Washington News Council finds KUOW mishandled aspects of story

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In a three-hour public hearing presided over by a former Washington State Supreme Court Chief Justice, the 11-member Washington News Council mainly sided with the anti-abortion Vitae Foundation in its dispute with KUOW-FM over an April 2011 story, CPB Ombudsman Joel Kaplan reports. The reporter from the Seattle pubradio news station had a journalistic responsibility to contact representatives of the Foundation before the story ran, the Council said in a unanimous vote. Also, the Council decided the story contained errors that merited on-air correction. However, the Council sided 10-1 with the station that it did not have a responsibility to provide the Foundation additional on-air coverage after the original story.

A summary of the proceedings is here, which includes the six questions before the Council.

Kaplan noted that Washington is the last news council remaining in the United States, designed to hear complaints from citizens and organizations that feel they have been unfairly treated by the news media.

UPDATE: Members of the Council voted unanimously that the KUOW reporter had a journalistic responsibility to contact representatives of the Vitae Foundation before the story aired. There were no abstentions, as this blog post originally stated. It has been corrected.

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