Journalism ethics expert in 'Scud Stud' defamation case defends column

CALGARY -- An expert on journalistic ethics testified Friday that he doesn't believe a one-time Postmedia columnist did anything wrong when he wrote a contentious article about former journalist Arthur Kent.

See Full Article

Dean Jobb, an associate professor of the School of Journalism at the University of Kings College in Halifax, was hired by Postmedia to write a rebuttal of an earlier report by Jeffrey Dvorkin, director of the University of Toronto's journalism program.

Kent, 61, sued Postmedia, the National Post and Don Martin over a column written about him during the 2008 Alberta election.

Kent became known as the "Scud Stud" for his reporting on Iraqi missile strikes for NBC during the Gulf War. The column at issue said he was a "dud" on the campaign trail.

It used unnamed sources to paint Kent as a loose cannon who criticized the party and its leadership.

Dvorkin, a former managing editor and chief journalist at CBC radio, testified earlier that the article didn't "meet the standards of journalism at any level." He also criticized the use of anonymous sources and suggested it was based on spurious information.

Jobb, who has written a number of commentaries and feature articles for Postmedia, said he is satisfied that Martin was following solid journalist practices.

"He's researching a campaign. He's talking to two key insiders. He's able to obtain an internal email that backs up and corroborates what he's hearing," Jobb said.

"This is extensive research, and while columnists do comment on the news, they often do and should do their own investigation or research to follow up," he added.

"He's done what an experienced columnist would do in this situation. He's followed the leads he's been given and done more research to back up his opinion."

Jobb is satisfied Martin, who sent an email to the campaign website seeking comment from Kent and said no one answered when he called the office, made a sufficient effort to reach the candidate.

He also defended the use of anonymous sources, which he said remain recognized by leading news organization, especially in matters of public interest.

Jobb said politics, the conduct of political parties and behaviour of politicians are "obviously a matter of public interest in a democracy."

"This is consistent with ethical conduct of a journalist."

Under cross-examination, Jobb was asked about an admission by Martin during his testimony that a key paragraph in his article was not true.

Part of the column read: "Alberta Conservatives have bestowed problem candidate Arthur Kent with a less flattering designation as he noisily blusters his way through their reeling election campaign -- the 'Dud Scud."'

Martin acknowledged it wasn't several individuals who used the name, but just one person, and he couldn't remember who it was.

"Would you agree if that proposition is not true, then paragraph two should not be in the article at all?" Kent's lawyer, Kent Jesse, asked Jobb.

"It certainly shouldn't read that way," Jobb said.

Jobb was the final defence witness in proceedings that have spread over four weeks and heard from dozens of witnesses.

Closing arguments are scheduled for next Wednesday with a decision sometime in the new year.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • A second Alberta man told to remove pro-oil and gas shirt during Parliament tour

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- For the second time this month, a Calgary man was told to remove his “I love Canadian oil and gas” shirt while visiting Ottawa’s Parliament. Chris Wollin said a security officer told him that he couldn’t wear his sweatshirt, which displayed his support for the oil and gas industry, because the Senate prohibits political messages in the building. Source
  • University of Victoria opens counselling services after deadly bus crash kills two students

    Canada News CTV News
    VICTORIA -- University of Victoria students are grappling with the sudden deaths of two of their peers in a bus crash Friday evening en route to a marine research centre. Forty-five students and two teaching assistants were aboard the bus to Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre when it went off a gravel road and down an embankment about 40 kilometres from Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, according to a statement from the university. Source
  • Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

    Canada News CBC News
    After what police called an "ambush-style" shooting in Mississauga, Ont., killed a teenager and wounded five other people, federal party leaders were quick to offer condolences Sunday, but had little in the way of new ideas to address gun violence in Canada's cities. Source
  • Forecasters warn of U.S. coast rip currents caused by Humberto

    World News CTV News
    MIAMI -- Beachgoers on the southeastern U.S. coast should be wary of potentially dangerous rip currents caused by Tropical Storm Humberto, the National Hurricane Center said Sunday. On Sunday evening, Humberto was 170 miles (270 kilometres) east-northeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, and moving north at 6 mph (9 kph). Source
  • Victoria university opens counselling services after deadly bus crash kills 2 students

    Canada News CBC News
    University of Victoria students are grappling with the sudden deaths of two of their peers in a bus crash Friday evening en route to a marine research centre. Forty-five students and two teaching assistants were aboard the bus to Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre when it went off a gravel road and down an embankment about 40 kilometres from Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, according to a statement from the university. Source
  • Saskatoon Heritage Society seeks city council help to revive part of historic Capitol movie theatre

    Canada News CBC News
    The Saskatoon Heritage Society is looking for city council's support in honouring a unique part of the city's past. The group wants to restore and publicly display artifacts from the Capitol movie theatre. For 50 years, the building reigned as the city's grand movie palace and doubled as a public gathering place until its bitterly-opposed demolition in 1979. Source
  • Church of Scotland sues for share of Viking treasure trove

    World News CTV News
    The Church of Scotland is suing a man for a share of a US$2.5 million Viking treasure trove he discovered with a metal detector on church land in 2014. Retired businessman and detectorist Derek McLennan uncovered the 10th-century hoard in a field in the Dumfries and Galloway region of western Scotland. Source
  • Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer promises a 'universal tax credit' if elected

    Canada News CBC News
    Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer unveiled a new tax cut plan Sunday that he says will save taxpayers hundreds of dollars a year, a key plank of the Tory platform to make life more affordable. Scheer said, if elected, a Conservative government would cut the tax rate on income under $47,630 to 13.75 per cent from 15 per cent. Source
  • Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer promises tax cut to save average taxpayer hundreds of dollars

    Canada News CBC News
    Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer unveiled a new tax cut plan Sunday that he says will save taxpayers hundreds of dollars a year, a key plank of the Tory platform to make life more affordable. Scheer said, if elected, a Conservative government would cut the tax rate on income under $47,630 to 13.75 per cent from 15 per cent. Source
  • U.S. Democratic presidential candidates call for Kavanaugh's impeachment

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- At least three Democratic presidential candidates are calling for the impeachment of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the face of a new, uninvestigated, allegation of sexual impropriety when he was in college. Source