Reader applauds Eagle for coverage of fracking by Shaun Fluker, September 27, 2011, Cochrane Eagle
Thank you for publishing Mike Gervais’ letter on Sept. 21 wherein he accuses the Eagle of advocacy in its coverage of a panel discussion on fracking by energy companies. At the outset, let me say that I commend the Eagle for its ongoing coverage of local issues concerning oil and gas development. Keep up the good work! Mr. Gervais seems perturbed by the article because it reads one-sided against fracking. Perhaps the article reads this way because the whole point of the panel discussion, as I understand it, was to oppose fracking. I don’t see how this is advocacy on the part of the Eagle to report what the panel had to say about fracking. I personally don’t need the Eagle to follow up with EnCana and other energy companies on the virtues of fracking and its impacts. I’ll just listen to the minister of energy and the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board for the industry perspective thanks.
He suggests journalists be ‘experts’ and have all the facts, I have two responses: first, if we required news journalists to be experts in their subject matter newspapers would have very little to print. His standard is far too high for news reporting. Second, I wonder if Mr. Gervais lives up to his own standard? For example, he comments on the freedom of information process and then speculates that Jessica Ernst has spent thousands of dollars simply to find information that serves her interests. Well, perhaps this is so but there are reasons to suggest this is unlikely. The Alberta government likes to release documents and correspondence with important lines and paragraphs blacked out — thereby requiring the applicant to seek other means to obtain disclosure and spend thousands of dollars doing so. We might ask why it costs money to have our government release public information to us, and what justification there is for non-disclosure. But that matter is for another day. [Emphasis added]