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Friday, October 16, 2009

Score one for the Digital Journal

This morning I read an interesting story on Jan Wong, the former Globe and Mail Beijing correspondent who was fired after writing an op-ed piece linking violence in Quebec schools to the province's language policy.

I will admit right off that I was not a fan of Ms. Wong when she worked at the Globe. I found her Lunch With Jan Wong columns not so much brutally honest as just plain nasty. Why celebrities ever agreed to dine with her, I don't know.

That said, she wrote well and she delivered the stories and columns that the Globe clearly wanted. When she originally wrote her op-ed piece that would lead to her leaving, the heads at the paper stood behind her, choosing to run the article.

But, if I don't think a lot of Wong's writing, I think even less of a lot of what is said, or should I say shouted, in the House of Commons. The piece evoked the knee-jerk reaction one would expect and many members demanded an apology. Wong held her position. The Globe folded.

The national paper ran an editorial condemning her controversial column. The Digital Journal reporter, Jason Li, quotes Wong: "I was so broken-hearted when I saw that,” she sighed, and called Edward Greenspon’s assertion in the Globe editorial, “a piece of crap, if you want my mild opinion.”

Wong was hung out to dry and in leaving was asked to sign a gag order in return for a sweetened severence package. Wong signed but managed to have the gag order time limited. The gag order has now expired and Wong is speaking out.

Wong held an interview session at the University of Toronto, Scarborough, the other day and the report by Jason Li in the Digital Journal is quite interesting. But, what is more interesting is the lack of reporting in the MSM.

A search of Canoe for "Jan Wong" returned no results. A search of The Canadian Press for "Jan Wong" returned the message, "Your search did not match any documents." A seach of the Globe and Mail turned up lots of stuff on and by "Jan Wong", but nothing that I could find on her recent statements about her being gagged by the paper. I searched "gag order" on the Globe site with no better luck.

Score one for the Digital Journal.

Addendum: In researching this piece, I came across other pieces written by Jan Wong, other than her dining stuff. She can be an exceedingly strong writer and excellent reporter. I guess I just don't like inviting a pit bull to dinner. I think the Globe misused her formidable talents.

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