Knight Center
Knight Center


Canadian newspaper apologizes, reportedly suspends reporter for "snarky" Twitter comments

Canada's Montreal Gazette newspaper has issued an apology and allegedly suspended a reporter whose tweets about a protest were criticized as being offensive, according to Poynter.

Reporter Anne Sutherland was reportedly suspended for three days for posting Twitter comments about a student demonstration -- billed as a "nearly naked" protest -- that were "snarky and without merit," reported OpenFile Montreal on Monday, May 7. The news site added that the newspaper would not confirm Sutherland's suspension, citing confidentiality.

Although Sutherland promptly deleted the tweets and her Twitter account, the Quebec Press Council created a Storify with her tweets and reaction to them, meaning her controversial comments are still available for public viewing. A Facebook page was created asking Sutherland to apologize.

On Friday, May 4, the Gazette issued an online apology for the "inappropriate comments posted on Twitter Thursday night by one of its reporters. The Gazette’s social media policy clearly states that all journalists should conduct themselves in a manner that does not compromise themselves, their colleagues or the newspaper." The newspaper's social media policy -- media outlets increasingly are adopting guidelines for proper social media use in the newsroom -- acknowledges that while "social media are intrinsic," comments on Facebook and Twitter can erode the "credibility and integrity" of both the journalist and the newspaper.

See this Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas Twitter feed for more cases about journalists reprimanded for social media use.


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