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

  • Warriors coach Kerr calls for gun control after Texas school shooting

    World News CTV News
    Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr refused to talk about basketball at a pre-game news conference on Tuesday and instead called for stricter gun control after the killing of at least 18 children and an adult in a Texas school shooting. Source
  • Family grieves teacher killed in Texas school massacre

    World News CTV News
    Eva Mireles on Tuesday went to a job she seemed to love, teaching fourth grade in the small Texas town of Uvalde, but she never came home, murdered along with 19 pupils and another teacher in the latest mass shooting to plague U.S. Source
  • Texas elementary school's end-of-year plans shattered by shooting

    World News CTV News
    The children at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, were two days away from their summer break when Tuesday's massacre unfolded. They had visited the zoo and participated in a gifted-and-talented showcase, recent posts on the school's Facebook page showed. Source
  • Delegations from Sweden and Finland in Turkey for NATO talks

    World News CTV News
    ANKARA, Turkey - Senior officials from Sweden and Finland met with Turkish counterparts in Ankara on Wednesday in an effort to overcome Turkey's strong objections to the Nordic nations' bids to join NATO. Sweden and Finland submitted their written applications to join NATO last week. Source
  • Pakistan raises roadblocks to stop ex-prime minister's banned rally

    World News CTV News
    ISLAMABAD - Pakistani authorities used dozens of shipping containers and trucks to block off major roads into Islamabad on Wednesday, after a defiant former prime minister Imran Khan said he would march with demonstrators to the city centre for a rally he hopes will bring down the government and force early elections. Source
  • Marcos Jr. proclaimed next Philippine president with huge win

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, Philippines - Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was proclaimed the next president of the Philippines by a joint session of Congress on Wednesday following a landslide election triumph 36 years after his dictator father was ousted in a pro-democracy uprising. Source
  • Palestinian teen shot dead in Israeli raid on West Bank

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM - Health authorities said a 16-year-old Palestinian died early Wednesday after being wounded during clashes with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, the latest in a wave of violence that has persisted for months. Source
  • Russia launches fresh offensive, wants sanctions relief to free up Ukraine food supply routes

    World News CBC News
    Russian forces launched offensives on towns in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, with constant mortar bombardment destroying several houses and killing civilians, Ukrainian officials said, as Russia focuses its attack on the industrial Donbas region. Russia has been focused on attempting to seize the separatist-claimed Donbas's two provinces, Donetsk and Luhansk, and trap Ukrainian forces in a pocket on the main eastern front, according to Ukrainian officials. Source
  • Winnipeg River, already flowing at a record volume, slated to rise even higher

    Canada News CBC News
    The Winnipeg River is flowing at a record volume in Manitoba because officials no longer have any other option to control flooding across a vast swath of northwestern Ontario and northern Minnesota. Flooding on the Winnipeg River, which is running at about three-and-a-half times higher its usual volume this time of year, has already forced hundreds of people from their homes and washed out roads in Whiteshell Provincial Park. Source
  • How one stone gave a Halifax-area park heritage status

    Canada News CBC News
    A hulking, rocking chunk of granite that's been attracting visitors for two centuries and is rumoured to have caught the attention of royalty has had its historical importance to the Halifax area set in stone. The Halifax Regional Municipality awarded heritage status last week to the Rocking Stone and the surrounding Kidston Lake Park in the community of Spryfield. Source