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Recent “news” reports from Quinte News, “Frost contract under review” and 95.5 Hits FM “Brighton council will review its year old contract with Chief Administrative Officer Gayle Frost” [Edit 09/03/2015: 95.5 Hits FM deleted their Facebook post], raise some serious questions regarding the journalistic integrity and independence of these two local “news” outlets.

Before reading further, I would encourage readers to listen the audio recording from the March 5, 2015 Brighton Council meeting that was included in the report by 100.9 myFM titled, “Brighton Council will get in the “know” when it comes to employee contracts“. I attended the Council meeting and I can confirm that the report by myFM is an accurate account and this is corroborated by the audio recording.

However, as you can see from the following screenshot, the Quinte News reporter Ms. Joyce Cassin filed a completely different report that I find to be inaccurate and misleading. What is also concerning is the response from Quinte News once comments were submitted questioning the accuracy and content of the reporting. As you can see from the first comment, it is clear that the person identified as “St8 UP” was mislead by the article. The third and fourth comments from two residents that attended the Council meeting clearly contradicted what was reported and at this point Quinte News closed the comments. Even more concerning than the actual closing of the comments is the fact that they chose not to display the third comment by the person named “Jeannine“, thereby limiting the contradictory evidence.

After some discussion of this on social media, Quinte News re-opened the comments on the article and a member of the Quinte News team made a post attempting to defend the article by Ms. Cassin. The comment was made by Mr. John Spitters, but rather than reveal his identity, he chose to post the comment under the name “John“.

Quinte_News_Frost_contract_under_review

I have sent the following questions to Quinte News and at the time of the writing of this blog post I have not yet received a response:

1. Why did you close comments on your post? Is is because it was inaccurate and misleading and you were concerned that you would be called out?

 

2. Before closing the comments, there were comments made by a person called ‘John’. Why did Mr. John Spitters not identify himself as an employee of your company and a colleague of your reporter Ms. Cassin?

 

3. Why do you state that the contract with CAO Frost was signed a year ago, when in fact it was signed almost two years ago?

 

4. How was it determined “That left only Frost’s contract”? You don’t have to name the source, but you do have to state that it did not come from the meeting, otherwise you are just misleading the public.

Another inaccurate and misleading article was posted by 95.5 Hits FM “Brighton council will review its year old contract with Chief Administrative Officer Gayle Frost“.

955_Frost_Contract2

955_Frost_Contract1

I have sent the following questions to 95.5 Hits FM and at the time of the writing of this blog post I have not yet received a response:

1. You organization appears to be independent from Quinte News, but your headline includes the same inaccurate information as Quinte News. So, do you report the news independently, or do draw from a common “article pool”? If you have a reporter attend the meeting, why did they copy and paste information from another reporter at the meeting? If it was the other way around, perhaps you could confirm?

 

2. How was it determined “That left only Frost’s contract”? You don’t have to name the source, but you do have to state that it did not come from the meeting, otherwise you are just misleading the public.

 

3. Why do you state that the contract with CAO Frost was signed a year ago, when in fact it was signed almost two years ago?

 

4. You state, “which it was revealed at the meeting had been drawn up by the previous council to protect the CAO from harassment”. Since CAO Frost’s contract was NOT discussed at the meeting, how can you make the claim that it was, let alone the claims made in the quotation itself?

 

5. Are your reporters not trained to check the spelling of names when they reference them in their articles? FYI, you can find the correct spelling via the Brighton Municipal website at www.brighton.ca.

I would suggest that if recognized “news” outlets do not have reporters that are capable of writing independent articles that are based on fact, then they should not publish the articles submitted. Otherwise they are doing themselves, their advertisers and our community a disservice.

I don’t have any issue if these “news” outlets want to post opinion-based content, but they shouldn’t try to pass it off as “news“!

 

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