Star public editor: If you were editor of the Star, what would you have done differently in 2013?

By Kathy English, public editor for the Toronto Star

By Kathy English, public editor for the Toronto Star

If you were the editor of the Toronto Star, the most challenging judgment call you would have faced in 2013 was whether to publish the news that drug dealers were shopping around a video showing Mayor Rob Ford smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine and making homophobic and racist remarks.

As the entire world now knows, the editor decided to publish that explosive story, reporting that two of the Star’s top reporters had viewed the video. The mayor denied, denied, denied. Numerous readers questioned the Star’s judgment. A handful took their complaints to the Ontario Press Council.

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Of course, months later, after Toronto Police discovered the video on a computer hard drive, the mayor admitted that indeed he had smoked crack cocaine likely “in one of my drunken stupors.” The Star was vindicated fully. Publishing was indeed the right judgment.

In producing a newspaper, a 24/7 website and feeding the social media beast, the Star’s journalists make thousands of judgment calls every day. While most are relatively routine — not nearly so high stakes as the many judgments required in covering the bad behavior of the mayor this past year — the Star’s readers are as apt to question the more minor matters of taste, style and usage as the weightier ethical and legal dilemmas journalists face.

Daily, we hear from dozens of readers with questions and concerns about the accuracy, fairness, taste and ethics of the Star’s journalism. Following is a small sampling of matters that readers questioned in 2013.

If you were the editor, what would you do? Please tell us.

To continue reading this column, please go the where it was originally published.

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