Tuesday, July 14, 2009  
   Volume 79 - Issue 28 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“No, I did not.”
- Councillor John Salus  
- when questioned whether 
or not he divulged confidential 
information to the Pass Herald 

 

A Fragile Lens- Nathen GallagherI’d like to take this opportunity to clarify something.
In the May 19 issue of the Pass Herald, it was reported on the front page that Councillor John Salus had said that council had received a legal opinion stating that the Crowsnest Centre Society has no legal right to sign binding leases on behalf of the municipality, and that therefor the lease with the Consortium is not valid.
I’m not here to make any correction to what was said in that article, because everything reported in it is accurate. But things that have happened since that article was published need to be talked about.
At the July 7 council meeting, Councillor Larry Mitchell indicated that the information printed in the Herald, which came to me through Councillor Salus, was based on confidential in-camera discussions that are not to be discussed in public. He asked Councillor Salus if he had divulged confidential information to the Pass Herald.
Councillor Salus replied, “No, I did not.”
This caused me to raise my eyebrow in sudden confusion and consternation. Was Councillor Salus, I wondered, indicating that I had lied in my newspaper?
I’m still not certain exactly what he meant. I’m not going to put words in his mouth or make aspersions as to the veracity of his statement.
But I feel as though my integrity as a reporter has on some level been impugned, and I can’t let that sit without saying something.
A reporter depends on integrity, and on honesty. A reporter who prints untrue things, who makes things up, will not be a reporter for long. This is true for every professional relationship a reporter forms in a community.
 
If I made things up or reported things inaccurately, it wouldn’t be long before no one would talk to me and no one would pay me to do this job.
So I’m sure you can understand that I take seriously any suggestion that I’m making things up. Even beyond personal honour, it’s about my ability to make a living with the skills I have.
I assure you, the reader, that I do not make things up in my articles. I never have, and I promise you that I never will. I have no respect for lies, and everything I print is something that I believe is accurate. If I am ever inaccurate in a fact that I print, I will correct it if the inaccuracy is made known to me.
Everything that I printed in the article in question is accurate. The things that I attributed to Councillor Salus are things that he told me at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon in May. He and I were sitting at the same table, along with one other person, and I posed him several questions about council’s recent decision to set a date for closing the Centre’s old wing.
I’d like to think that anyone who has dealt with me in my four years as a reporter in the Pass knows that I am honest and that I make no efforts to deceive people. I do not always agree with everyone, nor with all the answers people give me, but if I print those words I will print them accurately.
Remember, however, that the relationship between a reporter and the people he talks to goes both ways. If the reporter deals dishonestly, the person will no longer trust that reporter. But if the person being interviewed deals dishonestly, the opposite is true as well.
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   Volume 79 - Issue 28 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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