Unfairly accuses CBC reporter of sloppy journalism
Gary Gosine had a conniption on Monday morning.
He spoke with Jeff Gilhooly of CBC Radio, and then Randy Simms of Open Line. I heard he also called Nightline.
He was having a fit about a story that aired Friday evening on CBC Here & Now. Reporter Jane Adey brought us an interesting piece about the families affected by the recent fire on Bell Island, in which three young children died.
In the aftermath of that tragedy, hundreds of people donated food, clothing, toys, furniture, money and more, to the families affected by the fire. In her story, Jane Adey asked some good questions about what is happening to the donated goods and money. She spoke with a family member, and a woman in Portugal Cove who had collected a roomful of donations. Adey tried to interview Wabana Mayor Gary Gosine, chair of the committee managing the donations, but he refused to comment (though he did send a press release just before airtime, which was quoted in Adey's story).
I heard Gosine today, both on the Morning Show and Open Line. His allegations, quite frankly, were shocking. He attacked the integrity of reporter Jane Adey, accusing her and the CBC of sloppy journalism (I didn't record his exact words, but it was pretty strong stuff). He complained about not having an opportunity to voice his side of the story, and even threatened a lawsuit.
I spoke with Jane Adey on Monday afternoon, and I don't think it's necessary to even quote her here. Because she has nothing to answer for. Adey did her job, and did it well. She reported the valid concerns of people directly involved in the story. She tried repeatedly to get a comment from Gosine, who flatly refused.
At one point, Adey was on Bell Island interviewing a family member, and Gosine was in the vehicle lineup at the ferry, on the Portugal Cove side. So reporter Mark Quinn drove to Portugal Cove, arrived at the lineup and spoke with Gosine on his cell phone. But Gosine refused to identify himself, and do the interview.
If Gosine had spoken with Adey or Quinn when he had the opportunity, he might have mitigated some of the fall-out from this story depending, of course, on what he had to say. Adey said Gosine was more concerned with trying to talk her out of doing the story, than providing a comment.
While working on this item, I received a message from Peter Walsh, a reporter with The Telegram and someone who has had his work attacked recently. (And there was another recent assault on media integrity, which you can read about here.)
Walsh said there are times when reporters need to stop competing and start sticking up for one another.
"This is one of those times," he said. "I don't know Jane Adey very well, but I watched her report Friday night and thought it was excellent. The story shined light on that committee and engaged the public to follow up their donations. That's good journalism, not bad. It raises many good questions about donations.
"To me this is yet another example of shoot the messenger. Reporters have always had to have thick skins against such attacks, but in my opinion they are happening more frequently lately and in completely unwarranted circumstances. I just hope audiences and readers can see it for what it is, and I want to voice my support for Adey."
From my experience, there's a pretty good rule of thumb that can be applied in situations like this. That is, whenever a public figure complains of being the victim of "shoddy journalism" it usually means exactly the opposite; that the reporter has been doing a good job.
Adey deserves congratulations for her work, and owes apologies to no one.