Saturday, September 21, 2013

Speculation is not journalism

An unacknowledged note to the Editor of the Toronto Star:

Your report of September 13 "Court decision could reveal gang links to Ford" is questionable journalism. The word "could" equally means "could not."  This same sentence begins "If the judge ..." You do not state what would happen "if the judge does not."

You insist on regurgitating that hoary item about the video that "appear to show ..." It may or may not. Let's wait and see.

This is not news but self-serving speculation given the over-wrought Punch and Judy show (or is it vaudeville?) between you and Mayor Rob Ford.

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It is not my mission in life to be picking on the Star, but the editors do have a way of provoking negative reaction. (Actually, too many journalists do that, not only at the Star.) The September 19 issue featured an invitation to "make this column come alive."  To do so, simply wave one of those electronic devices over the indicated item.

By coincidence, I am on the Star's survey list. They asked my reaction to this innovation. I replied that good writing does not require a mechanical instrument to make the story come alive. Good writing makes the words jump off the page.

Nor do I expect an acknowledgement of this message.

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