Editorial: Poor judgment and short memories in the Alberta press gallery

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It was a good report. It’s a shame the Alberta Legislative Press Gallery then failed to take its conclusions to heart. Until it does, Postmedia will withdraw its reporters from the gallery, effective immediately. We will continue to provide the same political coverage, with the same mandate to hold those in power to account. We will just have to do it from outside the Alberta gallery.

This step was made necessary by the gallery’s recent decision to hold a vote denying official accreditation to, yet again, The Rebel. (Unlike Ottawa’s press gallery, where such decisions are made by a board, Alberta’s group lets majority vote rule.) Let us be clear: We do not seek to defend The Rebel. Its own work makes the case against its dubious standards better than we could, and its frequent personal attacks on other journalists are not just disgraceful but dangerous. However, we agree with the words of Alberta’s press gallery association, circa 2016, as noted in Boyd’s report: “The Press Gallery supports the right of journalists to provide vigorous and diverse coverage of the Alberta Legislature.”

Those are the principles Postmedia stands for, although it appears the Alberta gallery no longer does.

We believe that “journalist” must be defined as broadly as possible. Journalism is not a regulated profession. There is no college of journalists, or a guild to which one must belong (certain news outlets are unionized, but not journalism as a whole). Duncan Kinney, an Alberta left-wing activist no less, was quoted in the Boyd report defining a journalist as “someone who goes out there, makes calls, and reports.” That may include what others might consider shoddy journalism, but it is, nevertheless, journalism.

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