Ottawa Citizen hit with a dart

The Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) pointed one of its famous darts northward in its May/June issue. And this one struck editors of the Canwest-owned Ottawa Citizen.

In its regular Darts and Laurels section, the CJR pegged the Citizen for “a little Canadian logrolling.” Specifically, the paper’s editors were criticized for running a long, glowing story about Global National’s move to Ottawa. One Canwest organization pushing another. The CJR piece notes:

“Of the lead article’s 768 words, more than four hundred were puffy
quotes and glosses from Canwest corporate honchos—the CEO and president
and the chairman of the board, among others. Inside, the paper
recounted the anchor’s premiere day with a “great man”-style tick tock:
drinking coffee, doing a publicity interview, buying long underwear.
Another article tallied the boldface names that dropped by the premiere
party. Online, the articles were paired with extensive photo galleries.
And a video interview. Easy to miss in all this glowing coverage was
any editorial disclosure—save one slight, circuitous mention tucked at
the bottom of a throwaway fact box—that the
Citizen, too, is owned by Canwest. Graham Green, the Citizen’s executive editor, declined to comment on the coverage but offered this: “I think the Columbia Journalism Review has lots of things you could be looking at.”

Journalist and editor of RegretTheError.com Craig Silverman points out on his blog that Canadian items are rarely featured in the CJR’s Darts and Laurels section, and this isn’t really a great way to portray Canadian news happenings to journalists outside the country. He writes:

“Unfortunately, one of our largest daily papers — and the big media
company that owns it — comes off looking pretty backward…A stellar quote from Green: It’s barely grammatical and delightfully hostile. Just the image we want to project to the world.”

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