The Australian Press Council has promptly investigated the complaint I lodged about the actions of the Melbourne Leader in reporting a factual error about me and failing to attribute a photograph printed in the paper and online that I took and supplied to the paper with the agreement that I would be attributed for my work. The Melbourne Leader has agreed with the terms of my complaint. It has published an apology and correction on 20 April 2009 on their website and on p3 of the 22 April 2009 issue of the print paper.
A detail of p3 of the Melbourne Leader, 22 April 2009, made from a PDF supplied by the Melbourne Leader
There must be at least two editions of the paper printed as the p3 of the copy I have does not feature the correction. I accept the apology and also thank the Press Council for their professional conduct in helping me resolve this matter.
After publishing the errors in the article, the main mistake the paper made was removing the article from their website instead of correcting it, which they could have done immediately. This made it appear like they were trying to hide their mistake rather than trying to fix it. This prompted my complaint to the Press Council.
If the paper had immediately agreed to correct the web edition and to print a correction in the following week of the paper, as I asked the editor to do, it would have avoided the embarrassment of its unprofessional behaviour being further exposed and would not have even needed to publish the correction as a separate article on its website.
Instead, the editor committed the common corporate public relations failure of underestimating the opposition, overestimating its own intelligence and refusing to objectively examine its own behaviour and take responsibility for it. It chose to avoid the consequences of its actions and thus made itself look worse.
The fact that I, as an unpaid amateur citizen journalist, understand copyright, rights management, journalism ethics and the Australian Press Council’s fundamental principles better than the paid staff of one of the world’s largest media corporations should be seen as fundamental failure for the Melbourne Leader.
A screen capture from a page in the local news section of the Melbourne Leader website made on Saturday 25 April 2009