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BUSTY HOOKERS_POLITICAL MISFORTUNES AND UNREGISTERED LOBBYING

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BUSTY HOOKERS_POLITICAL MISFORTUNES AND UNREGISTERED LOBBYING Powered By Docstoc
					MEDIA
T H E C A N A D I A N A S S O C I AT I O N O F J O U R N A L I S T S • S U M M E R 2 0 1 0 • V O L U M E 1 4 , N U M B E R T H R E E




BUSTY HOOKERS,POLITICAL MISFORTUNES
    AND UNREGISTERED LOBBYING
How former cabinet minister and Conservative M.P. Helena Guergis and her husband
 became fodder for sensational allegations that still have Parliament Hill reeling

                                           by Russ Martin
Student Journalist
Hong Kong Fellowship
Exploring Asia’s world city
                                                                                                                                             MEDIA
                                                                                                                                SUMMER 2010 • VOLUME 14, NUMBER THREE
                                                                                                                                          www.caj.ca/mediamag
    Hong Kong, Asia’s world city, is a               a package including a five-day visit
                                                                                                                                                             COLUMNS
    Special Administrative Region of the             program with an economy class air ticket
    People’s Republic of China, run by Hong          and hotel accommodation. In Hong Kong,                                             5 FIRST WORD by David McKie • Where are we going?
    Kong people under the “One Country,              the winners will have the opportunity to
    Two Systems” principle. Hong Kong is             visit various points of interest, and meet    6 WRITER’S TOOLBOX By Don Gibb • Make a plan before you write. Our writing coach completes his tip sheet with this simple
    one of the most open, externally oriented        with people of diverse views and                                                  message: Tell stories. Tell them well.
                                                                                                         9 JOURNALISMNET By Julian Sher . Digging for buried treasure. There are ways to navigate the invisible web.
    economies in the world. The city has been        backgrounds. The selected student
    rated the world’s freest economy by the          journalists must publish or broadcast at                                                                FEATURES
    Heritage Foundation and Fraser Institute.        least three stories about Hong Kong
                                                     within six months upon completion of the       10 MEDIA CIRCUS By Russ Martin • Busty hookers, political misfourtunes and unregisted lobbying: The story about how former
    What makes Hong Kong tick as a great                                                            cabinet minister and Conservative M.P. Helena Guergis and her husband, former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer, became fodder for
                                                     trip in the local media or in their                                              sensational allegations that still have Parliament Hill reeling.
    world city? …. Its unrivalled location; its      university/school publications. They will
    liberal investment regime; its low tax           enjoy complete editorial freedom.              13 WHERE DID THE 25-MILLION DOLLARS GO? • That question haunted CBC Investigative journalist, Harvey Cashore, for
    regime; its transparent common law legal                                                         the 15 years he investigated the Airbus scandal and money that was paid to former prime minister Brian Mulroney. In an interview
    system and rule of law; its world- class         The award is open to any journalism           with Media magazine, Cashore opens up about the price he paid to pursue the story and why he decided to chronicle the odyssey in his
                                                                                                                                                       new book The Truth Shows Up.
    infrastructure; its free flow of                 student who is currently in a recognized
    information; its entrepreneurial spirit; and     university or college -level journalism       16 A CULTURE OF IGNORANCE By Tiffany Narducci • Has censorship taken hold of the Canadian military’s official newspaper,
    a truly international lifestyle.                 program. Applicants must be a paid-in-                                                     the Maple Leaf?
                                                     full member in good standing of the CAJ.
    Student journalists, who are interested in       Non-members may take up membership              18 HOW I GOT THE STORY By Charles Rusnell • CBC investigative journalist Charles Rusnell explains how he broke what is
                                                                                                                             believed to be the biggest mortgage fraud in Canadian history.
    gaining first-hand knowledge about Hong          upon making an application. For
    Kong, are invited to apply for the               application procedures, please visit the       20 SO LONG CANWEST • What does the future hold for the former newspaper chain? Journalism professor Christopher Waddell
    “Student Journalist Hong Kong                    CAJ website at www.caj.ca.
                                                                     www.caj.ca.                                              ponders the question in a discussion with Media magazine.
    Fellowship” jointly organized by the
    Canadian Association of Journalists              Selection of the successful candidates will   22 THIS HOUSE IS NOT A HOME • Stuart Thomson and Laura Osman explain how they used building inspections data for the city
                                                                                                              of Ottawa to tell the story of a negligent landlord and the tenants it deprived of decent living conditions.
    (CAJ), and the Hong Kong Economic and            be made and announced around mid-
    Trade Office in Canada.                          August 2010. The visit program must be                                                                    COLUMNS
                                                     completed before the end of March 2011.
    Two student journalists will be selected                                                         26 FINE PRINT By Dean Jobb • A message to bloggers. The Supreme Court of Canada says you better work hard to get it right.
    by CAJ each year. Each will be awarded
                                                                                                   28 LEGAL UPDATE By Dean Jobb • Was the high court’s ruling in the Andrew McIntosh case a bad day for journalism? Not really.

                                                                                                   30 COMPUTER-ASSISTED REPORTING By Fred Vallance-Jones • Disappearing data. Some federal government departments are
    Application must reach:                                                                                                          making it more difficult to obtain.
    The Canadian Association of Journalists
    1106 Wellington Street, P.O. Box 36030                                                           33 INSIDE THE NUMBERS By Kelly Toughill • Passing the smell test. If a number seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t.
    Ottawa, ON. K1Y 4V3
                                                                                                   34 RESEARCH ON THE NET By Lucas Timmons • Strategies for tracking people online. Using Google can be better than hiring a
                                                                                                                                         private eye. And cheaper, too!
                      30,
    by Thursday, July 15, 2010
                                                                                                    36 ETHICS By Stephen J.A. Ward • Fumbling toward open ethics. Central to the distinction between closed and open ethics is who
                                                                                                                                        has the power to control and shape the discourse.
    For enquiries, please contact:
    John Dickins, Executive Director, CAJ at email: dickens-                                         38 FEEDS AND LEDES By Mary Gazee • And speaking of Google, it has become the mother of all search engines. But there are
    john@rogers.com or                                                                                                                               alternatives.
    Stephen Siu, Assistant Director (Public Relations)
                                                                                                    40 THE FUTURE OF NEWS By Simon Doyle • Curators. These “super copy editors” possess some of the new skills that will be
    Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office, at (416)924-5544                                                                      useful in an ever-changing world of information-gathering.
    or email: stephen_siu@hketotoronto.gov.hk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            FIRST WORD
                                                                                                                                        Where are we heading?

                                                                                                                                                             T      his edition of Media magazine contains a little of the old and a lot of the new. First the old, as in
                                                                                                                                                                    the kind of journalism that requires the digging and the shoe leather we’ve come to associate with
                                                                                                                                                               investigative enterprises.
                                                                                                                                                                  In the cover story, Russ Martin takes us behind the scenes of what is arguably one of the most
                                                                                                                                                               sensational stories to come out of Parliament Hill in years. The characters could be right out of a
                                                                                                                                                               Hollywood movie: Helena Guergis, the glamorous ex-cabinet minister with a reputation for being a
                                                                                                                                                               diva whose downfall began with an inexplicable meltdown at the Charlottetown airport and ended
                                                                                                                                                               with allegations involving unsavory characters cutting backroom deals; her husband, Rahim Jaffer,
                                                                                                                                                               the disgraced former Conservative MP who seemed to have it all – looks, smarts and the confidence
                                                                                                                                        of his fellow M.P.s. Together they were the power couple that jazzed up a dour Conservative brand. Rounding out the cast
                                                                                                                                        were suspicious businessmen, a debt-ridden private eye with possible secrets to tell, a prime minister looking to get rid of
                                                                                                                                        the unsavory mess, and, of course, those “busty hookers.” Yes, this story had it all. And journalists on Parliament Hill, and
                                                                                                                                        outside Ottawa, had fun digging into the allegations that so far still remain murky. The sensational allegations and tawdry




                                            MEDIA
                                                                                                                                        subject matter notwithstanding, the Guergis-Jaffer affair also represented examples of supreme sleuthing as exemplified
                                                                                                                                        by the Toronto Star and Collingwood Enterprise Bulletin, the local newspaper in Guergis’ riding.
                                                                                                                                           Sleuthing was also at the heart of the Airbus affair with its allegations of kick-backs and suspicious payments to former
                                                                                                                                        prime minister Brian Mulroney. For the past 15 years, CBC investigative journalist Harvey Cashore attempted to answer
                                                                                                                                        one simple question: What happened to the 25-million dollars in commissions that resulted from the sale of the Airbus jets
                                                                                                                                        to Air Canada? Cashore documents his quest for that answer in his highly readable new book The Truth Shows Up. There
                                SUMMER 2010 • VOLUME 14, NUMBER THREE
                                                                                                                                        can be no finer example of shoe-leather journalism than his dogged pursuit of the main characters, including the shady
                                                                                                                                        middle man, and a former prime minister who was determined to spin his own version of the truth. Reading the book, I
                                         A PUBLICATION OF                                                                               was astounded at Cashore’s (full disclosure, Harvey is also a colleague at the CBC) tenacity and refusal to accept pat and
                                                                                                                                        half-backed explanations, and his fearlessness in the face of lawsuits that could have destroyed his career. For anyone
                        THE CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF JOURNALISTS                                                                         passionate about investigative journalism or curious about the Airbus affair, I would recommend you add this book to your
                                                                                                                                        summer reading.
                                                                                                                                           As part of a transition towards the new – as in a new generation of journalists -- there is the story of a negligent land-
            EDITOR                             LEGAL ADVISOR                                ART DIRECTION and DESIGN                    lord in Ottawa that allowed tenants to live in deplorable conditions. Digging through building inspections data, Laura
           David McKie                        Peter Jacobsen, Bersenas                                    Laura Osman
                                                                                                                                        Osman and Stuart Thomson (full disclosure again, two of my former students), identified the landlord, TransGlobe Prop-
                                             Jacobsen Chouest Thomson
                                                                                                                                        erty Management, and the tenants, low-income residents who were afraid to voice their concerns for fear of being evicted.
                                                  Blackburn LL P
EDIOTORIAL BOARD                                                                                      CONTRIBUTORS                      Laura and Stuart scoured the Internet to find people willing to talk, and then visited the neighborhood on a number of oc-
            Chris Cobb                       ADVERTISING SALES                                                                          casions in an attempt to convince people to go on the record. In short, they combined shoe-leather with computer-assisted
          Catherine Ford                             John Dickins                               David McKie, Don Gibb, Julian Sher,     reporting: the old and the new. Their efforts paid off handsomely. Their stories aired on CBC Radio, television and were
         Michelle MacAfee                                                                         Russ Martin, Tiffany Narducci,        published on cbcnews.ca.
          Lindsay Crysler              ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR                                   Charles Rusnell, Stuart Thomson,          And in keeping with the spirit of the new, Media is fortunate to have two new columns. In Research on the Net Lucas
           John Gushue                               John Dickins                                    Laura Osman, Dean Jobb,            Timmons, now a multimedia journalist and web producer at the Edmonton Journal, walks us through techniques he used
            Rob Cribb                              (613) 526 - 8061                             Fred Vallance-Jones, Kelly Toughill,    to track down gun enthusiasts who didn’t want to be found. And in his column we’re calling The Future of News, Simon
          Rob Washburn                          Fa x : (613) 521 - 3904                            Lucas Timmons, Mary Gazee,           Doyle introduces us to curators, super copy editors who search social media sites in their quest for information.
                                                                                                 Stephen J.A. Ward, Simon Doyle
                                                                                                                                           In mixing the old with the new, we are attempting to stay above the tired rhetoric about our business being in trouble.
                                                                                                                                        Yes, Canwest is history. But perhaps a new, more dynamic model will emerge. Yes, journalism students may find it harder
                                                                                                                                        these days to find jobs. But perhaps their increased familiarity with social media and new forms of technology will make
                                                          COVER PHOTO                                                                   them better suited for jobs that will mix skills-sets in new ways that we never thought possible.
                                                                                                                                           So let’s try to stay positive, shall we.
Former cabinet minister and Conservative M.P. Helena Guergis and her husband, former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer, became the              If you have issues you think we should be covering, please feel free to contact me at david_mckie@cbc.ca. In the
focus of a media scandal, dominating political coverage for months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick                                  meantime, have a great summer. M


    MEDIA is published four time a year by the Canadian Association of Journalists. It is managed and edited independantly of the CAJ                                                                                          David McKie, Editor
                                 and its content do not necessarily reflect the views of the association.

4                                                                                                                              MEDIA    SUMMER 2010                                                                                                                    5
                                                                                                                                                      tails when it’s time to write. Don’t rely on       William Zinsser (On Writing Well),          long or a point that needs more explana-
Writer’s Toolbox                                                                                                                                      memory. Be careful, however, not to inter-      adds, “Writing improves in direct ratio to     tion? Rewriting makes you a better writer
                                                                                                                                                      pret what you see … but just report what        the number of things we can keep out that      because you are the one fixing before hand-
                                                                                                                                                      you see.                                        shouldn’t be there.”                           ing off to an editor.
                         MAKE A PLAN BEFORE YOU WRITE: PART 11                                                                                            When the late Pierre Trudeau turned 80,        A few quick tips:
                                                                                                                                                      he guarded his privacy and refused to talk      1) Watch for a sentence that repeats what a    UNDERSTAND NUMBERS
                         In the end, your task is simple. Tell stories. Tell them well.                                                               to a reporter. But she caught up with him       previous sentence or quote said.                  A writing coach who taught engineering
                                                                                                                                                      at a lunch counter and wrote the following      2) Justify the need for everything in your     students said they didn’t realize that 60 per
                                                                                                                                                      observations, no doubt aided by some in-        story: Why is this important? Does the         cent of their time would be spent writing.
                                                                                                                                                      formation from those who serve Trudeau          reader need to know this? Does this ad-        Reporters, she said, don’t realize the 60 per
                                                                                                                                                      every week:                                     vance the story?                               cent of their time could be spent translating
                         Don Gibb                                                                                                                         He inches ahead at the Lebanese fast-       3) Fight clutter – due to the fact that (be-   and analyzing numbers.
                                                                                                                                                          food counter, reaching for his plas-        cause); at this point in time (now); for the      Like it or not, numbers are a big part of

W       riters should never be satisfied with
        their first draft, their first stab at a
lead, or quotes that seem never to end.
                                                      With minor alterations, you can break
                                                   this into three, easier-to-digest sentences.
                                                                                                    traditional format of subject-verb-object.
                                                                                                    Never say never to the passive voice. It has
                                                                                                    its place, but not as a dominant force dull-
                                                                                                                                                          tic cutlery with slow and deliberate
                                                                                                                                                          hands. He orders his usual - chicken
                                                                                                                                                          in pita bread with mild sauce – and
                                                                                                                                                                                                      purpose of (for); in order to (to).
                                                                                                                                                                                                      4) Look for sections to delete – an anecdote
                                                                                                                                                                                                      that doesn’t advance your story or perhaps
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     journalism and writers need to understand
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     some basics such as figuring out a percent-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     age, making sure numbers add up, or un-
   They shouldn’t be satisfied with unex-           TRANSITIONS                                     ing down a story or a broadcast.                      graciously smiles at the staff. It’s a      an interviewee repeating what another in-      derstanding the difference between average
plained jargon or a weak nut graf. Likewise           These are simple devices that make a                                                                lunch-time routine several days a           terviewee has already said.                    and median.
for lack of context or lack of balance.            story move along smoothly from one topic         SHOW RATHER THAN TELL                                 week. Then all eyes in the room fol-                                                          Scary stuff for writers who say they got
   And it’s a crime to be boring.                  to another, one person to another, one place         Easy to say, harder to do. Avoid say-             low him as he moves off to a remote                                                        into journalism because they hated math.
   The list goes on. So to add to a checklist      to another, one time to another. Readers         ing something was “fun” or “awesome”                  corner to eat by himself.                   Better writing comes                           But there’s nothing wrong with calling on
of basics begun in the winter 2010 edition         shouldn’t feel lost or left behind when you      or “difficult.” Show the fun -- the giggling                                                                                                     outside sources – business professors, ac-
of Media magazine -- everything writers            make a sudden turn without warning.              youngster splashing in the pool. Show the         AVOID WARM BODIES                                  from leaving the                            countants, high school math teachers – to
should consider with every story -- here is                                                         difficulty -- the cross-country runner gasp-          Reporters often show and tell their sto-                                                   help translate what the numbers mean. It’s
Part II.                                                                                            ing for air as she climbs the hill. Showing       ries through someone they interview. For          comfort of the safe                          best if they have no vested interest in the
                                                       “We fail to heed                             takes readers right to the heart of your story.   example, the impact of a new government                                                        story on which you are seeking help.
SHORTER SENTENCES                                                                                   It helps them to visualize and feel a part of     policy on ordinary people. By using one          or routine approach.
    Too many long sentences in a row make               the unspoken                                it. Look for specific details. Telling rather     person through whom to tell a complex sto-                                                     MASTER THE COMPLEX
life miserable for readers. They have to                                                            than showing is more abstract and passive.        ry, you make it easier for readers to grasp          It also means                                 You have to explain technical, complex
work too hard to read and comprehend                commandment that                                    Krystal Wilhelm crouches on the               the significance of that new policy.                                                           material in simple terms. Slow down how
your story. Broadcasters know the merit                                                                 seventh stair of the Merlin Apart-                However, you need to develop such a              accepting, if                             much and how fast you feed information to
of short sentences or have it knocked into         undergirds all others,                               ments, thin knees pulled against her          person beyond one-dimensional – other-                                                         readers. Short, simple sentences are often
them quickly. Listen to how they do it.                                                                 16-year-old stomach, insides cramp-           wise, the person becomes a “warm body”          necessary, failure. We                         best to describe long, complicated issues.
    A writing coach once said if you give             the only common                                   ing. She’s dope sick. … She rocks             used simply as a prop. Such stories often                                                      And know when enough is enough. The key
readers a long sentence, treat them to a                                                                with cramps.                                  drop the person around paragraph four with          learn from our                             is that you have to understand all of it, but
short one. Varying the length of sentences           demand of readers                                  When you think of showing, you want to        a simple transitional line like, “So-and-so                                                    give readers only as much as they need to
adds rhythm and flow to a story. If you find                                                        capture key moments, just like Wilhelm’s          is not alone.” Or: “So-and-so is one of          mistakes and we are                           know to understand the topic. Remember,
yourself stuck with too many long sen-                everywhere: For                               dope sickness.                                    500,000 Canadians who …”                                                                       you’re not writing it for the doctor, lawyer,
tences, consider breaking them into two or                                                              As Rene Cappon (The Word) notes,                  The person leaves the story, never to be         better for it.                            or engineer you interviewed. You’re writ-
three by using periods. The lowly period is         Pete’s sake, make it                            “colour is a matter of detail – those details     seen again. Unless, of course, the reporter                                                    ing it for ordinary readers and that will be
the simplest tool to break up the conges-                                                           that make this story different from any           brings the person back for one last, unre-                                                     less technical than the doctor, lawyer or en-
tion.                                              interesting. Tell me a                           other stories.” Avoid the predictable (sandy      markable gasp at the end.                          Tighter writing means understanding         gineer might prefer. Accurately conveying
    If you read your story aloud, you will                                                          beaches, posh resort, tony neighbourhood,             If you are going to use people to illus-    your story and having the confidence to        complex material is always your goal, but
likely pick up on sentences that are too                    story.”                                 urban sprawl). They are well-worn descrip-        trate stories, develop their personal story.    write it without resorting to over-explana-    you have to work at making it understand-
cumbersome. Try this one without coming                                                             tives applicable to many scenes. Search for       Make them real. Show their personality.         tion and long, cumbersome quotes.              able.
up for breath:                                         - Willam Blundell                            the right word(s) for your story.                 Make them people with whom readers can             Take time to self-edit before handing in
    After Israeli Major-General Amos                                                                                                                  identify.                                       your story. Accept the challenge of making     TAKE READERS THERE
    Gilad met Palestinian security chief                                                            OBSERVE                                                                                           your writing crisper by cutting and elimi-        Give readers a sense of place. Where are
    Mohammed Dahlan on Saturday, their                Tell them when you have a change in              This is a close cousin of showing. Re-         WRITE TIGHT                                     nating needless material.                      you? What do you see? Here’s an example
    subordinates met into the early hours          location, a change of speakers, a change in      porters, in my mind, are among the best              This takes discipline and requires writ-        Just because you gather it, doesn’t mean    where a reporter returns to Kelowna, B.C.,
    of this morning to work out details of         time. Keep the reader informed with every        observers. But because we’ve been trained         ers to exercise good judgment. As Boston        you have to use it. What you leave out is      a year after a forest fire destroyed more
    a plan under which Israel gradually            move.                                            to record what other people say, we tend          Globe writing coach Don Murray has ob-          just as important as what you put in.          than 200 homes and forced 30,000 to flee
    would withdraw from Bethlehem and                                                               to pay less attention to what we see, hear,       served, writers are territorial animals with                                                   their town:
    parts of the Gaza Strip, putting secu-         USE ACTIVE VOICE                                 smell, taste and touch. Sometimes what            a primitive instinct to use up as much          REWRITE                                           You can smell the burned forest on
    rity back in the hands of Palestinians             Simply put, it is more direct. “City coun-   you see (or hear) is your lead. Take the          newsprint (or air time?) as possible. “But         It’s your chance to recheck some ba-           Okanagan Mountain before you see
    after months of Israeli occupation,            cil met last night” is more concise and di-      time to record observations in your notes –       the stories that survive,” he says, “are usu-   sics. Have you backed up your lead? Have          it. Hiking up an old railway bed sur-
    the Israeli Defence Ministry said. (62         rect than “a meeting was held by city coun-      just as you do quotes and comments from           ally short, precisely limited and clearly fo-   you buried a better angle? Are your quotes        rounded by green pines, you wonder,
    words)                                         cil last night.” Strong sentences follow the     those you interview – so you have the de-         cused.”                                         punchy? What about sentences that are too         was this really where, one year ago

6                                                                                                                                          MEDIA      SUMMER 2010                                                                                                                               7
    this weekend, a massive fire threat-             William Blundell (The Art and Craft of       writers need to do the same on every story.
    ened to engulf an entire city? Then          Feature Writing) says nothing is easier than     It will keep you sharp, help you avoid or        Journalism Net
    the heavy smell of charcoal hits you.        to stop reading. “We fail to heed the unspo-     overcome lazy habits, and exercise your
    Turning a corner you see where the
    fire raged on the mountain, a black
    tongue licking down the hillside,
                                                 ken commandment that undergirds all oth-
                                                 ers, the only common demand of readers
                                                 everywhere: For Pete’s sake, make it inter-
                                                                                                  mind.
                                                                                                     While you’re at it, take some risks. Bet-
                                                                                                  ter writing comes from leaving the com-
                                                                                                                                                                           The Invisible Web
    consuming everything in its path.            esting. Tell me a story.”                        fort of the safe or routine approach. It also                            Google and other search engines can’t spider those kinds
    Marching off to the summit, stuck                That’s the real challenge every day. Do      means accepting, if necessary, failure. We
    like spears into the soil, are thou-         not approach any story with complacency          learn from our mistakes and we are better                                of web pages and won’t list them in their search results.
    sands of dead, black trees.                  and for heaven’s sake, accept the challenge      for it. M
                                                 every story has to offer, no matter how
ENDINGS                                          mundane it seems at the time. Bad attitude       Don Gibb, who taught reporting for 20 years at                           Julian Sher
   Just as important as beginnings. In fact,     kills more good stories. Instead of being        Ryerson University’s School of Journalism, re-
Justice Denise Bellamy, of the Ontario Su-
perior Court, says she was taught in “judg-
ment writing school” that the opening para-
                                                 negative going in, look for the gem in every
                                                 story. It is there. (Thus endeth the preachy
                                                 part.)
                                                                                                  tired in 2008. He can be reached at dgibb1@
                                                                                                  cogeco.ca
                                                                                                                        •••
                                                                                                                                                   O     ne of the biggest myths about the web
                                                                                                                                                         is that it is easily searchable. With the
                                                                                                                                                   speed and accuracy of search engines like
                                                                                                                                                                                                     obviously sites that intentionally keep their
                                                                                                                                                                                                     pages from being searched by search en-
                                                                                                                                                                                                     gine spiders – private networks, like intra-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     engines that offer ways to dig through the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     invisible web. One of my favorites is Info-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     mine (www.infomine.com), put together by
graph is prime real estate. “Why would you           No doubt you can add more to this            Part I of this two-part column appeared          Google, people assume everything on the           nets, like companies use for internal con-      librarians from the University of California
put a hot dog stand there?”                      checklist of basics, but the list should serve   in the winter 2010 edition of Media. It cov-     web is easily accessible and at their fin-        sumption; secure databases from banks and       and other educational centers. It contains a
   Why, indeed? And while you’re at it,          as a reminder to constantly stay on top of       ered the following basics: Focus, story out-     gertips. If they haven’t found what they’re       governments. Then there are public sites        vast number of databases, electronic jour-
think of your ending before you get there.       the tools that make for excellence in writ-      line, structure, leads, backing up the lead,     looking for, they figure they’re doing            like universities, journals or other institu-   nals, electronic books, bulletin boards,
Endings shouldn’t leave readers hanging          ing. Just as airline pilots make the same        nut graf., context, use of quotes, attribu-      something wrong in their search strategy.         tions that might only allow access with a       mailing lists, online library card catalogs,
over the edge of a cliff, unless you’re run-     checks over and over again on every flight,      tion, balance and interviewing.                  That can often be the case – and you should       password.                                       articles and directories of researchers –
ning a series and want to entice them back                                                                                                         check out JournalismNet’s Search Tips                 Finally, there are what are called dy-      searchable by keyword or by topic.
for more tomorrow or next week.                                                                                                                    (www.journalismnet.com/tips) to be sure           namic searchable databases. Think about             Librarians in general can help you navi-
   Here’s a writer who has a catchy lead                                                                                                           you are employing the latest, best and most       what happens when you visit a govern-           gate through the invisible web and you’ll
and an excellent ending as he circles back                                                                                                         relevant techniques and tricks.                   ment web site that contains public informa-     find a listing of helpful library sites at
to the beginning to complete his story in a                                                                                                            But even if you’re a whiz with Google         tion on companies and shareholders. You         JournalismNet’s Library Help page (www.
natural and charming way:                                                                                                                          and other tools, you have to know their lim-      make a request for a listing of directors of    journalismnet.com/search/librarians.htm).
   Opening                                                                                                                                         its. Even the best search engines tap into        Company ABC and up pops a list of their         In particular, Gary Price, a librarian and
   Susan Wright’s life of crime began                                                                                                              only a small portion of the web. According        names and affiliations. But that web page       information research consultant, main-
   about two weeks ago, on a sunny                                                                                                                 to Google, the first Google index in 1998         did not exist until you made that request.      tains an excellent resource at http://www.
   Sunday afternoon. She stood at the                                                                                                              had 26 million pages, and by 2000 Google          The same happens when you ask a univer-         resourceshelf.com.
   corner of Bathurst Street, just south                                                                                                           was searching more than one billion web           sity library site to find all the books about       The University of Idaho also maintains
   of Dupont Street. The coast was clear.                                                                                                          pages. By 2008, its engineers boasted their       “blue whales.” The information is stored        a listing of over 5000 websites describing
   Ms. Wright went ahead with her plan.                                                                                                            tool was “spidering” more than 1 trillion         in databases, retrieved when you make a         the holdings of manuscripts, archives, rare
   A minute later, as she headed west on                                                                                                           unique URLs.                                      request and displayed on a web page that        books, historical photographs, and other
   Olive Avenue, a police car pulled up                                                                                                                Sounds impressive, right? It is. That’s       will disappear after you finish.                primary sources for the research scholar.
   next to her. Ms. Wright had joined                                                                                                              like hunting through a stack of paper more            In most cases, Google and other search      [http://www.uiweb.uidaho.edu/special-col-
   the ranks of Toronto’s fastest-grow-                                                                                                            than 5,000 miles tall – a stack that would        engines can’t spider those kinds of web         lections/Other.Repositories.html]
   ing criminal class – the jaywalker.                                                                                                             almost stretch from Chicago to Paris trav-        pages and won’t list them in their search           Another valuable tool is the Directory of
   “I couldn’t believe it,” said Ms.                                                                                                               elling by air. Except that the web keeps          results.                                        Open Access Journals.(www.doaj.org) This
   Wright, who lives downtown and                                                                                                                  growing at a faster page rate: millions of                                                        service covers free, full text, quality con-
   owns a business called Tree Hugger                                                                                                              blogs, YouTube videos, websites and other         Tools to Hunt                                   trolled scientific and scholarly journals.
   Puppets. “Who gets busted for jay-                                                                                                              postings go up every hour.                           All is not lost. There are ways you can          Finally, a site that aims to catalogue all
   walking?”                                                                                                                                                                                         hunt through the invisible web. You can’t       the world’s libraries is called WorldCat
   Ending                                                                                                                                          Buried Treasures                                  get into password-protected sites or pri-       (www.worldcat.org). It searches many li-
   This week, Ms. Wright went to the                                                                                                                   And there is a bigger problem. All the        vate networks (though they sometimes get        braries for books and research articles and
   courthouse to fight her ticket, arguing                                                                                                         search engines combined – Google and all          hacked or cracked!). But there are ways to      even music, and videos to check out.
   that the fine was excessive. The jus-                                                                                                           its competitors – only scratch the surface        hunt through the many databases.                    You’ll find similar tools listed on JNet’s
   tice of the peace agreed, and dropped                                                                                                           of what’s out there on the Internet. The rest        One easy trick is to just add the word       Academic Search Page at http://www.peo-
   it to $20 from $50. Ms. Wright de-                                                                                                              remains largely unexplored as buried trea-        database to your search keywords. For ex-       plesearchpro.com/journalism/search/aca-
   scribed the trip from her home to the                                                                                                           sures. That’s why it is called the “Invisible     ample, try a search for:                        demic.htm.
   court: “I jaywalked seven times to                                                                                                              Web” or the “Deep Web.”                           “toxic chemicals” water Arizona databases           So don’t get discouraged. Much of the
   get there,” she said. “I just didn’t get                                                                                                            How big is the invisible web? Accord-            This will get you quite different results    web may remain invisible, but there are
   caught.”                                                                                                                                        ing to one search company, BrightPlanet,          than if you don’t put in the word “data-        ways to uncover some hidden gems. M
                      •••                                                                                                                          the invisible web could be “at least 1000         base,” including links to some possibly
    In the end, your task is simple. Tell sto-                                                                                                     times greater than the Surface Web.”              very useful databases.                          Julian Sher is the creator of JournalismNet. He
ries. Tell them well.                                                                                                                              What’s buried in the invisible web? Well,            There are also several specialty search      can be reached at www.juliansher.com.

8                                                                                                                                       MEDIA      SUMMER 2010                                                                                                                                    9
Feature
The Helena Guergis,
Rahim Jaffer media circus
With talk of “busty hookers,” cocaine abuse
and unregistered lobbying, it was a story the
likes of which journalists on Parliament Hill
had never seen -- or may never witness again
Russ Martin
                        W       hen a letter
                                defending
                         former M.P. Helena
                                                     The trouble started on September 16,
                                                 2009, when Guergis’ husband, former Con-
                                                 servative M.P. Rahim Jaffer, was charged
                         Guergis arrived on      with impaired driving and cocaine posses-
                         Ian Adams’ desk on      sion (the charges were later dropped.) The
                         March 28, he had        couple made headlines again on February
                         his suspicions. It      19 when Guergis had a meltdown at the
                         was the fourth letter   Charlottetown Airport.
                         written to Adams,           The Enterprise Bulletin published its
editor-in-chief of the Collingwood Enter-        story on Craven’s letters on March 30. Sev-
prise Bulletin, a local newspaper in Guer-       eral other outlets quickly posted the news.
gis’ riding. All the letters were supportive     “It took off like crazy as soon as we put it
of the MP and cabinet minister, and were         up online,” Adams said. “I was astounded
signed by Jessica Morgan. Adams decided          by how much that got picked up. I assumed
to call Morgan.                                  it was a slow news day.”
    Adams conducted a search on the phone            The story continued to unfold. On April
number Morgan left on one letter and found       6 the Liberals demanded an investigation
it listed on a local community information       into a claim Guergis was given $800,000
centre’s website. He requested the file and      for her home Rockliffe Park, Ottawa’s
found the number belonged to Jessica Cra-        wealthiest neighborhood. Two days later
ven. A previous Facebook search revealed         a report in the Toronto Star claimed Jaffer
Craven was in a relationship with a man          had offered to “open up” the Prime Min-
with the surname Morgan. Bingo.                  ister’s office to Nazim Gillani and several
    Adams called Craven to confront her.         other businessmen.                             business.                                     FEELING THE PRESSURE: Once the golden girl with the bright future, Helena Guergis became the focus of negative attention,
When she picked up, he asked, “Are you               Despite Guergis’ resignation on April         “The drive was the sequence of things,”    much of it innuendo, which eventually led to her fall from grace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Jessica Morgan?” She said she’d have to          9, the unspecified allegations against the     said Carleton journalism professor Paul
call him back, but Adams asked again. She        former cabinet minister who the Prime          Adams, explaining how the story became a      she resigned, Harper made it clear that he     while only 29 per cent support the Liberals.    those stories in politics very often. Certain-
admitted her husband’s last name is Mor-         Minister also kicked out of the Conserva-      national news scandal. “There was a build     would have asked her to leave) of Guergis      “It doesn’t seem to have given them any         ly not in Ottawa.”
gan.                                             tive caucus, continued. Reports on April       up of events.”                                elevated the story’s prominence. The Liber-    lift,” he said.                                    Guergis’ reputation didn’t help matters.
    “I had to ask her three or four times        13 claimed Jaffer used Guergis’ office to         Though Adams said Guergis and Jaf-         als then pushed for answers, he said, which        Jaffer’s use of Guergis’ office was most    Taber said Guergis is known as very tena-
before she said, ‘I don’t have to respond        conduct business. Three days later, it was     fer were well known on Parliament Hill        kept her name in the papers.                   important to readers, Adams said. But that      cious, but added she thinks Guergis been
to your questions,’” Adams recalled. She         revealed Guergis had written an e-mail in      before Jaffer’s arrest, neither were house-      “The liberals have been looking hard for    wasn’t all that was reported. The sensa-        unfairly labeled as a diva and a princess
hung up, but Adams had the proof he was          support of Wright Tech Systems, a com-         hold names. Still, the couple has been the    something to give them a lift in the polls     tional details, including a claim Gillani had   because of her fashionable clothing, good
looking for. Jessica Craven, executive as-       pany Jaffer was planning to take public.       subject of countless articles and news-       and they [latched] onto this,” Adams said.     photos of the couple amongst cocaine and        looks and gender.
sistant to Guergis, had written the letters.     Another potential conflict of interest was     casts since February, surviving many news     The tactic didn’t work. A survey published     “busty hookers,” made front-page news. As          “She stood out from the moment she got
    Craven’s letters became part of a larger     revealed on April 29, when it emerged Jaf-     cycles. Adams said the Prime Minister’s       by Ipsos on April 24 showed 35 per cent of     Jane Taber, senior parliamentary writer for     elected because of her looks. Politicians
narrative in the fall of Helena Guergis.         fer had used his wife’s official e-mail for    drastic, largely unexplained firing (though   voters still support the Conservative party,   the Globe and Mail, put it, “You don’t get      don’t look like her,” Taber said. “There’s a

10                                                                                                                                 MEDIA      SUMMER 2010                                                                                                                               11
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Interview




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  “I know we all overuse
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the word closure. But
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  for me it was closure
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  on a story that’s been
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  with me for 15 years.”



                                                                                                                                                                                                           THE MONEY
                                                                                                                                                                                                           THE MIDDLE MAN
                                                                                                                                                                                                           AND A FORMER
FATAL TESTIMONY: The testimony of former MP Rahim Jaffer and his business partner Patrick Glemaud, right, at the Commons gov-
ernment operations and estimates committee on April 21, 2010, raised more even more questions about their lobbying activities.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand




                                                                                                                                                                                                           PRIME MINISTER
double standard and the double standard re-      letter Guergis wrote in support of Wright      he said. “I don’t think everyone needs to be
mains. Women are judged differently from         Tech Systems had been published on a pub-      fixated on this.”
their male counterparts.”                        lic website.                                      If anything, Donovan hopes the Guer-
   While Guergis may have been judged                “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s writing     gis story leads to more investigations into
unjustly, Taber believes journalists made        about a company her husband is involved        government corruption. “It would be nice
rigorous attempts to verify the allegations,     in,’” Donovan said. The next week The          to see, as a result of this, journalists focus
most notably Kevin Donovan at The Star.          Star ran a piece on Jaffer’s business deals    on how governments are conducting busi-
“People were being very, very careful,” she      and his wife’s involvement.                    ness,” Donovan said.
said. “I do believe the reporting was not in         The more sensational details, which           As for Guergis, Ian Adams expects she
any way dismissive.”                             many other outlets focused on, were murky      will fight the allegations. “She won’t go
   For Donovan, Guergis was never the fo-        at best, Donovan said. “I never believed       quietly,” he said. “She’s not that type of
cus of the story, just one character caught in   there were pictures that Gillani had of the    person. She’ll fight this every step of the
collateral damage. “I was a bit disappointed     cabinet minister in that circumstance. Gil-    way.”
that she became so much the story,” Dono-        lani tells a whole bunch of people he has         He expects no further letters from Jes-
van said. “I thought the story was Gillani       photos of them in compromising situa-          sica Morgan. M
and Mr. Jaffer.”
   By the time many journalists started
working on Guergis pieces Donovan had
                                                 tions,” he said. “Most of the things Gillani
                                                 boasts about need to be taken with a grain
                                                 of salt.”
                                                                                                Russ Martin is a freelance reporter and recent
                                                                                                graduate of Ryerson’s online journalism pro-
                                                                                                                                                 C     BC investigative journalist, Harvey
                                                                                                                                                       Cashore, recounts the 15-year od-
                                                                                                                                                 yssey that took him halfway around the
                                                                                                                                                                                                ed in the pages of his new book The Truth
                                                                                                                                                                                                Shows Up, was painful, surprising, and
                                                                                                                                                                                                exhilarating. In an edited version of a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  he chose to write the book as a personal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  journey.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Cashore: I think that on the one hand
been investigating Jaffer’s business deal-           Though Donovan and his team plan to        gram. His work has been published in Market-     globe in an attempt to follow the money        conversation with Media magazine, Cashore         it was such a complex, convoluted story.
ings with Gillani for about a month. He          continue to pursue the story as it develops,   ing Magazine, Toronto Star, the Ottawa Citizen   trail in the Airbus affair, a sad chapter in   discusses his odyssey and the personal price he   Early on I realized the best way to tell that
said this head start provided his pieces with    he’s now deep into other investigations.       and the Montreal Gazette. He has also contrib-   Canadian history that may forever tarnish      paid in pursuit of the real story that            story was through the pursuit of it. And I
details not yet published in other papers.       “There are a lot of equally important or       uted to new media publications including And-    the reputation of former prime minister        still remains untold.        We began the         think it made it more accessible. It was a
On April 8 Donovan received a tip that the       more important stories in Canada to do,”       Pop, Newsfix and Futuréale.                      Brian Mulroney. Cashore’s journey, recount-    conversation with his explanation of why          story of how we got the story -- and not the

12                                                                                                                                    MEDIA      SUMMER 2010                                                                                                                                13
story itself.                                   that money go? Quests can succeed or not         where all that money went. And we didn’t.       only to advance the story, but save your
    Media: Why did you decide to write          succeed. I think it can still make a good            Media: Would you argue that the Oliph-      reputation… So in some ways I had to.
it?                                             story that we did not succeed (in finding        ant Commission was our last shot to follow      There was no choice. What else was I go-
    Cashore: There are many different an-       out where the 25-million dollars in com-         the money?                                      ing to do?
swers I could give at different times. But      missions from the Airbus deal with Air               Cashore: Absolutely. It’s tragic. And           Media: So no lawsuits. That’s all done.
on a personal level, I just had to. I know we   Canada ended up). In some ways we did.           I’m not overstating it here. Justice Oliphant       Cashore: I have a photocopy of a
all overuse the word “closure.” But for me      We found out about the money to Mul-             used the word ‘inappropriate’ to describe       cheque that Schreiber wrote to our lawyers
it was closure on a story that’s been with      roney. Three hundred thousand dollars of         Mulroney’s behavior (in accepting enve-         to pay for our legal costs. It’s right in front
me for 15 years. I needed to close it for       it, or 225-thousand, take your pick, went        lopes full of cash from Schreiber). I think     of me. I’m looking at it right now. And ev-
my family, my children. I needed to move        to Brian Mulroney. That was a significant        that it could be suggested that the commis-     ery day I see it. And I know what we won.
ahead of it, but I knew I couldn’t until I      accomplishment, and the credit goes to the       sion’s findings were inappropriate. We had      But at the time no one knew we were going
put it all down. And I knew there was a         fifth estate and the CBC for having, in the      an opportunity here to find out not just that   to win.
story unwritten and untold about how our        dark days when no one wanted to do the           one man (Brian Mulroney) got money in a             Media: But what price did you pay?
institutions, be they RCMP, justice, media,     story, for sticking with it and getting the      hotel room from a middle man (Karlheinz             Cashore: I don’t want to blame the
collectively fail Canadians. And I really       information that led to the revelations in       Schreiber). But what about the bigger pic-      fact that my marriage failed on the story it-
wanted to explain why I believe that. And       the media. I believe the CBC deserves a          ture, which is how can corporations, some       self. But the fact is that this job, not just the
why the facts prove it. And I hope that I’ve    lot of credit for that. But the overall quest,   of which are larger than countries… how         Airbus story, is more than a job. And if you
done that. Because that book will always        which is where did that 25-million go, is        can we ensure that large corporations like      believe in the issues, in exposing injustice,
be on someone’s shelf or on the library.        still largely unanswered. And what I argue       Airbus in the future no longer offer side-      righting wrong, it can’t be a nine-to-five
And you go and get it and read about a real     is that we had a real opportunity during the     deals, grease money, bribe payments in          job. So that has a toll on those around you.
dark period in Canadian history. Both the       last year, both at the ethics committee and      order to make deals happen? That question       And so, when you asked earlier what was             ACCEPTING ENVELOPES FULL OF CASH: During the Oliphant Commission, former
story itself and how we did not deal with it    the Oliphant Commission to get at those          was not addressed. And yet to me that is        the hardest thing about writing this book,          prime minister, Brian Mulroney, was forced to explain why he took the money from
properly when it came to light.                 really important questions. Our institutions     the most significant question. How can we       it was actually putting things in a row and         Karlheinz Schreiber. PHOTO CREDIT: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
    Media: What is a significant part of that   chose not to. I would say that the truth re-     make sure that our democracy itself is not      realizing I did spend a lot of time on this
unwritten story?                                ally was a character in this book. The truth     undermined by corporations wanting to sell      story. I did miss birthdays. I did miss events      this couldn’t have been done without the         come out if you keep digging away. I also
    Cashore: I think that we do live in a       knocked at the door of the Oliphant Com-         goods and make money?                           I didn’t want to miss. I did have to fly off        partnership we had with Greg McArthur            hope they’re inspired by the idea that our
bit of a banana republic. (laughing) We         mission and said ‘I’m here. I want you to            Media: What was the hardest part in         to Europe at a moment’s notice. And what            and The Globe and Mail. There was a team         media institutions are not perfect. They’re
tend to have this idea that our democracy       ask me questions.’ And we said, ‘no thanks,      writing the book?                               does that do to your human relationships?           work during the period after we exposed          deeply flawed. And when you are a young
works pretty well. We’ve got a good po-         we’re good.’                                         Cashore: The hardest part for me,           It’s not that helpful. So there’s a human           the Britton account (an off-shore account        journalist, you are a naive, idealistic
litical system that is open and transparent.        Media: So we ignored the scandal?            because my memory isn’t very good, was          toll for sure. But there’s also a toll on your      that contained grease money from the Air-        and enthusiastic. And I hope that when
And we’ve got the media doing its job. But          Cashore: Many people have said this          going over my own notes and looking at          work. If you lose a lawsuit, you lose ev-           bus sale) and after Schreiber talked about       young journalists read this book that they
I think, hopefully, what this book shows        to me: Imagine this kind of scandal in the       my behavior and realizing that I might          erything.                                           the money to Mulroney and we proved that         remember not to lose that. Because it’s
is that we don’t expose our scandals and        United States where a former president met       have spent too much time thinking about             Media: When you examine the way the             the money came from Airbus. The Globe,           that kind of naiveté, idealism and enthusi-
then we move on. And I think there’s a gap      in a hotel room with a former arms dealer,       the story and working on the story. My last     media handled this. How did they do?                which I had been very critical of in the         asm that makes us do the work we do. Let’s
between what Canadians want and what            a middle man, took cash from a secret ac-        chapter dealt with this. What was this all          Cashore: Well, you know this yourself           1990s and early 2000, got some new people        keep the idea going that the more we expose
they deserve, and what they get from our        count in an offshore account that generated      for? I wanted to find out where the money       because I tried to write about this in Media        on board. And they, along with us, helped        corruption that we’re doing good
institutions. Even if you look at how the       cash for deals that government when it was       went and the truth showed up, but we re-        magazine back in 1996. And I wanted to              push that story to the finish line by getting    work and making change. So there’s a
story was covered in the media in the last      in power. You would never have heard the         ally didn’t want to find out what the truth     write about the spin campaign (On the part          it on the public agenda.                         thread of pessimism and optimism in my
15 years, it didn’t get the attention it de-    end of it. Every penny would have been ac-       knew. So what was it for? What did we ac-       of Brian Mulroney). And I did. You com-                 Media: So this was a crucial time in         book.
served until very recently. Canadians did       counted for by now. Every penny! We nev-         complish? I guess we exposed the fact that      missioned me to write that story. And this          linking some of the money to Mulroney?              Media: In these days of cutbacks, is it
not tire of the story. They were interested     er called an Airbus executive to the stand.      our democracy is sick. That our institutions    was during the time we were being sued                  Cashore: At least where we succeeded         possible to investigate stories like this?
in the idea that a former prime minister met    We never called an Air Canada executive          don’t work.                                     and I couldn’t understand why the story             is that everyone knows that Mulroney got            Cashore: I like to think of it as a pen-
in a hotel room with a middle man who           to the stand. And yet on the very same day,          Media: There were times when you had        wasn’t where did the money go? Our law-             cash from Schreiber. Everyone now knows          dulum, and this is where I still have the
doled out one thousand dollar bills in an       we knew that Brian Mulroney got his very         family stuff to do and work took over.          yers signed off on it and everything, until         it came from Airbus. And, to some extent,        optimism. Investigative reporting ebbs and
envelope and that money came from Air-          first cash payment, and (German business-            Cashore: People have accused me             a CBC manager intervened and said, ‘no,             that’s all I really wanted to do. We knew        flows. And I hope we’re in a period now
bus (shorthand for the deal that saw Air        man and the infamous middleman in the            of being obsessive. I don’t agree. If you       that story’s not going to air. We’re not go-        that information was true a decade ago. But      when we’re doing more of it. I think the
Canada spend more than a billion dollars to     Airbus affair) Karlheinz Schreiber, Fred         had a $35-million dollar lawsuit hanging        ing to let Cashore write about that.’ So it         because of the failure of the media to re-       National Post is doing good investigative
buy Airbus jets during Brian Mulroney’s         Doucet, Mulroney’s closest friend on earth,      over your head for seven years (Schreiber       was an insecure time for me because here            port it in any significant way, no one ever      journalism. The Toronto Star is doing fabu-
time in power). And that was of intense in-     writing letters to Air Canada about the Air-     was suing him), you’d want to make              I am, a research-associate producer. I don’t        knew about it. So we finally got it onto the     lous work, as are The Globe and Mail and
terest to Canadians. I tried to explain why     bus commissions.                                 sure you got that sorted out as well. You       have a lot of power. But I do have a sense          national stage and it had a public airing of a   the CBC.
they didn’t get more attention paid to that         Media: The Oliphant Commission was           can’t move on until that kind of thing gets     of stories being covered the right way. I           very important issue. And that I feel really        In some way we’ve come to understand
story.                                          unconcerned about Airbus.                        sorted out. So that made me preoccupied.        was confused. I was probably insecure. I            good about.                                      that if media outlets are going to differ-
    Media: What details about Airbus are            Cashore: The objective should not have       If you lose a lawsuit, you lose your career.    was young and feeling kind of hounded.                  Media: What do you hope will be the          entiate themselves from the bloggers and
still lacking? When we have spoken in the       been to make the link between Airbus and         And we knew that we were right and that         Every day I’d come to work and see a story          book’s legacy?                                   anybody who can go on the Internet, we
past, you’ve always wondered where the          Mulroney. That would be unfair and unfor-        we did a good job. So that became always        critical of me and the fifth estate. It wasn’t a        Cashore: I hope young journalists            must be unique and distinct. And you will
money went?                                     tunate. The objective should have been to        there in the background. You knew your          fun time. If that happened now, I’d be a lot        get to read this book. And I hope they’re        be most unique and distinct if you do origi-
    Cashore: That’s the quest that guided       find out where the money went. I would           reputation was on the line. And there-          more confident.                                     inspired by the fact that you can over-          nal reporting. And this is where I think the
me throughout the book, was where did           say we had a real opportunity to find out        fore having to go back into the story, not          But, to take this into the modern age,          come obstacles and you can have the truth        media are headed. M

14                                                                                                                                    MEDIA      SUMMER 2010                                                                                                                                   15
                                                                                                                                                  ever, seems to come at the loss of free
Media censorship                                                                                                                                  of speech. In stark contrast to Marin`s
                                                                                                                                                  recommendation, The Maple Leaf`s 2005


A CULTURE OF IGNORANCE
                                                                                                                                                  to 2008 archive holds only a single article
                                                                                                                                                  on the issue of sexual assault. During
                                                                                                                                                  this three-year period, a 2009 report by
                                                                                                                                                  the Department of National Defence
Media censorship in the Canadian Militay                                                                                                          (DND) highlighted 157 such charges laid
                                                                                                                                                  in military bases across Canada, with
A retired reservist believes army conventions have prevented                                                                                      several hundred other allegations. The
military news from covering sexual assault cases,                                                                                                 sole article, written by Captain Mark Giles          THE DND/CF WEEKLY NEWS
                                                                                                                                                  in 2005, does not disclose information
disregarding recommendations from a federal Ombudsman                                                                                             about a specific allegation or case. Rather,          26 May 2010, Vol. 13, No. 18
                                                                                                                                                  it is a briefing on how the military should
                                                                                                                                                  disclose information to the civilian media
Tiffany Narducci                                                                                                                                  about high-profile issues, including sexual
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Technology        Technologie
                                                                                                                                                  assault.

                        “  The purpose is          “It is highly unlikely for a sexual as-     good                                                   “Oh, they have policies on everything


                                                                                                                                                                                             Who’s got
                           not to tell you      sault case to ever even make it into The       news,                                              and they all read wonderfully.” says
                       what is going on         Maple Leaf, let alone have commentary          and                                                Keene. “These lists are put out so when
                       – it is to keep you      from the parties involved.”                    only                                               someone like you asks questions, they
 THE DND/CF WEEKLY NEWS                                                                                                                        LES NOUVELLES                              HEBDOMADAIRES DU MDN ET DES
                                                                                                                                                                                             your backLe 26 mai 2010, vol. 13, n
                       happy.”                                                                 what the                                           have something to show. They are not
                           The words come
            APPEARANCES ARE DECIEVING                                                          department                                         there to be enforced until someone gets
                       out of Tony Keene’s         “It is not a newspaper.” Keene stresses.    wants you to hear                                  caught, until something goes wrong.”
  26 May 2010, Vol. 13,The retired 18 refers to the
                         No. reservist
                       mouth slowly,                                                           is presented.”                                         Following The Maple Leaf’s lead, the                                                                                                          o

short silence ensues.
                       clearly and with
                       the utmost calm. A
                                                newspaper firstly as a military publication
                                                that tended to “accentuate the positive”.
                                                As a civilian journalist, Keene was able to
                                                                                                   Drapeau goes on to explain that the
                                                                                               newspaper could never operate in an ob-
                                                                                               jective and unbiased manner since its staff
                                                                                                                                                  military has been reluctant to comment on
                                                                                                                                                  Marin’s recommendations. DND chaplain
                                                                                                                                                  Heather Smith offered only a brief state-
                                                                                                                                                                                             online?FOLLOW ORDERS: Employees of The Maple Leaf were expected to publish the
                                                                                                                                                                                                    information verbatim and were subjected to criticism from their superiors if they
                                                                                                                                                                                                    disobeyed.
   “It is to make you think you know            compare The Maple Leaf’s operations to         is solely comprised of military personnel          ment before declining any further com-
   Technology
what’s going on.”            Technologie        that of a local newspaper; there were no       who owe loyalty to their employer, the             ment.                                                 By Rebecca line behind
                                                                                                                                                                                                    newspapers fall in Szulhan the notions            In order to guarantee the accomplish-
   The sobering words trigger an almost         reporters, no editors assigning stories. In-   Department of National Defence. He says                “Sexual assault is no more prevalent in       of free speech and public awareness. What ment of its goals, says Keene, the DND
instinctive reaction to look over your          stead, a small group of six individuals re-    that, as a publically-funded periodical,           the Canadian Forces than in the general           makes The Maple Leaf deviate from the         must always
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Government-wide, we use computers ensure morale is at its highest


Who’s got
shoulder. However, his troubling state-         ceived various contributions from military     The Maple Leaf deserves a “buffer” in or-          population [...] Yes, it exists and it is taken   ranks of non-military media, says Keene,      level. Following this line of thought, the
ments are directed to a small but vital         public information offices across Canada       der to operate as transparently as a civilian      very seriously.”                                      every day, for a variety of
                                                                                                                                                                                                    is culture. After serving the Canadian tasks. And yet,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  military newspaper is careful to avoid
part of our nation – the Canadian Forces.       and distributed these additions to bases       media outlet.                                          The type of glossed-over news cover-              any computer network—professional or controversial or negative
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Forces for four decades, Major Tony           straying into
Keene, a retired reservist and journalist       nationwide. Employees of The Maple Leaf            “You should have an editorial board            age The Maple Leaf offers is not necessary        Keene was deeply entrenched in reservist      reporting.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        personal—is vulnerable to a cyber attack. A strategy Colonel Drapeau



your back
(for both military and civilian media), is      were expected to publish the information       made up of individuals that are not on             to the well-being of soldiers, according to       lifestyle. wrong click, one unintended believes is largely futile.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        One                                        visit to
speaking about the nation’s official mili-      verbatim and were subjected to criticism       the [DND] payroll who would put out an             Keene. He points to the example of The                “It is almost conspiratory.” he says          “The soldiers don’t rely on [The Maple
tary newspaper, The Maple Leaf.                 from their superiors if they disobeyed.        editorial policy and occasionally invite           Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper             the wrong Web site, one corrupted e-mail,plays a role, but I’d be hard
                                                                                                                                                                                                    “The people being victimized within bases Leaf]... It
   The newspaper came under fire in                “It is completely contradictory to the      the public, because we’re paying for it,           of the United States military. During their           and the the public eye. [...] is compromised.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    keep it out of entire network They can pressed to say what role it plays.”
1999, following a report to the Minister of     idea of a newspaper.” Keene says, slowing      to have access to this public organ.” says         stay in Vietnam in 1965, the newspaper                    At the – if any other employer
                                                                                                                                                                                                    do things to you Kingston Garrison, we have a adamantly reasserts that the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Keene



online?
National Defence, by Ombudsman André            his words again and speaking carefully.        Drapeau. “This document has to become              was censored by the U.S government after              team things, they would end up in
                                                                                                                                                                                                    tried these of dedicated individuals monitoringof the military is not malicious.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  intention
Marin. The document highlighted seven           “You don`t even think about getting the        for the public good, and the public good           reporters unveiled black market trading,          front of a Human Rights Tribunal.”            The doctors, nurses, and chaplains in the
recommendations to reform the Canadian          other side of the story [...] there is no      is not defined by or restricted to the senior      drug use and racism amongst American
                                                                                                                                                                                                        our networks to provide a buffer between Forces, he says, are every bit as
                                                                                                                                                                                                        It all comes to ensuring the completion   Canadian
Forces’ policy on sexual assault. The final     journalism or editorial judgement being        management of DND.”                                soldiers. In an unprecedented move, the               us and the host of to Keene, cybercaring as their civilian counterparts. But
                                                                                                                                                                                                    of military aims. Accordingpotential in        threats
recommendation underscored the need             practiced.”                                        Although Keene disagrees with the way          newspaper filed a suit against the U.S                out cases put
                                                                                                                                                                                                    criminal there. before a military court       until The Maple Leaf abandons its current
for “changes to The Maple Leaf editorial           Retired Colonel, lawyer and recurrent       The Maple Leaf chooses to operate, he is           district court in Washington, accusing Sec-       “the victim is irrelevant.” The focus is      reporting
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Students at Royal Military Collegestyle, Marin’s recommendations
policyRebecca victims and com-
 By to ensure that Szulhan                      contributor to Esprit de Corps magazine        also quick to explain that there is no harm-       retary of Defence Robert McNamara of              largely on the accused, in order to punish    will continue collecting dust. Victims and
plainants are given an opportunity to share     Michel Drapeau agrees with Keene’s state-      ful intent behind the paper’s strategy. He         violating its right to free speech. In 1967
                                                                                                                                                                                                        (RMC) Kingston offered a glimpse April 22 will remain voiceless, and pub-
                                                                                                                                                                                                    them and get them back in the ranks as        defendants
their experience [...] when articles refer to   ments. He believes The Maple Leaf is a         says the newspaper operates on a ‘need-            The Stars and Stripes won the case. Since             into possible. Victims, says Keene,
                                                                                                                                                                                                    quickly asthe complex, fast-paced world of    lic awareness will be undermined.
their specific case.” Marin’s admonitions       ‘corporate bulletin’ presented in the guise    to-know basis’, selectively choosing news          then, The Stars and Stripes has since been        are cyber defence, where technology—and disciplinary system, in which
                                                                                                                                                                                                         important only as long as they are           “It is a
Government-wide, we use computers
were the result of an investigation into a      of a newspaper.                                stories in order to minimize concerns and          covering such controversial subjects as           evidence. people are manipulating it—is alwaysgoal is regulating conduct and
                                                                                                                                                                                                        how                                       the main
botched sexual assault case that had been          “We have to keep in mind, particularly      alarm among military personnel. The main           fraud, drug use and sexual assault – a far
every day, for a variety of tasks. And yet,                                                                                                                                                              “If any report
                                                                                                                                                                                                        changing. on a sexual assault             the victim is by and large meaningless.”
launched in 1998.                               when we have Canadian soldiers and civil-      objective, he says, is to keep the mission         cry from the ‘feel good’ reporting of the         actually did surface in The Maple Leaf,       says Keene. “It sounds brutal, doesn’t it?”
any computer network—professional or
   Keene, who retired in 2007 after 42          ians deployed abroad, their only source        going.                                             newspaper’s Canadian counterpart.                 this is why we would never think to seek      M
years of service, says in his time as intern    of news may be The Maple Leaf [...] We                                                                                                              the ‣ Continuedstory. page 2 no
                                                                                                                                                                                                         other side of the on This is why
personal—is vulnerable to a cyber attack.
editor of The Maple Leaf, he never saw          are providing a disservice to our soldiers     IGNORANCE IS BLISS                                 CULTURE SHOCK                                     victim would come forward to discuss                           The studies journalism at
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tiffany Narducci Canadian contingent piper, Sgt W
this policy implemented.                        by presenting a distorted view – only the        Keeping the mission going, how-                    For the most part, Canadian civilian            their case.”                                                   from She’s entering her
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Carleton University. the Governor General’s Foot Gu
One wrong click, one unintended visit to
the wrong Web site, one corrupted e-mail,
16                                                                                                                                  MEDIA         SUMMER 2010                                                                                                    Deux musiciens du contingent canad
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         17
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 clairon des Governor General’s Foot G
and the entire network is compromised.
                                                     So why should you build sources? The        should develop their own method. But here       WORK YOUR NETWORK
Source Building                                  first and most obvious reason is that it al-    are a few basic techniques I have learned          Learn their networks because that is
                                                 lows you to get information you wouldn’t        and adapted over the past 25 years.             how you grow your sources exponentially.
                                                 otherwise get. That information comes in                                                        Find out who they associate with because

Getting people                                   two forms.
                                                     The first is tips. Tips produce original,
                                                 exclusive enterprise stories and we know
                                                                                                 ESTABLISH A SYSTEM
                                                                                                    You can’t build and maintain sources
                                                                                                 without some kind of system for keeping
                                                                                                                                                 they can put you onto other sources.

                                                                                                                                                 USE ONE SOURCE TO “BOOK” ANOTH-

 to open up                                      how important those are. When the public
                                                 sees that you produce original enterprise
                                                 stories, they give you yet more tips.
                                                                                                 track of them. I put mine in an individual
                                                                                                 searchable word files, and conglomerated
                                                                                                 in one main word file so I can email it to
                                                                                                                                                 ER
                                                                                                                                                    Ask every source to recommend
                                                                                                                                                 someone else you should talk to. Make it
                                                     Pretty soon, you don’t have to take lame    myself when I am going out of the country.      a habit to say: “Is there anyone else I
  Developing sources                             assignments from the desk. Pretty soon,         I also keep a copy in my CBC email and          should talk to about this?” One source be-
                                                 you will have more tips that you can either     in my BlackBerry. Whatever system you           gets another. I actually ask sources to call
takes time. So be sure to                        give away, or put on a list.                    choose, it should be electronic, searchable     other sources and vouch for me and they
                                                     Sources can provide crucial information     and have enough space to put in personal        do it.
     develop a plan                              at crucial times, which can mean the differ-    information about the source such as his
                                                 ence between beating the competition on a       hobbies, where he drinks, or the fact that      ACCURACY
                                                 story or getting beat.                          his kids play hockey.                               You will never build sources if you are a
         Charles Rusnell                             Sources provide another crucial form           I try to key in every contact as soon as I   sloppy reporter. Why would a source talk to
                                                 of information: context. They know how          get one. Take the time because it pays off in   you again or vouch for you with someone
                                                 institutions work, or should work. All          the long run. I have sources from 1983.         else if you get it wrong? That seems self-

                             “  I got some-
                                thing
                             you. It’s big.
                                           for
                                                 good reporting, whether it’s about cops,
                                                 courts, or the legislature, is based on a       ASK FOR NUMBERS
                                                                                                    You should ask every person you
                                                                                                                                                 evident but I can tell you I know reporters
                                                                                                                                                 who my sources will not talk to. They don’t
                                                                                                                                                 trust them.
                             Very big.”                                                          deal with for all their contact information,       Sources will actually check you
                                That voice-       Knowing how to build                           including cell and home numbers, email          out. My former investigative partner
                             mail message                                                        addresses, etc. I always say, “Is there a       called a national behavioural analyst at
                             seemed to have       and maintain sources                            number I can get you at after hours if         the RCMP crime lab in Ottawa and
                             come straight                                                       I need to fact check, or if my editor has       when he called her back he said he was
                             out of the blue;      is critical to enter-                         questions?” Very few people will say no.        prepared to talk because he had checked
                             a lucky break,                                                      Always ask for cell numbers even if you         her out with the people he knew in Edmon-
                             some       might      prise and investiga-                          don’t think you will get them. You would        ton. Spell and pronounce their names cor-
                             suggest.                                                            be surprised who will give you your num-        rectly.
                                But      there     tive reporting. And                           ber.
was no luck involved. That tip was the                                                                                                           FACT CHECK
direct result of the assiduous cultivation         even for those who                            LEARN EVERYTHING YOU CAN ABOUT                     Call your source before the story             I DIDN’T DO IT: A photo montage featuring Conservative MP Devinder Shory hangs
of a source over many years. It produced                                                         PEOPLE                                          appears and tell him or her generally what       on the wall at his constituency office in Calgary, Thursday, May 6, 2010. Alber-
a string of exclusive national stories in           don’t aspire to in-                              Write down the details about the indi-      you plan to use and the context within           ta MP Devinder Shory is one of dozens of people named in a Calgary lawsuit al-
May for CBC TV, radio and on-line about                                                          vidual so you remember them. This allows        which you are going to use it. I often do this   leging at $70-million mortgage fraud against the Bank of Montreal. The RCMP
what’s believed to be the biggest mortgage        depth reporting, it’s                          you to make a personal connection every         before I leave the interview. You should         say they are in the preliminary stages of seeing whether a crime is involved.
fraud in Canadian history. The Bank of                                                           time you call them for information. I will      explain that you have editors who may            THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Montreal is accusing Calgary Conservative           what separates an                            Google a person`s name to try find their        change what you plan to use. You should
MP Devinder Shory of having ties to the                                                          hobbies, the associations they belong to,       also explain that fact checking doesn’t give         BE UPFRONT                                    When you mislead sources about your
scheme and is suing him and hundreds of           exceptional reporter                           the professional organizations, the chari-      them the right to change something they              Nobody wants to deal with a weasel.        intentions, you undermine not only your
Albertans. In the court documents, which                                                         ties they support. During conversation, I       don’t like.                                      This is critical and it makes or breaks your   own reputation, but that of your news orga-
were obtained by CBC News, the bank al-              from the merely                             will ask about their kids. If they play com-       Fact checking builds trust, especially        reputation. When I phone a source I will       nization and all reporters. M
leges that Shory, who is a lawyer, executed                                                      petitive sports, I ask how they are doing.      in TV and radio. Think about it. We              actually write a little script or preamble
illegal transactions. None of the allegations           adequate.                                I write down their wife`s name, and most        interview people for 20 minutes or more          that explains who I am and precisely what I       Charles Rusnell is an investigative re-
has been proven in court. And the Conser-                                                        especially their secretary.                     and then use 20 or 30 seconds. It’s nerve-       want to know. I will say straight out, look,   porter and producer for CBC News Ed-
vative MP denies any wrongdoing.                                                                                                                 wracking for them. Fact checking builds          here’s what I am up to. This is what we’re     monton. Charles began his career at The
    The story would have been impossible         fundamental understanding of how the in-        TICKLE LIST                                     trust and shows you are an up-front re-          looking at and why. So the person knows        Ottawa Citizen. After a decade in the na-
without that crucial tip.                        stitution works. Sources like talking about          Keep a list of your best sources and       porter.                                          exactly where we’re coming from.               tion’s capital, he moved back west to The
    Knowing how to build and maintain            where they work; it’s part of human na-         call them every few months just to chat,           Some people don’t believe in fact check-         Don’t try to trap, trick or mislead your    Edmonton Journal. In 2008 he made the
sources is critical to enterprise and inves-     ture.                                           a check-up on what is going on. I actu-         ing – it may even be banned by policy. But       sources about what you’re doing. You can       transition to television and radio broad-
tigative reporting. And even for those who           All the best reporters I know don’t leave   ally say, “Is there anything I should know      many news organizations do it, including         be guaranteed that source will never deal      casting, joining the team at CBC Edmonton.
don’t aspire to in-depth reporting, it’s what    source building to chance. They have a          about?” Call them for a drink every once in     60 Minutes. Legendary producer Ira Rosen         with you again and they will badmouth you      During his nearly 25 years as a journalist,
separates an exceptional reporter from the       method. Because source building is a func-      awhile, especially if you have a good joke      does it on every story. He has won a Pea-        to everybody who will listen. They poison      Charles has broken some of Alberta’s, and
merely adequate.                                 tion of a person’s personality, everyone        to tell. People love to laugh.                  body and 20 Emmys.                               the well.                                      Canada’s, biggest stories.

18                                                                                                                                    MEDIA      SUMMER 2010                                                                                                                             19
                                                                                                                                                      Waddell: Sure, the people who bought           but we really want to keep the arts section       aren’t dead. They’re a long way from being
 Q&A                                                                                                                                              the papers want to get their original money        going.’ So that centralization was a huge         dead. I think they are going to evolve into
                                                                                                                                                  back. You do a buyout where you borrow             problem. So we’ll see whether Mr. God-            being news organizations. And that means

New days ahead for what used to be CanWest                                                                                                        money to do the buyout. You organize
                                                                                                                                                  things, and then you sell and hope you
                                                                                                                                                  make more money selling it to the market
                                                                                                                                                                                                     frey gives individual publishers more abil-
                                                                                                                                                                                                     ity to shape their news organizations, be-
                                                                                                                                                                                                     cause we know that they are much broader
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       they’re going to be doing video and audio,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       websites, traditional newspapers, digital
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       content. And that digital content will show
                                       “We’ll see whether Mr. Godfrey                                                                             than it cost you to buy the assets in the first    than just producing newspapers. And they          up on the Internet, your computer screen,
David McKie                                                                                                                                       place.                                             want to be much broader than that.                your phone or iPad or whatever it might
                                      gives individual publishers more                                                                                Media: And what do we know about the               The second area where CanWest made a          be. The question is how much are you go-
                                                                                                                                                  owners?                                            big mistake was the centralization and giv-       ing to be willing to pay for that, or will you
                                           ability to shape their news                                                                                Waddell: Not very much. They’re                ing individuals no control over their web-        be willing to pay for that? How will you
                                                                                                                                                  hedge funds and a bunch of other money             sites. As a result, the websites are all the      view all this content? And what can you
                                      organizations, because we know                                                                              people, who don’t have a long-term or vest-        same. They all look the same. Individual          get for advertising? The problem is we re-
                                     that they are much broader than                                                                              ed interest in the newspaper business. It’s
                                                                                                                                                  all about money and business.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     newspapers have very little room to ma-
                                                                                                                                                                                                     neuver in an environment where on the web
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ally don’t know the answers to any of those
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       questions. But the other side of it, I think,
                                         just producing newspapers.”                                                                                  Media: And of course, TorStar was also         you’re trying to encourage entrepreneur-          is that people will still pay for information
                                                                                                                                                  interested.                                        ship, distinctiveness, an ability to try ideas,   that they think helps them make decisions
                                                                                                                                                      Waddell: Having the Toronto Star buy           see new and different ways to tell stories.       in their lives, and helps them be smarter
                                                                           Chris Waddell                                                          this would have raised some very serious
                                                                                                                                                  policy questions, or should have raised se-
                                                                                                                                                                                                     This is a chain of 11 daily newspapers, and
                                                                                                                                                                                                     there should have been eleven newspapers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       and helps them understand what is going
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       on in the world around them.

A     fter months of bidding, the deal was
      struck. Canwest Global Communi-
cations Corp. agreed to sell its publishing
                                                  developments?
                                                      Waddell: When the banks took over
                                                  CanWest, they had no interest in hanging
                                                                                                   borrowed the money to buy the CanWest
                                                                                                   properties in the first place.
                                                                                                       Media: Will they hold on to the Na-
                                                                                                                                                  rious public policy questions about wheth-
                                                                                                                                                  er one newspaper can actually own all the
                                                                                                                                                  newspapers in Canada. They also own 20
                                                                                                                                                                                                     competing with each other to find new and
                                                                                                                                                                                                     interesting ways of doing things. Instead,
                                                                                                                                                                                                     they were all told how to do it from head-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Media: It’s almost like the Bloomberg
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       model…
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Waddell:…a little bit.
division to a group of unsecured creditors        on to it for a long period of time. They just    tional Post?                                   percent of CTV Globe Media. And I think            quarters. So any of the interesting ideas             Media: …they figured out that if you
who have appointed National Post presi-           wanted to get their money back that they             Waddell: There are some core elements      there’s a pretty good public policy argu-          people had, there was very little opportuni-      give people what they want, they’ll pay for
dent and CEO Paul Godfrey as the new              loaned to CanWest. So they were look-            to this company: the National Post, the        ment to suggest that that’s not a good pub-        ty for them. And as a result, the newspapers      it.
company’s chief executive.                        ing for someone who came along with the          Montreal Gazette, the Ottawa Citizen, Ed-      lic policy.                                        web presence in Canada and the use of the             Waddell: That’s right. So… that’s why
    So now there is some certainty. The se-       most cash and take over the company. They        monton Journal and Calgary Herald and              Media: So what does all this mean for          web in Canada is significantly behind what        I think there’s got to be a renewed focus on
cured creditors get their money. And once         found them with this group of hedge funds.       Vancouver Sun, and maybe the Vancouver         the journalists at CanWest?                        they do in the United States.                     content. And for the newspapers or news
the new company emerges from creditor             They have some of the same debt problems         Province, most of the major media markets          Waddell: We don’t know that either. It             But that requires money and a com-            organizations, that may mean turning more
protection, it plans to sell the papers in what   that, potentially, CanWest had when it was       in the country with the exception of Winni-    depends on how they decide they want to            mitment to content. And that’s something          inward again, looking to their communi-
is called an initial public offering (IPO) as     running the company. We won’t know the           peg and Atlantic Canada and Saskatchewan.      structure the organization. At the moment,         I don’t think we’ve seen in what has been         ties for their readers, listeners and viewers.
early as this summer.                             details until we see how the deal is struc-      They also own the Windsor Star, but were       I think it’s fair to say that CanWest made         a decade of cutting. So whether the new           The other thing is the equipment to produce
    What’s uncertain is how many of the pa-       tured.                                           they to put that on the market you could       a couple of serious mistakes. They central-        hedge fund owners will want to reduce             journalism has never been cheaper. It’s
pers, including the Vancouver Sun, Edmon-             Media: And the new owners will try to        easily see the Toronto Star be interested in   ized as much as they could so that every-          their profitability by making investments         never been lighter. It’s never been easier to
ton Journal, Ottawa Citizen and Montreal          raise money by going public?                     purchasing that. They (TorStar) have the       thing they could take and run centrally they       in people, which allows them to produce           use. It has never produced better quality. It
Gazette, will stay together, and whether the          Waddell: They were unsecured credi-          Toronto Star, the Hamilton Spectator, and      ran centrally. Publishers had less and less        more content, is going to be an interesting       has never been easier to communicate from
new owners will be more inclined to cut           tors. So had the whole thing collapsed,          the Kitchener-Waterloo Record. So you can      control over what was in their papers, and         question.                                         anywhere in the world. And all of those
costs or invest in content. It’s also unclear     they would have got nothing out of it. They      see them trying to expand their Metropoli-     less ability to shape the nature of the papers         Media: Is there not a realization that        things suggest that there’s an interesting
who might emerge to buy specific papers in        bought the company. They’ve asked Paul           tan city newspaper empire into Southwest-      to respond to their local communities. One         it’s necessary to spend money?                    future ahead.
the chain such as the Windsor Star or Van-        Godfrey to be in charge of it. They will re-     ern, Ontario. The other group of assets that   of the things that will be interesting to see is       Waddell: That will be my guess. But               There isn’t just one answer. And we’ll
couver Province once the papers are on the        structure and then issue an initial public of-   might be put on the block at some point is a   whether under Mr. Godfrey, the individual          we’ll have to see.                                see lots of people trying lots of differ-
open market.                                      fering (IPO). So they will put the company       group of community newspapers that Can-        papers and publishers are given more flex-             Media: Or it may be that they rob Peter       ent things. Some will work. Some won’t.
    And we don’t know what kind of jour-          out on the stock market. And their hope is       West owns, largely in the Lower Mainland       ibility and more control to shape their own        to pay Paul. That is, just take the money         There’s lots of possibility for creativity.
nalism will emerge as we enter a new era          that in that listing, they would get back the    of British Columbia. And that could be an      papers. Let’s say the head office says ‘you        from another part of the newspaper to beef            Media: That bodes well for our younger
when newspapers, or “news organizations,”         money they had borrowed, potentially the         attractive purchase for David Black, who       have to do some budget cutting.’ One way           up content.                                       generation.
as Chris Waddell chooses to call them, fight      money they had lent CanWest initially, and       is a regional newspaper owner. It could        to do that is to tell the publisher of paper           Waddell: That’s essentially the policy            Waddell: Yeah, particularly those who
to stay relevant, re-invent themselves and        maybe some profit. Whether they’re able to       also be a purchase for TorStar through its     X, you have to cut X number of dollars in          that CanWest undertook and it failed. And         have a lot of the skills that are in demand
still make money.                                 do that will depend on what they’re able to      Metroland newspaper division. And there        your budget. The other way is to say ‘you          that’s the policy that most media owners          these days, which is not only being able
    The director of Carleton University’s         price the shares at when they decide to go       are other companies that have community        have to cut X number of dollars from your          have undertook in the last few years, which       to do one thing, but a range of different
school of journalism has been watching,           to the market. What the general perception       and weekly newspapers that might be in-        budget and you’ll do that by reducing three        is this faulty logic that you can reduce the      things.
studying and commenting on the develop-           of media is at that time and the general per-    terested. At the moment, Mr. Godfrey has       sports reporters, two arts reporters, three        number of people producing the news, but              Media: But you don’t want to be doing
ments at what is still the country’s largest      ception of the economy. So what it means         indicated that he wants to keep the whole      people who run the front desk and two oth-         still maintain the same amount by display-        so many things that content suffers.
newspaper chain.                                  is that they could hold on to the company        company together, the question he has to       er people.’ That takes away the ability of         ing it across different platforms. Well, that         Waddell: That’s right. And you’ve got
    Waddell shared some of his insights           for a while and not do an IPO. There’s been      calculate is, are those individual assets      the publisher to say ‘when it comes down           hasn’t been a success anywhere.                   to have distinctive content. Because now,
with Media magazine. The following is an          some suggestion that they could do it as         worth more being sold separately.              to it, our community is much more interest-            Media: So how are we to characterize          the basics, like wire service you can get
edited version of our conversation.               quickly as this summer. Some of it may               Media: So it will strictly be a business   ed in the arts than they are in sports. So we      this buyout?                                      that stuff anywhere, anytime during the
    Media: What are we to make of these           also depend on the terms under which they        decision?                                      can take a bigger hit in the sports section,           Waddell: First of all, newspapers             day. M

20                                                                                                                                     MEDIA      SUMMER 2010                                                                                                                                     21
                                                                                                                                               number, so we compiled the list      porting it. The stack was over       neighbours, were populating          was standing in its path. They
Computer-Assisted Investigation                                                                                                                and put it in chronological or-      an inch thick, and it made for       the data for those most inspect-     also showed other signs of dis-
                                                                                                                                               der.                                 great TV as the on-air reporter      ed buildings.                        repair like overflowing garbage

Harmful Negligence                                                                                                                                 The request read:
                                                                                                                                                   “All building standards
                                                                                                                                               complaints for <building ad-
                                                                                                                                                                                    thumped it in his hands as he
                                                                                                                                                                                    signed off.
                                                                                                                                                                                       Every single complaint was
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             On our first visit we were
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         confronted with how large the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         community was, including
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              cans and security doors that did
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              not close or lock.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It was online that we found
                                                                                                                                               dress> in 2009. A detailed list      available from the city, and it      streets of row and town homes        Erica, who had done an inter-
 Discovering a landlord who                                                                                                                    is attached.”
                                                                                                                                                   The full list, copied from
                                                                                                                                                                                    included the action taken by
                                                                                                                                                                                    the officer assigned to it. It was
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         surrounded by high-rise apart-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ment complexes. Each building
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              view with a local Ottawa online
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              publication about a community
tenants accuse of constructing                                                                                                                 the spreadsheet, was stapled to
                                                                                                                                               the form and then dropped into
                                                                                                                                                                                    a fascinating way to really dig
                                                                                                                                                                                    into the story.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         was branded with a bright blue
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         TransGlobe Property sign.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              advocacy group’s work in the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              area. We looked her up in the

 slums in the nation’s capital                                                                                                                 the City’s bureaucracy. Miracu-
                                                                                                                                               lously, it took less than a week     Landlord Negligence
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Given what we knew, it was
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         an odd boast.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              phone book and arranged to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              meet her at her home in Heron
                                                                                                                                               for the full list of complaints to      It soon became clear that             We stood outside the build-      Gate.
                                                                                                                                               arrive and it turned out to be a     tenants of the TransGlobe Her-       ings and asked residents if they         Erica was the first resident
Laura Osman and Stuart Thomson                                                                                                                 goldmine. The City’s call centre     on Gate community saw the            could confirm or refute our data,    we spoke to who would go on
                                                                                                                                               records each complaint from          city as their last resort when       which suggested the buildings        the record with her story. She

I  n 2007 Erica Marx
   was looking for a
place to live with
                                                                                                                                               the resident, word for word,
                                                                                                                                               making it more human than if
                                                                                                                                               a jaded bylaw officer was re-
                                                                                                                                                                                    calls to the landlord went un-
                                                                                                                                                                                    answered and ignored. Erica’s
                                                                                                                                                                                    complaints, and those of her
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         suffered an unusual number of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         interior damage and insufficient
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         heat problems. The residents
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              told us about the electric shock
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              her son had received from a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              lamp post in one of the com-
her husband and six                                                                                                                                                                                                      said our data represented only       mon areas behind her home.
kids. The family set-                                                                                                                                                                                                    the tip of the iceberg.              The post had toppled over and
tled on a town home                                                                                                                                                                                                          Most of the people we spoke      the wires were exposed in the
in Ottawa’s Heron                                                                                                                                                                                                        to were new Canadians who            hole where it used to be buried.
Gate community,                                                                                                                                                                                                          lived in the area with their fam-    The next day, another boy got a
attracted by the ex-                                                                                                                                                                                                     ilies. Some didn’t even know         shock from it.
cellent reputation of                                                                                                                                                                                                    appealing to city by-law was             Erica complained to the
the service and the indoor and      There was a shopping cart                                                                                                                                                            an option. They described the        landlord for four days and
outdoor swimming pool.              parked in its depths when we                                                                                                                                                         stench of unattended garbage,        when the lamp post still wasn’t
    The pool was particularly ap-   visited.                                                                                                                                                                             rashes from bed bugs, mice           fixed she called the city which
pealing for Erica. Most parents        Last year the pump of the                                                                                                                                                         infestations, and freezing cold      issued a work order to fix the
know how efficient they can be      indoor pool broke and went un-                                                                                                                                                       apartments.                          post right away.
for tiring out rowdy kids.          noticed and unrepaired by the                                                                                                                                                                                                 The company severed the
    They moved in shortly af-       landlord, sending five children    ENDANGERED FAMILIES: Erica Marx has lived in Heron Gate                                                                                           Finding Sources                      electric connection to the post
ter TransGlobe Property Man-        to hospital with chlorine poi-     with her children for nearly three years. She says the condi-                                                                                        We had more stories from          the next day, but left the broken
agement bought the properties       soning.                            tion of the neighbourhood is a threat to her kids. Recently,                                                                                      residents than we knew what          lamp on the ground. Later, the
and for a short time, the posi-        The high-rises were ridden      her son was given an electric shock by a broken lamp post.                                                                                        to do with, but not a single         company came back to salvage
tive reputation of the previous     with insufficient heat com-        Even after the incident, the post was left unrepaired for over                                                                                    resident was willing to put her      the light bulb.
owners still clung to the com-      plaints in the winter, residents   a week. MEDIA/Laura Osman                                                                                                                         name on the record.                      Erica’s involvement with the
munity.                             were losing hot water in their                                                                                                                                                          We visited the property           community advocacy group,
    It took a few months for the    units, and necessary repairs           The original spreadsheet         into three columns and assigned                                                                              regularly for a week-and-a-          ACORN, opened up a new ave-
community to really notice,         would go unheeded by the           included a field that listed the     each neighbourhood to a ward                                                                                 half, collecting stories from        nue to tenants who were willing
but things almost immediately       property management.               address and neighbourhood of         so that we could make sepa-                                                                                  residents who weighed up their       to talk. We contacted the group
started to deteriorate when            Erica says the area has         each complaint made to Prop-         rate queries for the addresses,                                                                              frustration with their fear of be-   who connected us with two
TransGlobe took over. Resi-         become a slum and that she         erty Standards. We wanted            streets, and wards with the most                                                                             ing evicted or persecuted for        more tenants who were willing
dents complained that garbage       doesn’t feel that her home is      to split that field so we could      complaints.                                                                                                  talking to reporters. In every       to go on the record.
was piling up almost every-         safe for her kids.                 analyse the addresses and the           At the top of the spread-                                                                                 case fear won out.                       The first was France Phidd.
where: in the parking garages,         A CBC investigation of the      neighbours separately. The file      sheet were three buildings that                                                                                 Housing advocacy groups           She invited us into her apart-
next to the garbage chutes, even    area brought attention to a com-   had 18,000 entries, which made       were all part of the same neigh-                                                                             were also unable to help us.         ment building to see the dam-
in the laundry room.                munity that was accustomed to      cleaning it up and making it         bourhood and, in fact, were all                                                                              They passed out our contact          age first-hand. We documented
    One resident showed us          being ignored. But the commu-      workable a daunting process.         owned by the same company.                                                                                   information to residents, but no     images of garbage, broken el-
pictures of the garbage spill-      nity didn’t come to us, we went    An elaborate Excel function                                                                                                                       one made a call.                     evators, holes in the ceilings,
ing across the floor next to        looking for them.                  pulled the street address out of     Making Requests                                                                                                 We moved our search for           and broken doors and lights.
the washer and dryer. “This is         We started with a Property      the cell, and put it in a separate      After we narrowed the list                                                                                residents from the ground to             What we couldn’t document
where they want me to clean         Standards complaints database      field. This allowed us to do the     of complaints into one hotspot,    A DANGEROUS HOOD: Burnt-out cars adorn the parking lot in                 the web. YouTube videos of           was the sweltering heat in the
my clothes,” he said.               obtained through freedom of        pivotal table that eventually        the freedom of information re-     Heron Gate. The cars were damaged by a garage fire over a                 the apartments showed eleva-         corridors – the furnace was
    The outdoor pool has been       information from the City of       gave us the story we wanted.         quests were relatively easy to     year ago, and have since yet to be removed. They have be-                 tors without sensors that would      running full steam while the
empty since Erica moved in.         Ottawa.                                We divided the information       do. Each complaint had a serial    come a fixture in the neighbourhood. MEDIA/Laura Osman                    close no matter what, or who,        weather warmed outside to 10

22                                                                                                                                  MEDIA      SUMMER 2010                                                                                                                                  23
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Investigation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Nabbing sources was the most challenging aspect of reporting
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    this story. Using social media was our saving grace. Websites like
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Twitter and Facebook allow people a public forum to talk about
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the things the affect their day-to-day lives. Handily, both websites
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    provide search tools. Simply searching for keywords related to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    your story will give you a great picture of what people around the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    world are talking about; and the websites give you direct access
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    to talk to those people.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       •••


                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A data set provided us a goldmine to dig up this story. But be-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    fore we could begin to interpret it, we had to clean it up. We were
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    lucky to have a relatively well-structured spreadsheet provided to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    us, but it still took hours of work.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Specifically, we needed to split a column of data that con-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    tained two entries, the neighbourhood and the address. We needed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    to interpret those entries separately, so we delimited the column
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    by space, and combined the cells that belonged together.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        One column was mixed bag, containing entries for neighbour-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    hood and address, so we used an “IF” statement to pull all of the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    neighbourhood entries into a different column. In plain English:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    if the cell in the combined column contained any of the words
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    relating to a neighbourhood (e.g.: Old Ottawa,) put that entry in a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    new column.
BECOMING A SLUM: Tenants of the neighbourhood say TransGlobe’s willfull neglect has led the community into a steady decline.                                                                                            It took a few hours, but cleaning up the entry was well worth
Nessessay repairs unattended by the buildings’ management include insufficient heat, water leaks, and complaints of bed bugs.                                                                                       it.
MEDIA/Laura Osman                                                                                                                                                                                                       Having organized, structured data was the foundation of our
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    story, and it allows us to return to the data as a reference for other
degrees celcius. France ushered us into her     fied the bylaw officer who had visited the           City councillors seem to recognize that                                                                        housing stories in the future.
apartment quickly, trying not to let the cool   premise), city by-law manager. He not only       there is a problem, but they are loathe to
air from her air conditioner rush out.          confirmed our analysis of the data, but said     act for fear of punishing all landlords for
    After France, we spoke with anoth-          that the neighbourhood was a drain on his        the transgressions of a few. Unfortunately,                                                                                                           •••
er resident who had documented all his          department’s limited resources.                  the public policy has not caught up with
complaints in writing and with photo-              His testimony about the area revealed a       the needs of the residents, which means
graphs.                                         loophole in the by-law that allowed a land-      that people like Erica Marx are choosing                                                                              Our online presentation was crucial. And for that we turned
    Mid-way through our interview his wife      lord to neglect tenant concerns without in-      to leave.                                                                                                          to Lucas Timmons, who packaged the story on the web for us.
asked that we not identify the family. They     curring a penalty.                                   “Right now I’m researching finding an-                                                                         He talks about the power of the interactive web. “This story is
were trying to leave the complex but were          The by-law states that if a complaint         other place to live myself. I’ve tried to dig                                                                      powerful, and stirred up a lot of emotion. I think that by present-
depending on a positive reference from the      is made, inspectors must visit the               my heels in and try to make the place bet-                                                                         ing the story as we did online made it much more powerful. We
management. She was afraid that talking         property and issue a work order if one           ter… [but] I realised that it was ineffectual                                                                      were able to use the tenants’ own voices to describe their living
to the media would earn them another year       is warranted. The landlord then has 14           and that I wasn’t able to make any changes                                                                         conditions. The pain and disappointment in their voices came
there.                                          days to complete repairs before the              that way,” she said.                                                                                               across in a way that plain text can’t express. Having photos from
                                                city steps in to do it for them and then sends       Fines may not be taking a toll on Trans-                                                                       their apartments run at the same time really underlined the suffer-
City Loopholes                                  the landlord the bill. Repeatedly ignoring       Globe’s pocketbook, but there are other                                                                            ing these people had gone through.
   We knew our readers and listeners would      the work orders could land owners with a         consequences for neglecting your resi-                                                                                We hear about horrible news all the time and I think we’ve
sympathize with the residents, but the situ-    fine.                                            dents. The complex is emptying quickly,                                                                            become desensitized to it. To actually be able to see these people
ation in Heron Gate was affecting Ottawa           But TransGlobe almost always grudg-           and some residents now say it is becoming       A DETAILED INVESTIGATION: Discovering the treatment of ten-        and hear their stories goes a long way to understanding what they
taxpayers’ dollars as well.                     ingly complied with orders, meaning              a ghost town. M                                 ants in the TransGlobe community required the use of skills that   are going through.
   It took more than a week to get an in-       by-law had visited the property hun-                                                             are new to the world of journalism, as well as old fashioned on       And with radio I find that you can’t always get the whole story
terview with a city by-law official, but        dreds of times; the landlord completed              Laura Osman and Stuart Thomson are           the street reporting. France Phidd (above), a TransGlobe resi-     out there. This allowed us to show the city’s and TransGlobe’s
eventually we got a call from Craig Calder      repairs it should have been doing in the first   Ottawa-based freelance investigative jour-      dent, gives Stuart Thomson a tour of the damage in her apart-      response in full in addition to the tenants’ stories. It really was a
(the city’s inspection database also identi-    place.                                           nalists.                                        ment as it falls into disrepair. MEDIA/Laura Osman                 good balanced report.”

24                                                                                                                                    MEDIA      SUMMER 2010                                                                                                                           25
The Fine Print
                          A Serious Message to Bloggers
                        The Supreme Court of Canada says they better work
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Court References
                        hard to get it right
                                                                                                                                                                          Grant ruling
                        Dean Jobb                                                                                                                                         http://scc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/2009/2009scc61/2009scc61.html


C     anada’s highest court has elevated
      bloggers – the serious ones, at least
– to the level of mainstream journalists.
                                                  Quan v. Cusson, the court stated the
                                                  obvious: “the traditional media are rap-
                                                  idly being complemented by new ways of
                                                                                                 ing regard to the injury to reputation that
                                                                                                 a false statement can cause,” she wrote.
                                                                                                 “People in public life are entitled to expect
                                                                                                                                                                          Cusson ruling
                                                                                                                                                                          http://scc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/2009/2009scc62/2009scc62.html
And this is good and not-so-good news for         communicating on matters of public             that the media and other reporters will act
bloggers, because with rights come respon-        interest, many of them online, which do        responsibly in protecting them from false
sibilities.                                       not involve journalists.” Blogs and            accusations and innuendo.”                                               Defamation Law Blog
    In December the Supreme Court of Can-         other online postings, the court noted,            First, a blogger will have to establish                              http://defamationlawblog.wordpress.com
ada created a new libel defence, respon-          “are potentially both more ephemeral           that posted information deals with a mat-
sible communication on matters of public          and more ubiquitous than traditional           ter of public interest. The court’s definition
interest. In essence, it offers “no-fault” pro-   print media.”                                  of the public interest is broad, including
tection from libel lawsuits for those who
publish reports on important issues, even
if facts or allegations turn out to be wrong        Were steps taken to verify the information?
and someone has been defamed in the pro-
cess.                                               Are the sources solid and trustworthy? Was
    The court deliberately chose the name
“responsible communication” instead of             an effort made to report all sides of the story
“responsible journalism” to signal that the
defence applies to “anyone who publishes               and to interview the person defamed?
material of public interest in any medium,”
not just journalists working for traditional                 Those sound a lot like the
news outlets.
    This is not a seismic shift in the law.         elements of good journalism. They are, and
Posting comments on a blog or other on-
line forum that damages someone’s reputa-                  bloggers will be held to these
tion has always carried the same risk of a
libel suit as printing them in a newspaper or                        standards.
broadcasting them on radio or television.
    But this still comes as a surprise to                                                                                                         Continued from page 26                          gent and act in good faith, “they are gener-     non-journalists alike will be judged will
some in the social-media crowd. A                    Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, who       reports that touch on politics, business, sci-                                                   ally not guided by established journalistic      evolve over time, the court acknowledged,
poll conducted last fall found more t             wrote both rulings, could find no rationale    ence, the arts, the environment and even         subject of public interest, the blogger faces   norms,” he noted in a January 25 post.           “to keep pace with the norms of new com-
han one-quarter of Canadian respon-               for excluding bloggers and other online        religious and moral issues. The court is         a new hurdle. A jury will be asked to as-          “For example, although journalists            munications media.”
dents had no idea they were legally               commentators simply because they lack a        emphatic on one point: the public interest       sess whether the blogger acted reasonably       will generally make a point of seeking the          But fairness, balance and thorough,
responsible       for     libelous    material    journalism degree or the backing of a news-    “is not synonymous with what interests the       and responsibly. Were steps taken to verify     plaintiff’s side of the story and speaking       original reporting on matters of public
distributed through networking sites              room. “These new disseminators of news         public” and does not include “mere curios-       the information? Are the sources solid and      directly to witnesses and experts, non-jour-     interest will remain the starting point
such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.            and information should …be subject to the      ity or prurient interest” in the private lives   trustworthy? Was an effort made to report       nalist bloggers – who are generally unpaid       for any assessment of what’s considered
    The Supreme Court has little interest         same laws as established media outlets.”       of public figures or celebrities.                all sides of the story and to interview the     for their efforts – will rarely have the time,   responsible communication, online and off.
in what you tweet or share with your                 Time for the not-so-good news. McLach-          As noted at the outset, the defence is in-   person defamed?                                 resources, training, or willingness to do        M
Facebook friends. But it does see the             lin says these newcomers will be held to       tended to protect serious bloggers dealing           Those sound a lot like the elements of      so.”
need to offer some legal protection to            the same standards of accuracy, fairness,      with serious subjects. Posts to www.poli-        good journalism. They are, and bloggers            Putting in the extra work needed to           Dean Jobb, author of Media Law for Ca-
online reports on issues of public                thorough reporting and ethical conduct as      ticiansareweasels or www.starsbehaving-          will be held to these standards.                unearth and verify information would             nadian Journalists (Emond Montgomery
interest, no matter who makes them or             mainstream journalists.                        badly are unlikely to make the grade.                Matthew Nied, a B.C. law student and        make blogs better, and that’s what the Supreme   Publications), is an associate professor
how they reach their audience.                       “The press and others engaged in public         If a post is found to deal with a            author of the Defamation Law Blog, thinks       Court is encouraging – good journalism,          of journalism at the University of King’s
    In its December rulings in two                communication on matters of public inter-                                                       few bloggers will be able to take advantage     no matter who’s tapping the keyboard.            College in Halifax. He can be reached at
libel cases, Grant v. Torstar Corp. and           est, like bloggers, must act carefully, hav-                      Continues on page 27          of the new defence. While many are dili-           The standards by which journalists and        djobb@dal.ca.

26                                                                                                                                     MEDIA      SUMMER 2010                                                                                                                             27


                                                                                                 Continues on page 27
                                                                                                                             In McIntosh’s case, eight of nine           kept. Judges should be hesitant to cite        whichever ‘sources’ they deem worthy of a
Legal Update                                                                                                             judges found it was more important to           journalists for contempt if they refuse        promise of confidentiality and on whatever
                                                                                                                         try to find out whether a bank document         to identify a source, the court said, and      terms they may choose to offer it ... would
                                                                                                                         the source leaked to McIntosh was a             endorsed the Ontario Court of Appeal’s         blow a giant hole in law enforcement and
                                                                                                                         forgery, designed to implicate Chrétien         2008 decision to wipe out a contempt find-     other constitutionally recognized values
                                                                                                                         in a conflict of interest. The RCMP             ing after Hamilton Spectator reporter Ken      such as privacy.”
                                                                                                                         wanted to test the document for                 Peters refused to testify about his sources.       There’s another problem – not all
                                                                                                                         fingerprints or traces of DNA that                 §       The court drew a distinction be-    journalists or media organizations agree
                                                                                                                         could identify who created or leaked            tween the National Post case, which in-        on when sources should be protected
                                                                                                                         it. Even though the court acknowledged          volves a search warrant to seize a piece       or whether the duty to protect evaporates
                                                                                                                         these forensic tests may fail, it autho-        of physical evidence, and future privilege     if the source lies or misleads a journalist.
                                                                                                                         rized the police to seize and examine the       claims to protect whistleblowers or infor-     “There is no formal accreditation process
                                                                                                                         document.                                                                                      to ‘licence’ the practice of journalism,
                                                                                                                             While this is bad news for McIntosh and                                                    and no professional organization (such as
                                                                                                                         the Post, here’s the good news for the rest         The court did find                         a law society) to regulate its members and
                                                                                                                         of us:                                                                                         attempt      to    maintain      professional
                                                                                                                             § Justice Ian Binnie’s majority               that journalists like                        standards,” the court noted, making a sys-
                                                                                                                         ruling recognized the “special position”                                                       tem of blanket source protection impos-
                                                                                                                         of the media, given the Charter’s                    McIntosh – who                            sible.
                                                                                                                         guarantee of freedom of the press, and                                                             The National Post ruling applies across
                                                                                                                         said judges should strive to “protect           promised to protect a                          the country and creates a legal structure for
                                                                                                                         the media’s secret sources where such                                                          determining when Canada’s courts should
                                                                                                                         protection is in the public interest.”          key source behind his                          protect journalists’ sources. Privilege
                                                                                                                             § The court accepted the media’s                                                           claims will be considered on a case-by-case
                                                                                                                         position that confidential sources play         so-called Shawinigate                          basis and journalists will have to demon-
                                                                                                                         a crucial role in news coverage,                                                               strate it’s more important to protect than
                                                                                                                         especially      investigative     journalism.      investigation into                          expose the source. And when the claim is

                       Was the high court’s ruling in the Andrew                                                         “Unless the media can offer anonymity
                                                                                                                         in situations where sources would               former prime minister
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        tied to a source accused of a crime or with
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        information that could help solve a crime,
                                                                                                                         otherwise dry up, freedom of expression                                                        it will be harder – but not impossible – to
                       McIntosh case a bad day for journalism?                                                           in debate on matters of public interest
                                                                                                                         would be badly compromised,” Binnie
                                                                                                                                                                             Jean Chrétien’s                            shield the source.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The court also avoided setting a prec-
                                                                                                                         said. “Important stories will be left              business dealings –                         edent that could allow sources to ma-
                       ...Not really                                                                                     untold.”                                                                                       nipulate the media while hiding behind a
                                                                                                                             § Investigative journalism plays a          can claim the right to                         promise of confidentiality. “A source who
                                                                                                                         vital role in addressing the “democratic                                                       uses anonymity to put information into the
                       Dean Jobb                                                                                         deficit in the transparency and account-         protect a source on a                         public domain maliciously may not in the
                                                                                                                         ability of our public institutions” the                                                        end avoid a measure of accountability,”

T     he next-day headlines focused on
      the Supreme Court of Canada’s
refusal to give journalists the constitu-
                                                  It was possible the
                                                                          make it tougher to unmask sources,
                                                                          and require those seeking to identify
                                                                          a source to prove that a promise of
                                                                                                                         court noted, shining “the light of public
                                                                                                                         scrutiny on the dark corners” of public
                                                                                                                         and private institutions.
                                                                                                                                                                           case-by-case basis.                          the court noted, citing the case of a White
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        House official who leaked information to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The New York Times in order to attack a
tional right to protect sources, but they        court would make it      confidentiality should be ignored. But             § Justice Binnie identified a number        mants not suspected of wrongdoing. That        critics.
didn’t tell the whole story. There’s good                                 that argument was rejected – it remains        of important stories that came to light         could bode well for the court’s ruling, ex-        “The bottom line,” Justice Binnie noted,
news for journalists in the court’s May 7         tougher to unmask       up to the journalist to show that a source     thanks to confidential sources or whistle-      pected later this year, on whether Globe and   “is that no journalist can give a source a
ruling (R. v. National Post, 2010 SCC 16)                                 is worthy of protection.                       blowers, including the tainted tuna scandal,    Mail reporter Daniel Leblanc can shield a      total assurance of confidentiality. All such
in the case of the National Post, its former      sources... but that        The court did find that journalists         secret commissions paid on Air Canada’s         key source behind his investigation into the   arrangements necessarily carry an element
reporter Andrew McIntosh, and the                                         like McIntosh – who promised to protect        purchase of Airbus jets, and concerns           federal sponsorship scandal.                   of risk that the source’s identity will even-
possibly forged document at the heart of             argument was         a key source behind his so-called Shawini-     over restaurant inspections in Toronto             Another factor in the ruling was wheth-     tually be revealed.”
a nine-year legal battle to protect a source.                             gate investigation into former prime           and illegal slaughterhouses in Ontar-           er people other than journalists should be         In order words, be careful what you
    Chances were slim that the court             rejected – it remains    minister Jean Chrétien’s business dealings     io. Without “the free flow of accurate          entitled to protect sources. The court was     promise – and make sure the story and the
would grant blanket protection to the                                     – can claim the right to protect a source      and pertinent information” on such              concerned that the definition of journalist    information are important enough to justify
relationship between journalists and            up to the journalist to   on a case-by-case basis.                       issues, he wrote, “democratic institutions      is expanding in the Internet age, allowing     the risk. M
sources. The law treats the information                                      The crucial factor is whether protecting    and social justice will suffer.”                people to exercise their right to freedom
passed between lawyers and their clients        show that a source is     the source is more important than ensuring         §           The ruling also recognizes      of expression “by blogging, tweeting ... or    Dean Jobb is an associate professor of
as “privileged,” but not even medical                                     crimes are properly investigated or that a     that, when a reporter gives an assur-           publishing in a national newspaper.”           journalism at the University of King’s
records or a confession to a priest             worthy of protection.     court hearing a criminal case or lawsuit has   ance of confidentiality (usually after             Granting a blanket right to protect         College in Halifax and author of Media
enjoys this kind of hands-off treatment.                                  access to the information needed to ensure     consulting an editor), journalists’ profes-     sources to “such a heterogeneous and ill-      Law for Canadian Journalists (Emond
    It was possible the court would                                       justice is done.                               sional ethics demand that the promise be        defined group of writers and speakers and      Montgomery Publications)

28                                                                                                            MEDIA      SUMMER 2010                                                                                                                              29
                                                                                                                                                    ask for, officials can rely on the provi-           Most departments, for perfectly legiti-       ready been filed. After that, I wouldn’t be
                                                                                 Computer-Assisted Reporting                                        sions in the regulations of the duty to assist   mate reasons related to productivity, have       surprised if this ended up in the federal
                                                                                                                                                    clause that allow them to exercise discre-       started to use systems that allow records        court. I would argue it is the commissioner
                                                                                                                                                    tion on whether to convert the record to the     to be processed on a computer screen and         who should take it there if the issue isn’t re-
                                                                                                                                                    format you want.                                 released as image pdfs on disk instead of        solved at the complaint level. A fundamen-
                         Making it harder to obtain government data                                                                                     So here we have a clause that has been       on paper. Of course, the image pdf files         tal principle of democracy is at stake here.
                                                                                                                                                    advertised as a step forward for access be-      so created are static, so anything removed       Access to Information legislation, the pur-
                         Some departments are failing in their duty to help journalists                                                             ing used by officials as justification to turn   stays removed. And departments seem to           pose of which the Supreme Court has said,
                                                                                                                                                    back the clock.                                  have decided that all records should be          is to facilitate democracy, isn’t much use
                                                                                                                                                        Now before we come to the conclusion         processed this way, even records that start       if officials can invent new reasons at whim
                                                                                                                                                    that this is all a ploy to stop the release of   out in databases. The fact that converting       to frustrate the people who use the act
                                                                                                                                                    electronic information—which can be ana-         electronic records to image pdfs torpedoes       in the name of that democracy. I say
                         Fred Vallance-Jones                                                                                                        lyzed, sliced and diced to reveal all sorts      the ability of journalists to do important       enough. M
                                                                                                                                                    of hidden truths—let’s consider the possi-       stories in the public interest is just a coin-
                                                                                                                                                    bility officials are just covering their rear    cidence. Collateral damage as they say in        Fred Vallance-Jones is assistant pro-

T    he Harper government is taking its
     control freakishness to new levels as
officials have found a new way to shut
                                                      The new normal when it comes to media
                                                   relations in Ottawa is that the people who
                                                   used to talk to reporters now communicate
                                                                                                   matter, it seems, that the records exist in
                                                                                                   their native form in electronic format. If
                                                                                                   officials don’t want you to have the infor-
                                                                                                                                                    flank. Treasury Board did, after all, issue
                                                                                                                                                    a memo in the fall of 2007, telling depart-
                                                                                                                                                    ments to stop releasing information in
                                                                                                                                                                                                     warfare.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        I see a big collision coming. This one is
                                                                                                                                                                                                     headed to the Information Commissioner,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      fessor of journalism at University of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      King’s College in Halifax. His research
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      interests include access to information in
down access to electronic data under the           by memo and email. Requests for informa-        mation in that form, they’ll just convert the    electronic form unless they could be sure        in fact I know of complaints that have al-       Canada.
Access to Information Act. A quiet battle is       tion are met with a standard, “can you send     records to some other format and give you        any information severed because it could
underway that, if the government wins, is          me an email on that” response. This is usu-     that instead.                                    be exempted stayed severed. A department
going to put us firmly back into the paper         ally followed by a period of silence, before        One of the justifications being given        had messed up when it released some paper
and pencil days.                                   the “answers” arrive by return email. The       for this is the wording of the duty-to-assist    records in scanned electronic form. Sensi-
   It hasn’t gone smoothly, but journalists        results usually look like they’ve been pro-     clause added to the Access to Information        tive information the department thought it
have been obtaining data from federal de-          duced by a committee intent on squeezing        Act by the Harper government as part of          had blacked out could be recovered. The
partments since the mid 1990s. Occasion-           out every last morsel of meaning.               the Accountability Act, and the associated       information was material that legitimately
ally institutions would make the case that                                                         regulations.                                     should be severed, and I am told officials
computerized information didn’t meet the                                                               On the surface of it, the clause places      went ballistic when they discovered it had
definition of a record under the act, but             The whole point of                           a duty on bureaucrats to help you in any         been accidentally disclosed. Hence, the
once reminded of the actual definition,                                                            way they can, and to provide the records         directive on electronic records. Release at
they’d back off.                                     asking for electronic                         in “quote format wording.” But the catch         your peril.
   Other arguments would be offered, as                                                            is that this duty is to be further defined by
they are in other cases, but eventually a            data is to be able to                         the regulations.
disk would land on the reporter’s desk.                                                                A careful reading of the regulation                Government
   Fast forward to 2010, and it seems we’re          analyze the data, to                          shows that it is clear that if a record ex-
back to 1990. I’m getting reports from sev-                                                        ists in a particular format in an institution,   officials now feel they
eral journalists who work with electronic            find stories that will                        the institution must release it to you in that
records that institutions across govern-                                                           format. But it’s easy to see the yawning           have discretion as
ment are responding to requests for data              help shine light on                          loophole here. Format is undefined. So is
by releasing data printouts on paper or by                                                         a computer record, contained in a database,       to whether they will
converting spreadsheet tables or database              the operations of                           a record in a format that can be released?
reports into image files before releasing                                                          Anyone who works with electronic records          honour a request for
them. Often no explanation is provided; it’s             government.                               would understand the generic meaning of
just done.                                                                                         “electronic format” as compared to “pa-          electronic records. In
   Even those of you who don’t work with                                                           per format.” Copying from a database to
data all of the time will have guessed that            That’s the kind of sanitized pablum I re-   an Excel file, for example, maintains the        other words, they are
you can’t analyze a paper or image file with       ceived from Treasury Board when I had the       record in electronic format. So asking for
a computer. The whole point of asking for          temerity to ask about this trend in releasing   release in Excel, Access or delimited text       reserving the right to
electronic data is to be able to analyze the       electronic information as pdf images, or on     doesn’t change the essential characteris-
data, to find stories that will help shine light   paper.                                          tic of the record as a collection of bits and           release the
on the operations of government.                       I’m going to spare you the details, but     bytes.
   I expected to get some sort of explana-         I’m going to try to translate. The essence of       But I’ve already had one department               information in
tion when I contacted the Treasury Board           what Treasury Board told me is that govern-     make the case that the record doesn’t begin
Secretariat about this. I was writing a chap-      ment officials now feel they have discretion    to exist in a format until officials have ex-     whatever form they
ter for a book on freedom of information,          as to whether they will honour a request for    ported the data from the database. So what-
and I wanted to mention this developing            electronic records. In other words, they are    ever format they decide to create is the one                like
issue. But the officials at Treasury Board         reserving the right to release the informa-     that already exists in the department.
didn’t have much to say.                           tion in whatever form they like. It doesn’t         Once it doesn’t exist in the format you

30                                                                                                                                       MEDIA      SUMMER 2010                                                                                                                                   31
Dateline Hong Kong 2010

 A Working Fellowship for Canadian Journalists
                                                                                                        Inside the numbers
                                                                                                                    Kelly Toughill
     Hong Kong, Asia’s world city, is a Special       In Hong Kong, the journalists will have the
                                                      opportunity to visit various points of interest
                                                                                                                                J
     Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s                                                                                     ennifer     Figge   mean that one causes the other.                    have caused the trend. It is unlikely, for
                                                      and meet with people of diverse views and
     Republic of China, run by Hong Kong people                                                                                      swam       across       Take the much-heralded study of To-            example, that an increase in the number
                                                      backgrounds.
     under the “One Country, Two Systems”                                                                                         the Atlantic Ocean     ronto’s restaurant smoking ban. Research-          of police officers will quickly affect crime
     principle. Hong Kong is one of the most open,                                                                                last year. The 56-     ers found that hospital admissions for heart       rates. It is unlikely that the election of a
                                                      Neither the Hong Kong Government nor the                                    year-old American      conditions dropped 39 per cent after smok-         new provincial government will quickly
     externally oriented economies in the world.
                                                      CAJ will impose any control over or rights to                               dragged      herself   ing was banned in Toronto restaurants, and         affect the provincial economy. When pre-
                                                      the work of the participating journalists. The    onto a beach in Trinidad roughly a month         hospital admissions for respiratory condi-         sented with a correlation story, rely on your
     With China’s unprecedented economic
                                                      journalists will enjoy full editorial freedom.    after paddling away from the Cape Verde          tions dropped by 33 per cent.                      common sense.
     growth, Hong Kong has been used as the
                                                                                                        Islands near Africa.                                 It’s an incredible statistic, and a hearten-       Calculation: This is the easiest type of
     gateway to the robust Mainland market. It has
                                                      Each application must include a resume, and a         Her amazing story was covered by             ing one. A simple change in public policy          error to spot and fix. When there is a num-
     also served as the springboard for the                                                             hundreds of newspapers around the world          saved four in every 10 potential heart pa-         ber in a story, check it. When there is a cal-
                                                      written statement of support from the
     Mainland companies to go overseas. Hong                                                            and inspired an almost universal reaction        tients in Toronto hospitals. But did it?           culation in a story, check it.
                                                      editor/producer     of     designed    media
     Kong has been rated the world’s freest                                                             among readers: “That’s unbelievable!”                How did hospital admission rates                   Let’s look at the case of last year’s baby
                                                      organization to publish/broadcast at least
     economy by the Heritage Foundation and                                                                 Yes, it is. That’s because it wasn’t true.   change in areas where there was no smok-           boomer superhero, Jennifer Figge. She left
                                                      three Hong Kong stories produced by the
     Fraser Institute.                                                                                      We often mess up number-based sto-           ing ban? The researchers looked at that, but       Cape Verde Islands on Jan. 12 and landed
                                                      selected journalists within six months upon       ries because we fail to heed our own good        didn’t publish that portion of the findings        in Trinidad on Feb. 7. Her journey took 27
                                                      completion of the trip.                           instincts. If a story doesn’t feel right, or     with their paper. It was only available in an      days, and she told reporters that she swam
     Working journalists are invited to experience
     Hong Kong and report on various aspects of                                                         doesn’t pass the ill-defined “smell test,”       online appendix. The appendix shows that           up to eight hours a day.
                                                      The proposal can concentrate on any area of       we automatically dig deeper – unless it is       hospital admissions for many heart and                 The distance between the Cape Verde
     the city by applying for the “Dateline Hong
                                                      life in Hong Kong, including business,            a number story.                                  respiratory ailments also fell in Durham           Islands and Trinidad is 3,380 kilometers,
     Kong Fellowship” jointly organized by the
                                                      politics, infrastructural development, IT,            Here’s a quick tip sheet on how to check     Region and Thunder Bay during the study            so that means Figge swam 125 kilometers
     Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ)                                                          the numbers in a story if your instincts tell    period – even though neither area had im-          per day. If she swam for eight hours each
                                                      tourism, education, culture and environment,
     and the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office                                                          you something is wrong. Most of the time,        posed smoking bans in local restaurants.           day, that is 15.7 kilometers per hour. That’s
                                                      etc.
     in Canada.                                                                                         your hunch will lead you to an error of              Michael Siegel is a professor at the Bos-      pretty fast. Those who don’t swim might
                                                                                                        credibility, correlation or calculation.         ton University School of Public Health. He         want to compare Figge’s pace to world-
                                                      Selection of the successful candidates will be
     Selected journalists will be awarded a                                                                 Credibility: Where did the number come       analyzed the raw data in the appendix to           record holders. The current world record
                                                      made by CAJ and announced mid-August
     package which includes a five-day visit                                                            from? Sources spout numbers all the time         the Canadian study and found that the rate         for the men’s 100-meter freestyle sprint is
                                                      2010. The visit program must be completed         and sometimes people just make them up.          of heart attack hospitalizations in Toronto        47 seconds, a pace that translates to 7.7 ki-
     program, business-class air travel and hotel
                                                      before the end of March 2011.                     Find out how your source got that number.        and Thunder Bay both declined by exactly           lometers per hour. That means Figge swam
     accommodation.
                                                                                                        Is he or she really in a position to know?       28 per cent during the period. The decline         twice as fast as the world-record holder,
                                                                                                            It isn’t just spin doctors who offer up      in angina hospitalizations in Toronto and          and she did it for eight hours a day.
                                                                                                        suspect data. Well-respected organizations       Durham were also almost identical, at 59               In other words, she didn’t do it. Yet
     Application must reach:
                                                                                                        sometimes repeat numbers that they hon-          and 60 per cent.                                   the story ran in hundreds of media outlets
     The Canadian Association of Journalists                                                            estly believe are true, but aren’t.                  When looking at correlation, think about       around the world.
     1106 Wellington Street, P.O. Box 36030                                                                 Take the Ontario Medical Association.        what else might have caused the trend. In              It didn’t take long for readers to point
     Ottawa, ON. K1Y 4V3                                                                                It put out a position statement in 2004 that     the case of the hospitalization story, could       out the error in the story. The corrections
                                                                                                        repeated the well-known fact that second-        it have been changes in available medical          began on Feb. 9, and sparked many ex-
     by Thursday, July 30, 2010
                       15,                                                                              hand smoke is 23 times more toxic in an          treatment, such as new drugs to manage ill-        plorations of why people exaggerate their
                                                                                                        automobile. This spring, two Australian re-      ness at home? What were pollution trends           claims to the media, and how shameful that
                                                                                                        searchers tried to trace the science behind      like at the time, and could they have affect-      is. The corrections didn’t spark much ex-
     For enquiries, please contact:
                                                                                                        that claim. Writing in the Canadian Medi-        ed the rate of respiratory disease?                ploration of the media’s role in this ruse.
     John Dickins, Executive Director, CAJ at email: dickens-john@rogers.com or                         cal Association Journal, Ross MacKenzie              Correlation stories are tricky, because        Sixty seconds with a calculator would have
     Stephen Siu, Assistant Director (Public Relations), Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office, at          and Becky Freeman, of the University of          causation is hard to prove even when it            proven that Figge’s claim was fantasy and
     (416)924-5544 or email: stephen_siu@hketotoronto.gov.hk                                            Sydney School of Public Health, say that         does exist. The tobacco industry dismissed         killed the story before it ever ran.
                                                                                                        the “23 times” figure did not come from          the correlation between smoking and lung               So the next time you are presented with
                                                                                                        research, but from a lobby group in Den-         cancer for many decades, saying there was          a story that sounds unbelievably terrific,
                                                                                                        ver, Colorado. It was first published in the     no definitive causal link between the two.         check the numbers behind the news. Is the
                                                                                                        Rocky Mountain News and then widely re-          Of course there is a link, and even the to-        data reliable? Has your source miscon-
                                                                                                        peated, even in reputable medical journals.      bacco industry now admits that.                    strued the cause of a correlation? Whip out
                                                                                                            Correlation: The maxim is that correla-          When presented with a correlation story,       that calculator and do the math yourself.
                                                                                                        tion does not equal causation. Just because      look for a valid comparison to prove the           Kelly Toughill teaches journalism at the Uni-
                                                                                                        two numbers rise or fall in tandem does not      theory, and think about what else might            versity of King’s College.

                                                                                                        SUMMER 2010                                                                                                                                    33
third year.                                                                                                                                     important. Had I neglected to save               But it wasn’t over yet. Since I had           Visuals: Photos with weapons, videos of
Using the Internet as a tool                                                                                                                    the video, I would have been unable to        been saving the videos, pictures and             the weapon and subject firing it
                                                                                                                                                see it again. And since he refused to go      links as I went through them, I wanted           Audio: Narration of video of weapons and
                                                                                                                                                on air, I wouldn’t have any visuals for TV.   to double check everything. Using                gunfire sounds

Using Google can be better than hiring a                                                                                                            There was no more information I
                                                                                                                                                could get about his location or real
                                                                                                                                                name from his other videos, but I had
                                                                                                                                                                                              Photoshop I opened the picture of
                                                                                                                                                                                              Dean with the Prime Minister. Using
                                                                                                                                                                                              the photo’s EXIF metadata, I found
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Saving the information was a big help,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               too. After talking to him, he quickly made
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               his profiles private and removed the videos.

private eye. And cheaper, too.                                                                                                                  a good start. For convenience, I’ve
                                                                                                                                                noticed that most people try to keep
                                                                                                                                                the same username for most things on
                                                                                                                                                                                              out when the picture was taken. Looking
                                                                                                                                                                                              at the public schedule for the Prime
                                                                                                                                                                                              Minister that day, I figured out where
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               But I still had them on my hard drive.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This effort was well worth the time.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               The information I found allowed for
                                                                                                                                                the web. For example, I use lucastim-         the picture was taken: At a fundraising          two online stories and two national

Strategies for tracking down sources online                                                                                                     mons as my gmail, my youtube and my
                                                                                                                                                Twitter accounts. My suspicion was
                                                                                                                                                that TooTallDean probably does the same.
                                                                                                                                                                                              BBQ.
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Next, I tried to find out if the CBC
                                                                                                                                                                                              had any video of the event. As it was
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               radio pieces. The stories generated
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               furious debate, more than 1,600
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               comments and tens of thousands of pa-
                                                                                                                                                    This is the one of the great truths of    a fundraiser BBQ, I also checked to see          geviews.
Lucas Timmons                                                                                                                                   human behaviour and personal privacy.         if he had made any political donations to           All this information is available on
                                                                                                                                                As a good researcher, you will notice         a federal party using the elections              the Internet. A lot of people don’t

                        W      ith investi-
                               gative jour-
                        nalism, especially
                                                The company that sold them refused
                                                to talk. And with only 39 of the weap-
                                                ons out there, no one at the gun ranges in
                                                                                             I was looking for. Using Google Chrome as
                                                                                             my web browser made things signifocantly
                                                                                             easier. Chrome can translate pages for you
                                                                                                                                                that despite privacy concerns, people
                                                                                                                                                generally use the same identifier, even if
                                                                                                                                                it is an alias, for everything online.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Canada database.
                                                                                                                                                                                                 At the end of the day I had found two
                                                                                                                                                                                              videos of a man with this weapon. Using the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               even know how much is out there. A
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               good reporter can dig deep and find
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               it. Hopefully, this example has in-
                        when the topic is       Ottawa had seen anyone with the weap-        as you search. So finding information on               A Google search of TooTallDean            username from the videos, I found links to       spired some investigative work of your
                        sensitive,      find-   on. If I was going to find an owner, it      products from foreign markets is signifi-          brought me to a different firearms            his hobbies that led to finding his real name.   own. It doesn’t have to take a long
                        ing sources can be      would have to be done online.                cantly easier.                                     enthusiast website called Cast Bool-          I had pictures and video of him, with the        time. This search took a matter of
                        hard. Some people          A local gun owner, who had never              From the company’s website I matched           its. TooTallDean’s profile said he was        weapon, and with the Prime Minister. I had       minutes. It was well worth the effort. M
                        don’t want the truth    seen the gun I was looking for pointed me    a picture of the gun with the following            from Langley, BC. I went back to              his phone number and his home address.
                        to come out. Others     to an online forum for gun enthusiasts       text: 轻武器,步枪,自动(简称97式) (trans-                     Google and a search of “TooTallDean”          Name: Dean Roxby                                 Lucas Timmons is a freelance multimedia
                        are scared of the re-   called Canadiangunnutz.com. Everyone         lated it means: Light weapons, rifle, auto-        and “Langley” brought me to a Photo-          Hometown: Langley, BC                            journalist and web producer at the Edmon-
percussions if they speak. With the Internet    I contacted on that forum was reluctant      matic (i.e. type97)). I used the Chinese text as   bucket account for TooTallDean. Photo-        Alias: TooTallDean                               ton Journal. He can be contacted by email
and today’s culture of speed over accuracy,     to talk, and it wasn’t long before I had     my first search term.                              bucket is a site allowing users to upload     Interests: Firearms, photography                 at lucas@lucastimmons.com, through twit-
what I’ve found is a lot of distrust towards    my login and ability to read the                 That search gave me different results          photos to share with their friends and        Political affiliation: Conservative              ter @lucastimmons or at www.lucastim-
the media. People are scared to talk, or give   posts banned. The issue was not only a       in Chinese than the search I did in English.       anyone else who is curious.                   Address & Phone number                           mons.com.
information.                                    distrust of the CBC, but the forum mem-      Finally, I was getting new information.                Searching through his pictures on-
   How then, do you find people when no         bers felt like I had invaded their niche.    But I was still far from my goal of                line, I came across a picture taken of him
one will talk to you? Online search tools                                                    finding a Canadian owner. Google turned            and Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.
make finding someone much easier, even                                                       up unexpected results in the form of               Dean was wearing a nametag with his
when no one will talk to you. The method          Online search tools                        Youtube results. They displayed a few              last name. Unfortunately, the low reso-
described here took me less time than it will                                                videos at the top of my search results.            lution of the photo made reading the
probably take you to read how it was done.          make finding                             After going through the search results,            name impossible. It was too blurry for a
Don’t use this as a step-by-step guide, but                                                  I looked at the videos on Youtube.                 full read, but there was no doubt his
rather a framework in which you can oper-       someone much easier,                             For every video, there are related videos      last name started with an “R” and
ate.                                                                                         that Youtube suggests. Using those related         ended with a “Y.”
   I recently worked on a series of gun sto-    even when no one will                        links of the first video I checked, I was able         Armed with this new informa-
ries during an internship at the CBC. The                                                    to find four or five more. Each time I would       tion, and the fact he was an amateur
RCMP was confiscating weapons that own-              talk to you.                            check the uploader’s user profile to see           photographer, I returned to Google
ers had legally held for years. We needed                                                    where they were located. After a few min-          again. Using the search terms, “TooT-
some visuals of an owner with this weapon                                                    utes, and watching a lot of gunfire I finally      allDean Dean” “R” “Langley BC”, I
for television. We were looking for his or      Sending private messages failed. In          found someone in Canada.                           found a modeling website that featured a
her side of the story. Are these guns dan-      hindsight, I would recommend first               His name was TooTallDean, and he was           photography resume of a Dean Roxby.
gerous? Is the seizure of the weapons war-      sending a public message explaining          based in British Columbia. I suspected that        I was there. Success! But I needed to be
ranted? The only problem was finding an         who you are and what you are looking         once I contacted him, he would make the            sure.
owner.                                          for. If that doesn’t work, then it’s time    videos private or remove them from You-
   I started with the traditional methods.      for a new strategy.                          tube, so using an extension (a special plug-       Confirming success
I hit the phones, calling the company                                                        in that you have to download) available for           Going through Dean’s photographs
that sold the weapons, local gunsmiths,         The search begins                            Chrome (It’s available here), I download-          I was able to match up a photo from the
range workers and even the National                The weapon I was looking for was          ed both videos of him with the weapon and          Dean Roxby page with the TooTallDean          FINDING YOUR MARK: People often use the same username for many of their online
Firearms Association. None were able            a Chinese-made bullpup rifle. Starting       saved them to my computer.                         Photobucket page. I had found my man. I       accounts. Every account can help you track down your source. TooTallDean was
to help. The NFA couldn’t find a gun            at the company’s website, I found an             There are extensions for Firefox               had it confirmed. All that was left was to    wearing a nametag in a photo of his family and Prime Minister Harper, which he
owner who was willing to come forward.          even better description of the weapon        that will do the same thing. This was              find him using Canada411.ca.                  posted on his photobucket account. Photobucket

34                                                                                                                                  MEDIA       SUMMER 2010                                                                                                                             35
                                                                                                                                                  journalists to be professionals, “profession-    One form, as seen in the Jan Moir case, is    the most popular trending topic on Twit-
Ethics                                                                                                                                            alism” meant adherence to a code of eth-         the well-known “us versus them” mode of       ter in Europe. The parliamentary question
                                                                                                                                                  ics intended primarily for the guidance of a     media criticism. A more recent mode is col-   was unearthed, published online by blog-

                       Fumbling toward open ethics                                                                                                small but clearly defined group of intended
                                                                                                                                                  users -- professional journalists working
                                                                                                                                                  for large newspapers and broadcasters.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   laboration among professional journalists
                                                                                                                                                                                                   and online twitterers and bloggers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Take, for example, how The Guardian
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 gers and disseminated on Twitter. Trafigura
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 dropped the ban.


                       Central to the distinction between closed and open ethics                                                                  Norms such as objectivity and indepen-
                                                                                                                                                  dence placed a normative barrier between
                                                                                                                                                                                                   newspaper worked with the online world to
                                                                                                                                                                                                   overturn a court ban obtained by Trafigura,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Conclusion
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 In summary, here is how this sphere is
                       is who has the power to control and shape the discourse                                                                    journalists and external influences. Jour-
                                                                                                                                                  nalists would self-regulate their practice.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   a multinational oil company. Trafigura had
                                                                                                                                                                                                   dumped chemical waste illegally in Abi-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 changing the three features of closed eth-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ics:
                                                                                                                                                      Not surprisingly, then, most journalism                                                        Intended users: The “democratization
                       Stephen J. A. Ward                                                                                                         ethics discourse over the years has been                                                       of media” blurs the old idea of the intended
                                                                                                                                                  “in-house” – occurring in ethics journals          An open ethic does                          users of ethics. Not only is it unclear who

T    he shape of a future journalism ethics
     is slowly emerging from the shadows
of the once dominant professional ethics
                                               group page created on Facebook to call for
                                               a retraction of the column also published
                                               contact details of brands advertising in the
                                                                                                discourse is closed to the extent that it plac-
                                                                                                es significant restrictions on two things: (1)
                                                                                                the “intended users” of the standards and
                                                                                                                                                  aimed at journalists, or debated at confer-
                                                                                                                                                  ences aimed at journalists. Of course, across
                                                                                                                                                  the 20th century and into this new century,
                                                                                                                                                                                                      not consider the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 is a journalist, but journalism ethics now
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 applies to all media citizens. If citizens par-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ticipate in media, they too must ask what
that was closed to meaningful participation    Daily Mail alongside Moir’s article. Sample      principles, and (2) who gets to participate       there has been a trend to make journalism          boundary between                            norms they will follow on their wikis and
by citizens.                                   text was provided for group members who          in the on-going discourse about the stan-         and its ethics more open. First there were                                                     blogs.
   Journalism ethics is fumbling toward        wished to complain to the Daily Mail’s edi-      dards and principles. A closed ethics is a        press councils and ombudsman. Then there          the professional and                             Participation: Networks of people
what I call an “open journalism ethics.” The   tor, Paul Dacre. Ultimately, a critical public   set of standards for the guidance of a small      was much talk of “accountability mecha-                                                        participate meaningfully in ethics dis-
advent of new media is making citizens and     spotlight was shone on the PCC’s “closed”        number of intended users – members of a           nisms” and editorial transparency. By the           non-professional                           course in both ways – discussion and adop-
non-professional journalists intrinsic parts   approach to this case, as an in-house pro-       relatively small group of practitioners. In       late 1990s, interactive forms of media al-                                                     tion. For example, citizens worldwide
of a global ethics discourse. Whatever the     fessional matter.                                contrast, an open ethics sees the standards       lowed newsrooms to start asking – inces-              members of a                             monitor and comment on the daily activities
content of a future journalism ethics will         In open ethics, both professional and        as providing guidance beyond the group –          santly – for audience feedback to programs.                                                    of the news media, often causing mainstream
be, ethics practice – the way that ethics is   non-professional journalists participate in      potentially to all of society.                    Yet all of this amounted to only a gradual            practice to be                           newsrooms to run corrections or change
discussed, monitored and enforced -- will      the evaluation of practice and principles.          A closed ethics restricts who partici-         extension of public participation in ethics                                                    approaches to stories. We now have
have the characteristics of an open ethics.    Open ethics is a citizen-based discourse         pates in two ways – who gets to participate       discourse. Many of the mechanisms, such             absolute. To the                           a global, on-line fifth estate. Whether
   Consider an example of this open public     that runs along the sinews of overlapping        in the discussion, and who participates in        as press councils, were based on a closed                                                      professionals like it or not, people
sphere for ethics. When columnist Jan Moir     communication networks. The ethics dis-          decisions based on that discussion. For ex-       model where the public were allowed to             contrary, it regards                        outside their ranks are leading ethics dis-
for London’s Daily Mail wrote a homopho-       course is less orderly, sometimes anarchic.      ample, the Canadian Association of Jour-          register only specific complaints about spe-                                                   cussions and intervening in a once-closed
bic column about the death of Boyzone          It is also more inclusive, less hierarchical,    nalists could invite public input into a proj-    cific reports. Even when newspapers such             the meaningful                            process.
singer Stephen Gately the column sparked       more transparent, and global.                    ect to reform its existing codes of ethics,       as The New York Times investigated scan-                                                           It is difficult to know where this open
a campaign on Twitter and Facebook, re-                                                         but only CAJ members would be allowed             dals of fabrication by reporters, the process        participation of                          process will lead. It is not guaranteed that
sulting in 22,000 complaints to the UK’s       Closed and open ethics                           to vote on final recommendations.                 was firmly in the hands of in-house editors.                                                   a more open discourse will be a better ethi-
Press Complaints Commission (PCC) in a            Central to the distinction between closed        An open ethics does not consider the           More recently, major news organizations             non-members in                             cal discourse. Will the new tools of com-
single weekend.                                and open ethics is who has the power to          boundary between the professional and             such as the Washington Post and The Asso-                                                      munication be used to promote responsible
   Jan Moir’s name ‘trended’ on Twitter. A     control and shape the discourse. An ethics       non-professional members of a practice to         ciated Press have developed new guidelines       ethics discourse to be                        journalism practices across our mixed me-
                                                                                                be absolute. To the contrary, it regards the      for social media. The process, typically, has                                                  dia? Or will the discourse be hijacked by
                                                                                                meaningful participation of non-members           been internal and closed.                             necessary and                            voices that care little for principles of good
                                                                                                in ethics discourse to be necessary and im-                                                                                                      journalism. Nevertheless, it is clear that we
                                                                                                portant.                                          Enter open ethics                                      important.                              are far beyond the point of any return to a
                                                                                                                                                      In the late 1900s, this closed approach to                                                 simple “public input” or “complaint” mod-
                                                                                                Journalism ethics as closed                       journalism ethics began to be undermined                                                       el. And, surely the emphasis on a more di-
                                                                                                   Historically, the great wave of profes-        by new forms of communication. Citizens          djan, Ivory Coast, in 2006, leading to tens   verse and participatory process is not only
                                                                                                sionalism that began in the late 1800s ad-        can create media, do journalism, use pow-        of thousands of people reporting illnesses    correct, but the only model that suits our
                                                                                                opted a closed ethics model. Ethics was an        erful online tools for gathering information     ranging from skin lesions to diarrhea and     global media.
                                                                                                “in-house” affair. The ethics of lawyers,         and checking news stories, and join net-         breathing problems. Trafigura secured a           Rather than spend energy on decry-
                                                                                                doctors, and accountants consisted in codes       works for discussing media ethics. Blog-         ‘super-injunction’ in Britain preventing      ing these changes in ethics, we should
                                                                                                of ethics that were intended primarily for        gers, social media writers, web site creators    the media in that country from reporting        get ahead of the curve. We should be
                                                                                                the doctors, lawyers and accountants. Dis-        and twitterers do not need to be members         on the class action by 30,000 Africans and    forward-looking,        ethically    speaking,
                                                                                                cussion of ethics was restricted in large part    of professional news organizations to de-        even barring the media from reporting on a    and seek to channel these new expansive
                                                                                                to professional journals and conferences.         bate ethics; they do not need to attend pro-     question asked on the matter in parliament.   discussions towards ethical ends. M
                                                                                                Enforcement of the code was carried out           fessional journalism conferences to engage       The Guardian appealed to the blogosphere
                                                                                                by a disciplinary body of fellow lawyers,         in ethics discourse.                             and tweeter-sphere (http://www.guard-         Stephen J. A. Ward is the director of
                                                                                                doctors or accountants often meeting pri-             Today, ethics discourse is an intense        ian.co.uk/media/pda/2009/oct/13/twitter-      the Center for Journalism Ethics at
OPEN ETHICS: A homophobic column by Jan Moir for London’s Daily Mail sparked a                  vately.                                           global discussion and negotiation among          online-outcry-guardian-trafigura). Within     the University of Wisconsin- Madison’s
huge online reaction, including a Facebook group calling for her resignation. Open                 Journalism followed this pattern. When         professional and non-professional media          12 hours of the editor of The Guardian        School of Journalism and Mass Communi-
ethics makes both professionals and nonprofessionals part of the discussion.                    the early journalism associations declared        citizens. The discourse takes many forms.        tweeting about the injunction, it became      cation.

36                                                                                                                                     MEDIA      SUMMER 2010                                                                                                                                37
                                                                                                                                                   and AOL, jump into the Wayback Machine
Feeds and Ledes                                                                                                                                    at archive.org. It will give you a snapshot
                                                                                                                                                   of your chosen website in all its cluttered,
                                                                                                                                                   pixelated glory from 1996 (if it even exist-
ALTERNATIVES TO GOOGLE                                                                                                                             ed back then). Once you’re looking at the
                                                                                                                                                   website’s archived state, you can still click
It has become the mother of all search engines, but there are other options                                                                        on the links there, which are sometimes
                                                                                                                                                   still active.

Mary Gazze                                                                                                                                         Legacy.com
                                                                                                                                                      You’re investigating someone you know

                     Y     ou, and everyone
                           you know prob-
                     ably Google dozens
                                                 Allwhois.com
                                                     I don’t know about you, but I find lots
                                                 of web pages with zero contact information
                                                                                                  the video gaps. But if you can’t find what
                                                                                                  you’re looking for, Blinkx might help.
                                                                                                     This is a metasearch engine like Mam-
                                                                                                                                                   is a scam artist, but she says she inherited
                                                                                                                                                   a fortune from her great aunt Gladys. You
                                                                                                                                                   know aunt Gladys exists, but is she really
                     of times a day, no          on them. Sometimes people forget to list         ma.com or Dogpile.com, but it is devoted         even dead? Legacy.com will look through
                     matter what your ca-        it, may not want to be found, or may buy         solely to scouring through millions of           obituaries from major newspapers from
                     reer. Google is great       a domain name hoping to masquerade as            hours worth of video on different video          Canada and the U.S. Records go back as
                     for general searches,       someone else.                                    sharing websites like YouTube, Google and        far as 1949.
                     when you need to look           This website, which is used to check         MySpace. You can also choose a filter that
                     up something quickly        availability for people who want to pur-         removes all “Not Safe For Work” results to       Thoora.com
like a phone number, address or old news         chase domain names, will give you the            avoid a potentially embarrassing talk with           Twitter search can help you keep an ear
story.                                                                                            your boss.                                       to the ground as to what is a popular topic
   But with the Internet being a massive                                                                                                           at any given moment, but you can’t really
source of un-indexed information, there are         With the Internet                             Omgili.com                                       use it as a gauge to measure water cooler
plenty of other, more specialized search en-                                                         One of my favourite ways to find regular      chatter, especially when the top-10 trend-
gines out there that could help journalists          being a massive                              people with a particular interest is to scan     ing topics include tween singing sensation
uncover more information than you’d get                                                           topic-specific message boards.                   Justin Bieber or #ibetyou5dollars. Google
on Google or Yahoo.                               source of un-indexed                               Type in a keyword, and Omgili searches        Insight (which I mentioned in my last col-
   Here’s a rundown of some of the best:                                                          message boards, discussion groups, and           umn) can tell you how many times a search
                                                 information, there are                           online forums, to find relevant boards, and      term was used within a given time frame.
Dogpile.com and Mamma.com                                                                         relevant posts showing what people are           Toronto-based Thoora examines the traf-
    These are metasearch engines, which           plenty of other, more                           talking about.                                   fic coming from blogs, Twitter, and main-
work by running your keywords through                                                                Omgili claims to scan through 100,000         stream media, and ranks stories according
other search engines like Google, Yahoo,           specialized search                             message boards. Use Google.Omgili.com            to “Buzz.” The results are presented in a
Bing, and Ask.com, and presenting the                                                             to combine the results from both websites        similar way to Digg.com, but while Digg
combined results on on page.                     engines out there that                           on one page. (Note: This is not endorsed         requires a reader to proactively click on
    Underneath each result, Dogpile will                                                          by Google, but works in the same way that        a button to vote for a link to be ranked,
tell you which major engine found the             could help journalists                          many websites embed a Google search              Thoora uses an algorithm to rank popu-
link. These can help you cast a wider net if                                                      bar).                                            lar stories without relying on votes. It
you’re having trouble with the mainstream             uncover more                                                                                 can help you see what stories the online
search engines.                                                                                   Icerocket.com and Technorati.com                 public cares about, and help you choose
                                                       information                                   When looking for a blog, people often         where to focus your energies for coming up
Viewzi.com                                                                                        turn to Google Blog Search, which is great,      with relevant story ideas for the day. Thoo-
   The benefit of Viewzi is not so much the                                                       but here’s two more you may want to try          ra’s website said that as of March last year,
results, but how they are displayed.             contact information for the owner, often in-     if you’re having trouble. Technorati was         it had indexed 81 million blogs.
   Everyone knows that a copy editor’s           cluding names, phone numbers, and email          one of the first blog search engines and still
fresh set of eyes can catch that spelling        addresses. Even if the name of the regis-        does a good job today. It also maintains a          I hope you find these niche search en-
mistake you glossed over six times. Viewzi       trant is not available, Allwhois usually lists   Top 100 blog list. Icerocket also searches       gines useful and I’d love to hear about
acts like that second set of eyes. This visual   the contact information for the company          blogs, but the tabs at the top help you sort     your success stories. For more about search
search engine lets you choose whether you        hired to maintain or host the website, and       web, news, twitter, and MySpace results.         engines in general read http://searchen-
want to see your results in the typical for-     you can use that as a starting point.            Sort by the “Big Buzz” tab, and you’ll get a     ginewatch.com/ and poke around http://
mat, or as a Google timeline, photo spread,                                                       real time view of recent blog posts on your      thesearchenginelist.com/ to find a long list
screenshot of a site’s front page, as well as    Blinkx.com                                       topic, and how long ago they were posted.        of other useful sites.
a host of other options.                            As a former TV producer, I know the                                                               Happy typing. M
   Seeing the usual information presented        pain of having to ditch a great story because    Archive.org
in a different way may help you see some-        you’ve got no pictures to fill large voi-           Google cache works for websites that             Mary Gazze is a Toronto-based free-
thing in a new light and lead to a new story     ceover holes. Oftentimes, turning to You-        changed a few weeks ago, but when you            lance journalist. She can be reached at:
angle.                                           Tube.com or Liveleak.com can help you fill       need to go back to the days of chat rooms        marygazze@gmail.com

38                                                                                                                                      MEDIA      SUMMER 2010                                     39
                                                                                                                                                and competencies.                                management is helpful.                               A little abstract, sure. But by
The Future of News                                                                                                                                  The report suggested that journal-              So is web design, for obvious                 example, he wondered why news
                                                                                                                                                ists should build skills in “community-          reasons. Part of the job of curation involves    sites continue to run separate articles

                       Seeking curators                                                                                                         building, strategic use of technol-
                                                                                                                                                ogy, multi-platform agility, greater
                                                                                                                                                integrated organizational functions, and
                                                                                                                                                                                                 finding
                                                                                                                                                                                                 ways of presenting and aggregating infor-
                                                                                                                                                                                                 mation.
                                                                                                                                                                                                             innovative       and      creative   for rolling or developing stories. Why not
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  just manage wikis that are updated with
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  each new development? OpenFile, a
                       These new skills may lead to new jobs                                                                                    an ability to experiment.” They’re the                                                            new,citizen-engagement news site in
                                                                                                                                                kind of skills, the report duly noted, that                                                       Toronto,        approaches        its      sto-
                                                                                                                                                “may require counterintuitive ways of            Curators, “super copy                            ries as “files” as opposed to
                                                                                                                                                working.”                                                                                         isolated texts or videos. Each story
                                                                                                                                                    Alice Funke might not consider                    editors”— or                                belongsto       a      broader,       linked-in
                       Simon Doyle                                                                                                              herself a curator, but that’s essentially what                                                    narrative, like a wiki.
                                                                                                                                                she does. She is the administrator of            whatever you want to                                 It’s just one creative way curators

     T  here’s an emerging discipline
        in      journalism      known
curation. It’s not as scary as it sounds.
                                          as
                                               sumers want.
                                                   “The stuff that comes through citizen
                                               journalism channels, for the most part,
                                                                                                   But how is curating so different from
                                                                                               editing, you may ask? Aren’t video
                                                                                               producers and copy editors curators?
                                                                                                                                                Pundits’ Guide, a well-read resource
                                                                                                                                                for political junkies. Her skills in
                                                                                                                                                information technology (IT) led her to
                                                                                                                                                                                                       call them—
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  can experiment with news delivery
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  and drive its innovation on our iPads,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  laptops and wireless devices.
    This is early, theoretical stuff,          isn’t journalism,” Michael Tippett, found-          Kind of. Except that “curator” is a          create an online database of cross-               will have to keep on                                A brave new world, indeed. But
but communications experts and bloggers        er of the Vancouver-based NowPublic             term new to journalism and specific to the       searchable elections and riding informa-                                                          thankfully, there will also continue
are devoting significant yarn to curation —    citizen journalism project, told me recent-     world of “journalism 2.0,” an expression that    tion that has become about the millionth          top of new commu-                               to be a need for good-old video
i.e., journalists as hunters and gatherers     ly.                                             essentially     means     journalism      and    most popular website in the world. Not                                                            editors and, of course, writers.
for online, public information.                    His organization employs five editorial     technology.                                      bad for a four-year-old site about Canadian       nications platforms,                                Tippett says he thinks there may
    But like the curation that happens in      staff, who primarily work as curators. They         In a recent article on Owni, a               politics.                                                                                         come a time when our obsession
museums and galleries, it’s a little more      have software in the newsroom, called           French social media site based in Paris,             For now, Funke may come short of             social networks, and                             with immediate information fades, and
than that.                                     Scan, that allows them to punch in a loca-      Benoit Raphael proposed a structure for          a profitable business model, and she                                                              long-format news makes a return.
    Curators, traditionally, take original     tion or a keyword and pull up a sea of re-      the “future newsroom,” containing three          may not be trained in journalism, but              search tools. To be                                “You     may      find   there’s      slow
materials, often artifacts, and arrange        lated citizen-generated photos, videos, and     groups of journalists: Reporters, who            she is successful because she’s creative,                                                         information movement, in the same
them neatly in public spaces, provide          other content.                                  engage in original, exclusive reporting;         loves what she’s doing, and possesses               Web literate is an                            way      there     was     a    slow      food
context, cull unnecessary items, clean them        NowPublic is using the program to tap       curators (or “super copy editors”), who          a specific set of computer-assisted-                                                              movement, where people are rejecting
up, and make them fit for public consump-                                                      cover breaking stories, scour the Web            reporting skills.                                   understatement.                               McFood and are looking for more
tion.                                                                                          for material, and engage in “link                    Canwest News Service recognized                                                               wholesome food,” he says.
    So it’s as much about presenting infor-       it’s as much about                           journalism”; and columnists, including           that in 2008 when it hired her during the                                                             It’s also notable that the online
mation as it is finding it and making sense                                                    bloggers.                                        federal election campaign. She conducted             Martin Langeveld, in a piece                 encyclopedia,            HowStuffWorks.com,
of it. There’s a human touch.                          presenting                                  In other words, Raphael advocates for a      computer-assisted reporting for the nation-      last year for the Nieman Journalism              is hiring writers, according to the site.
    You could say that editors and journal-                                                    kind separate, curation newsroom.                al bureau’s reporters.                           Lab, wrote that we should start to think             Yes, plain old writers. You might
ists have always curated news releases, re-       information as it is                             Jeff Jarvis, popular BuzzMachine                 “I’ve obviously assembled some               about news content “as a cascade, as in a        even consider it a form of journalism. M
ports, interviews, wire copy, and video and                                                    blogger, professor at CUNY, and author           valuable data sets, data that is in the          stream    running    down     a    rocky
audio tape into their news packages. But a      finding it and making                          of the 2009 book What Would Google               public domain, but really badly                  glen,     always     moving,       divid-
news curator’s focus isn’t original report-                                                    Do?, has also blogged about its impor-           organized,” Funke told me recently.              ing, uniting, filling pools here and             Simon Doyle is the editor of The Wire
ing.                                            sense of it. There’s a                         tance.                                           Today’s journalists don’t need certificates      there, constantly finding new niches             Report in Ottawa.
    That doesn’t mean they don’t find exclu-                                                       He     says    journalists      need    to   in IT—but a little training in database          to fill.”
sive stories. There’s a need to swim through         human touch.                              learn     curation    skills    in     today’s
the ocean of data to be found on blogs,                                                        media environment. The old, traditional
Twitter, Facebook, discussion groups,                                                          skills alone— reading, writing, research-
emails, databases, Flickr, YouTube, news-      into “a vast conversation … happening on        ing, interviewing, editing tape—won’t cut
groups, online communities, crowdsourced       the Internet on every imaginable topic,” its    it.
data, and other miscellaneous, niche Web       website says.                                       Curators, “super copy editors”—
content.                                          This is already happening in the             or whatever you want to call them—
    Twitter alone is a sea of potential        mainstream media. It’s not uncommon             will have to keep on top of new commu-
stories. Bit.ly—that short url people use        for the evening news to use tweets,           nications platforms, social networks, and
in their tweets—generated 2.7 billion          Facebook photos, YouTube videos and oth-        search tools. To be Web literate is an
clicks in February of this year, more          er social media content in its newscasts.       understatement. They will need a range
than Google News, which last year                 Here’s a little prediction: It may not be    of technical and often specialized skill
generated about one billion clicks per         long before much of the evening news be-        sets.
month.                                         comes a kind of “best of the Web.”                  A major report released last year by
    Most social media is raw, unedited            “I think you’re going to see this play out   independent      media       coalition    The
source material, but has more value when       nationally, internationally. I think you’re     Media Consortium, titled “The Big
it’s cleaned up, checked for accuracy, and     going to see it play out locally,” Tippett      Thaw,” noted that today’s journalism
arranged and packaged in a form that con-      says of the trend.                              landscape is demanding new skills

40                                                                                                                                   MEDIA      SUMMER 2010                                                                                                                                   41

				
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