Observer apologizes

It seems the Jamaica Observer has had to apologize to Zahra Burton as a result of a short piece they ran on a settlement with Prime Minister Andrew Holness. (Check out a piece I wrote about it here. Burton’s story explored the Prime Minister’s assets and property taxes.)

Here is the Observer piece:

An incorrect report was filed yesterday on the Jamaica Observer’s website incorrectly saying that 18 Degrees North had apologised to Andrew Holness over its episode on his home purchases and construction.

However, 18 Degrees North’s news release on the resolution of the lawsuit Holness had filed against the show made no mention of the show apologising.

We regret the error and apologise to the producers of the show, Miss Zahra Burton and Global Reporters for the Caribbean.

And here is Zahra’s response, from her Facebook page:

It has come to my attention about an erroneous headline from the Jamaica Observer. I assure you this is false and I am happy the Jamaica Observer has issued a correction. Under no circumstances did I or would I apologize for the airing of my programme 18 Degrees North with the episode on Andrew Holness. I have fought long and hard to get to this point and I stand by my report.
For those of you have not seen the statement I issued here it is. There is no apology here.
On May 30, 2016, a programme named 18 Degrees North, produced by Zahra Burton and Global Reporters for the Caribbean, LLC (“the Programme”) was aired on Television Jamaica (“TVJ”). In the Programme, certain facts were revealed regarding property purchases and construction by Mr. Andrew Holness.
Subsequently, Mr. Holness filed a claim for libel in the Supreme Court against both Producers and TVJ. A defence was filed to the claim and the matter has been resolved.
The Producers, Zahra Burton and Global Reporters for the Caribbean, were not motivated by any malice against Mr. Holness.

I have been teaching my students about accuracy and verification and how important it is as a journalist to be right. Your reputation and credibility are all you have. And that newspapers making corrections is a big deal and something to be avoided at all costs. Mistakes happen, of course, but as a journalist, your job is to get it right. Take the time you need to take to get it right.

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