Potential Complainant Tells News Council: “You were there when we needed you.”

In the past seven years, the WNC has received dozens of inquiries that did not lead to formal complaints. However, some potential complainants have told us that merely mentioning to the media that they might file a complaint with the WNC produced results. Here is a letter we received this spring from Greg Magnoni, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Seattle:

“I want to thank the Washington News Council for being there when I needed assistance with a media complaint. We all recognize the value of calling ‘911,’ but sometimes it takes a personal emergency to drive home its importance. The same can be said of the Washington News Council. The organization I work for has been the subject of intense media scrutiny over the past two years. Although most of the coverage has been balanced and objective, one local news organization ignored accepted journalistic standards of fairness and launched a prolonged and one-sided attack that ignored our best efforts to respond. When nothing else seemed to help, we turned to the Washington News Council. Acting on their advice we met with editors and reporters to air our objections to their coverage. The results were immediate. Guided by the advice of the WNC, the meeting focused on our belief that basic standards of journalistic ethics had been breeched. We also raised the prospect of filing a complaint with the Washington News Council. I believe our appeal to accepted professional practices and the possibility of a formal complaint to WNC can be credited with the turnaround in our editorial coverage. Like ‘911,’ you were there when we needed you and I am most grateful.”