Spreadbury v. Bitterroot Public Library et al
Statement of Undisputed Fact re: 259 MOTION for Summary Judgment DEFENDANT LEE ENTERPRISES INC'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Aff of Backus - Newsworthy, # 2 Exhibit B - Petition to Ravalli County, # 3 Exhibit C - Pl to Messina (10-19/2007), # 4 Exhibit D - Pet Recall Sheriff Hoffman, # 5 Exhibit Pet Recall Ravalli Co Attorney Corn, # 6 Exhibit F - Ltr Pl to McCulloch (2/10/2009), # 7 Exhibit G - Ltr Commrs to Pl (2/17/2009), # 8 Exhibit H - Ltr PL to McCulloch w Recall Pet, # 9 Exhibit I - Ltr Kimmet to PL (3/13/2009), # 10 Exhibit J - Ltr Quintana to PL (3/23/2009), # 11 Exhibit K - Ravalli Republic Article (2/19/2009), # 12 Exhibit L - Blog Bitterroot Rising (2010), # 13 Exhibit M - Blogger User Profile, # 14 Exhibit N - Crystal Cox Blog (2011), # 15 Exhibit O - Blog - Ravalli Co Sheriff Dept (8/8/2009), # 16 Exhibit P - Crystal Cox Blog (2012), # 17 Exhibit Q - Library Thing, # 18 Exhibit R - Spreadbury Youtube MT, # 19 Exhibit S - Ravalli Republic Article (11/3/2009), # 20 Exhibit T - Find My Threat Story (11/17/2011), # 21 Exhibit U - Ravalli Republic Article (6/9/2010), # 22 Exhibit V - USDC Complaint (7/30/20100, # 23 Exhibit W - Aff Backus (Standard of Care), # 24 Exhibit X - Aff Devlin (4/2/2012), # 25 Exhibit Y - Bitterroot Rising Archives (2010)) (Smith, Jeffrey)
Anita Harper Poe
Jeffrey B. Smith
GARLINGTON, LOHN & ROBINSON, PLLP
350 Ryman Street. P. O. Box 7909
Missoula, MT 59807-7909
Telephone (a06) 523-2500
Telefax (406) 523-2595
j bsmith@garlington. com
Attorneys for Defendant, Lee Enterprises, Inc.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR TFIE DISTRICT OF MONTANA
MICHAEL E. SPREADBURY.
Cause No. CV- 1 I -064-M-DWM
AFFIDAVIT OF PERRY BACKUS
(Standard of Care)
BITTERROOT PUBLIC LIBRARY,
CITY OF HAMILTON, LEE
ENTERPRISES, INC., and BOONE
I, Perry Backus, being duly swom and under oath, state as follows:
I am a professional joumalist with a bachelor's degree from the
Universitv of Montana.
I have worked in the newspaper industry for over 25 years, working for
the Ravallt Republic for the last 22 years.
During my time at the Ravalli Republic,I have served as a reporter and
The Ravalli Republic,like most newspapers, does not have specific
written policies regarding how fact-checking for stories is done. However, there
are well-established industry standards of practice which the Ravalli Republic
follows. This begins with hiring professional journalists who have been trained in,
and are expected to practice, ethical and accurate reporting. Fact-checking is an
integral part of the development of a story and the writing process. These
journalistic standards are part of the curriculum in joumalism school and reporters
are expected to make reasonable efforts to confirm the facts in their stories.
The editor does not then make a second, independent check of every
fact in every article. That is not the editor's job.
Because even professional reporters and their sources are human,
mistakes do occur, even with the exercise of standard practices and reasonable
care, which is why newspapers issue prompt corrections.
Again, Ihe Ravalli Republic follows well-established industry
standards. These practices include reviewing every report of a potential enor.
an error is found, a correction is made in the newspaper as soon as possible in the
next publication. The corrections are made in the same location of the newspaper,
so the reader can easily find them in each publication. The correction
acknowledges the mistake and publishes the correct information.
The Ravalli Republic acted with reasonable care and complied with
standards in the newspaper industry in fact-checking the August9,2010 article.
The fact that a single effor was made does not demonsffate that the Ravalli
Republic failed to meet the standard of care.
This article was written by Ravalli Republic reporter, Jeff Schmerker.
During this time period, Mr. Schmerker was primarily covering the city and county
government, writing approximately two to three stories per day. Mr. Schmerker
has a degree in journalism and was properly trained in the ethics of accurate
The article reported on recent events in lawsuits brought by Mr.
Spreadbury, For context purposes, the article briefly mentioned Mr. Spreadbury's
prior criminal history. Although the article incorrectly noted Mr. Spreadbury had
been previously convicted of disturbing the peace, when in fact he had been
convicted of criminal trespass, this was a reasonable mistake. Mr. Spreadbury had
been the subj ect of many articles prior to the August
0 article, was the
subject of much discussion and attention by law enforcement and local
government, frequently created a public scene deliberately to call attention to a
public contoversy, and was quite visible and vocal about many public issttes
during this time period. After notificstion of the enor, a correction was promptly
published in the August 7,4,201A Ravalli RepublicI
Based on these facts, the Rattalli Republic did not breach the standard
of care for fact-checking the August9,2010 article,
Further Affiant sayeth not,
I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.
Signed and sworn to before me
(Type or print name)
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