In this newspaper’s Sept. 20, 2010, editorial entitled “Government and journalists cower at threats to cartoonist” concerning the plight of Seattle News cartoonist Molly Norris, we noted that The Examiner asked the national office of the Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ) if it had made a public statement on the issue. We were told that no national statement had been made, but that one “might” be available if we requested it. We were also told to contact the Western Washington state SPJ chapter for further comment.
Since our primary question had thus been answered – no statement had been made by the national SPJ office prior to our Sept. 19 inquiry – the fact that one “might” subsequently become available if we requested it was irrelevant and we demurred. And since we were only concerned whether the national SPJ office had previously commented on Norris, contacting the state chapter was similarly irrelevant.
We are now hearing from professional colleagues who have received an email from a public relations operative for SPJ claiming that our editorial was “misleading and was most likely written to gain headlines/SEO.”
The email goes on to claim that “when previously offered, the Examiner did not accept SPJ Headquarters’ contact information for the Society’s Washington Pro chapter nor for our National President so that the Examiner could pursue any legitimate information or stand point from us.”
Finally, the statement said our editorial “was not a legitimate news piece with factual sources, but opinion focused.”
The statement was attributed to “Andrew Scott, communications coordinator for the SPJ national office in Indianapolis” and was emailed from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott’s assertions are factually incorrect and misleading. We stand by our Sept. 20 editorial.