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PTS director upset with Xtra's reporting

PTS director upset with Xtra's reporting

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Claudia Van Den Heuvel says Xtra attacked her character
Pink Triangle Services executive director Claudia Van Den Heuvel is upset with Xtra’s reporting and has claimed an article published Sept 25 is an attack on her character. 
 
In a Facebook message sent to this reporter, Van Den Heuvel said the article – about the exit of several PTS board members and proposed bylaw amendments in advance of the Sept 25 annual general meeting – is unfair and inaccurate.
 
“I remember saying a lot during our interview and I feel that you selected some quotes that, standing alone, are a bit out of context,” Van Den Heuvel wrote.
 
Xtra’s hour-long interview with Van Den Heuvel, conducted Sept 20 with this reporter and senior Xtra reporter Andrea Houston (see audio file below), touched on a number of topics. However, the article in question was exclusively about the resignation of several board members and the controversial bylaw amendments. Xtra selected quotes relevant to that issue.
 
Van Den Heuvel took issue with this sentence: "The executive director and remaining PTS board members want to give PTS executive director Claudia Van Den Heuvel the power to offer recommendations on the budget and manage the creation and review of the PTS strategic plan with the aid of the board of directors."
 
However, this information was accessed from the proposed PTS bylaw amendments, which were attached to the article and discussed at the AGM. Van Den Heuvel says Xtra’s interpretation was “inaccurate” because “the ED of PTS and of almost any not-for-profit has the authority to make recommendations on the budget, this already exists with PTS.”
 
“We were writing it in to make it explicit," Van Den Heuvel continued.
 
She said this “further coloured the perspective that I am out to get more power, a perspective that I feel was manufactured by Xtra and those that you interviewed.”
 
In fact, in the interview Van Den Heuvel encourages Xtra to speak with board members upset with her leadership, including former president Denis Schryburt. Several community members have also said they believe Van Den Heuvel is attempting a power grab, including Capital Pride grand marshal T Eileen Murphy, who called the structure “a dictatorship” at the failed Sept 25 AGM.
 
The quotes in question are a response to this discussion and fair comment in a story about structural changes at the community organization.
 
However, despite the fact Van Den Heuvel was given the chance to respond to each accusation in the article, she said the article is “unbalanced.”
 
Van Den Heuvel requested a copy of the interview and declined to comment for this article unless Xtra agreed to write it using a question-and-answer format. “My terms were clear,” Van Den Heuvel wrote in an Oct 24 email.
 
The story in question was accessible on Xtra’s website for almost three weeks before Van Den Heuvel requested the transcript.
 
Van Den Heuvel has frequently declined to comment – or failed to return calls – for Xtra articles. After agreeing to an interview with Xtra reporter Laura Zahody on July 26, Van Den Heuvel did not show up at the scheduled time, nor did she respond to Zahody’s repeated requests to reschedule.
 
   Claudia Van Den Heuvel Message

Comments

Where's the journalism?
This isn't a story. It's at best a waste of time, but to construe it as journalism is stretching. Xtra, how are you serving the community with this sort of writing? It saddens me that this is not the first of this level of "story" being posted here as of late. I hope you all revisit what you're hoping to accomplish with this site and the ideals you want to hold to.
Ongoing Concerns with PTS
I will admit as a community member I have had concerns about the latest Bylaw Amendment Proposals. And that as a member of the GLBTTQ Community, I personally am satisfied with the fact our own queer publication (we do have TypeQ now online and Dorothy's Closet online zine also informs and features). If this were a different topic we would be upset that XTRA hasn't reported everything. The issues that are current, or appear as issues to community members in Ottawa IS about PTS and it's Bylaws. And of course the ED of any organization is going to be held to task. Taking away the personal agenda of everyone, we need to look at the proposed bylaw changes. And in most organizations, these kinds of changes would not be acceptable. As for PTS itself, I am not an end user and have not been for some time. I would like to hear and read from endusers of the service, and how the service works or doesn't work for them. I would like to hear or read from Board Directors...so far those who have not resigned have remained "MUM" as it were, or, have they said something but under an alias? I don't know. I know this however, a few of the youth who do use PTS services, at least those I have read from, feel PTS was there for them when no one else was. The same persons applauded PTS ED from their contact with her alone. So we have the organization and the ED that many of the end users are very satisfied with, and we have community members not happy with proposed changes. Community members with a lot of experience I might add in Board run organizations. We need to listen to both, and find a middleground for both to work, not side by side, but integrated. This has to be about the people and youth who use the service. And Thank you Xtra for giving us the place in which to discuss this without gagging us otherwise.
Public or Private?
How is a facebook message from Claudia Van Den Heuvel to Bradley Turcotte a community concern and worthy of being made public? Regardless of what was said, this should not be a public matter - though I am now interested in seeing the letter. Some other thoughts: was this message sent to Xtra's facebook page or a personal page? Was it made publicly for others to see? Depending on those answers this looks either like a vindictive response on Xtra's part or a criticism on Claudia's part that should have been left private. Danny or Bradley (or anybody from Xtra), could you confirm whether the message was public or private?
Xtra reporting lacks credibility and integrity
There are explicit examples of inaccuracy in the reporting by Bradley Turcotte uncovered with just a little bit of research. Xtra reported: “The executive director and remaining PTS board members want to give PTS executive director Claudia Van Den Heuvel the power to offer recommendations on the budget and manage the creation and review of the PTS strategic plan with the aid of the board of directors”. But, the exact wording in the bylaws: 24. The Executive Committee shall manage the creation and review of the Strategic Plan with the aid and approval of the Board of Directors. Xtra falsely reported that the ED would retain this power. Danny Glenwright, Bradley Turcotte and Xtra owe Van Den Heuvel a retraction and an apology.
TO THE EDITOR
The article had mentioned that the reporter had received messages via facebook from Claudia, one would assume that this would be a discussion between the two and not an interview, also, if Claudia had requested a copy of the transcript, why did you reject her request but yet had to do so publicly. From what I read in the article both you and the reporter are being vicious and seem to be taking great pleasure in ruining her reputation! and why I am also saying you!! is due to the fact that all articles are approved by you. I most certaintly stand behind Claudia and I agree with George this is not reporting!!!
Newsorthy #2
I just fail to see how posting the grievance online is a community matter. If the issue is between Van Den Heuvel and the reporter, then it is not a community concern. The article hinges on communications that took place between the reporter and Van Den Heuvel, how is this news? By the way, the slandering would be "Van Den Heuvel has frequently declined to comment – or failed to return calls – for Xtra articles. After agreeing to an interview with Xtra reporter Laura Zahody on July 26, Van Den Heuvel did not show up at the scheduled time, nor did she respond to Zahody’s repeated requests to reschedule." This might be relevant to Van Den Heuvel's relationship with Xtra, but it isn't relevant to the recent interview. It establishes that yes, you are attacking her ( by including unnecessary negative information) and shows that you do have an opinion, in my interpretation of the article that is. Who knows, some of us misinterpret interviews and maybe some of misinterpret articles. I'm glad to hear you have articles on PTS and the great work that they do, now that sounds like news.
Editor's note
Hi George, Thanks for your comment. We take it seriously when a prominent community member accuses one of our reporters of inaccuracy and imbalance, which is what Van Den Heuvel did in her letter to reporter Bradley Turcotte. The purpose of this article is not to offer an opinion or to slander a community member (which this writer has not done) but to be transparent about an issue of concern in the community. We had a request from Van Den Heuvel to release the transcript of the interview, so we have published it here. If you are interested in reading about the state of affairs at PTS or how PTS is serving the community, please type PTS into Xtra's search function. We have written dozens of stories on these two topics so you'll have many to choose from. Thank you.
Newsworthy
I'm saddened to read that this is notable news in the Ottawa Queer community. I came to this website to learn more about the Queer community in this city and gain a sense of comradeship. Instead, I see shoddy, opinionated journalism slandering community members. What does the above article accomplish? What can it teach us about the state of affairs of PTS, or how they're serving the community at large? It serves someone's personal agenda and their hostility towards Van Den Heuvel, not a journalist reporting. What happened to real news, or objectivity for that matter?
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