Don...in my last...of course the reporter wrote "brake-brake"...sorry about
that, see you at the Summit, John
----- Original Message -----
From: Silver Donald Cameron <dcameron(a)UCCB.NS.CA>
Sent: Saturday, July 29, 2000 8:04 PM
Subject: Re: Summit in herald
A few comments on journalism which may be of interest:
At 09:07 PM 07/26/2000 -0700, wbelford wrote:
>When I spoke to Jackie Fitton of the Herald I gave her - actually mailed
>copies of material I wanted her to use in the article, but as you know,
>just so much space these reporters are allotted.
I don't know this reporter, but Jeanne's right -- one has so much space
no more. My columns are 800 words, period. Occasionally I'll
manage to run
one a little longer, but word lengths are usually pretty inflexible, and
even so, stories are often cut by editors without any consultation with
>Despite the fact that all reporters have been given accurate, written
>communication materials to work from and, aside from the fact that I have
>each one to either call me before going to print or, send me a draft copy
>going to print, this has never happened. And, I suppose that it's news
Not only policy but ethics. If a reporter shows the story in advance to a
source -- and that's what Jeanne is in this case -- and if the source
doesn't like the story, s/he can go to court and get an injunction against
publication. The injunction may be overturned, but that all takes time --
and in the meantime the whole issue of the publication may have to be
withdrawn from sale, at enormous cost. That's the ultimate nightmare
In addition, if you show the story to one source, in the name of fairness
you'd have to show it to *all* sources. What if the story is unflattering
-- not necessarily incorrect, but unsympathetic to the source? Presumably
the source would believe s/he was being granted the *right* to demand
changes -- changes which the reporter might not agree with. What then?
Believe me, it's a can of worms. As a result, professional writers
follow the rule that you never show the story to a source. I only do
when I'm writing about something quite personal and non-controversial, and
when it's one of my columns, never one of my feature stories.
Not many people understand this matter, and reporters rarely talk about
It takes too long, and they have other things to do. But I thought
might all like to know a bit about it.
On the other hand, good editors normally call sources (at least in
work -- there isn't time in newspaper work) to check the facts
attributed to them. And it sounds as though this particular reporter
made some errors, too, which also happens more often than it should.
imagine having to file story after story every day, all week long, and you
can easily imagine how facts might go astray from time to time.
Silver Donald Cameron
D'Escousse, NS B0E 1K0
(902)226-3165 fax (902)226-1904
Home page: http://islemadame.com/sdc/
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