A personal apology for my mistake

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Editor’s note: Retraction and apology

A story published in the May 1 edition of Kivalliq News (“Police investigate woman’s death”) and headlined “Homicide reported in Rankin Inlet” on the nunavutnews.com and nnsl.com websites contained erroneous information. An autopsy ruled out foul play in the death of the woman, reported by us to be Lynnora Siusangnark of Naujaat. Kivalliq News unreservedly retracts the story and apologizes to our readers and the family of Lynnora Siusangnark for publishing the story.

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First and foremost, I got the story wrong (“Homicide reported in Rankin Inlet,” May 1).

For that I sincerely apologize to readers of the Kivalliq News and Nunavut News.

And, more importantly, I am also hat in hand in offering my heartfelt condolences to the Siusangnark family for their loss – and my deepest, most sincere apologies for erroneously reporting that Lynnora Siusangnark, 33, of Naujaat had lost her life due to foul play in Rankin Inlet on April 26.

The RCMP have not named the deceased but one thing I don’t doubt is Siusangnark is the subject of their latest news release May 10 that states foul play has been ruled out following the results of an autopsy.

Second of all, no matter what the circumstances, I would spend the remaining years of my life behind bars, if need be, before I would ever reveal the name or names of the sources behind any story with my name on it.

In a story of such magnitude, a journalist must check and recheck, again and again, the information given them before making the decision to go ahead with what they perceive to be a righteous story and an accurate depiction of fact.

In this case, the information given me did not withstand the scrutiny of a police investigation and a medical autopsy.

However, I have always taken my responsibilities as a journalist in the proper reporting of a story – any story – to heart and this was no exception.

Between the early-morning hours of April 27 until the final minute before the story was published, and for hours afterward, I was either on my work phone or Messenger trying to glean more information on this tragedy, and/or talking to numerous people, past and present, with first-hand knowledge of procedures and protocols usually followed in such situations.

When I finally had to succumb to sleep, I was confident the information published was accurate.

But, for the first time in my career, my research, my contacts, my fail-safe checklists and my journalistic instincts were wrong, and no one feels worse about it than I do.

I can only hope my regular readership, that of Nunavut News, and members of the Siusangnark family can find it in their collective hearts to accept my apology, and to read my future works with the same confidence and trust afforded me for more than two decades in Rankin Inlet.

I am truly sorry. I hope you can forgive me.

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