9. Decision Point

Hudes, MacDonald and Hood were on deadline and had to make the decision of whether to include information from the Facebook page in the National Post’s June 4 coverage of the shooting. Hudes was working late into the night and it was still unconfirmed whether the Facebook page belonged to the same Justin Bourque whom […]

8. Omitting the Unverified: Joel Eastwood and the Toronto Star

While Hudes and National Post editors were deciding whether or not to include an unverified Facebook page in their story, Joel Eastwood was having a similar debate in another newsroom in the city. [1] Eastwood was working as a general assignment reporter for the Toronto Star in 2014. When reports of a shooting in New […]

7. Balancing Immediacy and Verification

The editors of the National Post faced a classic journalistic dilemma: speed vs. accuracy. Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel write, “In the context of gathering news, speed is almost always the enemy of accuracy.” [1] While this may be true, journalists should not simply discount speed in economic terms as a means of “scooping” competing […]

6. Poisoning the Well

In April 2013, Sunil Tripathi was wrongfully accused of being “suspect number two” in the Boston Marathon bombing. His accusers were Reddit and Twitter users who spread false information and conjecture that implicated an innocent man all with a few clicks of a mouse. This vigilante digital investigation wasn’t undertaken only by conspiracy theorists and […]

5. Journalism and Contempt of Court

When reporting social media posts or personal information about an alleged or accused criminal it is important for journalists to keep the laws of contempt in mind. In Canada, the laws of contempt have to balance the right to free expression with the right to a fair trial. Though there are no absolutes when it […]

4. Responsible Communication on Matters of Public Interest

In this situation, responsible communication on matters of public interest would be the best defence if the National Post were to get sued for libel. [1] This defence, adopted by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2009, allows journalists reporting on information that is in the public interest the ability to be wrong. Essentially, as long […]

3. Libel and the Newsroom

If the story included the Facebook profile and it turned out to be the wrong person then the National Post would be at risk of a libel suit. [1] There is also the potential to severely damage a person’s reputation. Although the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to “freedom of thought, […]

2. Covering an Active Shooter

Hudes had found himself in the precarious position of gathering information on a developing story about a mass shooting, with scattered details coming in from panicked locals and a distracted police force. Nate Carlisle, a reporter with the Salt Lake Tribune who has covered several mass shootings, wrote for the Poynter Institute recommending that journalists […]