Today, I heard an astonishing story while moderating a panel discussion at the Vancouver Public Library on media democracy.
A member of the panel, Linda Solomon, claimed that she "got serious" about the Vancouver Observer, an on-line publication, as a result of an odd exchange with the editor-in-chief of the Vancouver Sun.
Solomon is an experienced U.S. journalist who has written for the Los Angeles Times and the International Herald Tribune, among other publications.
She moved to Vancouver two years ago, and later decided to submit a commentary to the metropolitan daily paper dealing with Cambie Street.
Solomon told the audience that she later saw a lead editorial in the same paper that resembled her piece. She conveyed her objections to the Vancouver Sun, and subsequently received an angry call from the editor-in-chief (Patricia Graham).
According to Solomon, the Vancouver Sun's editor-in-chief demanded an apology. Solomon said she was concerned about being sued, and emphasized that she did say she was sorry.
"They did not plagiarize," Solomon assured the audience at the Vancouver Public Library.
Solomon alleged that she was then told that she will never write for CanWest, which owns the Vancouver Sun, the Province, the National Post, the Vancouver Courier, the North Shore News, and scores of other publications across the country.
"That's when I got serious about the Vancouver Observer," Solomon said.