Just the Facts

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Thunder Bay Police Service 911

Thunder Bay – NEWS – News media have several important roles. One is informing the public of the facts in their news reporting. There is news, and there is editorial coverage. There is a difference of course. Another is being a part of the community and region we report on. That means taking an active role in our region.

Thunder Bay has many social issues which impact our community. Addiction, crime, and poverty hit hard in our city.

That is why is is so important to have the facts in reporting news, especially crime news.

Across social media over the past several days there has been a lot of commentary on what was being called a “Fatal Stabbing” in the 300 block of South Syndicate Avenue.

NetNewsLedger asked Scott Paradis, the Media Relations Coordinator with the Thunder Bay Police Service.

Paradis tells NetNewsLedger, “I’ve looked into an incident being discussed on social media regarding a fatal stabbing death in the 300 block of Syndicate Avenue North on Monday. I can confirm that there was a police presence in that area at that time, however, officers were not dispatched to a homicide, or assault of any kind. The conversations on social media appear to be completely fabricated.”

“It’s unfortunate that random photos of a police presence sometimes lead people to create their own content and publish it as fact.” adds Paradis. “It’s also unfortunate that these kinds of fictions are shared so widely. Stories like this also risk undermining real investigations. When we request public assistance through social media, for example, the public may be confuse the information we’re sharing with the fictional versions already circulating”.

NetNewsLedger asked Paradis: “What impact does inaccurate social media posts have on actual police investigations?”

“When we reach out to the public via social media or local news media regarding an ongoing investigation in which false information is already circulating, the public can oftentimes become confused as to what information is correct and what information is inaccurate,” shares Paradis. “As you could imagine, this could hinder the public’s ability to provide us with the assistance we’re requesting”.

“Also, I was asked recently if people should only trust information from the official police social media accounts. I wouldn’t want to tell people to only trust local news media and official police social media accounts. However, people should be aware of the risks of sharing information from unknown sources”.

Perhaps before we share information, we should ask ourselves “who will be held accountable if this is wrong?”