2. Examining the Evidence

Although news organizations were aware of the kind of evidence that would be presented in court, Grant said they had little time between when the evidence was presented and when they would need to make decisions about whether to publish. This meant expedient decisions had to be made regarding what evidence was necessary, and how it could be presented in a way that wouldn’t harm readers and other interested parties

The evidence that spurred the most debate within the CBC newsroom was the Saretzky re-enactment video. In it, Saretzky took officers to the campsite where he murdered Hailey and demonstrated in detail what he did to her body. The video was so evocative that, according to CTV Calgary, multiple members of the jury “broke down as the accused re-enacted the murders.”1 Franklin, Michael. “Jurors in tears after watching re-enactment of little girl’s death in Saretzky trial,” CTV Calgary. June 16, 2017.

Photographic evidence presented in court included images of the victims’ houses, the campsite, weapons, pillows soaked in blood, blood-spattered walls and bone fragments from the toddler’s body. With limited time, reporters were faced with the dilemma of choosing which photos fairly framed their reporting and which were too graphic for public viewing.

Grant said she had “never covered a case before where [CBC] had to consider holding so much back because it just was so over the top and horrific.”2Meghan Grant. Interview done by Devika Desai, Sade Lewis. November 11, 2017.

She also acknowledged that since she regularly covered court and crime, the level of gruesomeness she could handle would likely be much higher than most people. “It was really hard to constantly be evaluating what can people handle, and how much should I be putting out there,” she said, adding that she constantly kept in contact with her editors to “get a sense of what [they] were hearing from the public.”

Next: 3. Who Makes the Ultimate Call

References   [ + ]

1. Franklin, Michael. “Jurors in tears after watching re-enactment of little girl’s death in Saretzky trial,” CTV Calgary. June 16, 2017.
2. Meghan Grant. Interview done by Devika Desai, Sade Lewis. November 11, 2017.