Case Number: 870

Council Meeting: MARCH 2002

Verdict: Not Upheld

Publication: Evening Post

Ruling Categories: Headlines and Captions
Schools, Identification of

This is a complaint by Robert Brace against an article and headline published by The Evening Post on January 9, 2002.

The story was about a young man who made a hoax emergency marine radio call which sparked a large-scale search of Lake Taupo.

Mr Brace’s complaint is that the boy’s school was mentioned in both the headline and the article itself. Mr Brace complains that the name of the school was irrelevant to the story.

Another reader wrote a letter to the editor with the same complaint. The editor’s response was a clear acknowledgement of the paper’s error. “The Post accepts that the reference to the school in this instance was unnecessary.”

The editor of The Evening Post gave the school a written apology and issued a directive to staff pointing out that the naming of the school had been uncalled for and setting out guidelines aimed at avoiding a recurrence.

Mr Brace and the principal of the school have asked that an apology be published in addition to the written apology.

The Evening Post is to be commended for acknowledging the error of judgement and taking preventive measures. The Press Council concurs with Mr Brace and the editor that mention of the school was irrelevant and unfair to the school.

Whether the editor publishes an apology is a matter for the editor. Thus far in the incident the newspaper has dealt honourably with its error.
Owing to the steps already taken by The Evening Post, the Council does not uphold this complaint.

Ms Suzanne Carty took no part in this Council adjudication.