Letter: Accusations should not have been published

Dear editor:

The story you wrote and published on the View website last weekend is an example of the kind of reporting and storytelling that my teachers in journalism school (Carleton University) taught me never to do.

Mr. Walton,  you wrote a story without doing the multiple source data gathering and fact checking that is an essential practice of any credible newspaper organization.

Rushing to get a story, any story written for a digital platform, I suggest, creates a sense of urgency to publish. As well, your lack of experience may be making you easy prey for a skilled communicator like Mr. Royer.

Take a look at the April 2015 biographical data Mr.Royer submitted to Council. The data indicates he knows how to select, organize, frame and present bits of data that can elicit non-critical sense-making abilities of his target audience, whether that is a novice community newspaper reporter/editor or District Council members.

My hope is that you will start to think critically about the data you are gathering and organizing into stories about this community. Otherwise you will become known as a shill for land developers.

Do you want  to transform the View and its website into an advertorial platform that poses as credible community news-gathering and storytelling?

I see it as is a source of data about your work as a community newspaper journalist at this point in time. The story does not report on the variety of concerns residents expressed about the Council decision to disregard the Official Community Plan. The OCP calls for a a maximum of three storeys on Beach Avenue.

People were asking how was Council persuaded to allow Mr. Royer to plan a five storey building that also goes right to his neighbour’s lot-line.

People asked how could Council disregard the problems of an increased demand for parking spaces by the buildings’ residents and businesses along Beach Avenue?

Those are some of the concerns I heard residents express during the Thursday night meeting.

Instead you wrote a story that in my opinion comes close to defaming Mr. Brophy by which  you intentionally or unintentionally support Mr. Royer’s self-interest as he seeks to shore up a decision by Council to ignore the Downtown Plan created by residents and amended to the Official Community Plan. 

On a personal note I wish you well. Having been a community newspaper reporter, editor and publisher, I know it takes time, effort, and courage to critically evaluate the evidence base we rely upon while writing stories about things that matter to our readers.

Nancy Merrill


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