Irving presenting one-sided story: media critics
Brunswick News's coverage of its court battle with one of its former publishers is missing some important aspects, say some media critics.
In its lawsuit, Irving-owned Brunswick News is accusing William Kenneth Langdon of stealing company secrets to start his own publication.
The accusation has been widely covered by Brunswick News, which owns all the English daily newspapers in New Brunswick, as well as all the weekly publications with the exception of the Sackville Tribune and the St. Croix Courier.
But critics say Langdon's accusation, contained in court documents, is equally serious —that Brunswick News vice-president Victor Mlodecki is prepared to establish a $1-million fund to drive a local competitor out of business — and is going unreported by the same newspapers.
"The coverage in newspapers of Brunswick News has been quite, very much in the favour of the company," said Kim Kierans, director of the school of journalism at the University of King's College in Halifax. "It's been giving the company's side."
Journalism should cover both sides of a story, Kierans said.
"In all our stories we try to be fair to both sides. We try to be fair, accurate, unbiased in our coverage. They have to ask themselves if they are being that way and what are the bigger issues involved."
Langdon left the Woodstock Bugle-Observer in September, after working for Irving-owned newspapers for over a decade.
In his resignation letter, now filed in court, Langdon said he had become disillusioned with the management practices of Mlodecki.
In an affidavit, Langdon said Mlodecki told a meeting he was prepared to establish a $1-million fund to drive a local flyer competitor out of business.
It's a fact that no Brunswick News papers havereported.
"There's a real important story that's happening with this case that New Brunswickers aren't getting from the Irving owned media," said Mount Allison Prof. Erin Steuter, who has critiqued the Brunswick News coverage of Irving businesses.
Brunswick News's coverage has been hampered by Langdon's refusal to be interviewed by its reporters, Mlodecki told CBC News.
Mlodecki said Langdon's accusation about the $1-million fund isnot relevant enough to cover. He declined to say whether the accusation is true.
The legal battle between Brunswick News and Langdon continues in a Saint John court Thursday.