A violation of journalistic standards

Here’s a prime example of when a journalist fails to observe best practices.

The following news release was written by my mom, after consultation with me on how to write a news release for an event happening in Markham, Ontario. A simple enough news release, pertinent information is given by the Event Communications Coordinator (my mom).

Community Celebrates Dual Anniversaries
MARKHAM, ONT . (May 31, 2012) – June 15 has been declared Swan Lake Village
Day in Markham.
Swan Lake Village, a unique adult lifestyle community, will celebrate its
15th anniversary on June 15, 2012, from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m.
With a resounding “Oyez” the Town Crier, John Webster, will open the
formalities at 4:30 p.m., followed by an address by Markham Mayor, Frank
Lloyd Robertson will officiate over a presentation to Brad Warren, the
original developer of Swan Lake Village, to honour Mr. Warren’s unique
vision for, and commitment to, this very vibrant and successful community.
In recognition of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Mayor Scarpitti will
acknowledge those residents of the Village who have been married for 60
years or more and those who are celebrating an 86th birthday,
A street party, with entertainment and food, will follow, open to residents
and press only.
Swan Lake Village is one of the first lifestyle communities in Ontario, with
a population of about 1100. Today it resonates with an inimitable energy,
fueled by a vast array of activities, all within walking distance, supported
by residents, who are proud to know their neighbours.
The Swan Lake Community Clubhouse is located at 100 Lakeside Vista Way,
Markham, ON.
Please contact the undersigned to make arrangements for security and
Communications for Swan Lake Village Events Teri Laflamme

Here’s what was actually published by the town’s newspaper, the Economist and Sun

Swan Lake community turns 15

Swan Lake Village, an adult lifestyle community, will celebrate its 15th anniversary this year on the first Swan Lake Day, proclaimed by Markham council Tuesday.
Formal celebrations kick off at 4:30 p.m. June 15.
Former CTV News chief anchor and senior editor Lloyd Robertson, a Swan Lake resident, will officiate a presentation to Brad Warren, the original developer of Swan Lake Village.
In recognition of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Mayor Frank Scarpitti will acknowledge those residents of the village who have been married for 60 years or more and those who are celebrating an 86th birthday.
Swan Lake Village has a population of about 1,100.
The community features a spring-fed lake setting surrounded by a 28-acre environmental park with walking trails, an interactive water play facility and other amenities.
For more information about the celebration, contact Teri LaFlamme at…

See the glaring discrepancies? If not, they are:

   a) the original made no mention of Lloyd’s residence.
       b) the town crier’s involvement was omitted. 
       c) Formal Celebration and Formalities are two entirely different things. 
       d) the news release made no mention of the lake itself and the fact that it’s spring-fed and part of a 28 acre environmental reserve.
       e) our lastname suddenly gained a second capital letter. It’s Laflamme.  

If anything has been drilled into our heads over the last few months at Centennial, it’s that you don’t fudge the details. Here’s a clear case where the details were definitely fudged. Where Hsieh got the idea to change the details around like that is beyond me. It’s likely she won’t be writing for the paper much longer after this fiasco.

The saddest and most disgusting part of it all… THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED ON THE FRONT PAGE!


2 thoughts on “A violation of journalistic standards

  1. It’s late at night and I’m on my Blackberry, but let me see if I’ve got this right- the journalist made it seem like a public celebration when it was actually a only the “formalities” that were public, followed by a private event for residents and press only.
    Does Roberston even live there? Where would they have gotten that from? If he doesn’t, then BIG mistake. Even if he does live there, maybe he didn’t want the whole town to know.

    Where do we think she got the “spring fed” etc. Description from? Is it accurate?

    • The situation really here is that extrapolated information was inserted. Lloyd Robertson’s personal privacy has effectively been violated by the publishing of his residence. And yes, he does live in the area, but still it was wrong to publish it. He is a private individual.

      The description of the pond was likely from somewhere on the Town’s website, it’s not information that was provided in the original NR. Information about the village was omitted… that’s far more important than where the water that feeds a huge pond comes from.

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