Link editor says steps taken to prevent conflict of interest

Editor-in-chief recuses himself from election coverage due to candidate ties.


The Link, a student newspaper at Concordia University, is taking steps to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest due to close ties between its editor-in-chief and a presidential candidate in the upcoming student union election.

In an email to Maclean’s on Campus, Justin Giovannetti, the Link’s editor-in-chief wrote that while he would continue to edit non-election related content, which makes up the majority of the paper, he would leave the room if other editors needed “to discuss elections related issues, like supporting a candidate.”

“My role with elections material is limited largely to looking at proofs from the printers,” he wrote. “While I understand the impact that my retreat might have on quality . . . I think it’s the generally agreed upon ethical choice.”

He adds that, “the two slates, Your Concordia and Action . . . are both being covered by two journalists, with the story proposals and editing being handled by Christopher Curtis, The Link’s news editor . . .  Curtis and The Link’s Managing Editor Laura Beeston, will also be dealing with non-slate related election stories as the campaign progresses.”

Giovannetti also wrote that “the newspaper’s 13 other Masthead members and the six other Board members have confirmed that they are confident in my ability to continue doing my job.”

Full disclosure: I am a former editor-in-chief at Concordia’s other student newspaper, the Concordian.


Link editor says steps taken to prevent conflict of interest

  1. As a Concordia student, I see no problem. But guaranteed some will.

  2. This comment was deleted.

    • I am the features editor at The Link. I assure you, all of us are quite capable of independent thought when working on our content.
      I respect Justin a great deal, and it has been a pleasure working with him throughout this year. That being said, I don’t really care what his preferences are, I intend to write about this campaign how I see fit, and I trust Chris Curtis and Laura Beeston (two other people for whom I have nothing but love and respect, both as journalists and as people) to do the same thing.
      If you are legitimately concerned, I encourage you to write us a letter, or even better, come by our office (6-49 in the Hall building), and have a discussion.
      Adam Kovac
      The Link

  3. With all do respect to Adam, this is a load of BS.

    Justin is in a on-going relationship with one of the presidential candidates. That is neither good nor bad in itself. But the fact remains that it opens up the link (and Justin and Lex) to questions of conflict of interest.

    Justin’s personal twitter has been 100% pro Lex from day 1, which is his right. But of the 30,000+ Concordia students only *ONE* has his twitter feed linked to from the top of the homepage of the link http://www.thelinknewspaper.ca and that is Justin. How can The Link claim to be neutral and serving students when the are using newspaper resources to promote Justin and Lex?


    • @justinCgio – I don’t twitter *sorry* but since you seem to be cyberstalking *me* I’m sure you will read this shortly. BTW calling a student a “creep” because I had the audacity to question your ethics is a great ad hominem attack but does *not* speak to the issues at hand. Your complete contempt for the *legitimate* comment of a Concordia student is duly noted.

      Your hypocrisy of decrying the CSU’s current lack of transparency (which I agree with) and yet refusing to acknowledge your *own* complete and total conflict in this case is mind blowing.

      I’ll repeat for your benefit:

      1) You are in an ongoing relationship with Lex. I have no comment as to the appropriateness of that choice. And I wish you no personal ill. She seems like a nice person and I hope you are happy together. However, you have not disclosed that conflict to your readers. That is a violation of your moral duty to students and your ethics.

      2) There is only 1 student’s twitter on home page of the thelinknewspaper.ca It is not appropriate that the The Link’s website is linking to you given your actual conflict of interest *and* your partisan tweets about Lex. That’s it. Open and shut. If you want to tweet about Lex as an *individual* student that’s fine. But promoting your tweets using The Link during the campaign just isn’t cool.

      • Hi, he actually hasn’t tweeted about me for a while…

        Also, The Link just had elections & Laura Beeston is the new EIC : Justin’s pretty much done his term.

        Finally: It really sucks that Maclean’s is bothering to write about my relationships instead of my track record. Justin and I are separate people: he’s not allowed to write about me, and we disagree an awful lot. If you have concerns that I’ve abused my relationship to gain political favours, I suggest you talk to 13 other people on his masthead. I’m not dating all of them.

        You can reach me at lex.gill (at) gmail.com. I’m perfectly happy to talk about my relationship (I’ve got nothing to hide and neither does Justin) but I’d rather make this an election about substance. Concordia needs a change.

      • @Lex

        Why not address my questions here on the public record? Why obfuscate? You have held yourself out to run for a position of great importance and I think some review of your personal life is reasonable.

        The key concept in a conflict of interest is not that anyone has done anything wrong. Presence of a conflict of interest is *independent* from the execution of impropriety.

        There is a conflict here. Open and shut. The Link and Justin only addressed it publicly *after* the start of the elections. And that casts doubt on both of you. The right thing to do *today* is remove his twitter from the homepage of the link. That’s it. If his twitter stays there *you* are benefiting of an unfair advantage and he is exploiting his position of power.

        For someone that purports to hold herself to the highest levels of integrity and propriety I have to say I’m disappointed in you. But at least you didn’t insult me like Justin did simply for asking questions about people in positions of authority on campus.

  4. I respect the work being done at the Link, can Justin at least disclose to the entire student population that pays for the paper that there was and is a conflict. I am sure his boys would not want to displease the boss by writing anything negative on Lex. I personally want to see the student papers be hard on both teams, drill them and be as objective as a credible source of information.

  5. It’s worth noting that the steps I referenced in this post were decided on at a Feb. 11 meeting of the Link’s editors and that similar rules would apply to any other editor with ties to a political candidate.

  6. Why isn’t Maclean’s putting up my comment, Serebrin?

    Laura Beeston
    Managing Editor, The Link
    Incoming Editor-in-Chief, Volume 32

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