The Moose Jaw Times-Herald does not practice 'gotcha' journalism.
Moose Jaw Times-Herald
We don't go with best guesses and half-truths when full facts are needed.
And we try to - on your behalf - choose our words carefully. To make sure they are accurate and true.
This week, we were working on a story that put us to the test of fairness, accuracy and standards, and we made a decision as an editorial team to not publish or post - because we had serious doubts about accuracy.
The story concerned MP Tom Lukiwski and a comment he made on the night of the Oct. 19 federal election. Our reporter was there, along with other media.
Lukiwski put his support behind a provincial candidate, pointing out that they just couldn't let the female NDP candidate win the riding. As part of his speech against the NDP and their candidate, he used what sounded like 'whore'.
The reporter failed to tell editors until almost a month after the event that anything potentially newsworthy was said.
Despite the fact there were other people in the room, and other news media as well, there had been no other coverage of this comment. What had they heard?
While we knew readers would wonder about the time lapse - asking 'Why now?' - we supported the reporter following the story.
We reviewed the tape and asked the reporter to investigate further and provide the due diligence that a potential story like this one demanded.
With support from her editors, the reporter continued with the investigation, including an interview with Lukiwski. He stated that the word he used was 'horde', not whore. When reviewing the tape, we found reasonable doubt as to which word was used.
We were not certain. Some heard one word, while others heard the other.
It became a situation of 'he said-we allege' and that is not how our newsroom works.
The reporter involved was told that our investigation would remain open pending other information she could gather, including witnesses who may come forward.
That was where the matter was left. It was not killed and there was no censorship. There was a potential story, but one that needed more information before we were comfortable moving forward with it.
We strive to meet good journalistic and legal standards and included our legal counsel in our dicussions on this.
In the end we could not with certainty confirm the word choice that the MP had made.
And we work with and know the power of every single word.
In this situation, we stand by - as editors, a newspaper and as a media newsgroup - our process. We, even amid an uproar, are very proud of it.
Not every story investigated will be published. If something falls short, then it doesn't make the grade. This is a basic and trusted principal of good journalism.
The video in question has now been made public, and we know people will form their own opinions on the single word that was used. But we trust the decision we made to hold a story based on guesswork, opinion and a 'could be'. We don't take easy shortcuts for the sake of page-views on our sites or notoriety in a byline.
We're not going to try to make a name for ourselves on serving up poor journalism.
We will continue to try our best at the Moose Jaw Times-Herald and we will welcome you to be part of the conversation - even debate - on how we can become better.
Each of your words matter as well.
But we work with whole-truths and never half-measures when it comes to a man's reputation and our own standards.
Moose Jaw Times-Herald