Editorial Complaints

How to make a complaint about something you read in The Observer.


Contact your newspaper’s public editor or ombudsman.

This individual is in charge of receiving and investigating concerns from newspaper readers about materials published in print or online. It is their duty to monitor the journalistic practices at the newspaper and act as a liaison to the public.

The Observer’s Editor is Steve Kannon.

email: editor@woolwichobserver.com


Contact your local media council

After contacting the paper, if you feel that your issue has not been resolved, you may choose to contact your local media council. People and organizations who are concerned about the way a newspaper collects and publishes information can file a complaint with their local media council by following the links below.

Canada’s media councils are non-governmental, non-profit organizations that have been established to receive and adjudicate public complaints regarding press performance.

The National NewsMedia Council will not review a complaint unless you have provided reasonable opportunity for the news media organization to respond to your concern.

Areas of concern that you may have with a newspaper story. These questions may help you navigate your discussion about your concern.

Accuracy - Do you think a news story contains a factual error; that you were not correctly identified; or were misquoted? Does the caption to a photo accurately describe the scene, people or location? Is the headline of a story an accurate reflection of what the story is about?

Bias - Does the article acknowledge the ‘other side’ of a case? In the case of negative comment about a person, does it provide opportunity for response? Depending on the nature of the article, journalists are not required to conduct deep scientific research on a subject. Standard practice gives journalists the prerogative to choose their sources, and to report arguments proportionate to the relevant evidence so as to avoid false balance. (See Opinion for complaints about columns, editorials, and op-eds.)

Opinion - Do you object to an editorial or opinion column? Opinion and editorial writers are allowed to use strong language and express unpopular views. Is your complaint about an opinion that includes a factual error or ‘crosses the line’ in language? Is it about your letter to the editor? Newspapers have the right to edit your letter for length, clarity, legal or other reasons, or may choose not to publish it at all. An edit is not allowed to change the meaning of your letter.

Sensitive Issues - Is your complaint about reporting on sensitive issues such as courts, sexual assault or minors? The courts have rules that balance the interests of a public process, a fair trial, and protection of victims. Does the story contain racism, sexism, or bias against a social, religious or political group? Journalists take care to avoid publishing material likely to encourage discrimination. Do you feel the story violated privacy? Publicity can be embarrassing, but journalists must weigh individual privacy concerns with the duties of a free press. Respect for personal privacy should not unduly inhibit reporting on matters in the public interest.

Attribution - Is your complaint that you didn’t get credit for a photo, a quote, an idea or research quoted in the story? Did the story use your photograph or material from social media without your consent? Are you concerned about the use of anonymous sources? Journalists give credit for the work of others, name sources in all but exceptional cases, and can report on people and information in the public realm. At the same time, they adhere to copyright law and respect privacy where necessary.

Past Complaints - Before submitting a complaint, we recommend that you take a look at some of the other complaints we've heard that did not have grounds for a breach of journalistic standards. You may find a similar case and an applicable explanation to your question or concern here: Complaints We Heard

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