May 24 2018 – for immediate release
The complainant, Suzanna Bilyk, stated that a photo accompanying a May 16 2018 article in the Pickering News Advertiser, “2019 trial for brothers accused of carjackings”, was inappropriate because of an obscene hand gesture by one of the two men in the photo. She stated that the same photo was used in a related story the previous month, and that she had no response to her feedback at that time.
Upon being contacted by the National NewsMedia Council, the Pickering News Advertiser readily indicated that the offending photo was published by mistake. The news organization said that the intent was to indicate to the layout department that a blurred photo was to be used, but due to an error the blurred version of the photo was not flagged for use. The photo with the blurred finger was used on the website, but due to the error an older photo without the gesture obliterated was used in the print version.
The news organization said it is sensitive to its audience and has in the past made numerous decisions, including not running some photos it believed readers would have found offensive. In this case, following the May 16 error, the news organization removed the non-blurred finger photo from its archives in order that the picture will not be used again.
The NNC found that while an offensive photo was published, the news organization acknowledged the error and has taken corrective action to ensure the situation is not repeated.
The National NewsMedia Council thanks both parties for bringing this issue to our attention, and commends both for their cooperation in reaching a remedy. The NNC considers this file to be closed.