DIANE MARSHALL AGAINST THE WAIKATO TIMES
Case Number: 3286
Council Meeting: July 2022
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Publication: Waikato Times
Accuracy, Fairness and Balance
Children and Young People
Behaviour of Journalists
Tragedies, Offensive Handling of
On 18 May the Waikato Times published a story headed Love reforged, about a woman who had lost her fiancé in a plane crash, but had met a new partner and had her engagement ring remade to “honour” her late fiancé. The article also appeared on Stuff. Dianne Marshall complained about the story. She said the article was about the late father of her children, who had been through the very difficult loss of their father. The reporting was insensitive, it had retraumatised the children, and there were inaccuracies in the story about the time scale and the details of friendship between the man who died and the pilot.
The Media Council notes that the facts of the plane crash are on the public record, so there is no breach of privacy. The disputed facts are relatively minor in the context of the story. The Council has sympathy for the children’s situation. It can be understood that it would be hard for someone very close to the deceased to read about the re-using of the engagement ring he gave his fiancée, and to have details of the accident revisited. But, as noted, the plane crash is a matter of public record, it contains no significant errors and no principles have been breached in republishing it.
Decision: There are insufficient grounds to proceed.