Journalism expert witness

By: The Journalism Doctor  09-12-2011
Keywords: journalism, courts

Whichever side you’re on, a qualified expert witness can help break the logjam in your favour.


At a time when the Internet can spread the 'sting' of libel far and wide, the Supreme Court of Canada has decided "responsible communication" is a factor in determining what constitutes defamation.

This does two things: It expands the defences available to those accused of libel. At the same time, however, media and Internet posters will face new demands to demonstrate how well they "act responsibly" on matters of public interest.


Courts will need to hear independent evidence about whether or not media organizations acted according to the standards of responsible communication.

  • My expert opinion statements have an impressive record of helping my clients.
  • My qualifications as a journalism expert have been accepted by courts in Ontario and British Columbia.
  • I taught journalism for 23 years at Ryerson University and was a top editor at Canada's largest newspaper.
  • I helped review and rewrite the Canadian newspaper industry’s Statement of Principles.
  • My book Yesterday’s News took a critical look at journalistic practice. It was on the Globe and Mail’s list of the 100 most notable books of 1998.


Statement of personal ethicsAs an expert witness, I represent both media organizations and plaintiffs against the media because my interest is solely to promote responsible, accurate journalism. I take on cases that I think clarify issues that further that goal. Full disclosure means that clients are told in advance if I have previously represented the other side to any given dispute.

Keywords: courts, journalism