Two editors were axed from Canadian newspaper The Times and Transcript for a breach of media ethics, the Canadian Chronicle Herald reported.
One of the editors, Times and Trancript managing editor Al Hogan, went to a government-owned lodge, Larry’s Gulch, to meet with NB Liquor, and didn’t tell the newspaper.
The acceptance of freebies from sources creates a conflict of interest for journalists
Then, when he was about to be outed because a guest list for the lodge was going to be made public, Hogan and the other editor, assistant managing editor Murray Guy, tried to cover up the meeting by getting Hogan’s name removed from the list.
The newspaper’s parent company, Brunswick News, fired Hogan, and Guy resigned, Brunswick News ombudswoman Patricia Graham said in a column. The Times and Transcript is based in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Ombudswoman Graham reviewed the behavior of Hogan and Guy. She said Brunswick News began its investigation Feb. 5.
Graham said: “It is contrary to journalistic standards to accept a gift from government or any government agency. It would bring into question Mr. Guy’s impartiality and also the credibility of the newspaper in covering either NB Liquor or the government.”
She went on, “They sought to have an official government document altered and to manipulate the public record,” Graham is quoted as saying. She called the two editors’ behavior “unethical,” adding, “They have damaged the credibility of their newspaper and of Brunswick News.”
Graham’s Feb. 16 column on the ethics lapse and editors’ exits is headlined “Two BNI careers at an end after ethics probe.”
Guy wasn’t supposed to be at the lodge for work, the ombudswoman’s column said. He told the Brunswick News in 2013 he didn’t go to the lodge. The second editor, Hogan, got in trouble because he allegedly helped Guy try to cover up that meeting.
“Newspaper editors really shouldn’t be traveling as guests of the government to clandestine meetings with powerful government bureaucrats for secret conversations, the purpose and content of which never get reported,” Canadian news site Canadaland reported.
Ombudswoman Graham “alleges that Guy misled the company by insisting he had not gone to the lodge, and that Guy and Hogan tried to have a deputy minister of communications in former premier David Alward’s government change the guest list before releasing it to the media,” the Canadian Press reported.
Alward, the former premier whose aide is implicated in the story, told the Canadian Press he knows “absolutely nothing about it.”
The Telegraph-Journal had previously reported on guests at the lodge. In 2013, one of its reporters started reporting on a story about the guests, found Guy’s name, asked the paper and was told by Hogan that “Guy’s inclusion on the list was a mistake.” The paper didn’t publish a story on Guy being at the lodge.
The paper’s then-editor John Wishart and Brunswick News publisher Jamie Irving talked about Guy being on the list and decided to discipline Guy. “Wishart says he instruted Mr Hogan to discipline Mr. Guy and assumed it had been done,” but neither Hogan nor Guy said they were told.
Wishart was removed as editor and made editorial and opinion page editor, Graham reported.
iMediaEthics asked Hogan for comment via LinkedIn. We didn’t see any contact information for Guy. We have also written to Brunswick News for comment.