Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Letter to the Editor that Went Unpublished

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Sins of Omission

The Telegraph Journal has provided rather balanced coverage of public information sessions on the natural gas pipeline connecting the future LNG terminal in Saint John to the U.S. market. Opinions are indeed mixed as people weigh the benefits of increased employment and easement payments against the costs of lives disrupted and the potential for property devaluation.

That said I am very disheartened by a recent editorial decision by staff at the Telegraph Journal.

On 10 September 2007, oil and natural gas pipelines in Veracruz, Mexico were sabotaged. The resulting fires led to the evacuation of 12,000 people and two deaths due to heart attacks.

CBC, CTV and Global covered the story. Despite the sombre mood of the September 11 anniversary, both the Times & Transcript and the Daily Gleaner each provided significant coverage with photos. So too did the Globe and Mail, the National Post, the Halifax Chronicle Herald, the Toronto Star, the Hamilton Spectator, and I am sure most other newspapers across Canada.

The Telegraph Journal however, failed to devote even a few lines to the incident in the World Journal sidebar. I checked the paper on both September 11 and 12 and searched the newspaper website.

Why is it that the provincial newspaper, distributed in the very area where a high-pressure natural gas pipeline is routed and where a second oil refinery may be constructed, failed to cover such an important story? Do people know that the quantitative risk assessment of a pipeline through the City of Saint John, which was provided by Emera Brunswick Pipeline Limited and presented to the National Energy Board, failed to explicitly include terrorism and acts of sabotage in its calculations?

Sometimes the real story is contained in the stories we fail to tell.


Anonymous said...

That's "Fair and Balanced" journalism for ya...

If you truly have an interest in this subject as it relates to NBer's I would strongly recommend you bone up on Prof. Erin Steuter's various works on the subject, specific to the TJ.
Erin is a member of the faculty at Mount A as far as I recall...
There is some stuff published on the web.
We need more people like Steuter here.
I will look forward to your feedback.

Rob said...

I fully agree - Erin is a leader in this area and we need to push this issue. New Brunswickers need a newspaper that will tell them something useful.