A city that straddles the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary has started its own online news report to counter what it calls potentially misleading media stories.
“Welcome to the Lloydminster Record, an online news source delivering the straight facts on City of Lloydminster matters,” says a message on the website Wednesday.
“The Lloydminster Record was created to provide clarity, balance and perspective to news coverage.”
The website says the city will post clarifying articles whenever potentially misleading information is encountered.
Todd Corrigall, the city’s director of strategy and partnerships, said the decision came after more than a year of consideration by administration officials and was not based on any one news story by any particular media outlet.
The first and only “clarifying” article published Wednesday focuses on news stories by a reporter from radio station The Goat 106.1 FM earlier this year about the travel and expense accounts of the city manager’s office.
The article says despite providing all the requested information, media reports left out vital pieces of information “creating the opportunity for inaccurate conclusions.”
The website includes audio recordings of the reporter interviewing city officials.
“This is really a further opportunity for us to engage with the residents and ensure that they are fully informed on the major happenings that are going on,” Corrigall said.
The Goat and some other media outlets in the community of 32,000 such as radio station CKSA and Newcap Television declined comment on the city’s online news.
Taylor Weaver, managing editor of the Lloydminster Meridian Booster newspaper, said he has no problem with the city’s move.
“They are just trying to be more transparent,” Weaver said. “It is not like they are saying that media cannot be trusted.”
But Bryan Myers, a former managing editor and municipal affairs reporter at the paper, disagrees. He calls it a move straight out of North Korea.
Myers said the city is clearly unhappy with how some media are reporting on administration travel expenses.
“If you don’t like what the media is saying about you or how they’re portraying you, you’ve got two options: change what you’re doing or go back for clarification,” Myers wrote on his blog.
“On top of this being a poor move, it’s bush-league, it’s petty, and it’s unbecoming of a city.”
Corrigall said the Lloydminster Record was partly inspired by a City of Kelowna website called For The Record.
The Kelowna website says on occasion it finds a correction or clarification is needed when a media story or letter to the editor contains a factual error.
It says it hopes to “set the record straight” by providing that factual information directly to the public.