What the National NewsMedia Council decided in August

Among complaints heard from the public was a question on the ethics of publishing an address. Continue Reading What the National NewsMedia Council decided in August

In August, the National NewsMedia Council mediated complaints from a man who found a headline about polygamy to be misleading and from a reader who thought it was irresponsible to publish the address of an accused perpetrator of a mass shooting.

The NNC considers complaints from the public about member organizations under four broad categories: accuracy; opinion; sensitive issues; and attribution. J-Source is a member organization of the NNC.

On Aug. 23, the NNC dismissed a complaint about a headline in an article published by the Vancouver Sun and also carried in the National Post. The complainant believed that the headline, “B.C. Mormons fret after polygamy conviction,” was misleading because it didn’t specify that the Mormons in question are a splinter group. The complaint was dismissed because the NNC believed the distinction was made clear by the use of B.C. in the title, and by the story itself.

Read the full decision of Wright vs. Vancouver Sun National NewsMedia Council.

On Aug. 21, the NNC dismissed a complaint about a breach of standards in reporting the address of an alleged shooter. The complaint believed the Toronto Sun was irresponsible in reporting the address of the man alleged to have shot into crowds on Danforth Ave. in Toronto. The complaint was dismissed because the NNC saw no breach of journalistic practice, but did say it supports the use of particular editorial discretion in view of the public interest.

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

On Aug. 9, the NNC mediated a complaint about an inaccurate photo caption in the Toronto Sun. The complainant noted that a flag featured in the photo was misidentified as belonging to “the terror group Hezbollah.” The flag in fact represented the followers of the Followers of Zainab Brigade. The Toronto Sun corrected this information online the same day the complaint was submitted.

The complainant also stated the article “was biased and lacked balance.” As the story was an opinion piece, the NNC found that choice to be within the latitude of a columnist writing an opinion article, though the decision states the importance of properly labelling opinion pieces as such.

Read the full decision of Lascaris vs Toronto Sun here.

These decisions are partially reprinted with the permission of the National NewsMedia Council.

Editor’s note, Sept. 5, 2018, 9:32 p.m.: A previous version of this story erroneously stated that Lascaris decision involved the Toronto Star. It involved the Toronto Sun. We apologize for the error.

H.G. Watson was J-Source's managing editor from 2015 to 2018. She is a journalist based in Toronto. You can learn more about her at hgwatson.com.