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Jennifer McGuire

General Manager and Editor in Chief

A note on CBC's decision to broadcast our interview with Terry Woodard

Categories: Journalism


Yesterday  we interviewed Terry Woodard, the wife of Dave Woodard, the bus driver who was killed in Wednesday morning's terrible accident. We have heard from many people who are uncomfortable with our decision to include the interview in our coverage of this tragedy. We think it is important to explain the thinking behind that decision.

Ms. Woodard is a person who is impacted by this tragedy and as such is someone we would go to for her perspective. She is also uniquely positioned to be able to give insight on how her husband, the driver of the bus, was on the morning of the accident. This information is important to our understanding of what happened.

In any situation where someone has suffered a loss, our aim is to treat the people involved with great sensitivity. In this case, we did not press Ms. Woodard to speak with us.  We approached her sensitively and she, without pressure, agreed to speak on the record. In fact she wanted to.  

During the conversation that followed, our host gave Ms. Woodard the opportunity to share the love she felt for her husband. We also, as I mentioned, tried to deepen our understanding of the story -- both the emotional impact and the facts.

We feel it was important to remember the painful, human part of this story. We heard from many eye witnesses on Wednesday who described what they experienced on the bus. We felt it was important, when given the opportunity, to learn more about Dave Woodard and the kind of man he was. His wife was the best person to share that side of the story.

We understand from the audience perspective that it was fresh and raw and hard to hear in the wake of the crash but feel we were cautious and sensitive in our connection with Ms. Woodard and remain confident in our decision that the interview was important in further illuminating the emotional and factual aspects of the story.

We are grateful that she was willing to speak with us and to share her thoughts about the man she loved and lost. Although the conversation was a highly emotional one, we feel that it provided a key perspective on this quickly evolving story.

Jane Anido

Managing Director, CBC Ottawa

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