided exceptional support in the Todd family home for two weeks after Amanda’s death—answering phone calls, cooking, shielding the family from other media and winning exclusive access to report the family’s perspective. Specifically, Todd wrote “thank you Gillian for trusting me and allowing me to read what you had written before you sent your pieces of writing to your editor. Together, we got the stories and details right.”

That post was later taken down by Huffington Post after Todd “expressed reservations about her ability to accurately recall the events described therein.”


Related content on J-Source:


The Vancouver Sun remained silent while many in the journalism community questioned the ethics of the newspaper and its staff. “Ultimately, nobody looks good when a reporter covering a heartbreaking story crosses the line and become a victim’s friend, grief counsellor and public relations adviser,” wrote Lanagra College journalism ethics professor Ross Howard in a J-Source column.

[node:ad]

“I have been reluctant to comment further out of respect for Carol Todd and her family,” the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Harold Munro said in an online post denying Todd’s version of the events. “However, the relentless attacks and misinformation require us now to reply more specifically to those who question our integrity.”

Munro said the Sun’s coverage was subject to “intensive fact-checking” but was not submitted to Todd for approval or editing prior to publication. He said the newspaper “did not impede access to Carol Todd by other media.”

“The decision on which media would be granted interviews was made solely by Carol Todd,” added Munro. “At no time was she counseled to talk only to this newspaper.”

The Sun won a Jack Webster award for its Amanda Todd coverage.


Related content on J-Source:

Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.