Shawna Richer, the paper’s editor, has faced criticism for her decision to fire McCann. She insists the factual mistakes combined with the one-sided nature of the story to make it a deal breaker. Yet even the university spokesman told the Star that he was “surprised” to hear McCann was let go. In spite of their concerns, they didn’t ask for him to lose his job. (Read the story for yourself and decide if it’s so lacking in fairness and balance that the author deserves to be drummed out of a summer contract.)
The story of McCann’s firing eventually made its way to local radio in Saint John. During the report, a former editor of the paper in question suggested that the publisher, Jamie Irving, made McCann the scapegoat in order to maintain good relations with the governing party. That suggestion caused the Telegraph-Journal to respond with a story headlined, “CBC runs baseless story with no regard for facts or truth.”
From the story, which doesn’t match the aggressive tone of the headline:
“These kinds of errors of fact and judgment don’t constitute acceptable journalism at the Telegraph-Journal. We must cover stories with integrity, clarity and absolute accuracy,” Shawna Richer, the newspaper’s editor, said.
In a conversation that day with Richer, McCann acknowledged the errors but “did not seem to fully grasp the seriousness of them,” Richer said. “He was not a first-year intern. He worked here last summer. We expected more of him.”
Richer says the call was hers alone and no one pressured her. The paper has also acknowledged that McCann’s story was, obviously, reviewed by editors. After all, they deemed it good enough to warrant major front page placement. Those editors have all kept their jobs.
But if we accept Richer’s standard for fairness and accuracy, then I’m afraid to say that someone else at her paper needs to lose their job. If you read the online version of the article, you’ll notice that McCann’s three factual errors—which were deemed so bad that they were a major cause of his firing—are still in the article. The paper hasn’t corrected them. Those errors are still causing damage, and it was someone’s job to fix them in the online version, not to mention issue a correction.
So who else is going to lose their job? Or is it possible that the standard being enforced by the paper doesn’t apply to anyone but McCann?
Correction of the Week
“In a June 15 story about DF Indie Studios, The Associated Press reported erroneous claims by the company and founders Mary Dickinson and Charlene Fisher. In a news release and in interviews, DF Indie Studios and the founders said their movies will be produced by such Hollywood figures as Ridley and Tony Scott. Dickinson and Fisher also said they had $300 million in loans and distribution deals and were halfway to raising $100 million in equity. However, DF Indie Studios now acknowledges that it has not finalized its line of credit, its equity investments or all of its distribution deals. And a representative for the Scotts’ production company says it has no business or contractual relationship with DF Indie Studios.” – Associated Press
“A brief report in the Inside the List column last Sunday about the crime writer Michael Connelly misstated the history of an apartment he once rented as a studio. It was used in the making of the 1973 film version of Raymond Chandler’s ‘Long Goodbye.’ It was not the former apartment of Raymond Carver.” – The New York Times
“We mistakenly suggested that greater gender inequality increases the instance of female mathematicians in a country. Of course that should have been gender equality (6 June, p 7).” – New Scientist