CFN – As you can see from our Top Ten stories of November 15th we’re getting a lot of focus on local stories. In light of the City Council meeting and the ongoing discussion on Anonymous comments I thought I’d put out our policies for those unaware or unclear on how we do things here on CFN.
Our mission is to inform and entertain. We are accredited by Google as a Newspaper and are the only Cornwall Ontario media featured on the Bourque Newswatch. We try to share our platform with our viewers and give voice to those that might not have a voice.
We are not partisan politically contrary to what some people think. We have given voice and been hospitable to those from many political stripes. Again we are a soapbox in many ways and when you get on a soapbox you can get challenged.
We made the choice to allow anonymous comments for many reasons. One; it’s legally impossible to enforce which is why it’s the industry standard, and two because there are valid reasons sometimes for people to post anonymously. In today’s world people “Google” or search for people all of the time. For work; stalking former flames; fans, creditors; just about anything you can think of and people google each other.
Heck I search for myself sometimes and am always amazed what I find from being on a Neo Nazi hate site to some strange Asian film sites.
There’s a validity in many senses and nom de plumes are not new. They’ve been around for centuries. Just ask Mark Twain who I guess certain members of Cornwall’s City Hall crowd would silence because it wasn’t his “real name.”
That being said we’ve always felt that there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed. We don’t allow comments that could be litigious. IE Nobody wants to be sued; especially me! As great as my lawyer is from my film days I don’t want to have to unleash him if I don’t have to. Plus having been slandered myself on the Standard Freeholder by someone that signed a name but couldn’t be found I personally learned it’s not the name posted, but what is being said. Also, entry info can be faked including masking of ip numbers.
We have always had an email and IP number for anyone that posted. We have added a registration module over a month ago which adds a step in the process. So far all that’s seemed to do is aggravate many of our posters some of whom have stopped posting. It’s sort of like penalizing the 99.9% of people that cross the border looking for that .1 !
For the record I do not use multiple posting ids. I am admin and occasionally will sign a post with my name. On the Free Holder I always sign my name.
Contrary to Mr. Peters grossly untrue report we are not profanity filled and not filled with viscous personal attacks.
A review of local news websites show that only two allow anonymous posts: the Standard-Freeholderand the Cornwall Free News. Both sites have some moderation of comments, but a review of activity over the past several months have led staff to concur with the generalized assessment of the practice by the American Journalism Review: “Comment sections are often packed with profanity, and vicious personal attacks.”
Actually if you look back over the last near three years the real attacks have been against CFN; from letters written to our sponsors to our interns being intimidated including by a city employee while this students instructor.
Again, if people really knew the truth about what CFN has endured I think they’d see this whole issue more clearly. As a friend of mine once opined. You have to see the big picture to make a real decision about something.
So yes, our site can be “feisty”. Sometimes the truth hurts and at the end of the day that’s my personal goal. After witnessing how jaded and untruthful mainstream news is the world frankly scares me, because so many people swallow and believe falsehoods. For example the Free Holder when Mayor Kilger spoke at the Liberal office during the provincial elections weeks after stomach surgery was omitted with no reference to him even being present; never mind the rousing speech he made. Same as this story. Cheryl Brink in today’s Free Holder reported on the council meeting but refused to name us as the other newspaper. Obfuscation of the truth to many is the same as not being true…
That’s our challenge, mine, and yours as our viewer. We struggle as a small newspaper. It’s not easy, and there are days when I think my ex wife to be was right and I should give this up and go get a real job.
But then that one magic moment happens. That one comment. That one thank you. That one hug, and sometimes actually making a positive experience happen. Sometimes it’s just being there to listen to someone’s concern when nobody else would and even being able to help or share their story.
Life can take us in strange paths. My life took me here to Cornwall Ontario and to the creation of the Cornwall Free News.
Thanks again to all of our amazing sponsors who have stuck by us through thick and thin as we approach our third birth day in February. Thank you; our amazing viewers; especially those of you that make this a two way conversation and send us emails or ping us on facebook or twitter.
I’m not sure what the future holds, but for today we’re still your number one ranked news site online in Eastern Ontario. And we’re still here and in business.
Jamie Gilcig – Editor – The Cornwall Free News