3. Privacy versus the public’s right to know

Some critics argue journalists use the phrase “public interest” too liberally, as a convenient way to justify the publication of a contentious or sensitive story. “I think the catch-all phrase of what is in the ‘public interest’ is something that is so non-defined and not prescriptive that it can essentially be wrapped around any incident,” […]

2. Suicide and the public interest

The Spectator’s ethics guidelines indicate that suicide should not be reported unless there is a “public need to know” [1]. But how, exactly, should that public interest be defined? As a societal issue, there is no question that reporting on suicide is in the public interest, according to CBC ombudsman Esther Enkin, who co-wrote the […]

1. “We don’t routinely report on suicides”

After it became clear that the police officer had taken his own life, the first hurdle that The Spectator’s editors and reporters faced was their own publication’s policy on suicide reporting. In 2005, many newspapers followed a long-standing blanket policy that cautioned reporters against covering incidents of suicide. The Spectator was among them. Even today, […]