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Friday, April 15, 2016

Lezlie Lowe quits Chronicle Herald over refugee school story

"No retraction or apology was going to change the way I felt."

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 9:59 AM

Lezlie Lowe on assignment. - SCOTT MUNN
  • Scott Munn
  • Lezlie Lowe on assignment.
Updated: See below.

A week after it published that pathetic story about Chebucto Heights school, the fallout for the Chronicle Herald continues. Lezlie Lowe—the award-winning journalist, j-school professor and Coast contributing editor—used her column in today's Herald to announce she is quitting the columnist job. Effective immediately. Because the Chebucto Heights story made her lose faith in the paper of record's journalism.

The story lays bare the worst of the worst xenophobia in our city and our province. It lacks all proportion. Balance eludes it, start to finish.

Journalists and citizen journalists alike have a responsibility to recognize and manage the great power they hold. That didn’t happen, here. Not even close.

In a rare move, Herald publisher Sarah Dennis also wrote a piece for today's paper. While apologizing about the school story, Dennis singles out Lowe.

In today’s edition, freelance columnist Lezlie Lowe writes a farewell column explaining why her strong feelings about the mistakes we made have led her to end her association with the paper.

We are very sorry to lose Lezlie as a talented columnist, but we respect her decision.

Clearly Dennis sees Lowe's resignation for what it is: A huge statement. And a huge loss.

Update: This afternoon Lowe published a Facebook post explaining why she worked at the Herald during the strike. Here's the essence.

The HTU asked me, and all other columnists and freelancers, in a Jan. 7 open letter, to “avoid getting involved” in the about-to-boil-over labour dispute.

“Make it known that you will not file material or take new assignments until we are back at work with a contract in hand,” the letter urged.

That’s not avoiding involvement. That’s joining the strike.

The HTU was asking me to quit my non-unionized job to allow union members to have a better stab at keeping theirs.

That was beyond the bounds of solidarity for me.
In other words, she felt that the Halifax Typographical Union not only didn't have her back, but it wanted to stick a knife in her back. No wonder she stayed.

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