BC Business editor quits after publisher kills story

Matt O’Grady resigned from his editor-in-chief position at BC Business one week ago. It wasn’t one of those resignations that’s code for “got fired.” He really truly quit.

According to this Vancouver Sun article, his beef with the magazine’s publisher, Peter Legge, was over a cover story for the June issue that O’Grady felt was very much worth running essential, in fact while Legge felt quite the opposite, ordering it cancelled and replacing it with a decidedly uncontroversial article about a Vancouver bikini-swimsuit designer. He said he didn’t feel it was the “right fit” for the magazine, while O’Grady seems to think there were bigger issues at play: “What makes it a most interesting story is the implications for how we write about people in positions of privilege, people with power, and how they implicitly deter journalists from writing about them in a negative fashion.”

The story in question was about a libel lawsuit by former senator Edward Lawson against Vancouver Sun business columnist David Baines over a column he wrote in 2008 (more details of that case here, if you’re curious). O’Grady clearly felt he’d done more than his due diligence with the piece, running it past a defamation and privacy specialist and changing the title to protect the magazine and Legge from being sued too. Despite both Legge and the writer of the article, Richard Littlemore, telling O’Grady he  shouldn’t quit over it, he was unmoved: “When you’ve lost the confidence of the publisher, that’s a good time to part ways.”

It’s unclear whether the article about the Lawson/Baines case will find a home elsewhere, but if there’s any justice in the world of journalism, O’Grady will find himself an even better position where he can exercise his clearly rock-solid principles.

Posted on May 20, 2011 at 7:00 am by editor · · Tagged with: , , ,

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