Censorship starts and ends at home – not at the AV News

Dealing with people who try and intimidate us into not publishing a story is a challenge from time to time at the AV News.

Writing articles for a newspaper is not a nine-to-five job. It’s never predictable, and it’s always challenging.

Sometimes people are grateful for articles that we write: stories that get across a piece of useful information, an amusing tale, a profile of someone they’ve always been curious about, breaking news, issues of the day.

Sometimes, people on both sides of a story are unhappy that it appeared in the paper because of what it exposes.

That’s when we know we’ve done our job—and done it well.

Sometimes though, people aren’t happy when we write a story and they voice their displeasure in a variety of ways: from phoning or writing politely to complain to coming into the office shouting, swearing and even making threats.

Some persuade their friends to phone and make threats, or pass themselves off as people they aren’t in an effort to coerce us to pull a story.

That’s often where the challenging part comes into play—not trying to squeeze information out of a politician, covering an accident nor talking to a reluctant witness or covering a complicated court case.

It’s dealing with people who would rather try and intimidate us than face up to their own issues, threaten instead of take responsibility.

We’ve had people about to appear in court for a drinking and driving infraction phone and demand that their name not appear in the paper because they might lose their job.

Fortunately for them, we don’t generally cover all the DUIs that appear in court. But we wouldn’t hesitate to run such a story, especially if they are in a position of authority and need to be held accountable.

Every story we run online and in the newspaper is held up to a code of ethics, including taste as well as legality. If court stories have no publication bans, we can write whatever is said in court.

Even so, every sentence—every choice of words—is weighed against that code of ethics.

Curiously, many of these people who complain to us are quick to blame us for ruining their lives because something they did might appear in the paper, but they rarely admit they made a mistake.

And they fail to realize that we cannot be bullied.

 

Susan Quinn is the Alberni Valley News editor.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Three strong earthquakes reported off Vancouver Island

The quakes, all measuring more than 6.0 on the richter scale, were about 260 kilometres west of Tofino

Mother passes SD70 trustee torch to daughter in Port Alberni

Jane Jones loses after one term, but proud of her daughter Connie Watts

ELECTION 2018: Sharie Minions named Port Alberni mayor

Haggard, Solda, Washington, Poon, Paulson and Corbeil named councillors

Four incumbents re-elected to School District 70 in Port Alberni

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board will have a new look

2018 municipal election: Few surprises on Vancouver Island

16 incumbent mayors will continue in their positions for four more years

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

B.C. oncologist changing the face of breast cancer treatment

Dr. Juanita Crook, a Kelowna oncologist, has seen 100 per cent success using brachytherapy to treat breast cancer in some patients.

Explosion at homeless camp causes brush fire on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews haul hundreds of metres of hose down ravine

Voting set to start in B.C. proportional representation referendum

Two-part ballots now being mailed to all registered voters

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

Most Read