Hamilton Spectator: Victim Impact Statement Teaching Note

Open Source
Publication date: September 2013
Pages: 5

This teaching note is for instructors only.

At 10:30 p.m. on April 18, 2013, Paul Berton, Editor-in-Chief of the Hamilton Spectator, was wondering whether to include excerpts from a victim impact statement along with the story planned for the following day’s paper. Julie Daly, wife of murder victim John Daly, had made the compelling statement that day in court, preceding the sentencing of her husband’s killer. But a report of the sentencing and excerpts from Julie’s statement published on the thespec.com that same afternoon prompted Julie to call the city editor, Carla Ammerata, and ask that the story and statement excerpts be removed because the statement was too personal to appear on the website or in the paper. Carla thought this decision was best left to the Editor-in-Chief, so she called Paul to ask how to proceed. Paul needed to decide quickly whether the story should go out as planned or not.