2016-78: Kate Musgrove vs Financial Post

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For immediate release
The National NewsMedia Council has dismissed a complaint about unattributed use of material in an
article in the Financial Post.
Complainant Kate Musgrove said the November 23, 2016 Financial Post article, “Black Friday deals 2016:
the best bargains in Canada and where to find them”, contained material “directly copied from original
content written by RedFlagDeals editorial staff” and that the copy was used without permission or
sufficient attribution.
The complainant argued that the links back to RedFlagDeals.ca did not give proper attribution to the
original source, citing six instances where the Financial Post article did not credit RedFlagDeals as the
source. She stated the article gave the misleading impression that the Financial Post curated the
The Financial Post described the article as aggregated content. It stated that the article repeatedly
directed readers back to RedFlagDeals, and noted that a similar aggregation the previous year elicited a
favourable tweet from RedFlagDeals.
The news media organization refuted the assertion that the article claimed the information was
compiled by the Financial Post. It said it did not make use of commentary from RedFlagDeals, and
pointed out that the aggregation sent readers directly to the RedFlagDeals site for more details.
Council found the article in question is largely a list of retail opportunities timed for a prime shopping
season. The article itself was a brief introduction followed by a straightforward list of items grouped by
category, with links for more information and sources. It was described by the news media organization
as the same type of aggregation done by Google and The Huffington Post.
The source of the listed material is identified by means of links at the end of each section to the relevant
websites, including RedFlagDeals, a method that is understood as giving credit to those sources.
In reviewing the article and materials submitted, Council noted the content was selected by the
newsroom, and as such should meet the newsroom’s journalistic standards and ethics.
The article in question carried a ‘Financial Post staff’ byline, which contained links to another article
published by the FP. This article was originally compiled by RedFlagDeals and carried with it the
complainant’s byline. In dismissing the complaint, however, Council noted there is no indication that
the Financial Post claimed to have compiled the lists.
While the links served to credit RedFlagDeals as source of the retail information, future best practice
may be to distinguish clearly between news items and aggregated copy, with byline credit given to third
party contributors.