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Where The Globe discusses community, journalism and how Canadians shape our stories

Entry archive:

Public Editor: Does an idiom have a ‘best before’ date?

Sylvia Stead

Our language doesn’t stay still. It adapts to a changing world, gains new terms, drops old ones and changes course when a term or phrase is widely acknowledged as hurtful and derogatory.

One of those phrases appeared in the big headline on the front page of the June 15 paper, which read: “Our warnings fell on deaf ears.” The story was about the horrific and deadly fire at the Grenfell social-housing project in London. It quoted a statement from the Grenfell Action Group, a residents’ organization that had predicted a catastrophe like the one that happened.

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A better way to stay informed about markets and your investments every morning

Gillian Livingston

We recently launched a new and improved daily morning feature within our Inside the Market section aimed at keeping readers better informed.

What every Canadian investor needs to know today highlights the latest developments in markets starting before the opening bell and continuing throughout the morning. Updated continuously with fresh data, interactive charting and market-moving news, the feature is intended to give investors a reliable, easily digestible briefing every morning. Look for the latest market action displayed and explained in easy-to-scan sections on equities, commodities, currencies/bonds, economic news and stocks on the move.  

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Public editor: Overuse of term ‘populism’ can be misleading

Sylvia Stead

Here’s a word that has surged in popularity in the last year. It has been used to describe Donald Trump’s ascendancy, the majority vote on Brexit and the second-place showing of Marine Le Pen in this month’s French presidential election.

I’ve seen business articles in The Globe touting “the new age of populism” for improving stock returns. The newspaper has referred to several Canadian Conservative leadership candidates and world leaders as populists – even the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte.

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Public Editor: Personal stories give crucial context to Ontario hospital crowding debate

Sylvia Stead

A story earlier this week on elderly patients feeling pushed out of hospitals drew a rebuke from an emergency medicine and occupational medicine physician, Dr. Vimal Scott Kapoor.

The story was about an 88-year-old Ontario widower, Ilias Spanidis, who had been in hospital for almost a month when a doctor decided he was free to be discharged following treatment for a spinal fracture. His son disagreed and the dispute ended, according to the son, with hospital officials warning that if the father was not taken to the home they shared, an ambulance would drop him at a homeless shelter.

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Public editor: Globe’s description of ‘unfounded’ did not mislead readers

SYLVIA STEAD

The Globe’s Robyn Doolittle has followed her series on sexual assault allegations, Unfounded, with classic journalistic doggedness. She continues to ask how police forces are responding to the 20-month investigation that found that one out of every five sex-assault allegations is being dismissed as “unfounded.”

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Public Editor: Why are women absent from the pages of The Globe?

Sylvia Stead

Images can be more powerful than even a thousand words.

I often hear from readers about photos in The Globe and Mail: from those who believe that some photos show too much violence or too much of the same old thing; from unhappy readers who note when the Sports section is all men for too many days in a row; from happy readers when they see women on a Sports front. I myself wonder, sometimes, why a photo accompanying a story about something like the unemployment rate couldn’t have been of a woman rather than a man.

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Public editor: Lines between opinion, analysis and news need to be clearer

Sylvia Stead

Globe readers had reason to be confused this week. A few were puzzled by two instances of columnists who were writing either opinion, analysis or politics. So now you are probably confused too.

A little background: Campbell Clark is The Globe and Mail’s chief political writer. He writes several times a week, mostly opinion, but sometimes if it runs on the front page it’s labelled analysis. John Ibbitson is a writer in the Ottawa bureau who regularly writes columns or analysis and occasionally news stories. Adam Radwanski is a political feature writer who mostly writes analysis.

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Public Editor: Journalism needs to focus on accuracy, fairness and independence

SYLVIA STEAD

Words matter, accuracy matters, fairness matters, independence matters.

With journalism under attack these days south of the border, journalists need to focus on the basics of the craft and not become defensive to the swirling charges from Donald Trump that they produce “fake news” and are the “enemy of the American people. SICK!” (His tweets.)

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Public Editor: Error in RCMP story shows lessons to be learned

SYLVIA STEAD

Last Thursday, the main story on the top of the newspaper was wrong. It said the RCMP had declined to mount an audit of recent sexual-assault complaints.

Following The Globe’s series Unfounded on the high number of sexual assault complaints that are dismissed in some jurisdictions, police departments were being asked if they planned to review previous cases and a number said they would.

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Public Editor: With headlines, the details matter

Sylvia Stead

In these times of political spin, contradictions, obfuscation and, at times, outright lies, readers expect to see not only the articles, but also the headlines, reflect the truth as best they can.

A British Columbia reader wrote to me this week calling on The Globe to pay closer attention to the big type. This was on a story about BC Premier Christy Clark who accused the New Democrats of hacking her party’s website.

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Have your travel plans been affected by Donald Trump's immigration ban?

The Globe and Mail is interested in learning about Canadian citizens' and permanent residents' experiences travelling to the U.S. since U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order limiting travel and immigration from Muslim-majority countries.

 

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Public Editor: Why being right beats being first

Sylvia Stead

Today and yesterday, the website and the front page of the newspaper have been and are dominated by extensive coverage of the attack on the Quebec City mosque. Much more coverage is and will be done in the coming hours and days and readers still have many questions: mostly about motive, but also what kind of weapon and where did the shooter get it?

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Public Editor: Trump, truth and the journalistic endeavour: The Globe’s readers weigh in

SYLVIA STEAD

The President of the United States has declared a “running war with the media.”

He called journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on Earth” for their accurate reporting that the crowds at his inauguration were smaller than at Obama’s eight years ago.

His newly installed press secretary, Sean Spicer, in the briefing room in the White House, falsely said last week saw “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period – both in person and around the globe.” On NBC on Sunday, Chuck Todd of Meet the Press asked Mr. Trump’s aide Kellyanne Conway why Mr. Spicer had uttered “a provable falsehood.” Her response? Mr. Spicer had been presenting “alternative facts.” (After that statement, sales of George Orwell’s 1984 soared to sixth on the Amazon list.)

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Public Editor: I’ve had a few calls for language checks – or Czechs

SYLVIA STEAD

A reader on Twitter raised this “Language check” question yesterday. “Why is a move to Status of Women necessarily a ‘demotion?’ ” Demotion was a description used by Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife to describe Maryam Monsef’s move from democratic institutions minister to status of women minister.

He noted that Ms. Monsef “was widely criticized for the way she handled the government’s plans to change the voting system.” If you’ve forgotten, here’s a video link to the controversy. Mr. Fife said he used that word because she is moving from a very controversial ministry to one with little or no controversy.

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Public Editor: When we laid eggs in 2016, you kindly let us know

Sylvia Stead

The number of corrections in The Globe and Mail has inched up this year, perhaps 10 per cent more than last, but frankly I was surprised it wasn’t higher.

In May, The Globe introduced a link on every online article asking readers to report a typo, error or concern; given there were more than 5,000 of those clicks, I expected many more corrections.

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Public Editor: Readers criticize gender balance in coverage of doctor’s killing

SYLVIA STEAD

I’ve heard criticism this week from doctors and other readers upset with our coverage of the death of Dr. Elana Fric Shamji, a highly regarded family physician and associate professor at the University of Toronto. Dr. Fric Shamji was found dead late last week, and her husband has been charged with her murder.

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We must call the ‘alt-right’ what it is: fascist, racist, white supremacist

Sylvia Stead

Should journalists use made-up words?

Sometimes yes. Language changes constantly, and so words such as “post-truth” and “yogalates” come into the vernacular and should be used and explained until they are well understood. (Post-truth: when emotions, beliefs and even lies trump facts as the drivers of public opinion. Yogalates: yoga and Pilates combined.)

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Public Editor: Reader was right to note lack of balance

SYLVIA STEAD

Earlier this week, a reader complained about an article published online about a diamond mine in Northern Ontario. She works in the North in resources and said she knows communities are divided on the subject of development in general and its impact on indigenous people.

The article is about a diamond mine near the indigenous community of Attawapiskat. The headline says, “Diamond mines give economic sparkle to Canada’s north.”

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Public Editor: Thank you, readers, for suggesting we look at solitary confinement

SYLVIA STEAD

In June, I asked readers what issues they felt should go under the media microscope. The Globe and Mail had been honoured for its work on military men and women suffering from post-traumatic stress and from its coverage of indigenous women, but there is always much more to do.

A couple of readers suggested solitary confinement and I passed those messages on to the senior editors.

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