For the most part, I believe journalists in this town try to do a good job. In terms of reporting on my workplace, rarely do they get all the facts right, but I don’t hold that against them. Nothing about the electrical business is straightforward, and as long as they do their best to understand, and as long as they try to be fair and balanced, I figure that’s the best you can expect. I have no problem with reporters writing critical stories about us: Lord knows with the recent flurry of power outages we deserve scrutiny. But these stories should be based on fact, and I think in general the local media tries to be factual. I also think I have a pretty good working relationship with reporters here. I was a journalist in a former life so I understand their deadlines, their needs, and I take pride in trying to meet those needs as best as I possibly can. I phone them back promptly and I answer their questions. And if I don’t know the answer I find out and call them back.
Then there is the Yukon News. I don’t know what it is about this thrice weekly paper, but they simply don’t seem interested in letting the facts get in the way of a good story. Over the years they have run stories about Yukon Energy that have been riddled with erroneous information and false assumptions. When I’ve called them to point out the factual errors my complaints have, for the most part, fallen on deaf ears.
A couple of months ago, they ran a news story and an editorial, both of which were about as far from any semblance of truth as you can get. Once again I called to ask for a correction, but they didn’t run one. That’s when I said ‘enough is enough’. So I stopped returning their calls for information.
A while later, one of the reporters came to my work. I explained that I would no longer be giving interviews to the Yukon News and I took some time to explain why. I talked about the falsehoods, the refusal to print corrections, and I told the reporter I would be happy to talk further about this with his editor. The reporter asked, “Do you think it’s fair to the public that you won’t provide them with information?” I said that it was rather presumptuous to assume that Yukoners only relied on the Yukon News for their information. What I should have said, but only thought to afterwards, was that what wasn’t fair to the public was masquerading assumptions and false information as the truth.
I never heard back from the editor. However on Friday, an editoral appeared. Copywrite laws don’t allow me to post it here but if you want to sign up (for free) with the paper you can read it online. You’ll note it once again doesn’t present the truth…it says I gave no explanation for not talking to the News. I also find it a bit amusing that of the long list of questions they ask, most have already been answered multiple times by other local media.
I know I’m never going to win this one. The Yukon News has a much bigger ink barrel than I ever will. But for once I wanted the Yukoners who read this blog to get the full story.