Standard Freeholder Silencing Debate regarding Seaway International Bridge UPDATE

UPDATE

L I N K This morning myself and several others posted comments to the link thread on the Standard Freeholder.   All comments have been deleted.    That’s a black eye and frankly if the paper is going to do that then they probably shouldn’t have a comment option period.   This isn’t China.

I had a lot of discussion today about whether to run this or not.    I like the Free Holder.  I respect their history and place in the community.

New Technology, new times.   Perhaps management of the venerable institution haven’t embraced the new age of online journalism yet?

On their website stories are shown with the option for readers to leave comments such as this ONE.  There are a number of people, and that number’s growing; who participate by leaving comments.  Some good; some ntot as good; some crossing a line or two, but it’s all very real.  Sometimes people challenge or correct a story even.

Thanks to Google and other search engines stories and comments are now windows to the world.  We in a way have an obligation to not censor people the way they do in China and Russia.

This weekend the Free Holder has capped coverage of the Seaway International Bridge closure and seizing of vehicles by the CBSA which in a way funnels the news towards what is reported or quoted.

I have to tell you when you get used to reading comments, they are many times more read and more fun than the stories.   Journalists have to adhere to rules that people like me don’t and generally can’t add opinion or comment the way I can.

That being said the “Free” in The Cornwall Free News is about exchange of information.  As long as what you type isn’t abusive or risks us getting sued we will allow it on our site.  We won’t restart stories to hide comments or other such machinations.

Sometimes the truth is ugly.   🙂

Jamie Gilcig – Editor

9 Responses to "Standard Freeholder Silencing Debate regarding Seaway International Bridge UPDATE"

  1. 666577   September 22, 2009 at 5:29 AM

    Jamie,

    The same could be said about the “Free” Holder. and the worst part about it is that its a paid newspaper!

    Just this morning Jamie both comments made by You and I have been deleted and comments closed. Some great Ideas have been tossed around in the comment section but have fallen on deaf ears, or Blind eyes.

    In this day and age censorship is all to easy. I have asked the Freeholder several times if the needed someone to Moderate the comments and edit when necessary, Would be no different the running my own forum. I have never gotten a response.

  2. admin   September 22, 2009 at 5:59 AM

    You’re correct 666577 – I can’t imagine why those comments would be deleted. There were no abusive terms or flames in either post. If you can’t ask a legitimate question then perhaps they should just not have comments. This kind of behaviour is seen in China. Not in Canada or the US. This is a black day for journalism locally.

  3. 666577   September 22, 2009 at 6:04 AM

    Jamie,

    It has been a busy morning here, I have been firing off emails to staff at the Standard Freeholder voicing concern about the Deleting and Disabling of comments on Various stories..

    The replies should be interesting, Yet I doubt I will get any.

  4. admin   September 22, 2009 at 6:10 AM

    The guys working for the Free Holder generally are terrific. Kevin and the gang do respond. What’s happening may be way out of their hands. I noticed one story had a new title which could be why the comments disappeared.

    Either way it’s not fair dinkum. If you believe in what you say or do stand by it and stand up for it.

  5. 666577   September 22, 2009 at 6:26 AM

    Jamie,

    The thing is they are deleting comments with no justification grant you they do not need to say why, But it is downright dirty pool. First the people reporting the stories have no Idea what they are reporting because obviously they haven’t looked at the whole picture just one corner.

    And you are 100% correct, This isn’t China this is Canada

  6. grimalot   September 22, 2009 at 6:57 AM

    Jamie, I commend you on your site.

    One suggestion I have is until the Standard-Freeholder stops this action of censoring what people have to say, that this thread should be sticky on the top of your site so people can comment on it. And standard-freeholder can get easy access to see their complaints.

    I find it direly wrong for any site to censor people’s comments, especially when it comes to subjects that really should be talked about.

    We live in a society of freedom of expression, at least we should have that freedom still right? And when newspapers start censoring what people are saying, that tramples all over that freedom that even the newspapers claim to fight for.

    Yesterday I was about to comment on that section about the domino effect, in fact rkake and someone else had already commented. I was entering mine, and then when I hit submit, it went back to the original article, the comment box was gone along with both their comments as well. The posting was still up though. This was not a mistake, this was someone at the standard-freeholder making this happen live while I was online.

    Again, its not right, and it needs to stop, or as you said, the comments section should be taken down altogether. Right now the paper is just showing bias and also censoring the masses, which should have the greatest voices being heard out there.

  7. admin   September 22, 2009 at 2:42 PM

    Hi Grimalot,

    The only sticky things around here are my fingers after eating at Riley’s Bakery. 🙂 The comments section always keeps the latest at the top. I’m going to see what happens as I can’t believe the Free Holder as a policy is going to Bell our conversations on their site.

    Thanks for your support though and I appreciate all comments on the site as each voice is important in our community.

    Jamie

  8. 666577   September 22, 2009 at 3:58 PM

    Well as of this afternoon I have canceled my home delivery of the FreeLoader!! When I called and said put an immediate stop to delivery I was asked why, I said well if I can not have my Say to reported stories online then I don’t need to continue to support your newspaper. Several Emails have gone unanswered (I started sending them off at about 830am this morning).

    I suspect that someone higher up has asked the FreeLoader to suspend all comments as even though the reporting might be shady some of the comments made are very educational and they can not afford to educate people.

    Jamie thanks for bringing up Riley’s… Now I’m hungry again 🙂

  9. admin   September 22, 2009 at 5:04 PM

    Hi 666577,

    I’m not sure about shady reporting. While I may not agree with some of the content I think the reporters for the Free Holder do a very professional job of reporting. There’s always room to improve, but I know under the budgetary constraints of the paper the boys do a fine job.

    Now that being said the paper is part of a chain and chains tend to pow to requests of government faster than an independent paper would.

    It’s another reason why locally owned media is so important to any community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.